Thursday, August 31, 2006

The #1 Decorating Solution For Renters and Other Transients

I have a small spot in my heart for renters. It’s not as big as the spot for Schnapps bears, but one look at that link and it’s obvious why. But I really do sympathize with the plights of renters these days.

First of all, they have to constantly fear that a developer will come in to their building, then convert it in to $500,000+ condos, forcing them in to a seedier part of town. Until the forces of gentrification invade that neighborhood, and so on, until those who can’t afford to buy will be relegated to the Delaware River.

But some renters also have to put up with landlords who won’t allow one speck of color on the walls, producing depressing off-white rooms that marginalize your existence even further. One minute, you feel like a sassy grown-up, the next, you’re looking at the lone pathetic art reproduction poster illuminated by a torchier lamp and wondering what went wrong.

So I was excited when I saw the wall clings, discussed in the previous entry. But once I saw the gentrification-like price of those scraps of vinyl, I got angry. And while I may not be able to fight market forces, I can offer you a solution for your bare walls.

Look at the above left photo (of my office, as indicated by the coffee table books and rotary phone). You’re thinking “Well that sure is a busy wallpaper pattern. Did she steal that from the set of the Mary Tyler Moore show?”

But you're wrong. It's not wallpaper; it's $12 worth of fabric from the local crafts store, with a short length of pom-pom fringe. Underneath all of that color, is roughly 3-4 rolls of double-stick heavy-duty wall mounting tape. Put these items together, rope off about 3 hours of your evening, and your wall can also be enhanced by a little no-damage very cheap faux upholstery. (exhale)

I recommend applying the tape in three foot squares. Place the short end of the fabric length on the horizontal axis of the wall, pressing hard to make sure you get it nice and stuck to the tape. Proceed across the wall. Cover up any unsightly seams with fringe, or ribbon (this is why I advocate working horizontally). Try to use a fabric with a slight stretch to it- here I used a sort of lightweight flannel. The whole project set me back maybe $30. That price won't even get you a packet of wall clings.

NOTE: Obviously...applying zingy fabrics to the wall makes your entire room 10 times more flammable. Be careful with your novelty candles.

Dorm Residents: This is the perfect way to tone down the industrial, soviet bloc-style room you live in. It's also easily removable with a strong tug, in case the pesky RA enters.