Friday, April 15, 2011


Apartment Therapy "Madeline"s Colorful Studio"
     Apartment Therapy is running a contest sponsored by Benjamin Moore.  The contest is called "Small and Cool".  How wonderful is that?  People submit their pictures, Apartment Therapy screens them and then selects the ones that are the best.  Best of all we get to vote for a winner.  The contest rules are here.  I check the pages every few days to see what is new.  I suppose that is why my conversations are all about decor these days.
     My friends and I were talking about our young married life the other day.  We recall days when only "acceptable" decor was allowed.  Grandma's dining table and Aunt Lulu's sofa moved into our tiny apartment living room.  We left the walls bare because the only "real" picture we owned was the one that had hung in our childhood bedroom!  How times have changed!  
     Today living in a small space does not mean that you must live with dingy decor. In this day and age places like Ikea and Target have everything you need to live surrounded by color at a very little cost. Websites like Apartment Therapy shows us the best examples of living without a lot of stuff...using those things we find on the curb or when we shop.  It is my go-to website for small home decor.  
     There was a lot we DID NOT KNOW ABOUT.  Here is the list: 
  1. The fabric store. Inspirations, small pieces of left over fabric and trimmings can provide you with art at dumpster diver prices.
  2. Spray paint.  The first person to use spray paint to give a dresser a new life was a genius.  I just learned a couple of years ago that a table sprayed with black or espresso spray paint will look brand new.   The finish is flawless and very durable.
  3. HGTV. I call it the designer classroom of the 21st Century. People are learning to take care of their homes, decorate with some confidence and upgrade what they have.  This tv stations has been invaluable for me.
  4. Paint is cheap.  Apartment walls can be painted just as long as you put them back they way they were or get the landlord to agree that you made a good choice.  Who knew?
  5. Antique stores/used furniture stores. While I was accepting my families used stuff, it never occurred to me to dig through the used furniture store merchandise and clean the stuff up. I had the idea it was not good enough. What was I thinking?  
  6. Ross, Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, The Party Store...need I say more. A lot of the things in the party store are considered disposable but it is better than the things I started out with.
  7. Magazines displaying designer ideas. Country Home, Style at Home, etc. Better Homes and Gardens was the only choice and, at that time, the publishers spent very little time on decor. 
  8. Online web sites that show ideas from around the world.  Apartment Therapy, Style at Home
  9. Import stores
  10. Power tools for it is okay for a woman to want power tools.
  11. Small space living.   Loft, park model, apartments.
I am sure you could all add to this list. Applications for the ideas are endless:  Frame small beautiful pieces of fabric with frames from the used furniture store.  Spray paint Aunt Lulu's dresser or dining table. Use ideas from HGTV to upgrade your house, de-clutter, give the house curb appeal. Haunt the stores and buy those sale items.  Find unique ways to display them. Visit Ikea and get what you need for storage so your mess is not on display. Learn to do power tools...your husband or partner or roommate might even learn to use them too. Live simply, small, frugally in style. Our marketplace is set up for you to succeed.  

I need to go.  Tomorrow: recipes that have been the real winners this winter season.

Have a wonderful day.

Link to great decorator site:  Lettered Cottage
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  1. Until I moved here I basically lived in Manhattan so I didn't know there were restrictions on how you decorated a "small space." I think I'm glad about that as I always did exactly what I wanted!

  2. There are no rules...only in our heads! Why didn't someone tell me that sooner?


  3. There are more hidden gems in antique shops and even yard sales. You will always see me in sales in my neighborhood. Antique lamps, worn dining chairs that can be turned into a chic chair, and even decors for walls. Never miss a sale if you have one in your neighborhood.

    buy dining chairs


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