Help me modernize this old space
November 2, 2009 6:56 PM   Subscribe

How can I introduce some color in my very brown apartment - AND - can you recommend some cheap sources for cool/hip furnishings & paintings?

I'm moving into a new place soon with hardwood floors in the living room & bed room, and wood paneling all around. It's very, very brown and drab.

I'm looking for ways to introduce some color into the space, and make it feel less like my grandparent's home and more like one of a 25 year old.

Since painting isn't an option - I'm assuming my only choices are furniture, paintings, lamps, plants, and other decorative items. Unfortunately I'm completely clueless and don't know where to begin looking for (reasonably) affordable furniture and paintings. The selection at the local thrift store and most yard sales seem to just match the current decor I'm trying to get away from.

Just browsing Apartment Therapy - I really like this guy's setup.

Not into the super modern - but I like the funky, hip, vintage stuff which I'm guessing is probably the only feel I could pull off anyway, given what I'm working with.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions....
posted by pilibeen to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Etsy!!

I can't tell you how many prints I've purchased from artists there.
posted by sugarfish at 6:57 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Etsy! And maybe some wall decals, to help draw attention from the brown walls.
posted by raztaj at 7:06 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 20x200 for paintings, photos, and prints at good prices.
posted by superfem at 7:16 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: A lot of color can come from bookcases with colorful books and decorative things on them.

Shop around until you find one great piece - a rug, print, chair, whatever - that you absolutely love and then find the rest of your stuff to blend with that.

And not to be too obvious, but Ikea probably has some of what you're looking for, especially for the less important things. If you have a bit more money to spend, CB2, (Crate and Barrel's modern line) has some nice pieces.
posted by zinfandel at 7:18 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: room and board has good stuff and can occasionally be bought on the cheap from craigslist. also, you might want to try to play with reds and lighter browns and taupes to lighten up the color w/o going against the space.
posted by memi at 7:29 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: Get obsessive about Craigslist. Running Firefox with Greasemonkey and the Craigslist Image Preview script makes it a lot faster.

Also spend a couple weekend mornings hitting up garage/yard/tag sales. I recommend going to "moving" sales because there's more "cool stuff I have to get rid of because I'm trying to pack light" and less "junk I'm trying to get rid of to make a buck."
posted by radioamy at 7:30 PM on November 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Just about the neatest idea EVER if you can't paint: homemade, stainless wall decals!

And for the record, the whole designsponge website has a million great ideas.
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:44 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like West Elm's sale section -- sometimes all you need are a few accent pieces and some weekends spent shopping garage sales and antique markets to turn "outdated and ugly" into "retro chic"...
posted by SpecialK at 8:30 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: The cheapest way to get a whole bunch of color, and cover up your brown walls, would be to buy a large piece of fabric. Ikea has a bunch of fun fabrics they sell by the yard, plus they sell hemming tape so you don't even have to sew. You could go to any fabric store and get the same sort of thing.

Then hang a rod or wire on the wall at the top, and hang the fabric from the rod with clips so you don't have to sew holes at the top.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:32 PM on November 2, 2009

Best answer: I've always been drawn to this (though I haven't tried it) as a cool wall decorating idea - also, it's inexpensive and temporary, if need be. And I'm sure you could design it somehow to fit your aesthetic.
posted by R a c h e l at 9:21 PM on November 2, 2009

We're closing on a house inside two weeks. This thread is AWESOME. Thanks MeFi and OP!
posted by TomMelee at 4:59 AM on November 3, 2009

Best answer: CB2 is awesome! Also, check any local design stores, some of them have cheaper accents (even though everything else is really expensive). I bought my tv armoire and side tables from Target, and my dining room table from JC Penney. Both of those have affordable furniture like what was in the picture you linked to. West Elm looks good, but I returned a bunch of stuff from them because I was not impressed with the quality.
posted by echo0720 at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2009

Best answer: Craigslist, TARGET (they have a surprisingly cute collection of furniture/decorative stuff), TJ Maxx, Urban Outfitters has cool decorative stuff and accent pieces.
Good luck!
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 4:54 PM on November 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Hopefully I'll be back in a few months to post pictures...
posted by pilibeen at 4:18 PM on November 4, 2009

« Older Engineer chic   |   What does this line of Dutch translate to in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.