When you move into your apartment, it’ll be a significant expansion of space from your first dorm. However, the first few weeks of actual live-in time will make you realize that, more space aside, you’re still bumping into furniture and navigating your way through your bedroom like a contortionist in an obstacle course. And if you have other students sharing the apartment, odds are you’ll be spending most of your time in your own bedroom, where you’re completely comfortable and the space is all yours.
So how do you succeed in making your new room look nice and comfortable? Well, the first thing that should go is the desk.
1. Trust Me; You Don’t Need The Desk.
It seems strange that you’d get rid of your desk when you’re a college student. However, the truth is, you’re not going to use that desk most of the time. If you’re an outgoing person, you probably spend most of your time studying at the library. If you’re more of an introvert, then you’re probably guilty of doing your work on the bed, where you can snuggle, eat chips, and skip that club meeting you don’t want to go to. Since most of the population is made up of ambiverts, you’ll probably do a little bit of both.
Odds are that a giant desk isn’t going to do much else but collect dust and stub your toe, creating a health hazard and an extra chore. Get rid of the desk.
Now that you’ve cleared up the desk, you can put more time into beautifying your room with the things you like: that vanity you’ve been eyeing at the local antiques store, a small night table, a comfy armchair…if getting rid of your desk entirely makes you too nervous, you can buy a miniature desk to take up a very small corner of your room, which you can use to store pencils, hide file folder baskets underneath, or display that important assignment that’s due in a few days. Don’t feel pressured to get a chair to go with your desk — it will just take away space and the desk looks nice enough without it.
What if you have that once a year art project? The one that needs a lot of table space? As a messy leftie, I usually just spread out everything on the floor and turn my room into an art studio (that’s possibly been in a tornado). Makes it more fun. However, if you like to remain a little more organized, then there are easily other places you can use: your living room table, the university library tables, dorm common room tables, etc., etc.
What if you want to eat dinner at home? This is an easy solution — I recommend getting a small table, stool, or lap desk which you can store somewhere (such as under your bed), and pull out whenever and wherever you want to eat. My sister and I always had a blast with our “floor picnics”, where we’d sit by the foot of my bed with takeout, a movie, and a mountain of fluffy pillows. Store a floor blanket or floor cushions along with your mini table and you’re good to go.
2. Hide Your Printer
First, I recommend an easy to manage, black and white printer. The simpler the better: plug-in printers are great for this purpose. For major printing jobs, you’ll probably use the library printer (or even the apartment printers, if your residence caters to college students and has a printing center). But whenever you’re in a hurry, don’t want to socialize or are sick of going on printing job trips, you’ll have an easy printer to pull out and use.
Next: find a place to tuck away your printer so it’s not lying around and taking up space. Fold it up somewhere that’s out of the way but easy to access: in a night chest at the foot of your bed, etc. I placed mine under a miniature desk in the corner of my room, stacked on top of an antique briefcase which held the printer paper. Hiding your printer will also take away that ugly, functional feel in your room and make your space homier, so it’s a no-brainer.
3. Step Away From The Brand New TV.
While getting a flat screen TV for your space might sound like an excellent idea, I’d recommend skipping it. A TV (and its accompanying furniture) will take up a lot of valuable space, meaning you’ll have less room in general and a smaller decorating canvas for sprucing up your home. It is far easier to watch movies and shows on your computer, since the screen quality is usually better and you can easily switch to earbuds (in case you want to block out other noise or need to monitor your own noise level). And since most of us Millennials watch our shows through Netflix, Amazon Prime, or other online websites, odds are you won’t even miss the TV watching experience. Especially not with the extra money you now have in your wallet.
Having a cinema party with a bunch of friends? Buy a mini portable projector and play it on the wall or the ceiling.
Don’t feel pressured to get rid of the things mentioned above: if you already have a dream desk layout in mind, keep it! You room is individual to you, and this list is just a suggestion. However, do take the time to go over your room and think about the things you can personally do without. You might be surprised at how much more space you’ll have to truly personalize your home.
Other advice? If you’re cramped for space, go for vertical decorations. A tall and thin corner book case will almost certainly be a better option than a wide book case that goes against the wall. Look for wall decorations and play with decor that stacks. In other words, go up, not out. You should also keep an eye out for foldable furniture — stools that slide under your coffee table, a drawer chest that tucks under the bed, etc. — and multi-purpose furniture, like a headboard that doubles as a display shelf.
The winged bench adds a classy air to the PB Teen Harry Potter collection as the base of the decor. The rolled arms display the pillows well, while the off-white color contrasts with the deep blue to show them off and create a dreamier feel. Buy from Pier One here or keep an eye out in antique shops and chain stores like Home Goods and Ross for a similar look.
PB Teen: Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pillow (here)
PB Teen: Harry Potter Expecto Pratonum Pillow Cover (here)
The round accent side table was chosen based on the look of Dumbledore’s office, with a shade that fits into the cream color scheme. Buy here from Home Depot, or search for your own favorite. Keep in mind that the legs of your bench and side table should have a similar design, otherwise the decor will clash.
PB Teen: Harry Potter Hedwig Jewelry Cage (here). This stand is designed to hold jewelry, so mix up the casual and elegant vibes by adding your favorite necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Finish off with a Harry Potter decorative piece laid on the table: a time turner necklace, or Salazar Slytherin’s horcrux.
Slytherin’s Locket: Buy from Hot Topic here or look for your own favorite replica. If you’re more of a morally straight witch/wizard at heart, then trade it for a respectable time turner necklace (like I mentioned above). Stage the piece by laying it in the front corner of the table as if it’s actually been worn before.
Add a stack of old-looking books as a filler item. It looks nice, and adds to the amount of decor on your table to prevent it from feeling bare. Since a stack of books are just as likely to be found in the Hogwarts headmaster’s office as they are in your own house, the piece also acts as a bridge between the fantastical element and the everyday element of your decorations. Buy as a book box here, so it can function as a useful storage place or a phone charger station, or look for your own.
*Check out PBTeen’s new Harry Potter store for the entire collection here*
I will be posting more interior design models/pins like this one in the future, so stay tuned! This is also the beginning of the “Apartment 9 and 3/4 Series”, so rest assured there will be more Harry Potter posts among them. If you have a favorite show or novel, let me know in the comments and I’ll do a model based off of it. And if you like, don’t forget to pin below!
Every once in a while, you need to take a break from decorating, sit down, and find some inspiration. If sitting cross-legged on the couch in your new living room with fuzzy socks, a ponytail, and a whole bunch of Pinterest sounds like gold to you at the moment, then here are 5 decorating quotes to get you started:
1. “An empty room is a story waiting to happen.” (Charlotte Moss)
2. “A room should never allow the eye to settle in one place. It should smile at you and create fantasy.” (Juan Montoya)
3. “Stick to the things you really love. An honest room is always up to date.” (Billy Baldwin)
4. “Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.” (Nate Berkus)
5. “An interior is the natural projection of the soul.” (Coco Chanel, French fashion designer who founded Chanel in 1910)
Inspired yet? If any of these quotes spoke to your heart, then feel free to take things one step further and hang them up on your wall in a frame. The Coco Chanel quote is especially popular right now as a piece of decor, considering it came from Coco Chanel, the French fashion designer of the post World War I era and founder of a fashion empire that’s still strong today, which means you can’t really get any classier.
If you’re still not ready to leave your couch, I’m not gonna judge (as a writer, sitting on the couch is basically my main occupation, so…). Check out more of our articles or enjoy your internet surfing. Happy dream hunting!
There are a number of reasons to get a bar cart for your kitchen. First, they’re a great way to add storage space for your kitchen stuff, and if you’re a socialite who likes having friends over, it’s also a way to set out food and drinks they can actually go for — instead of, you know, raiding your fridge. And, to be completely honest, bar carts just look really good as decorative items in a room.
Better yet, get a tea cart.
Step 1: Ornate Necessities
When choosing your bar cart, try to find something that’s stated and looks classy in your kitchen. A bar cart is a small item that draws a lot of attention, so you want to avoid the Ikea look (exception: you’re in a dorm room and can pull off the Pinterest-level cute look successfully) and make sure it’s dressed up well enough to be worth the focus of the room. If you have any food items, coffee cups, or tea bags, it should be a given to take them out of plain, original packaging and put them in a decorative container; for example, your lucky charm cereal in a glass canister. Ceramic canisters are great for hiding uglier things — like plastic silverware or Keurig cups. Other items can go in crates, baskets, etc., depending on the theme you’re going for. These usually go on the second or third shelf, since they’re bulkier and are more storage-like. On the other hand, prettier items — like glassware — can go on a decorative shelf.
Step 2: The Baubles
Add purely decorative items to your cart next in order to complete the staging effect and finish off your look: a vase of flowers, old books, apothecary jars, an antique weighing scale (super chic), a mini statue, a porcelain tea set, or a matching sign. The sky’s the limit — pick whatever you like and experiment. If you tend to snack at night, try out some DIY glow in the dark projects and see what you end up liking (examples: a string of lights in a clear container, glow sticks in a glitter mason jar, or a small candelabra with battery tea lights). If you have a dorm room, these bar cart objects can provide a comforting glow during lights out from wherever it stands in your room.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be rigidly organized with the items on your bar cart. While it shouldn’t be as cluttered as a garage sale, you’ll want to pull the items together so there isn’t a lot of empty space, and so your eye is guided from one decoration to the other. This does’t need to be done on overkill, but keep it in mind when you’re designing your layout.
If you need to add appliances, such as a coffee maker or blender, don’t worry about the plainness of one item disrupting the rest of the look. The combination of decorations you have should understate the appliance enough that it doesn’t detract from the overall elegance.
1. If you have very limited space in the fridge (which often occurs in a dorm), you can move certain liquids to your bar cart: just buy a decorative drink dispenser that matches with your look and set it up on your cart so it’s always accessible. It’s best to pick drinks you don’t mind being not cold, like water, but there are ways to get around the lukewarm temperatures of a drink dispenser if you’re determined: plastic ice cubes, frozen lemon slices, etc.
2. If you have no room for your mugs, hang them up with a line of hooks on your bar cart.
3. Tea carts can be very beautiful and classy, but there are a number of tea carts manufactured in relatively recent times which, at first glance, have the look of an antique, but with a more cursory observation, reveal themselves to be replicas from the age of typewriters (and not the pretty kind). Watch out for this; if you do end up adopting one of these guys, however, a little bit of TLC in the form of white paint and French letter stencils (the etc. goes without saying here — always feel free to get creative!) can turn it into a tea cart worthy of a king or queen.
Take It Away
There are so many different ways to arrange your bar cart, an infinite number of things you can add, and a variety of styles to suit your personality and home: minimalistic, modern chic, classical antique, industrial, country, shabby chic, boho…the list goes on forever. The sky’s the limit; go for what speaks to you and take it from there.
Once you’ve imagined your dream cart and worked it into reality, try keeping the essentials but changing out your purely decorative items every so often in accordance to the seasons, your mood, or just plain for fun. Altering the look slightly from time to time will keep things fresh and interesting, and it can keep you from feeling like the style of the room has gone stale. It’s also something fun to mess with whenever you’re in a decorative or crafty mood.
Now that you’re into decorating, you’ve probably noticed the amount of white that goes into the design in every living space…it’s on the walls, the ceiling, the trim, the doors…everywhere. If you’re into the classic white look and know how to appreciate the color, that’s great. But if you’re tired and ready to experiment with something new — something you’re most likely looking for anyway if you live in a college dorm or apartment — then perhaps it’s time to purge the amount of white things in your home and go for something more wild. So, without further ado, I present to you 5 items below which you can alter to do just that:
Most people tend to paint walls a neutral color, especially if it’s a rental that many people are going to move through. Neutral shades are agreeable and tend not to clash with whatever furniture you put in the room; however, they’re also incredibly drab (especially if they’re whitewashed, or God forbid, a sickly shade of yellow). Feel free to stray away from the dull stuff and paint your walls whatever color you like, and don’t be afraid to pick bold colors. Just make sure to flip through some design magazines and look for pictures with similar color schemes; that way you can get a feel for furniture to match it to. Have an apartment? Some apartment complexes will let you paint your walls to your preference, as long as you repaint them to their original state at the end of the year.
An even better suggestion is to use wallpaper. Wallpaper is usually easier to put up, and the beautiful patterns and colors you can pick out offer more vibrance and creativity for your home than the standard coat of paint. Nowadays, temporary wallpaper has been invented, which means you can paste your favorite designs over any hideous wall (like, say, the white cement block walls in a lot of dorms), then remove it at the end of your stay. And there is some seriously awesome removable wallpaper available these days (like this Victorian blue pearl wallpaper)
One last option you can use is to add a mural to your wall; there are some really amazing wall stickers (some of which will take up an entire wall) that can create some elegant designs for your room. If that’s not up your alley, wall tapestries are always a good failsafe, especially for dorm rooms.
Towels are a really easy change to make for your space. I first got the chance to do this when I moved into my first dorm (which came right before the revelation that I was much more suited to an apartment life — then again, who isn’t?). I was shopping with my mom, who suggested I pick out a different colored set of towels. Having grown up in a French country house, where white is a staple for elegance, I had never even considered this possibility and was surprised at the prospect — then excited, because there are so many beautiful blood red and blue embroidered towels you can buy to add some extravagance to your bathroom. Now, I usually set up towels to accent the theme I’m going for in my apartment: red for my classic Belle look (think deep, glittery reds and dark browns), then blue for my Grimms brothers’ little mermaid look (which makes use of different shades of blues, white, and pearl gold in a Scandinavian style). There are lot of ways to have fun with this; just pick out your favorite and go for it. Quick note: Tassels for towels are also a trend now, so if you really want to glam up your towel rack, then feel free to add them into the scheme.
Doors are often (almost always, really) a boring, white color which is easily fixed by painting the surface something other than white: silver grey, barn door red, a nice blue — just make sure that whatever color you use works with the rest of the house. Alternative options: sticker decals or, if you’re afraid to damage the white surface, you can spruce it up with decorations over it, like lavender sprigs hung over the door or a cute sign with your initials.
4. Outlet covers and switch plates
The standard, white wall socket is pretty common everywhere, and as a very functional item it usually goes unnoticed, but if you’re searching for more ways to really make your home an awesome decorating space, changing out outlet covers and switch plates for a more decorative style can provide some very nice accents to a room.
5. Dish ware
A lot of people don’t think to use their dish ware as a decoration, instead opting for plain, white dishes or a mix and match of whatever they happen to collect. However, buying an elaborate set of dishes that purposefully adds to the look of a kitchen can go a surprisingly long way in improving it. If you get the chance to buy dishes or want to replace your old set, try to buy dishes that can be coordinated to a certain style: a cobalt blue set of farm style dish ware or a Victorian set with black toile patterns.
Trim’s a difficult thing to change, unless you have a place that you can do extensive work to. If you have the option of adding or replacing trim, consider going with a unique look, such as an ornate black trim (which is coincidentally very in right now) that could complement whatever decor you have in that room. Other, slightly similar options involve, again, decals — you can add small decals or put a border decal around the base of the room.
7. What else?
Odds are there are other things, specific to your home, that might also be white or even just too plain. Take a glance around your living space and see if there’s anything else you can think of to change. Even the small things can make a big difference. Also, if you have the chance to redirect your decor a little bit along these lines, then you can try to bring white decor into the foreground as an accent to the room, rather than pushing it into the background as usual. This will create a unique space with multiple, striking elements the eye can enjoy.
Have fun, and don’t forget to be as creative and wild as you want!
When you design your living space, you’ll probably find yourself gravitating towards certain trends that you like. However, figuring out your favorite decor and finding items that work for your home can be a hit or miss if you don’t actively know what styles you’re searching for. To create the perfect apartment, condo, or dorm, here are seven decorating styles to consider for your space:
1. Industrial: says chic and sophisticated in a badass manner.
The industrial interior design is a very unique style with a cool feel that any Millennial can appreciate. It brings the abandoned warehouse and dark iron, old brick look to life in your home. If you like the steampunk look (which has some related elements), or ever wanted to go for a dramatic and distinctive style in your home, then you’ll definitely like the industrial design.
This interior trend is true to its name, characterized by dramatic decor that looks like it could’ve once served an industrial purpose: unfinished wood, Edison lightbulbs, steamer trunks, leather seats, brick, iron, and faded or dark colors. With an open layout that focuses on negative space as much as the objects in a room, industrial design is perfect for a flat, accentuating empty space to give your home a bigger feel. It’s a cool, non-classical look that caters to a Millennial style and provides a fun hangout space. If this sounds like what you want, then you should definitely deck out your space with the industrial chic design.
However, if you don’t want to completely abandon a cozy style, you can sprinkle little pieces of industrial decor throughout your home to add that extra bit of intrigue. Go for an industrial desk lamp with an Edison lightbulb, put a steamer trunk in a corner, add salvaged lumber shelving, install decorative cogs as a wall fixture above your bed, etc. Mixing and matching is always a good idea in decorating — some designing hobbyists have recently combined elements of industrial and country design, called “industrial country”, which caters more to wood than metal and often sports a distressed, white look.
2. French Country: A high class spin on country
French Country takes the look of a farmhouse in the country and adds an eloquent twist. A Country French room has soft colors, ornately carved furniture and light fixtures like chandeliers and candelabras, mixed with open windows, natural light, and humble decor pieces such as pitchers, washboards, distressed wood, etc. Live plants such as flowers are often used to add to the natural feel underlying this style.
The French Country look is an easy and classy way to spruce up an apartment; since most apartments are already white (cream rugs, white trim and doors, etc.), no major color changes are necessary. Dress up your home with easily accessible, quaint country items that add a homey, warm feel; then complete your look with some higher quality furniture pieces — just google “french country furniture” and you’ll get a wide selection on this popular look. When you’re searching for the style on your own in antique stores or on craigslist, look for rustic, soft-colored furniture (usually a shade of white or cream) with scrolling carvings and nature-focused engravings. Finish with a touch of nature and include a potted plant or two. If you don’t want to work at keeping a plant alive, you can add some dried, lavender sprigs to perfectly complete the look. And since the French Country look loves patterns — original French country homes used a cotton fabric covered in pastoral scenes, typically with a blue-on-creme color scheme, that is referred to today as “toile” — you can spice up your apartment with a patterned rug, throw, pillow set, or with blue porcelain items such as a vase.
3. Shabby Chic: Feminine and whimsical twist on French Country
Shabby chic puts a decidedly feminine, whimsical twist on the French Country style, which is closely related. Shabby chic doesn’t quite follow the look of a gypsy caravan, but it certainly adds a prominent, fairytale feel to a room with chandeliers, dried flowers, pinks, and ruffles. If you want to create a similar design in your own home, look for French Country and follow with frills: a corner table with distressed, white paint and elegant engravings says “French Country”, while items like a chalk white birdcage, surrounded by pink perfume bottles, tailors the look to “shabby chic.”
Note that some people have overdone and over defined the shabby chic style, especially with DIY projects that add a lot of cheap “bells and whistles” but miss the elegance and magic of the shabby chic mark.
Hint: if it looks like something from your great grandmother’s house, it’s not shabby chic. Don’t fall for this decorating mistake.
4. Island Bohemian: Outdoorsy and unique
The island bohemian look is a popular style these days, and adds a fresh, outdoorsy look to a room with tropical plants, island style wood such as bamboo and rattan, jute rugs, and cool whites and greys. With island bohemian decor, rooms should be kept open and accentuate natural lighting. Cloth & Patina blog has a very excellent post on this look that you can see here: http://blog.clothandpatina.com/?p=612.
If you want, you can add to the classiness of your island boho style with a safari chair. A type of British colonial furniture, these chairs were originally used by aristocratic officers who wanted a collapsible version of the finery at home. Departing slightly from the island bohemian decor, a leather safari chair will add diversity to your style and create a unique, refined touch that can also serve as a conversation piece.
5. Bohemian or Moroccan: a comfy and exotic feel (especially good for small spaces)
A bohemian or Moroccan look can serve you well if your goal is to completely redo your apartment or dorm look without tearing the room apart (and racking up fines). For one, you can cover dull floors and walls with colorful rugs and tapestries.
When you’re adding your decor for the Moroccan theme, look for vivid hues and patterns with middle Eastern styled shapes (such as the ogee). When decorating in this style, you should definitely consider including Moroccan lanterns, which aren’t too expensive, look especially beautiful, and are also a nod to the Moroccan tendency to incorporate light into design. Decorative furniture should be low to the ground, and the overall design of your dorm room or apartment should invite guests to sit down and get comfortable, like a reading nook might do. Whether you go with a Moroccan or a Bohemian style, the end goal should be a room which feels cozy and bright.
If you have a dorm room, you should definitely consider either look, since the abilities of these decorating trends to close a room off and yet make it very inviting are especially perfect for a humble room with little space. With an apartment, you have more freedom to open up the space a bit more, so feel free to add a modernizing touch by emphasizing the feel of a clean, geometrical space with natural lighting.
6. Retro: a tastefully fun look
Retro’s a fun and quirky look to go with in your apartment. The bright and unique style of each retro item allows you to decorate your room without having to go overboard in coordinating the look, unlike other designs (looking at you, shabby chic. Basically all of the high styles). This allows you to have a bit of variation in how much you want your dorm or apartment to go retro. You can add a few movie posters here and there to your walls — framed, of course — plus a tabletop jukebox to your desk and say au voire to the decorating work. Or you can go all out, with Smeg’s kitchen collection of refrigerators and microwaves (absolutely adorable; if Smeg won’t let you order from them, Urban Outfitters has a retro fridge for dorm rooms that’s almost as cute).
Retro decor is a bit of a Wild West designing territory; feel free to experiment and follow your creative tastes as much as you want. You can go hip hop: a wooden box filled with colorful cassette tapes, or pop obnoxious: pillows with Marilyn Monroe’s face on them in various shades of Window’s Computer’s favorite colors, or with-the-times cute: hang a drive-in restaurant sign above your bed, and don’t forget to add the Coca Cola red look somewhere.
You can definitely get a good amount of retro decor online; the retro cabinet from above can be found here, and the Igloo fridge (which can still be found on Ebay and certain websites in perfect retro blue) is here.
7. New York City: go sleek (and throw in a few Broadway hip hop colors) or go for the elegance of an aged city
I wouldn’t say New York City is an officially recognized style, but with the hype that surrounds the city that never sleeps — in fashion and decorating — it might as well be. And with Millenials’ increased awareness of international trends and culture, it seems only right to bring the touch of a big city to your own home.
The traditional New York City style likes to follow a sleek and sharp look, so make sure to
follow that trend in your own home. Incorporate a lot of the stark, black and white contrasts that go with the classic look — a black and white subway sign, blackout curtains that filter light to give you the glittery silhouette of NYC skyscrapers at midnight (picture at right) — then mix things up: add a flare of hip hop color that you’d get from the more vibrant Broadway Street (I’d recommend just browsing the Hershey’s store for this), or go for the hidden signs of a golden relic long past: the Gilded Age era.
If you pay attention in NYC, you’ll find ornate and abandoned skyscrapers left behind, and you can sometimes tour the abandoned subway station (yes, there is an entire abandoned subway station) if you’re lucky enough to get tickets. There’s a whole, abandoned city layered underneath the new, sleek touches of the modern age NYC. For a unique city theme, incorporate a touch of this feel by adding in yellow and gold colors, aged tile, and patterned window covers (to match the intricate skylights of the era). Tack up a shelf with corbels on your wall somewhere to herald the decorative carvings that once frequented old buildings and city windows for the rich. The Grand River corbel selection by Houzz might match some of your tastes: click. If you’re afraid of drilling holes in your walls, use the corbels as bookends.
Little note: the New York City Gilded Age look is especially good for a dorm room, since it can easily add a sense of taste and personality to a drab room without going over the top with varied decorations or expenses. Unless you buy the RH coffee table.
So there you have it — these decorations can be used entirely on their own or in your own homemade trail mix of decor. Remember to have fun experimenting, and don’t forget you’re catering to your style. Also, these are just a few of the countless decorating styles you can use in your apartment/dorm (my personal favorite right now is a classic Swedish style), so feel free to explore beyond the boundaries of this list and find your own favorite!
It started on a cool and beautiful North Carolinian day. The chill in the air was one promise of the upcoming Christmas holidays, as were the gorgeous poinsettias, fake snow, and light-stringed decorations which stocked every store in sight. Of course, me being me, I couldn’t help myself: I bought a bunch of said Christmas decorations and promptly decorated my apartment — white for the Swedish vibe I had in my room, and cardinal red to spice up the drab living room and kitchen I shared with two other roommates.
Now, at the risk of going on a tangent, decorating is a hobby generally viewed upon as soft and artistic. It’s about beautifying a place; and it’s hard to find an argument in the art of beautifying things. It’s hard to assume that Christmas cheer and carefully placed baskets from Home Goods would inspire any sort of disagreement.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when it drove one of my more disagreeable roommates up the wall.
The decor I’d brought into our generally ignored living room (with no curtains, only blinds over the living room) suddenly became a way to launch a silent apartment war. The thermostat lay abandoned, as were any possible arguments over what temperature was livable for a human being. Instead, my arrangements became a chessboard of available moves. My roommate would move the decorations I’d placed in the arrangement she liked, and I would move them back. The placemats (a stormy grey with silver tracing on the side that I grabbed at Big Lots, which unbelievably has a lot of gorgeous Christmas decor) were moved every other hour — to the side, and then back to their destined places around the centerpiece, a small pedestal with a wooden cage that held a fake red cardinal, surrounded by flocked plant leaves. An outsider might think we had a poltergeist in our home. I, however, had found myself with a completely unexpected arsenal in my back pocket: my decorating abilities. I soon followed with more decorations.
Why, exactly, did my roommate find my decorating such an issue?
When you move into a new home, you establish your presence and your identity in those walls. Look around your room: whether you realize it or not, you’ll see a place that reflects who you are — it feels homey because it’s recognizable, like finding yourself in the mirror. When you have to share a home with roommates, however, this attempt to establish yourself can become a fight. Roommates can become unintentionally (or intentionally) bossy due to the “stake” they already have on the apartment: they might have provided the living room furniture and the TV, which for some reason, makes people think they sometimes have a bigger right to be in that shared space than you do.
For this reason, when you move into a shared apartment, make sure to move your things with you, and not just into your bedroom. Establish your presence in shared spaces so your roommates don’t expect you to sneak around. This might seem like being overly aggressive towards your roommates, but it’s really just a silent way to psychologically establish terms of agreement. If you can combine decorations together and create a space that’s comfortable for all of you, then you may find you and your roommates are more likely to relax together in that space — and get along.
When you use this move in tactic, pick things that won’t be a fight. Don’t bring the table that’s been in your family for generations and expect your roommates not to eat on it. You and your roommates will all have different living habits, and bringing stuff that you’re not overly defensive of (or putting it in a safe place, at least) will make for better grounds to getting along. On the other hand, if your roommates are treating your things with careless abandon, feel free to raise a fuss about it: it’s your home and you have a right to be treated with respect.
Last of all: if your roommate(s) is being unreasonably bossy towards you and the way you live in your apartment, and you need a way to gain the upper hand and ensure you’re treated better, then you might use decorating as your weapon of choice. Bossy roommates often turn to engaging in territorial disputes, chasing everybody else out shared spaces and acting as if you are the guest in the apartment. Adding decorations puts your mark on your home and says that it is your place, too. Your roommates may back down after you make this assertion, and you might get along better after that. If the little decorations don’t do it, add in the bigger stuff: bar chairs, end tables for the couch, etc. Offer to replace things like the dining table or the couch. Since these are the primary objects in a living and dining room, stopping your roomie from letting her think you’re using her things might take away the source of some of her bossiness. (Unless your roommate is a guy, in which case, it would be he.)
And, you know, if that doesn’t happen, go decorating-nuts. Replace everything in the middle of the night and make your roommate think they have the wrong apartment. Buy a wig and instruct guests to call you by a different name. And if you do, please video it and send to me (because that would be awesome).
So, now you have it: my wild Christmas story of the year.
When you spend hours on Pinterest, poring over your favorite decorating pins and ignoring whatever real life problems are facing you this week, you probably don’t see a lot of bathroom decorating pins. After all, it’s a bathroom — what can you really do with it? The answer, it turns out, is a lot.
When decorating, you tend to overlook functional spaces in favor of, say, your bedroom and your living room. These are the places you spend the most time in, so it makes sense, and it’s also what your guests will see when they visit. However, leaving an area of the house without decoration can pull away from the aesthetic feel you have going for the rest of the house. Conversely, stylizing your bathroom can create an extra touch that adds to the quality and class of your decorating. So how do you turn your bathroom into something other than a creative desert?
The How To Part
As a college student, you probably have a small bathroom whether you live in an apartment or a dorm. Having a cramped space can make it difficult to add extra items for aesthetics, so it’s best to build your bathroom decor using things you already have and need: replace your plain magnifying mirror from the dollar store with one that has a more eloquent base. Trade out white shower curtains for something more specific to your taste — preferably with ruffles. You can also incorporate purely decorative items that are small enough to not get in your way: an antique hand held mirror can sit on a bathroom shelf next to a few perfume bottles, while that small counter corner can be taken up with a short stack of decorative soaps.
You don’t have to go all out with a bathroom; you should still focus your decorating skills (and budget) mainly in living spaces like your bedroom. Instead, use the small space to add personal touches. Spare a wall in the bathroom to hang that poster you can’t live without and personal notes from your favorite friends or family. Buy a set of whiteboard markers and doodle on the mirror on the wall. The combination of zany and elegant touches will create a nice-to-look at space that is also fun to wake up to in the morning. This can be especially important when you have an impending interview to ace.
Most of us can agree with and understand choices of logic. However, when it comes to personal creativity, acceptance and compromise tend to go out the window. Baby names, what-that-story-plot-should’ve been, movie ratings, art, and fashion — it’s hard not to get defensive over our tastes when they’re linked so closely to emotion. Our choices in these areas define who we are: you’re not going to wear that pink pencil skirt with the slit in the side unless it “feels” like you. The same goes for decorating. You inevitably design your home as a place that’s comfortable to live in and expresses what you like. But how do you respond to someone whose style is in direct conflict to your own? For example: your mother’s.
1. Go for it anyway.
The vision you have for a certain space is only in your head, so the image others get — no matter how well you explain it — is just a guess at the real thing. In decorating and fashion, planning and explaining should basically go out the window. If your friends hesitate at your plan for a dining room with red walls, ignore them. Tell them they can just make their final decision when your project’s completed. Odds are that in the end, they’ll like it.
2. Go all out.
Go all out: don’t hesitate if people don’t like your ideas. This goes for life in general. If you don’t throw your all into a project because you’re worried about other opinions, you might not be happy with the end result. Focusing on your own thoughts and analyzing your work in a constructive manner can really make the difference between an “I’ve-got-this-decorating-thing-down” attitude and swearing to never decorate your own house again.
3. Stay determined.
Don’t get discouraged at your setbacks. Decorating is work, but it’s fun work. Don’t quit if a room doesn’t look the way you want it to. Your idea doesn’t suck; you may just have to tweak a few things or rearrange a table. I would know, with the many fond memories I have as a child of waking up at midnight to find my mom staring at the dining room curtains. There are no terrible decorating ideas, and they don’t deserve to be given up on.
4. Accept the fact that styles are different.
Accept the fact that styles are different, and brush it off. Taste is mostly subjective, so if a guest makes a comment about how they dislike your decorative fireplace mantel, just chalk it up to a difference in opinion and leave it at that. You might not like everything at their house, either. This isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
5. Most people won’t say this but…you can pick your advice.
It’s okay to disagree with people. If you want guidance or are curious for others’ thoughts on a developing idea in your head, feel free to ask your friends’ and family’s opinion! And if someone mentions they don’t like how you put something together, it can be beneficial to consider their words. Maybe what they said was nagging at you, too, or you come up with something even better. But at the same time, just like I mentioned in number 4, tastes are different. We see the world through a subjective lens, and at the end of the day, it’s what you think that counts — and the people who count know that, too. Going full force with your ideas and thoughts when not everyone agrees on them can be stressful, but in the end, that kind of confidence will make you happier.
Decorating is fun…so get into it, don’t give up, and enjoy it. Most of all: don’t forget to be yourself — through your words, your actions, and your decorating!
Apartment Champagne was created with one idea: why should interior decorating be for the older people? With dorms, apartments, and condos, we young adults would like to try our hand at decorating the homes we live in, too. However, as a fellow 20 year old who’s seen plenty of her friends’ living rooms and bedrooms — with walls decorated by taped on art elective projects that belonged on fridges and navy, green comforters passed down from their parents’ tastes — it seems that the up and coming Millennials of America have faced an epidemic of decorating magazines and blogs that cater mostly to families with three kids and a suburban home (beyond the few dorm room DIY hacks on cardboard headboards).
You’re living in a place that will hold cherished memories: of college, your friends, that boy in Russian class you fell in love with and decided to marry…and that time your Mom visited and nearly fainted because she realized you did know how to do laundry. It will also be what you come home to after a long, hard day at work or at school.
It’s your home, and you should decorate it accordingly, to your tastes and styles. That’s what Apartment Champagne is for: read over these posts for stories, advice, and fun quizzes that’ll help you figure out what you love, and how to integrate it into your living space. This blog will be written mainly by young adults that have experienced the same trials and apartment disasters you have, from roommates who fight over the thermostat, to terrible dorm floors, to first floor windows that look out to a sidewalk. Bottom line: this blog is for you.
I’ll be working on this site over the next month, writing out the content and finalizing layout designs, so check back by the end of November to fully enjoy all our new content!