If you’re going to spend money for Office Supplies, spend it on the living room. This is where visitors (mothers, bosses, jealous exes) will judge how well you’re doing. We’ve tracked down the hottest trends and come up with some cool ideas that are absolutely free.
Turn your bachelor or bachelorette digs into a pad Hugh Hefner would envy. Inject a dose of plush leopard, available these days in everything from pillows to throws to lampshades — even candles. No creatures are harmed in the making of these synthetic creations, which will lend an air of Rat Packish insouciance at an amazingly low price.
Shed Some Light
You can’t get everything at the mall! A funny, frankly kitschy table lamp, circa 1950 — the kind with a porcelain base shaped like a carousel horse or a ballerina — will make even the most tasteful beige interior come screamingly alive.
Check local flea markets and garage sales for these treasures — and don’t be afraid to bargain.
The folding screen has saved more than one friendship. As a room divider, it affords longed-for privacy in a roommate situation, not to mention hiding that mile-high stack of decaying newspapers.
Look for traditional Japanese shoji with rice paper “windows” or versions with picture frames along the panels to showcase personal photos, old prints, vintage fashion sketches and other treasures.
Dual usage is key when it comes to dressing up small spaces. An ottoman — available in materials ranging from workaday wicker to voluptuous velvet — serves as a footrest next to a sofa or favorite chair, provides a much-needed surface for a morning cup of coffee, and even comes in handy as an additional seat when that one extra guest invariably shows up to watch the Oscars.
- Don’t be afraid to let yourself go. One china pig is, well, one china pig. Fifty pigs gamboling on a shelf is a statement.
- If all you can afford is a rickety bunch of hand-me-downs and Salvation Army bargains, paint everything white. It’ll look like a matched set of furniture.
- Thinking of springing for a fancy rug? Ask the store if you can “live with it”‘ for a little while. Believe it or not, most high-end carpet stores are used to this request and will let you take the merchandise home, on spec, before you hand over the big bucks.