Friday, June 18, 2010

Apartment Progress... Lighting

Lighting is so important, even in a small space. I love the simplicity of these porcelain fixtures so I not only added one to my inspiration board, but put one in the bathroom as well. They come hardwired but you can buy the parts to make it a plug-in; cord sold by the foot, plug, and cord covers. Most local hardware stores carry everything, and while it's pretty easy to put together, ask someone at the store to put it together for you so you understand how it works. I did which helped when the office light just didn't work one day and I knew how it fix it.

The existing light in my bathroom is a combo light/fan that not only gave off crappy light but is really loud so I had to put something else in there. The picture shows how I ran the cord through a cord cover (that was cut to fit) around the ceiling to the plug on the other side of the room. The cord covers have sticky backs which make installing easy, but they do rip the wall when removed so use with caution.

I have an overhead light in the office/dressing room but wanted a lamp and didn't want to waste any desk space. I drilled a hole to pass the cord through to run down the back of the board to give the illusion of it being hardwired.

Cost for the two lights and all parts was less than $30. Now I just need a cool light for the 'living area'; in front of the shelves where the sofa and chairs are going. I'd love this one, or maybe something like this...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Apartment Progress... Window Treatments

Yes, I've been here just over a year and my place isn't finished! Unfortunately, my budget is keeping me from getting big ticket items like a sofa and chairs, but it's not stopping me from doing smaller, less expensive improvements like adding window treatments.

Even though I've been labeled a 'cold' person in interior design terms, I love curtains. They soften the space and give it a more 'finished' look. I feel floor length curtains look better than shorter ones unless you have a deep window sill that the curtains hit. Hang the curtain rod either up to the ceiling (as I did above), or half way between the top of the window and the ceiling.

The curtain rods are from my first apartment and the curtains and blinds are new for a cost of about $120 for the two windows. I only did blinds on the office/dressing area window (not shown) for an additional cost of $38.00. The branches in the large vase were cut from a tree outside my window. I also switched out my darker picture frames for white ones for about $65, and moved two of them between the windows. And not sure if you can see Smokey making a run for under the bed...

PS - If you're new to the site, bolded text are links... and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Picture Break

(photo by joe schmelzer)

(photo by melanie acevedo)

(photo by annie schlechter)

(photo by mikkel vang)

Since I shared with you the secret to getting your art to stay neat once hung, thought I'd give you some inspiration for setting up your own art wall. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cheat Your Way to Neat Art and Photos

There's two things you need for your artwork to stay looking neat on your walls. First a level (something everyone should have in their tool kit!), though if you live here in NYC where nothing's level, you may have to eye it to make it 'look' level. Then Stik-Tak to hold the frame or art piece in place for good. A putty-like substance that can easily be removed or washed off the wall if you want to move the frame. Almost any hardware store carries it.

It's these little things that make your space looking polished and finished...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reader's Questions: Painted Over Clothes Rod

Rose asks "One thing I struggle with in my rental apartment is the hanger pole in the closet, which has obviously been painted over a million times, making the hangers hard to slide, and having to deal with scraps of paint on the bottom of the closet (and all over my shoe boxes). I've been wanting to change the poles, either completely to a chrome pole, or to a raw wood pole...OR to scrape off the paint. Do you have any suggestions? Where could I find replacement poles that have custom sizes?"

Stripping it, sanding it down and repainting is going to be a pain and take a lot of time so I would just replace it. (If you do switch it out, either list the one you have 'free' on Craigslist or give it back to the management co/landlord for reuse).

Many local hardware stores sell closet rods in 6' and 8' lengths and can cut them for you. I personally love the thick polished chrome in 1 5/16" diameter (link is just to show you what it is, try to buy it locally) as shown in the pic above. They come in chrome and stainless steel which is a lot heavier and therefore sturdier, but almost twice the price of the chrome. Unless you are seriously loading heavy heavy stuff, the chrome is fine. Use a center support if over 4' long.

If you can't get the larger one as mentioned, you can get a custom sized Elfa rod from The Container Store. They aren't as thick in diameter and the longest length they come in is 6'.

Most hardware or housewares stores sell adjustable ones are less expensive and easier to deal with if you don't want to worry about having something cut.

If you go with having one cut, make sure you measure the length you need several times, better yet, bring your existing rod as a guide.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Storage Options For Off-Season Clothes

I'm always on the look out for nice looking storage that's small enough to fit on a shelf, but is large enough to hold more than two sweaters. I say these are for off-season clothes, but they can be used for so many other things, including shoes and boots...

these aren't structured so they're more like zippered bags. better if you are putting enough in it to help keeps its shape. i like the fact it has handles, a front label, and a clear window top.

canvas sweater chests with cedar inserts
the same as above, these aren't structured but they are nice looking and have a great price.

what's not to love about this simple design and unlike the others, this is an actual box so it can easily be used to hold just about anything!

rubbermaid low profile box
also a structured box, love the contrasting stitching and the windows. It's a bit darker in color than shown...

grey storage bags
these are also not structured but they're a nice non-natural canvas colored option.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Savings at

(one of my favorite hangers, padded canvas hangers)

Perfect timing with spring cleaning! Save 15% off any order, use code EM92DNG at checkout through June 20th.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do You Have a Paper Shredder?

If not, you should. Like having a door mat and nice hangers, it's a no brainer to have a shredder. Anything with your name, address, and/or account info (bank, cc, etc) should be shredded for your personal safety. Of course you should do what you can to
eliminate the junk mail you get, but the little you get should be shredded.

Here's what you need to know when buying a shredder:
  • get a cross-cut/confetti
  • get one that shreds disks and cc if you need it
  • expect to spend $50-$95 for basic household, if you're shredding a lot, spend more
  • don't overload it; if it says 5 sheets at a time, do 4 sheets
  • many models can only do 5-10 minutes of shredding at a time
I don't like having my shredder out so I keep it unplugged under the kitchen sink and put paper to be shredded in the basket it came with and shred things all at once when it gets a little full. If you find yourself with a ton of shredding to do, you can go to a private shredding company who can either come to you, for a fee, or you can bring to them what you need shredded. Google your city and 'shredding service' to find someone near you.