Friday, November 04, 2011

apartment therapy: mine could use some, how about yours?

Do any of you ever read Apartment Therapy? I love it. I never knew the story behind it, however, until I starting reading some excerpts from its founder's book The Eight-Step Home Cure. To go along with the book, the Apartment Therapy website is having its second annual 20/20 Cure, which promises to make your home a better place to live by spending just 20 minutes a day on this for 20 days.

I have decided to do this challenge because, as winter sets in, I find myself spending more and more time in my apartment, which makes everything that could be improved stand out even more to me. Let me tell you about my place, what I like and dislike about it.

As far as living spaces go, I love arranging them, decorating with little bits and pieces of things I buy, make, or find second-hand. I love experimenting with colors and patterns, adding plants by windows, and framing art by myself or friends to add a personal touch.

Of course there are always things you have to work with. As a grad student, the two that hold me back the most are: low budget, and the consideration of how soon I might move again. These two things keep me from affording an apartment that is awesome at its core before I put any of my stuff in it, and from getting "real" furniture, for the most part (most of my furniture is particle board, save for a couple of pieces--and I even still have a futon as a couch, probably my least favorite piece of home decor at the moment).

My apartment is old and has a lot of..."character." The worst part is probably the, definitely the floors. They are old wooden floors that have been painted over in the shade of chocolate brown. Some of the molding and doors are painted this color too. The color is too dark (and shows dust like crazy)...but the worst part? The paint chips away easily. I got some touch up paint and sometimes go around and paint over the spots, but the paint store couldn't match the color or finish exactly for some reason (I took in a chipped away piece and had them match it). Other things I dislike are uneven walls in some areas, lots of cracks around moldings and such, lack of storage space, and it is not well-insulated (costly in winter). I chose the apartment online before moving here, and even though I don't love it, decided to extend my lease for my last year of grad school because moving--even just across town or a few streets over--is so expensive and time-consuming.

As for things I like about it, it gets plenty of natural light, having big windows in every room. The living room is the only room that is too dark, because the window goes out onto the shady front porch. I think the living room could benefit from more lamps. If I ignore all of the unevenness, cracks, and imperfections, I really do like the style of the place, and the kind of charm that it has as an old building. I like that I have a small backyard for keeping a garden. Aside from the structure of the apartment itself, I like my decorations for the most part, aside from some of the furniture, although besides the futon, I can live with the particle board stuff, I just find it kind of boring. I think my style comes through in the way I decorate, and to me that's a good thing.

Through this project, the things I would like to accomplish are: organize areas that have gotten a little messy and rethink certain storage solutions, re-evaluate my art-making/working spaces and figure out how they can serve me better, rearrange some of the art and other decor that has been in the same place since I moved in, fill in cracks near windows and otherwise make things more insulated for winter, and obtain curtains/rugs for a few areas that I have been neglecting since moving in.

I am currently on day 3 of the 20/20 cure! Today's task was to look for images of inspiration. I happen to keep a folder titled "inspiration" on my computer where I save things I find online, including interior design, illustrations, art, etc. I went through all 800 images in my folder and pulled out the ones that I related to most in regards to my own apartment and how I want it to look. Here they are...unfortunately I don't save sources most of the time for interior design images (many are from tumblr and other sites that make sourcing difficult) if you see one and know where it's from, let me know and I will give proper credit.

I love the couch...wouldn't this be an amazing replacement for my futon!? In my dreams, I know...

I like the way this looks organized without being too clinical. I have a white desk that looks similar.

Plants, plants, plants. Plants, white walls, and beautiful wooden furniture. I'm missing the last part.

I love using bunting to decorate, and I really love this quilt. I have been wanting to make a quilt for quite some time.

I like the inclusion of pattern...and the idea that a bookshelf doesn't have to be full.

I like the color of the walls. I'd really like to paint a few rooms in my apartment different colors. The bedroom is white, living room and kitchen are taupe, dining room is butter yellow, and the bathroom is off-white. I'd most like to paint the bathroom and taupe rooms. I like that chevron rug too...really wanting one.

I like the use of pattern and patches of bright color next to white.

White plus color is a really good mix I think...

I love hanging tiny prints and postcards on string with clothespins, and I also have two globes...if only I had some amazing flat files like this.

from Darling Dexter. Neutrals + color + light. Perfect.

from Thompson Family Life. I love collecting vintage things. That pattern is fabulous...this also makes me want to paint the rest of my non-functioning fireplace white. It looks nothing like this one, however.

I'd like a workspace like this. I've been wanting to incorporate the use of pegboard for awhile now.

What inspires your home? Any tips for me?

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