or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Organizing ~ Decorating/Set Up (Now w/Updated Photos!)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Organizing ~ Decorating/Set Up (Now w/Updated Photos!)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
DH and I have decided to stay in our city 2 bedroom apartment until all our debt is paid off. I am very on board with the decision and feel like a weight has been lifted.

However, I don't feel like our home is very "homey". It feels cluttered (although we don't have a lot of stuff) and seems more like a college apartment than a family home. I am not spacially or decorationally oriented AT ALL and I cannot paint any region of our apartment.

Any ideas of what I could do make it more "homey" and inviting?

***
UPDATED PHOTOS: We Decluttered, Freecycled and Rearranged. We haven't purchased anything yet but I think this is definitely an improvement)

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1080.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1081.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1082.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1083.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1084.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1085.jpg

***
As a side note I should also add that as much as we love our friends here they are WAY financially ahead of us since DH chose to go back to school. Some of the desire to change things around have come from me knowing our friends will be spending time at our home visiting when our baby is born and I want it to feel comfortable for all and also respectable. This seems slightly silly, I know I should not feel the need for validation of our frugal lifestyle, its just hard not to compare sometimes!

***
Photos - I tried to draw a little layout of the room. This is our living/dining/family room/playroom. Basically the only place people see when they come because other then kitchen/bed/bath its the only room we have!

Layout
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1..._05/Layout.jpg

TV Wall
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1074.jpg

Entry Way
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1075.jpg

Bookshelf/Couch
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1076.jpg

Couch/Baby Room Entry/Corner
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1077.jpg

Dinning Table/Windows
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1078.jpg

Printer/Computer Table/Corner
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...5/DSCN1079.jpg
post #2 of 36
Maybe if you posted pictures it would be easier to help?
post #3 of 36
I am going to keep an eye on this thread -- I am decorating challenged also. We've been in this house for 6 years and it still has bare walls except for a couple pics of the kids. I swear it is one of those talent sthat you have or you don't, so here's hoping you get some advice from those that have it!
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by CityChic View Post
I am not spacially or decorationally oriented AT ALL and I cannot paint any region of our apartment.

Any ideas of what I could do make it more "homey" and inviting?
Is the not being able to paint a landlord restriction? If it is, you may be able to talk him into a neutral color other than what is currently on the wall. When we had renters in a property they showed us the colors and they were great. So we offered to help pay for the paint and they painted for free. So it worked out to our favor. Your landlord may feel the same way.

You may also decide it is worth painting and losing some of your security deposit. If you are going to be there long enough the cost verses enjoying your place may be worth the $. I rented somewhere for what I thought was going to be 2 years, ended up being 4 1/2 so I was pleased I painted my room to the color I wanted.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Codi's Mama View Post
Maybe if you posted pictures it would be easier to help?
I will work on this tonite!! I am specifically looking at the living room!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cupofjojo View Post
Is the not being able to paint a landlord restriction? If it is, you may be able to talk him into a neutral color other than what is currently on the wall. When we had renters in a property they showed us the colors and they were great. So we offered to help pay for the paint and they painted for free. So it worked out to our favor. Your landlord may feel the same way.

You may also decide it is worth painting and losing some of your security deposit. If you are going to be there long enough the cost verses enjoying your place may be worth the $. I rented somewhere for what I thought was going to be 2 years, ended up being 4 1/2 so I was pleased I painted my room to the color I wanted.
Landlord said if we wanted to paint we would have to sign a 5 yr lease (ha!) and then the building would come do it and that it would be the same awful white color it is now. However, DH and I should talk about painting anyway...I just really like our landlord and she hasn't raised our rent in 3 years!
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
pics added!
post #7 of 36
Some textiles would help. I'm thinking curtains, specifically but trying to get curtains tied together with the rug and futon. It doesn't all have to actually match but work together somehow. I like to have different pattern that have the same colors in them, personally.

Small furniture is great when you move a lot but big pieces make a place seem homier. Maybe think about looking at thrift stores or on Craigslist to find a big bookshelf to replace the two smaller ones?

You have the light wood futon frame, dining set, printer table, and coffee table. Then you have a small white shelf and a small black shelf. The TV stand is another wood color, matching the floor, and you have an older looking table/plant stand in a darker wood.

Since you have a lot of the lighter wood, you might look towards eventually getting a bigger shelf in a similar color. I do like dark woods, personally, because it is an older effect (think antiques) which makes me feel at home. The light wood is a more modern effect. Your rug is a more traditional style. Your throw pillows are modern.

So maybe think about what sort of look you want, modern or traditional, and keep your eyes open for good finds that you can use to replace your existing stuff that doesn't fit.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Some textiles would help. I'm thinking curtains, specifically but trying to get curtains tied together with the rug and futon. It doesn't all have to actually match but work together somehow. I like to have different pattern that have the same colors in them, personally.

Small furniture is great when you move a lot but big pieces make a place seem homier. Maybe think about looking at thrift stores or on Craigslist to find a big bookshelf to replace the two smaller ones?

You have the light wood futon frame, dining set, printer table, and coffee table. Then you have a small white shelf and a small black shelf. The TV stand is another wood color, matching the floor, and you have an older looking table/plant stand in a darker wood.

Since you have a lot of the lighter wood, you might look towards eventually getting a bigger shelf in a similar color. I do like dark woods, personally, because it is an older effect (think antiques) which makes me feel at home. The light wood is a more modern effect. Your rug is a more traditional style. Your throw pillows are modern.

So maybe think about what sort of look you want, modern or traditional, and keep your eyes open for good finds that you can use to replace your existing stuff that doesn't fit.
Ah ha!!! I never even thought about how different the colors of everything were! This would be a huge start, to get everything looking the same!

I can move the white bookshelf into our bedroom. Do you think that would help?

THANK YOU!
post #9 of 36
I think instead of the small picture frames you need a few larger ones with black frames- the silver just blends into the white walls.
Als0 take the pictures off the door.
LOVE your windows! I would do curtains tied in the middle- but thats my thing right now. lol.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie View Post
I think instead of the small picture frames you need a few larger ones with black frames- the silver just blends into the white walls.
Als0 take the pictures off the door.
LOVE your windows! I would do curtains tied in the middle- but thats my thing right now. lol.
I am thinking about taking that silver frame off the wall completely since it doesn't really go with anything (see pp).

Curtains seem to be one of the first steps!

Thanks for your thoughts!
post #11 of 36
Okay, let me say first of all...that I love your place! hardwood floors, beautiful detailing I could go on. Consider yourself fortunate to have those gorgeous floors, imo they make everything look better. As for advice, everything that I was going to say has already been said (take pics off door, get larger bookcase, etc) I will go through more thoroughly and look come up with more exact advice when I have a minute. If you do paint, I would consider the Harmony (sherwin williams) line or something like it with no VOC's and low odor for the health of you and your baby (okay, and DH too!). And, since it's earth month for the planet, too!
post #12 of 36
I was also going to suggest a bigger bookshelf. I see you're in Chicago, and therefore close to an IKEA. (woo-hoo!) I am a big fan of the EXPEDIT line, and they have a huge bookshelf with a bigger hole in the middle for a TV. I think it would look great in your place.

And if I were you, I'd take the plunge with painting. Just pick a color that the landlord would like when she finds out you did it, or one that's easy to paint over before you move (read: NOT red or dark blue). If you ultimately decide not to paint, then go with some color on the walls in other ways: paint large canvases, hang tapestries (heavier ones, so it doesn't look college-y again), something to that effect.

As for curtains, I would go with flat fabric panels that JUST cover the windows, as opposed to flowy, billow-y types.

Also... can you hang the plants? I think it would look really good, and would be one less piece of small furniture.

And for the computer/printer area, I'm thinking an armoire-style computer desk would be good to hide that stuff.

Oh, I just thought of something else... how attached to the coffe table are you? We got rid of ours and don't miss it. They aren't too fun to have with a baby around, and since you're short on space...

Since you're on a budget: CRAIGSLIST! Place ads for everything you want or need. A lot of people just give stuff away...
post #13 of 36
a few thoughts

1. the first thing i see is the lack of color on the walls, and you've said that it isn't an option to paint. can you bring out some color with curtains? tapestrys? in my old apartment, i put a curtain rod behind my main couch (just on the wall, not a window) and then hung 5 thin table-runner-width "tapestries" on it. they were so colorful and gorgeous. if i had the right layout i'd do that in our current home. hm. maybe i will rearrange things so i can do that again. : anyway, i like symmetry so i had two sagey-green strips on the outside, then two bright orange strips going toward the middle, and the middle piece was a deep, rich purple. i LOVED IT! anyway, that's an idea.

2. most of your stuff is small-ish and against the walls (someone mentioned this before i think). you could define the spaces of the room a bit more by combining things (putting bookshelves together, etc). or looking for bigger pieces that have the "look" that you want. the combination of small furniture and bare walls make it seem less colorful than it is, kwim?

3. you can get a standing screen (with beautiful colors to address the color issue) to segment your office/computer area if that's a concern, or to create another nook of your room like a reading area...just break up the pattern of everything along the walls.

ack gotta go - your space is lovely and will be gorgeous when you're done with it!
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kateana View Post
I was also going to suggest a bigger bookshelf. I see you're in Chicago, and therefore close to an IKEA. (woo-hoo!) I am a big fan of the EXPEDIT line, and they have a huge bookshelf with a bigger hole in the middle for a TV. I think it would look great in your place. .
I just wanted to comment on this, since we have this exact bookshelf. We love it and it does make our place look homier!!! BUT, you cannot fit a regular t.v. in the hole. Even the slim design t.v.'s won't fit. It will only fit a flat screen t.v. unless you cut a hole in the back and have it away from the wall, which we didn't want to do. So, we bought a new t.v. Just be aware.
post #15 of 36
- would swap sitting and dining areas. Doesn't make sense to bring food through living area to dining, unless you spend alot of time at table and not much on futon.

- honestly, if this is your first baby, I would quickly learn to sew (which is EASY!) and buy a sewing machine and make:

simple valance for front windows, simple curtains for front window, slipcover for futon in a brighter color or print. maybe some slipcovers for cushions for DR chairs, some throw pillow.

if you don't want to spend money on larger frames and matting for too small pics, group them very together to create a larger effect.

- consider getting furniture that is not so "leg-y" and more substantial. Since you are in Chicago, great deals can be found on your local craigs list, if you just check patiently.

- if this is your first, i predict either you will be spending much of your sleeping in the baby's room, or the baby will be spending much sleeping in your room so you make want to keep that in mind, in a what if this happens kind of way.
post #16 of 36
Similar to Incamom's tapestry idea, you could buy some pretty fabric and stretch it like one does a canvas for painting. You could do a few of these as large as possible and group them together.

Think vertical with furniture. Tall things take up less floor space, maximize storage, and give you a place to put things out of reach. Having your printer and tv so accessible may be a problem once your little one is creeping. Also the lower shelves on a bookcase could be a problem (my ds loved pulling everything out). If you find a tall bookshelf, maybe you could put baskets on the lower shelves to store toys.

One other major need that came to mind is another comfy chair so when you have company everyone isn't lined up in a row on the couch. Just look for something small in scale without wide rolled arms.

Think about angling furniture. I've done stuff like put two bookcases back to back and sticking out into a room to define a space, as well
post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
Ladies you are amazing! Thank you for all your ideas I am so excited to get started on this project! It may take a few months because we are on a budget, but if we plan to spend the next 2-3 years here it will be worth it!

THANK YOU!!!
post #18 of 36
We've gotten some great, reasonably priced, curtains at Family Dollar. So curtains to bring in a color scheme could work.

I like the tapestry, large colors on the wall ideas. If all work together you can add the color scheme to pillows on furniture and seat cushions for you kitchen chairs. Throw rugs as well.

Iron wall sconces where you can add candles add a bit of decor and color. Surprisingly Party lite has a wall sconce for $16 and it holds a hurricane candle. We got it because I LOVE candles. With a 3 year old have not been able to do light my usual candles so this hangs high enough and in a ring that the candle can't come out. We've filled the hurricane ourselves with our own wax after it was empty.

I know some designers would not like this idea, but we have also added some life & color with silk flowers and an artificial tall plant.

It would probably be worth a trip out to the Crate & Barrel Seconds/Clearance store in Naperville.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by CityChic View Post
It may take a few months because we are on a budget, but if we plan to spend the next 2-3 years here it will be worth it!

THANK YOU!!!
My one piece of advice was going to be to take your time, one little area at a time. Don't buy something just because you can't think of anything else. Search out yard sales, thrift stores, it's a great time of year for doing that! Have fun and remember that simple is often the easiest. See if you can use what you have as much as possible!

I actually am not a big fan of curtains, I try to bring color in with wall hangings/etc instead. Just a personal thing but I get more light in the rooms and less to clutter up small spaces. We had valances on six windows in our main living area, I took them down and felt like I was standing in a new room. Crazy, I know! If you're not sure have DH hold up some sheets around the windows and see what they look like before buying/making any . His arms will appreciate the work out .

Definatley check out Craigslist.com too, great stuff from people who don't want it anymore!
post #20 of 36
Somebody posted a thread today where the furnishing are the decorating.
http://homeliving.blogspot.com/2007/...e-without.html

I can so see cottage look in your place because the paint color and the details of your place IMO just call for it.

Slip cover IMO would add a great deal to your place
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Organize & Declutter
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Organizing ~ Decorating/Set Up (Now w/Updated Photos!)