Monday, September 23, 2013

On Creating Your Own Cocoon...

Interior decorating is a small passion of mine. However, I have been hesitant to share my interest on this blog because, basically, I have no impressive home of my own to show you. In fact, I don't even have my own space. What I do have is a room. One bedroom that I share with my boyfriend in a house filled with other people, including the owner, which means I have almost no say in the house's appearance.

While James and I do plan on moving out within a year, it is really important to me that I create a space where I feel at home--a cocoon where I can retreat from the world and feel comfortable and at ease. For me this means that my room be true to me (and to James since the poor guy has to share a space with me). While this isn't always easy when most of your furniture was given to you for free and your decorating budget is minuscule, I have found that it is possible. Of course there are things that I would love to add or change, but for right now, I am waiting until I have my own place and choosing to find solace in the comfortable nest I have created. Here's how I created a room that feels less like someone else's house and more like me:

1. Painted walls. Now I understand that this is not always an option for most renters, especially when they are only renting one room. However, I am really lucky because the owner (James' cousin) was going to paint over the horrible paint job in that room anyway and he let us choose the color. Keeping in mind James' more masculine and simple taste, I chose Benjamin Moore's Coventry Gray for the room. It is a medium gray that actually looks like it has blue undertones in natural light, and it is perfect for making our room feel like a sanctuary. Not only does is separate our room from the off-white color of the rest of the house, it is also a soothing color that helps make our bedroom cozier without being too dark.

2. Small details. Something that a young renter might not think to do is change out the light switch plates and socket plates with ones that suit your taste. James and I chose these simple, metal plates. They didn't cost that much and took very little time to change out. Now doesn't that look so much better than plain, plastic ones? (And yes, that red paint on the switch is from the previous paint job. I told you it was horrible.) We also added simple hooks underneath the switch for hanging our keys. There are prettier ones available, but we were already spending a lot of money when we first moved in. 

3. Real art. While posters and popular prints were my style choice back in college, for my post-college life, I have opted to save my walls for real, framed art, a framed photograph, and my jewelry collection. I don't think anything offers the chance for you to make a room more sophisticated or more you than art. If you feel that buying original art is a little out of your price range, consider making your own like I did or buying prints of artists you like. I would avoid Van Gogh's Starry Night or anything else so well-known as it tends to be overdone. Here is the chance to make your own statement. Etsy is a great source for art and allows you to support an artist while decorating your room. In my room I hung my own original watercolors, which cost me only as much as materials and the frame (Target). The painting over my dresser is one I did in my intermediate class in college, while the others are from my trip to Venice, which make them some of my best souvenirs. 

4. Plants. I feel that plants are really important for creating a space that you can be comfortable in. Not only do they bring life, literally, to a room, but as humans, we crave nature, and being surrounded by plants or other natural elements soothes us and relieves stress. I lived in Arizona for only a few months before I began to crave the comfort of green plants around me, and I have learned that nothing completes a room like something alive. In my room, I have an orchid, an air cactus, and some other green, leafy plants that I bought at a grocery store.

5. Candle. This one is pretty simple. If you can control the scent of your room, you will be able to block out the chaos for the rest of the house and feel more at ease in your personal space. 

6. Bulletin board collage. While I try to make sure that everything in my room is truly me, from my books, to the small tchotchkes on my dresser, to my furniture and bedding, my bulletin board is a way to showcase my interests, photographs, souvenirs and other trinkets in an artistic way. The items that fill this board are things that I might not find ways to display otherwise in my room. While the blanket I choose to display on my bed is high-impact and important for creating the tone of my room (I chose my quilt made by my grandmother and a fuzzy throw over a graphic duvet cover from Target), my bulletin board adds depth and a much more personal touch than those items. In a way it is a treasure chest of memories displayed for me to see at any times, and it helps me feel that the space is mine more than a paint color or anything else. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

On the Fast-approaching Fall...

While my friends in California have been begging for the beginning of autumn, I have spent the entire month of August basically dreading the fall. I felt like I hadn't gotten enough summer time in yet. I mean, I haven't used my bathing suit once! However, now that it's September (and last week was blazing hot), I'm actually starting to get excited for fall. It has always been my favorite season, and I always felt that it started way too late in California (Arizona doesn't really have a fall. It goes from summer to winter in about two weeks). I'm really excited to see what the season is like here in Chicagoland (while I visited during Thanksgiving last year, I missed the time when all the leaves were changing. It looked like winter instead, even if it didn't feel like it yet).

Now I'm looking forward to wearing scarves and jackets and cute outfits without sweating. Here's to fall! And I hope it's a long one because the thought of winter coming is scaring me.