Monday, July 7, 2008

Home Improvement

I moved into my new apartment about two months ago, but it occurred to me today that my room has yet to transform into a real, adult room. This is my room, the model version with the perfect decorating and attractive yet real-looking models. They have curtains, and a dust ruffle, and some sort of tree in a vase. I have a bunch of poorly-assembled Ikea furniture, including a desk chair (but no desk). I taped some unframed posters onto the wall, and today I threw away the big piece of cardboard that's been taped onto my floor for a week (I put it there in the first place for breakdancing purposes, of course). So I decided that my summer project needs to be making my room look less like the "before" photo in a room makeover TV show.

If I had infinite time, money and motivation, the first thing I would do is paint an accent wall-- I think a rich dark blue would work with my dark red sheets and rug. But I have to be practical and admit that the accent wall just isn't going happen-- it's a lot of time and effort for an apartment I'll probably be moving out of next May. I was browsing Apartment Therapy and I think I may have found an alternative: EasyChange Wallpaper from Sherwin-Williams, which is guaranteed to come down without any special solutions or tools. Perfect for renters! Here are a few patterns that I like:

The temporary wallpaper thing might not happen, but I'm determined to frame some of my personal photos and mount them on the wall. I'm inspired by Carrie's remodeled apartment in the Sex and the City movie. I love the idea of having a bunch of differently sized frames clustered above my bed, and I've been eyeing this set of 10 frames, $36, from Urban Outfitters. In my ideal apartment, I would have a collection of frames from flea markets and my world travels, but it is way, way easier to just buy some frames online. I think these classic black frames will contrast nicely with my light wood furniture, and I'll be able to rearrange them any which way I choose. It'll be a hassle to go to the drugstore to get my photos resized (because who just has 8"x 10" photos lying around, besides your parents with your old school photos?), but I have to remind myself of the long run. I'll be able to take the photos and frames with me to any future apartments, where I'll slap them up on the walls and feel immediately at home.

The next thing I do really need is a desk. I had my heart set on finding a desk that was as close as possible to the desks in the NYU dorms: a nice big drawer across, with deeper drawers on the side, and three levels of shelves on the attached hutch. But, again, I was inspired by Sex and the City (and I do sort of hate myself for saying that, because there's this whole subculture of NYU girls who comes to New York wanting to live Carrie Bradshaw's life, and they are just insufferable). I saw that her desk is just a simple wooden table with a single drawer, which makes it perfect for sitting by her window. You can just barely see it in this photo (and how desperately do I covet the Aiden chair?). So now I'm leaning towards something simple but functional, like this Mission Computer Desk from Target, $99. Probably my favorite thing about it is the bar along the back, because that's exactly where I want to rest my feet when I'm sitting at my desk. I like the hutch, $79.99, too, and I can just imagine putting all my books and knickknacks on those shelves. But the hutch would totally block the window, and I'm really attached to the idea of staring down 22nd St as I study.

So if I put my desk against the window, I'll have this whole wall with nothing on it, which would be perfect for a reading chair! I usually read in bed, but my habit of putting on my pajamas and getting under the covers before reading (in the middle of the day, even) usually leads to impromptu naps. If I had a comfy yet sleep-adverse chair to curl up in, I wouldn't fall asleep after fifty pages. I really like the Karlstad chair from Ikea, $299. I want a really distinctive chair, in a fun pattern or design, that'll liven up all the solid linens and unadorned woods I have in my room. I want the first thing people say when they come into my room to be, "Hey, cool chair," although I'd settle for, "You are so beautiful it hurts to look at you." Other chairs that I like but can't afford: The Lulu in Green Leaf from Urban Outfitters, $380.

The Punchy Floral Reese Chair, $350, from PB Teen. I like the blue and green, but I'm not sure if they're too cutesy for my taste.

I like the pattern of this Maslin Armless Chair, $649.99 for two, but an armless chair is all wrong for comfy reading, and they come in sets of two. What would I do with two armless chairs?

I'm not sure how I feel about butterfly chairs. Actually, I'm pretty sure I feel that they're good for college freshman, but when in about five years I'm going to look at it and think, "I am way too old for this stupid chair. Grr, get off my lawn! Where's my prune juice?" But UO's Circle Line Flower Dish Chair, $125, is reasonably priced and looks super comfy. Plus, I bet it would be super easy to make a new cover for the cushion, if I decide I don't like the pattern. What do you guys think: is this a viable option or am I just about too old for this style?

I have one last thing on my apartment wish-list, but this one is out of the bedroom. From Time Out NY, instructions on how to wallpaper your fridge! It's so easy, just basically slapping some rubber cement onto your fridge, so it pulls off later. I really wish I still lived with Danielle so we could forgo the wallpaper and just cover our fridge with pages torn from Vogue and the Anthropologie catalog. Maybe I can find some scrapbooking paper (because I'm certainly not buying a roll of wallpaper for a fridge) in a boy-friendly abstract pattern, and use that.

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