inexpensive window hardware


The windows in the bedroom of this rental are screaming for long flowing curtains. We wanted one long rod but those can be pricey. Instead, I suggested black steel pipe bought at a local hardware store for about $60. The rings make opening and closing the curtains easier than if the curtains were just hung on the rod itself.

 Black steel pipes come 8′ and 10′ lengths in varying widths plus varying length nipples (what the small lengths are called) to fit just about any space. The 8′ rods can be cut and threaded where you buy them.
I’ve seen them used in many ways but most impressed by these amazing wall units like here and here.

q + a: window treatments


Katie asks: “My rental apt has pull-down shades. The problem is it’s either privacy OR light, can’t have both. I would love to install blinds but cannot afford to do whole new window treatments. Any suggestions?”

Katie, window film, aka privacy film, gives you privacy while still allowing light to come in. It’s fairly easy to install and inexpensive. It comes in various sizes so measure your windows and get the size that will give you least amount of waste. It also comes in different styles though I prefer the ‘frosted’ kind, as pictured above, for it’s simplicity.
It’s also good for shower stalls with clear glass doors so two people can comfortably use the bathroom at the same time.

my apartment progress…

Considering the size of the space, I needed a 48 – 55″ wide loveseat, anything bigger would be too close to the front door. There were a number of 60″ ones that were great, this one in particular, but I just couldn’t squeeze it in without it looking and functioning poorly. I wanted something a little low with no arms to help keep an open feel. Finally settled on this one once it went on sale 20% off. There was a large selection of fabrics it could be made in so it took me a couple weeks to choose. I took home several rounds of samples; greys, dark green, and taupe linens. I settled on a woven dark grey and ivory fabric. Eight weeks later…
The rope chair is actually an outdoor chair from Ikea. I’m looking for a chaise, or two small arm chairs to replace this so it’s more comfortable to have friends over. When I do, I’ll move the rope chair into the office/dressing area to watch tv.
I found the overhead light and considering the price, couldn’t pass it up. The cord runs along the edge of where the wall juts out so it’s not so noticeable and plugs in under the bookcase.
The final shot was taken before the pillows and the overhead light, but I wanted to give you the scale, see how small this place really is.

my apartment progress… lighting

 Lighting is so important, even in a small space. I love the simplicity of these porcelain fixtures so I not only added one to my inspiration board, but put one in the bathroom as well. They come hardwired but you can buy the parts to make it a plug-in; cord sold by the foot, plug, and cord covers. Most local hardware stores carry everything, and while it’s pretty easy to put together, ask someone at the store to put it together for you so you understand how it works. I did which helped when the office light just didn’t work one day and I knew how it fix it.
The existing light in my bathroom is a combo light/fan that not only gave off crappy light but is really loud so I had to put something else in there. The picture shows how I ran the cord through a cord cover (that was cut to fit) around the ceiling to the plug on the other side of the room. The cord covers have sticky backs which make installing easy, but they do rip the wall when removed so use with caution.
I have an overhead light in the office/dressing room but wanted a lamp and didn’t want to waste any desk space. I drilled a hole to pass the cord through to run down the back of the board to give the illusion of it being hardwired.
Cost for the two lights and all parts was less than $30. Now I just need a cool light for the ‘living area’; in front of the shelves where the sofa and chairs are going. I’d love this one, or maybe something like this

my apartment progress… window treatments

Yes, I’ve been here just over a year and my place isn’t finished! Unfortunately, my budget is keeping me from getting big ticket items like a sofa and chairs, but it’s not stopping me from doing smaller, less expensive improvements like adding window treatments.
Even though I’ve been labeled a ‘cold’ person in interior design terms, I love curtains. They soften the space and give it a more ‘finished’ look. I feel floor length curtains look better than shorter ones unless you have a deep window sill that the curtains hit. Hang the curtain rod either up to the ceiling (as I did above), or half way between the top of the window and the ceiling.
The curtain rods are from my first apartment and the curtains and blinds are new for a cost of about $120 for the two windows. I only did blinds on the office/dressing area window (not shown) for an additional cost of $38.00. The branches in the large vase were cut from a tree outside my window. I also switched out my darker picture frames for white ones for about $65, and moved two of them between the windows. And not sure if you can see Smokey making a run for under the bed…

switching out that ugly rental light fixture

I was finally able to put the new light in the alcove. I used a ceiling canopy which had to have a hole drilled into the cap to let the wire come through, a light kit that was cut and attached to existing electrical mount in ceiling, and an oval paper lantern. Inexpensive and chic.

Just be sure to be careful anytime you mess around with any electrical work. I had this put in by an electrician. 

ugly light fixtures: before + after

Most of the overhead lighting that comes with apartments are generally hideous which is why I switch them out whenever possible, usually with some kind of pendant.

I like paper lanterns from Pearl River Mart. They make the largest impact while spending the least amount of money. Get a cord kit that an electrician can cut for a hardwire connection.
The last shot shows you can reposition the light if your junction mount is in the wrong spot.

evening lighting


I thought everyone had their own version of ‘evening lighting’…

Using low lighting as opposed to overhead lighting at the end of the day mimicking the natural light helps your body transition into sleep time. I use overheads during the day and then use a bed sconce and table lamp in the evening. 
Do you use ‘evening lights’ in your home? And if not, do you have trouble falling asleep?