Bleak to Chic ~ Lighten Up! #design #decor #apartment #lighting #digitaledu

Lighting is very important in any home. It creates an ambiance and is also a showplace in any home. It definitely can make or break a room. Renters often overlook this key part of their decor. This can be updated with floor or table lamps, that can be easily moved around or switching out a ceiling fixture with wall scones, overhead lighting or something else (as shown below). It makes a huge difference!

Builder style fixtures shout rental and we can’t have that! Having a stylish focal point is key. Switching light fixtures to suit your decor is a very easy way to change the look of your space. They usually come with instructions that tell you everything you need to know. The scary part is playing around with electrical wiring. I would suggest asking someone who is familiar with doing it and saving yourself any unnecessary stress or injury. Also, don’t forget to turn off the electricity before you start!

You can find a few inexpensive fixtures at the local hardware store, install them, and the lighting is so much better now! Don’t forget to save old fixtures so that you can re-install them with the original fixture when you move out or the new tenant is going to get a great “welcome home” gift! Lamp shades accentuate your environment and take it to a different level. To keep the brightness of the room stick to light-colored lamp shades. Good examples are white, cream, light grey, or the darkest I would go is a taupe color.

Some key points to remember about your lighting:

1. Brighter bulbs are a must for overhead lights.  80-100 watt bulbs should do the trick.  It will make a great improvement to the room.

2. Add  under cabinet lights. Lighting counter tops for the times that you are prepping food. Fluorescent, xenon or halogen bulbs work well as an affordable choice. If you want to splurge a bit, use LED which are smaller, release less heat and last longer.

3. Use Mirrors to emphasize you lighting. This works especially well if you don’t have a lot of room or money for additional lighting. It reflects the lighting in your home and doesn’t need to be necessarily mounted on the wall to affect the drywall. it can also be propped up against the wall.

Before Bleak

After Chic

Bleak 2 Chick ~ Lets Talk Kitchens! #kitchen #apartment #decor #digitaledu

Let’s talk kitchens shall we? A kitchen is normally a neutral area, a meeting place in a family home. You go there to cook, socialize, pay bills, eat and create wonderful memories together.  However when space in your kitchen isn’t in abundance, some smart planning and organization needs to happen to ensure that it functions well and is also very visually pleasing and welcoming.

Having a small kitchen isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It does have its advantages. It has a homey feel, its easier to find things because there are less areas to look and everything is within reach.  Contrasting colors and textures (brick, wood, fresh coat of paint) also add a feeling of space and lighting compliments the space (stay tuned for our next post on lighting).  It the kitchen  is part of an open concept or has a built in island, add some bar stools as well for additional seating and add an additional dining zone for a quick breakfast, lunch or having a drink and conversation with guests and this adds a natural extension to your cooking area.

Making sure your kitchen is both efficient and stylish is your top priority. Also organization, not crowding counters or cluttering shelves and cabinets is a good idea to keep an illusion of a spacious kitchen and help your kitchen to not look overwhelming. Keep your microwave mounted above your stove, invest in a spice rack or two, have an in sink dish drainer or one you put away right after drying and putting away your dishes, etc…  Try your best to focus on a few superstar items and the real necessities , then find hidden but easily accessible areas in your kitchen for the rest.

Utilize your wall space as well for added storage and once again, less use of your counter space. Using hooks (for serving utensils or stylish oven mitts), or floating shelves (for maybe a spice rack or your favorite recipe cards). Even mounting a knife rack looks stylish and keeps them off of your counter in a knife block.


Before Kitchen Bleak


After Kitchen Chic

Bleak 2 Chick ~Coffee Table Chic #design #decor #apartment #coffeetable #digitaledu #ottoman

Want a chic coffee table that will put a new spin on your space for a reasonable price? Investing in pieces that can serve more one purpose is a must. Using an ottoman as a coffee table does double duty. It gives the option for extra seating when guests come by and is pretty kid friendly with less sharp edges to worry about.

The ottoman promises ample storage for stowing away things like extra throws, remote controls, magazines, you name it! It isn’t limited to the living room although its a welcome change, it can also be used in the bedroom at the foot of your bed or in a hallway or entrance way.

The common theme in this blog is focusing on storage and key pieces that can be used for more than one purpose. It helps to keep things organized and easier to find. Ottomans with a lid gives you that inside storage, even better if it has a rack underneath (see below). If you are having a hard time finding a color that matches your decor you can get your padded leather or fabric custom dyed for a truly unique statement piece.

So how do we decorate the different sections of the ottoman? You can place a stack of books on it, a small plant or vase of flowers, a cute basket or bowl and put decorative items of your choice in it. A tray with a collection of things you like. This is a great opportunity to put some color into the room.

Now that we have that out of the way, have you measured for space? One thing you don’t want is an ottoman that takes over the room or becomes a heavy bulky piece and makes the room look smaller. Be sure to get out the note pad or cell phone and measuring tape before you go on the hunt for a new ottoman. measuring the height of the sofa arm is key in this process. Also measure the length (between the arms) of your sofa and  the height of the seat so you purchase the right width and height of your ottoman as well. You don’t want to live with the mistake of not going into the store prepared.

Instant Coffee Table Chic

Coffee Table Chic and there’s storage? Bonus!

Bleak to Chick ~ Have a Seat! #design #decor #apartment #seating

When your guests enter your home your seating area should welcome them further into your space. It should be a reflection of you and create a warm meeting space or conversation area for them to sit, talk, listen to music, watch something interesting or maybe even have a drink.

Before Bleak - Seating

Before Bleak – Seating

The first step is choosing 3 or 4 pillows to place on the couch as a permanent fixture that compliments the space and ties in with other visible rooms. They can be changed according to season as well if you wish but not necessary. Textured pillows create a good look in the space without sacrificing style. Natural whites, beige’s and grays are great compliments to any decor and you don’t have to change it as often.  You can also add a throw to the couch or chairs to tie everything together. Don’t forget our beloved Pouf we spoke about a few posts back as well for additional seating!

After Chic - Seating

After Chic – Seating

Another great feature to add to your seating area is some art or photography to your wall! It’s a great conversation piece and says a lot about you. A full-blown gallery isn’t necessary. One statement piece can do wonders for a room and have a huge impact on the space.

Before Bleak - Couch Seating

Before Bleak – Couch Seating

After Chic - Couch with added Pillows, Art and a Fab Rug!

After Chic – Couch with added Pillows, Art and a Fab Rug!

 How about some carpet? When you are living in an apartment you are stuck with the floors they give you. Rugs are an easy way to cover up those floors you aren’t fond of and if you do love them, will add some pizzazz to the room. They also lower your noise level in those apartments with wooden floors. The great part is that you can roll it up and take it with you when you leave. See how everything ties together? Simple fixes that take your living room seating area from Bleak to Chic!

Bleak to Chic ~ Bottoms Up! #winerack #decor #design #Kitchen #apartment

Who likes the occasional glass of wine or cocktail? Having creative storage ideas for your bottles allows your to add style to your decor and help you organize your space whether its big or small. This also encourages your to not go out and spend more money on a relaxing drink. While fancy wine storage helps you to organize and save space, it also gives your decor its own personalized touch. This adds interest to your room and rises your apartment appeal.

If you are someone who likes to have guests over, having an attractive wine rack (key point: the one I have has a removable serving tray on top – BONUS!) is a great display of your drinks of choice and gives your guests options to choose from.

Here are some key tips and information about storing your wine bottles:

  • Store in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight
  • Low Humidity and light can result in oxidation which can change the flavor of your wine
  • Store in an area between 10-13 degrees Celsius to keep in ideal condition
  • Keep the cork moist by storing wine bottles lying down. This avoids the cork from shrinking too much which allows oxygen to enter the bottle and oxidize the wine. This alters the flavor and we can’t have that!

Before Wine Rack Bleak

Ensuring proper home organization and storage design reaps you some wonderful rewards.

Adding some interesting glasses, a carafe, an apron related to your wine rack and lets not forget some beautiful wine glasses all create an interesting and decorative showcase of furniture to your kitchen decor. Also some home bar essentials like a cocktail shaker and a wicker basket for storage of your other bottles of alcohol finish off the design of the rack beautifully and keeps everything visual. Choosing beautiful bottles is another key to keep it looking nice! Adding charming accents, keeps your wine rack looking modern. Please see an example of this below with my wine After Chic wine rack design:

After Wine Rack Chic

Bleak to Chic ~ Pouf Mania!! #design #decor #apartment

Ok…. Lets talk Space… Space, Space, Space! It seems to be a recurring theme or concern when it comes to apartment style living. How do we find a multi-functional item that ties in with our decor and also can be used for a variety of different things.  A Pouf is one of those things that you don’t really need as part of your decor, and you’re not really sure what to use it for. To sit on? To put your feet up? As a decorative piece? The answer to that is all of the above.To say that it is a versatile accessory is an understatement.  You can’t really go wrong with a Pouf because it can be used to so many things. It adds a nice little sprinkle of spice to any room and any decor. Although it isn’t necessary, it is a nice little additive to any room whether its your living room or your bedroom.

A few Poufs around the house can serve as extra seating, an extra table, or even in a nursery to prop up your feet during those long late nights with the little one. The perk as well is that it can easily be stowed away in a corner when not in use and will still be a stylish decor piece. As I type I am so happy that I bought one for my apartment!

Here are a few different ways you can use a pouf to accessorize and spruce up your space:

1. Adding a pop of color

2. For texture

3. Add cool patterns

4. To tie in various colors

My Pouf Bleak!

My Pouf with some added Chic!

And for the creative readers you can create your own Pouf as well! Watch this video:

CHEVRON – DIY Pouf Ottoman BY youtuber: JAKOBMOOR

Bleak to Chic ~ Come On In! #design #decor #apartment #entryway

Bleak to Chic will be designing and organizing your entry way.The entryway is one of the most vital parts of your living quarters. It speaks to you as an individual and should be an area that is very inviting and warm. Your layout and size comes into play when designing your space. Lets talk clutter and storage for a moment. With all the shoes, bags, scarves, hats, umbrellas etc… storage and organization is key to ensure that your space remains functional. Your entryway should be free of clutter and make it easy for your guests to enter.

Entryway Bleak

Entryway Bleak

One of the first things that should be placed at your entry way is a stylish runner rug that compliments the color scheme of the rest of your home.  The runner rug invites your guests through your entry way and also brightens up the space. Speaking of brightening up the space, make sure that it is a well-lit area as well. Day or night you want everything in the space to be visible and inviting for your guests not to mention yourself. One thing is for certain, you want your guests to have a smooth transition into your home. Bleak to Chic has some ideas to improve your apartment sized entry way…

Follow us and take a look:

Look at how a rug instantly adds flair!

Look at how a rug instantly adds flair!

You can also add storage to this area with things like:

* Woven baskets

* Umbrella holder

* A sleek coat rack

*Vase with flowers of your choice

Simple Shoe Rack pulls it all together and eliminates clutter!

Simple Shoe Rack pulls it all together and eliminates clutter!

Make use of wall space and add:

* A small piece of art

* Key holder

* Mail holder

* A Mirror

* A Clock

*A Chalkboard Wall

*Change the wall color

The final touch? Make it smell good. Use some candles or plug-ins and keep your space warm and inviting. Now lets invite those guests over and let the entertaining begin!

Bleak to Chick ~ Closet Horror Edition #decor #fashion #apartment #chic

Getting ready to hit the road and find yourself saying to yourself that you have nothing to wear? Most of the time the problem is we have too much to wear and nowhere else to put it. This results in clothing we forgot about that ends up not being worn for a long period of time, or it ends up going out of style by the time we discover where it sneaks off to.

In this post we will explore a very unique and chic way to organize our closet clutter, create a great additional storage option without having to build shelves or an additional closet, or even move for that matter. This option will make a statement in your room and others will want to follow your lead.

Does the closet below look familiar? This is definitely Before Closet Horror Bleak at its finest. The question is whats the solution to make this more inviting? Please view the solution below:

Cluttered Closet

Before Closet Horror Bleak

How about a clothing rack? They are very affordable and make our fashion lives easier. This can work for both men and women. I suggest either following a color / shade palette to maintain a stylish appeal. You can also only put a certain type of clothing on it. For example: MEN: All of your suits, organized by color. Add a belt or tie hanger and hang it at the end of the rack. Adding dress shoes that compliment the suits make your life easier and its just grab and go! WOMEN: How about your favorite dresses and line heels or sandals underneath? or your regular fashion go to?  Both examples are fun ways to organize and add a bit of flair to any decor! Happy Closet Chic!

Clothing Rack

After Closet Horror Chic Option!

Bleak to Chic ~ Apartment Style Dining

Want to entertain more often? Have a tight space but want to eat in style? Need a chic decor idea that is a good space saver?? How about table that folds up when it’s not being used? How cool is that?

A statement piece when not in use, that is big enough to accommodate for quaint dining, and mindful of storage concerns when you need to make room, is a perfect compliment to your humble abode! You can fold it up to seat fewer when your are dining solo, and then unfold the table, and add chairs to accommodate for more people when you’re having company. Additional seating is always a plus in any home and both looks are very chic. The effectiveness of its flexibility, and the added modern flair that this furniture piece offers is undeniable. To add some stylish decor to this functional table, here are some decor ideas to pull this look together quite nicely folded or not:

  • some cute and functional chairs
  • a patterned accent rug
  • tabletop decorative piece
  • a floral arrangement
  • cool place mats
  • decorative candles
  • a small vase
  • a stylish serving tray w serving accessories on top
  • take it a step further with a mirror to give the illusion of a bigger room
  • a piece of wall art that will compliment your color scheme.

Folded up!

Space saver Before but still Chic!

Unfolded! Voila!

Unfolded After Chic!

Bleak to Chic ~ The Bathroom

Have a bathroom that needs a little pizzazz? Need extra storage or need to hide/contain clutter? Take it from someone who lives for apartment style chic, we have to find ways to make it fabulous with limited space. I decided to do a little sprucing up of my bathroom by adding key pieces that maximize storage space, as well as adding a bit more style to the decor to bring it into 2015.

I started off with a fresh coat of paint in “griege” (which will always brighten up a room leaving it feeling it fresh and airy) and then labored with this space saver to help define the space (FYI i hate building things and if it comes already built then I will pay extra and save myself the headaches and Allen keys… ugh). Also a new curtain always feels like a piece of art and a few accessories like a decorative storage container, a tea light  oil burner (note: the neatly tucked away toilet paper holder… Look Ma! it matches!)

Another idea if there aren’t any storage solutions, or you are looking for something more cost effective is to use a larger basket (maybe wicker or cloth) and you can store extra towels and toilet paper which also looks very chic! As you will see below, I have taken it from “Before Bathroom Bleak” to “After Bathroom Chic”…

The Bleak Before

The Before Bleak

The After Chic

The After Chic