Thoughts on Decorating a New Place

(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)

I’m still trying to decide, in my quest to find a new place to live, whether I should live by myself or try to save money by moving in with another roommate. One of the big reasons living by myself is high on my list — in addition to the obvious reasons, like not having to consider when that person would or wouldn’t be around, who they might bring over, and how well we’d get along — is I’m really looking forward to having a place I could decorate any way I please.

If I rent a place by myself, I’ll have to purchase living room furniture — most of the stuff in our living room right now belongs to my roommate. But I don’t mind the prospect of having to start from scratch, because the truth is, she and I don’t have the same taste in decorating.

For one thing, there’s a tall, skinny bookcase in a corner that’s haphazardly stacked with books — we’ve been living together for two years and the messiness of it has never ceased to annoy me. Also, all of the wood in the room is light (bookcase, end tables, entertainment center), while I prefer dark wood.

We have stuff in our place that doesn’t need to be there at all; for instance, the small dining table and chairs that’s only used as a catch-all space. (Why have something taking up room if you never use it?) And then there’s the recliner I can’t stand, and a stool in front of a window with a portable CD-player sitting on top. Which we never turn on. I hate that thing with a passion, but at this point it’s not worth the argument. It’s been there too long for me to suddenly start complaining about it, especially since we’re at the point where we probably won’t be living together very much longer.

For a number of months, I’ve found myself collecting interesting decorating ideas I find online. I like the look of hardwood floors with rugs for color; I want a streamlined couch instead of something big and overstuffed; I like mirrors and attention-grabbing lighting.

But I can’t start collecting any of that stuff right now. What am I supposed to do with it?

(Speaking of which: all of you people out there who have multiple bedrooms that you’re not using? No, I don’t hate you, but please take a few moments to consider those of us who have to rent studio apartments. Yes, you, with your guest bedroom and the extra room you use as an office. I met a man recently who owns a four-bedroom house, and he lives in that house by himself. One bedroom for him, one guest room, and the other two bedrooms are completely empty. I don’t begrudge people their large homes and excess space, but it’s hard not to think about it when I’m trying to picture how I might arrange my furniture in a studio.)

I also find myself paying attention to how other people decorate their places, and taking mental notes about what I do and don’t like. One of these days I’ll have a place of my own, and people can feel free to judge my taste, too.

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