Designers PJ Roden and Katerina Gabbro of Matters of Space liven up environments in 2011 with these eco-friendly and budget conscious remedies.
Update the look
Kitchen: Clean out the pantry. Donate any food that you don’t think you will use (but hasn’t expired yet). Get rid of extra Tupperware® and take-out containers. Store unused appliances away. Paint cupboard with low VOC paint, use color, have fun! Buy new hardware to update the look of the cabinets. Don’t be afraid to bring art into the kitchen. Glass framed art works best, so it can be cleaned easily.
Make your own art
Living room: First de-clutter! Get rid of extra books, magazines, random pieces of furniture. You do not need to display all of your belongings at once. Bring plants into your living room for an instant dose of oxygen and color! Update the walls. Often times people live in a white wall box, waiting for the “perfect” art, but why wait? Make your own! Grab your digital camera, go on a nature trail, take pictures, buy photo paper and print at home, or print larger at your local print shop. You can buy affordable frames at IKEA, or if you decide to print larger, ask the printer to mount the photo for you. Make sure the art is the right proportion to the wall, not too small, not too big.
Invest in timeless classics
Office: If your office must be in your living room, give it a more “living room” quality. Make the furniture of the work area work with the rest of the living room, don’t settle for the typical aluminum and glass office desk. Go to your local vintage shop or the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Invest in a timeless classic design, made out of good quality solid woods and natural materials. Remember, your typical cheap IKEA desk may seem like the only feasible solution for a small budget, but in the long run, how long will you have it? Will it just end up in a landfill in a year?
Stimulate with color
If you are lucky to have a separate office space, then organize, de-clutter, invest in a good filing and office storage. Make your work space fun and stimulating: bring color either with wall paint, art, or textiles.
Serene and Cozy
Bedroom: Cozy up the space with natural material textiles: curtains, like linen or cotton, are easy to clean and last a long time. Make sure you hang your curtains as high up as possible in the room – it will open up the space and add a touch of luxury. If you have hardwood or tiled floors, add rugs on either side of the bed. Do not use your bedroom as storage space for random items – it should be a serene and cozy place where you can relax. Fix the lighting, avoid overhead lights, instead invest in interesting bedside lamps. Add texture through wallpaper; buy a large piece of canvas and paint your own art, don’t be afraid to express your inner creativity! If you feel you have none, then just browse through some art books at the library, get inspired.
Think home spa
Bathroom: Clean, clean, clean! How many half-used shampoo bottles do you really need? Use natural cleaning products, which are easy on your lungs and on the fish in the ocean. A little baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar go a long way. If you don’t feel adventurous in household chemistry, you can choose from a plethora of green cleaning materials on the market (like Bon Ami, Seventh Heaven, Meyer’s). Bring some candles and some plants into your bathroom for that spa-like quality.
Get rid of the clutter, people tend to hold on to unnecessary objects. If you haven’t used it in over a year, donate, recycle or sell. It seems like a cliche, but, “one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure”. As with any of the rooms in your home or business, keeping the space organized, de-cluttered and clean is most important. Even a very expensive, professionally designed space won’t look good messy!