who dat? contest.
(yo stee. i know
hi! left column think you and me friends?
left column could be wrong though cuz stee says not too smart.
we friends? hi?
oooh! stee said read this.
stee been there. hi! hey!
My college dorm room was decorated in Doors posters and the biggest Bud can collection East of St. Louis. When I moved into my own apartment I moved up in taste a bit, though my decorating was severely limited by the fact that my place was about the size of a hotdog stand.
Arriving in L.A. I did what most transplanted New Yorkers do, I went for size, not location. Therefore I had a large valley apartment which could only be described as Post-Ugly. After a year and a half of that dorm-like existence, I found a nice, old apartment in the lower Hollywood Hills. Though I gave up a bit in space, I gained in location, style, class, and pure aesthetics.
And I went to town.
I spent days painting each room, despite protests from my landlord. I bought actual framed artwork, and I commissioned my extremely talented family and friends for pieces. And though I couldn't spend much on furniture, I did my best to make my thrift-store junk more shabby-chic than plain shabby.
And I did pretty well.
But... time has a way of marching on. People get busy. One's enthusiasms change. The notion of finishing painting that dining room became less and less attractive. Making that lamp out of my old trumpet: not so much fun. I got busy. I became involved with things.
But I'm here to tell you folks: just because you don't have as much time or inclination to spend improving your home as you'd like, doesn't mean that with a little creativity you can't find more unique and less time-consuming ways to make that home reflect the real you.
Here are a few of those tips. Enjoy.
We spend an eighth of our lives in the bathroom. And while I totally just made up that figure, there are a few easy things you can do to make those 500,000 hours a bit more pleasant and fulfilling.
Toilet paper. Putting new rolls of toilet paper onto the holder is so predictable. Show a little creativity. Try putting it on the floor instead. Or on the toilet lid. Or in the bathtub! Or run out of it and put a roll of paper towels in the bathroom instead. Talk about creative!
Reading material can be a good way to show visitors that you care about maximizing their entertainment dollar while at your place. A sampling from my reading selection right now: The Onion's Our Dumb Century, 3 issues of The New Yorker that I will probably never read (shows class - trust me), and a book of Irish fairy tales (don't ask).
As with any room of the house, lighting is very important. I recommend the following: string red chili-pepper lights around the room. Fiesta time! A hanging lamp where the bulb is constantly loose and you have to adjust it each time your flick the switch is an economical and comically frustrating touch. Candles, for those leisurely baths, are a treat. Make sure they drip all over the floor for that special vertical Feng Shui integration. Lastly, constantly forget to close the blinds so Creepy Sweeping Smoker-Man can look directly in at your showering guests. Because otherwise it would be so gloomy.
The kitchen is a place where you can have a lot of decorating fun and really show what it means to be you.
The walls. Someone gives you a dart board. What's the best place for it? The kitchen wall! Provides hours of fun during that boring time when your food is in the microwave. You miss? No problem. Wall around dart board is now attractively dappled with dart holes. That wall is also a great place for old play posters, photographs, particularly cute and/or fun postcards. Hey, someone sends you an African Tribal mask? Fuck it, why not!
The fridge. There are really two areas of the fridge to consider. Both are as important as the other; the inside and the outside. Inside. Is there really anything worse than a cluttered fridge? With some flair and a whole lot of dining out, you can achieve the same minimalist look in your fridge that is sooooooo popular with such hipsters as ballerinas, young Hollywood actresses, and supermodels. Anything more than beer, pasta sauce, vodka, apples, soy sauce, bread, and peanut butter is pure overkill and is to be avoided at all costs. (Note: this same decorating concept works great in your kitchen cabinets.)
For the outside of the fridge, colored letter magnets ALMOST spelling out dirty words except for the fact that there were so few in the first place and most of them are under the fridge anyway, works very well (eg: fuok, shil, coqksuvler). The following also works well: magnets from the local pizza joints, noir book-jacket postcards, photos of your friends' dogs since you don't have one, and a post-it with the alternate-side parking regulations that you've managed never to memorize in over 3 years ("Monday, park on THIS side. Tuesday, park on THAT side.")
Recycling. I drink a lot. Whether it's water, diet coke, beer, wine, or juice. And all these items come in bottles. Now the unpracticed, unthoughtful homemaker would put his bottles out in the recycling bin on his front porch. But you see, what makes me better than you is the fact that I'm at war with the Homeless Mexican Bottle-Man. HMB-M likes to come to my porch and throw bottles into his cart and crush cans at 6AM. So to foil HMB-M, I refuse to put them out until I absolutely have to. Following my advice, you can therefore decorate any surface in the kitchen with empty bottles. The stove, sure. The fridge, why not? Inside the freezer, go nuts!
Misc. All that empty floor space in the kitchen is really just an eyesore. Try dumping vaguely kitchen-related presents between your sink and the refrigerator. That box of ceramic mugs your mom had specially made for you, for example. If you're really clever, you'll keep them sitting in the box for one whole year, and then experience Christmas all over again! Plus, to bend down and open the box is a lot of work. Hey, you're a busy guy! You don't got no time to be opening boxes. And this tip, I just discovered the other day but it's starting to really grow on me. When making dinner, spill half the dry spaghetti onto the floor. Pick up the pasta and put it into an empty box you've been meaning to throw out anyway. Let sit for a week. Enjoy the festive sounds the broken pasta makes every time you enter the room and run into the box with your shin.
Obviously, setting the tone for romance is the number one priority in the bedroom. I've found the following to be just the right mixture of ingredients to create the perfect ambiance for lovemaking:
1) Throw 3/4 of your clothes onto the floor. That way, when things get a little "wild" and one or both (or all three!) of you falls off the bed: your fall is cushioned. No more bruises - unless that's what you're into, cheeky monkey.
2) Don't bother making the bed. C'mon. An unmade bed gives that automatic "come hither look". Like, "hey you. pssst. remember last night? remember what happened to the sheets?... still there. thass right. the lovin' mojo has not been damaged in any way. c'mere lady... hey, where are you going?"
3) Again, lighting is very important in the Room D'amour. Candles are all well and good, but make sure you know about the various safety features of your abode before attempting the Bull Durham Bathtub look for your bedroom. I tell you this from experience...
(Bedroom. Night. Candles illuminate two young lovers near the
zenith of their young energetic lovemaking.)
Instead try this cheap but effective solution: String some Christmas lights from the 99 cent store, and... Tap Lights. I'm telling you people.
4) And because the occasional non-lover will find their way into your bedroom, make sure to leave condoms and/or any other sex-related item you might have employed the previous night out on the bedside table. Your friend will appreciate the reminder that you're getting laid while he's not. Because hey, at least you're happy.
Your designing success in the dining room really hinges on one thing, your telling yourself the truth. Answer this one important question:
Are you really going to ever eat at the table, or are you going to eat in front of the TV every night? Seriously. Dude. Seriously...
Good. Now that you've given up that pipe-dream, the dining room table is like a blank canvas! Here are a few of the things you can decorate that silly dining room table with:
Newspapers you will NEVER EVER read.
Incense. Since you're no longer smoking, constant incense burning creates that husky smoky air you so need to survive. As a design element, this is especially effective if you let the ashes just build up into a Super Fun Ash-Pile.
CD's. Records. Tapes. Videotapes. Books you're meaning to read any day now... and voila! Instant culture! I like to buy books I'll neverinamillionyearsreadandiknowit, like biographies of Bulgarian poets and non-fiction accounts of our crumbling school system, and place them conspicuously on the table. For the extra bit of verity, throw bookmarks in them - near the end! Instant Oprah!
Mail. Here's the clue with mail - don't open it. Throw it on your dining room table and leave it. It's much more Feng Shui without the messy rippage. Doesn't spoil the lines of the room.
The living room affords you perhaps the most opportunity to really express your creativity and personality. That's why I've put my big desk front and center in the room. No, it's not the fact that there is no other place for it. It just "works". And what gives it even more of that special "I don't know what", is the fact that my desk, (come closer), is actually a door on two small bookcases. Didn't know that, did ya? Well now shut up about it, OK.
I find that another nice way to decorate a room is with electrical cords. Run as much phone cord, extension cord, and cable around the base of your walls as possible. It gives the whole room a nice, "I'm hip to the pulse of technology" look. Plus it's great for trapping those otherwise hard-to-find dust bunnies. (Damn those varmints.)
Ornamentation is very important for a living space. While my art hangs nicely upon all walls, I found that those empty spaces between windows, over doors, on my archway, etc., were looking a bit naked. So to combat that, just hang random objects. A cowbell! An empty film reel! A cool pendant! A guitar - do we play guitar? Not really. Fuck it! Hang it up. Also make sure to both forget to take down a photo of you and your friends smoking and leave your bong out when your mother next comes to visit. She'll love the extra attention to detail.
Much like in the kitchen, empty floor space should really be filled. Your weights go perfectly next to the couch. And don't worry, you'll soon get used to the festive colors of that bruise you'll have on your foot from kicking the curl bar every morning. Cremate an animal? Have the ashes delivered to your house and then stick the whole thing in the corner. And then explain, no, I'm not still too heartbroken to spread the animal's ashes at her favorite park, she's simply watching over the apartment - yes, from inside that cardboard box. Shut up.
Now, in this room I've decided to use, as a unifying element, plants. Plants are wonderful for really picking up a room. And I'll let you in on a little secret, that whole dust and water them thing: a crock. You're drinking a beer one night and you can't finish the last sip, eh, pour it over the weird one with the strange little flowers. What the hell. But I'm serious, my plants almost all live their FULL 3-WEEK lifespan under my loving care.
And when one of my beloved shrubs isn't looking so "green" or "healthy" or "planted in soil anymore", I like to put it out on my back porch. Someone called it a "plant graveyard", but I like to consider it more of a "plant rest home." And all are welcome! Like that one plant that completely died off, leaving only a two-inch brittle twig sticking out the dirt... you never know how strong the life force bubbles inside one of these critters! You just don't! Why just six months ago a brand new plant began growing around the brown husk of a fern out there. And even though my girlfriend insisted that a "seed" had "fallen" from the huge Acacia bush above my porch and had "begun to grow in the soil, you dummy", I know the truth. That fern refused to die. Like that girl in the well in Kentucky or whatever! You never know.
Your home is a reflection of you. Even in these busy times, with a little creativity, and a very little amount of elbow grease, you too can turn your abode into a scarily accurate reflection of your inner psyche.
Who do you think you are? Barging in on me and my guitar? Little girl, hey, the door is that way. You better go you know the fire's out anyway. Take your powder, take your candle. Your sweet whisper, I just can't handle. Well take you hair in the moonlight, your brown eyes, goodbye, goodnight. The heart may freeze or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn. There is no future. There is no past. I live this moment as my last. There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret. Or life is your to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today...speaking of which. I started writing this script - yeah, you didn't know I was a writer too? Oh sure. I actually wrote some dialogue for a few of the Parker Lewis Can't Lose episodes. Sure. You know that "synchronize Swatches" line? Mine. Anyway, I was writing this script and my heroine, she's a Charlize Theron type, has this best friend who's like a Janeane Garofalo type, but prettier? Anyway, I was writing my "bio" for the best friend and when I got to eye color, I froze. I mean, should I give her brown eyes? Should I give her green eyes? You know. It's like, as a writer you really have to know these things about your character, same way as when you're acting. On The Stand I knew what my character had had for fucking breakfast that morning, bro. Sure, it was usually exactly what I'd eaten, but, well, that's just cuz my character was so close to me, man.