First apartment decor

Feeling a little cranky to say the least this morning, one of the hottest nights in the city coupled with Maud barking it at the top of her voice as the foxes were out - meant probably I got 2 hours sleep at the most . Listening to the world service with a programme on America got me thinking about my first pad which was in the States and what its like decorating that very  first apartment. Often times stark, small and possibly shared getting that first apartment is the greatest thing on earth. We were lucky we got a house, with a huge garden but we also got bland, grey carpets, magnolia walls and a note from the landlord saying  under no  circumstances was there to be any painting of walls. When I'd finished sobbing (probably a  month of so later)! I decided to get creative instead. Its easy pasy actually to cover up walls - I hung wallpaper from bulldog clips and papered huge boards of ply with paper to prop behind my bed and act as a  focal point. I also went on the hunt for art, mirrors, anything to take away from the beige haze of blandness. We had to rent all our furniture (another sobbing fit) and were given the choice of three rental companies all of which had the worst selection of furniture in the world. So again I had to conceal, cover up and create interest through other means. I brought throws, cushions, rugs (to cover the grey corporate style carpets) and I went a bit crazy for pattern. Forgot solid hues if you can in a rental you want to add as much interest and intrigue as you possibly can to take away from the plain floors and walls and in my case furniture. Homes,  rentals or others can handle lots of personality and its the stuff that you shove in them - all the personal touches, momentos from far flung travels, pictures, flowers, trays all that source of stuff that gives them soul. Luckily for us storage wasn't an issue we had a house with space but I know in many cases it is - particularly when renting those bijou apartments in cities like New York and Paris. Its key to maximise as much as you can under the bed, under coffee tables and so forth. I cam across an apartment recently that used a beaten up old brown suitcase as a coffee table and it looked pretty fab as well as being practical. Modular shelving is also fab, inexpensive and available in most DIY stores it looks much more glam if you paint it out the same colour as your walls so it goes away and the books and accessories do the talking. Lastly but not at all least hit the vintage route and rework by sanding, spraying, re varnishing old brown furniture which goes for a song. All sentimental now rather fancy jumping on a plane and going to visit my old rental! I love how rugs transform floors bringing them alive - if you've got relatively plain walls opt for a pattern one like above it adds a big dose of drama in an otherwise bland space. Get creative and make a headboard - mdf (or ply), foam, fabric, staple gun. Adds glamour and instant sophistication . All images

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