Every time someone sees our place for the first time, they rave about our apartment. Now, I don't mean to sound vain, but... oh who am I kidding? I'm very vain and downright prideful when it comes to our place, and that's obviously part of why I've been blabbing about my apartment all week. But besides drawing attention to my obvious good taste, I want to help people see how easy and inexpensive it can be!
Perhaps you're looking at these pictures I've been posting thinking, "Ugh, I hate red," or "That's not my style at all." Well newsflash: you don't live here! Brian and I live here, with our wonderful roomies Mesun and Ryan, and this space reflects us. The point is, a room should say something about the people who live in it.
In our place, we've got lots of pieces on display that say a little something about us. For example, I did a semester with the Academy of Art University and I was required to purchase a model kit from a company called Learn to See. When the class was over, I was stuck with a torso, a head, a cylinder, a cone, a cube, and a sphere. Instead of trying to find a place to store them, I put them on display. Instant art. The nude female torso (affectionately named Veronica) has become a running joke of our apartment.
We've got drama masks on one wall to represent Brian's love of theater. A small sculpture resembling a seamstress's dress form recognizes Mesun's love of fashion. Everything has either a personal story, or helps to create a visual story. In the case of our apartment, all the various decorations are tied together by color: red, black or white.
Apart from color, we've coordinated our various curios in other ways. The silver circles of our table lamps directly relate to the circle mirrors on the opposite wall. That same circle is picked up again in the sphere, the round face of the clock, even in the curvature of the red chairs. Together, they help to unify the space.
Another example? The small dress form is staged with "Veronica" since they are both human torsos. They also relate to the head sculpture across the room, which is placed alongside another head-like sculpture which also ties in with the masks on the wall. (We had a glass hand, too, until Brian broke it.)
Books are another way to show off your interests. I don't care if you display them on shelves like in a library, pile them in stacks, or even prop them open... just get some books in your space. You'll discover Brian's love of film when you spot his copy of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die or learn that I admire the work of Maurice Sendak when you spot The Wild Things by Dave Eggers or The Art of Maurice Sendak by Selma G. Lanes. Besides being great reads, these books have become a beautiful part of the room's design.
Last but not least, you should always display photos. Frames can be really inexpensive and most people with computers and digital cameras can print out snapshots with ease. Most of the photographs we have framed were printed in black and white, but for our living room, I had the idea of printing black and white photos on colored printer paper instead of photo paper. We used red of course, but you can print them on whatever color you like. Visually, the end result is much more dynamic and interesting. It gives the image a graphic pop while still preserving your memories.