Friday, December 4, 2009

No Money To Decorate

This is the story of a newlywed couple who gets their first apartment in New York. They furnish it like most new couples: hand-me-down furniture from relatives; wedding presents; Craigslist, eBay, and flea market finds; cheap art. I think we've all had an apartment, or a rental house like this.

This Graham & Brown wallpaper is on sale at Target for $29.99
and is something I would use whether I was on tight budget or not.
You can get it

I've been having a dialog with a young person, (though not a newlywed, but still young enough to be struggling) about decorating her home, and in this case the dining room. She has no money. Well, her budget is no more than $100. for any one thing be it a chandelier, or a pair of sconces, or curtains or drapes, or fabric to recover a Craigslist chair. She has excellent taste, and high style, and a bad case of wistfulness. I wish I was rich and could just give her the money to make her vision a reality.

Click on image so you can see the cost of things
I kind of like the skirted TV console style table

I just read an article where a designer took on a newlywed apartment for no fee and "no money." Why she did this is not clear, because she does not seem to be a friend. But I was very interested in seeing what she did for "no money."
The couple feels unsatisfied with their own decorating result, and can't figure out how to make their apartment stylish. So they turn to the professional for help.

Click on image to see a larger view of the cost breakdown

The "no money" budget was set for $2000. (which would be a fortune for my friend - in fact I could do alot with $2000. myself). The article is meet-cute with the foibles of a striped dining room wall and a deer head. There is pathos too, with the bride's father and mother getting ill during the decor process, thus imbuing a zen like philosophy to the project.

In the end the budget went from $2000. to over $5000., thus canceling out the "on the cheap" theme of the endeavor. Of course all you design mavens will pronounce that $5000. is plenty cheap. But not really.

What could you do with no money? Or what have you done with no money to make your home look stylish?

The before picture is on top - the apartment had a cluttered and cozy appeal. The designer modernized and stream lined things as shown in the bottom photo.

Read the whole article HERE. It's pretty good.


Irene said...

I know designers don't like to hear this but, sometimes cozy is home. The designer version looks cold. Sorry.

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks for pointing to this article. I think, ultimately, the designer did a good job for the couple. She obviously needed to listen a bit more to them and be as flexible with her ideas as she expected the clients to be. For instance, her out of hand rejection of the large piece of art that ultimately made it over the sofa - that piece is perfect in size, scale and look. Her original choice of three smaller pieces was awful. I'm glad the clients returned the antlers if they disliked them so much, but it was good the designer made the couple live with things before rejecting immediately. The stripes are a great idea and not at all "out there" like the bride initially thought. But she needed to get used to them and ultimately came to like them and see their value in the space. I also agree with the designer that they should be buying pieces for the long term. So, while their budged did more than double, the Avery Boardman sofa will last considerably longer than anything from Ikea, so in the long run, they've saved money. The only thing I don't particularly like is the coffee table - I think it's too small.

Anonymous said...

I remember buying all the lengths I'd go to to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear when we first got married. Walking a heavy bundle of carpet on my shoulder from a remnant store 15 blocks through Chicago streets. Grabbing a cast off wood spool top from construction site for table top. Even now, I get tired of paying for the "perfect" paint color and thrown a few cans of ivory in with black to get a pretty good gray for my kitchen china hutch. I still prefer to skimp ($75 for lampshade?! $750 pillows?!) so I can afford an occasional antique. Trish

Renee Finberg said...

you know.....i own that movie!
i watch is on rainy days all cuddled up in bed.

and boy o boy...
...i sure am glad my house was done when i HAD money, or it might never get done.

love youxx

Cristin said...

I'll have to read the article! thanks.


Jan said...

I love that movie.
Happy weekend V x

Southern Aspirations said...

Very interesting article though I think the $5k is not really a shoestring budget!

mominaledo said...

I don't see anything wrong with "before." Small NYC apts do require decluttering, downsizing and generally not collecting STUFF. But, can't a small home just be full of what makes it a home? Sometimes what you love just needs to STAY.