Trading Spaces--Help Me Redecorate, long

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Hubby is on holiday. This is my big chance to fix our apartment in a way that is conducive to my sanity when I start nursing school.


Apartment: 1 BR with living rm, dining rm, tiny kitchen, bedroom & bathroom.

Room by room set up:

1) Bedroom has bed & bureau. Only used for sleep, naps, & nookie. Decent sized-- that space is underutilized. Maybe a study area could be set up in there.

2) Living room is small but airy. Huge window with an area that could be a window seat. Living room is only used to watch tv & entertain the few guests that come by. Needs to be made much more inviting.

3) Dining area is a study. Hubby & I have two computers in there (was going to give the old one away, but it was nice having our own). Room utilitarian & ugly. My computer desk is the box the computer came in. The other piece of furniture is a glass topped table piled with hubby's junk.

4) Kitchen & bathroom. Poor kitchen. I use the cabinets to store sundry stuff like wedding gifts that I wish would vanish. There is a countertop that can double as a bar type eating area. It's littered with paper, pills, keys. Hubby has his junk table; I have my crap countertop. Bathroom is small, but notable in that it has a tub. I take baths to relax, but unless I get bath gels as gifts, Palmolive or Dawn makes bubble baths for me. Gyn gave me hell for it, but luckily, I am the most nonallergic person on the planet. I want to make the bath experience a little more luxurious than the washing the dishes experience.


1. Hubby & I are doing people, not being people. Need to make spaces practical, but enjoyably so. We need gadgets, toys, furniture that is inviting, etc. We need not worry about art or posters on the walls. My hubby observed that we had absolutely nothing hanging in our bedroom. Hadn't noticed...didn't care. But drapes are important b/c they control light & air.

2. I need a room to call my own, but place where hubby to hang & visit.

3. Need to somehow do this with limited space & money.


1. Today, I'm buying drapes to hang in the open doorway btw living room & the computer area. I'm going to turn the computer room into my room. Will probably create a small work space for hubby in the bedroom.

2. I'm going to try to find a couple of tables. The computer box is an invitation to carpal tunnel syndrome.

3. I'm thinking about buying a toy box for the living room so there is something to do in there other than flop on the couch and watch tv.


I need ideas for the window seat, counter top, creative ways to shelve books, and bathroom tips. Thanks, I post an update in a couple of days.




1,250 Posts

I would probably put my computer on the countertop that now holds junk. I would put a small table in the dining room with a couple of chairs. I would get a loose pillow sofa and what they call a chair and a half with ottoman in the living room and make an entertainment/bookshelf (for all the schoolbooks that you'll be collecting) on one wall. I would put dark venetian blinds in the bedroom with a complimentary light color curtain over it so that I could sleep when I want but it would be light and inviting when nothing else was going on in the bedroom. The bathroom.....again light colors making it inviting to a relaxing (dual) bubble bath for you and hubby.

Hope this helps! As you can see, I like light and neutral colors so things appear larger and airy!


777 Posts

You should just get the "while you were out" people to come and do this...


652 Posts

Originally posted by agent

You should just get the "while you were out" people to come and do this...

^^^hahaha...that's got my vote..really cool changes on that show :)

It's hard to say not seeing the areas what to do.But seeing how you are both busy people I'd try to keep things simple and uncluttered.A lot of clutter makes me nervous..lmao..Maybe I'm neurotic but clean, neat, and orderly works for of luck in decorating :)

Originally posted by agent

You should just get the "while you were out" people to come and do this...

i personally think u need Vern from Trading Spaces!!!!

no seriously.... you should make the apartment reflect you and your hubby's personality. do what makes you happy and do what's affordbale. however, just make sure the bedroom is sexy and romantic because we all know what goes down in that room!


355 Posts

Yes, my feelings exactly on the bedroom. Don't put a study area there... you don't want to be distracted from books screaming at you from the desk! I only practice human reproduction on my willing study buddy in the bedroom... and it's just practice... had a hysterectomy!

Good idea about the curtained study area... I set my desk up at the end of our long and narrow family room. I want to get a screen to make it more private while the family is watching TV.

A place near the window... window seat... would also be great for reading.

Since you are setting up for you school be sure to have book shelves near... I just got a cheap particle board shelf kit and painted it a fun color. I also keep some 'fun' things around my study area... a nurse bear, a nurse vase (something my mom bought that I would have never gotten), candles, flowers... some things to make me feel good when I study. And even though some of it is not my taste (actually the bear and the vase) they do remind me that people appreciate what I'm doing and think I can.

For the bathroom... what about a shower curtain that makes it feel 'luxurious'... like one of those that seems to swag to one side at all times and hides you behind it. Lots of candles are always great... and I get mine very reasonably at Ross'. I always keep a good selection and use them all around the house.


144 Posts

Worked on my place for the past three days & I realized that once I paid attention to the space, good ideas came to me. I have two gorgeous windows with ledges that are wide. Instead of clutter the ledges with books, papers, etc., there have pillows on them. My computers no longer dominate the rooms. They are in corners, now. I now have a reading space in front of a window. It's nice.

Also, I put cool drapes in one of my doorways. That way my husband & I can have some privacy.

Instead of storing my keepsakes, I am using ticket stubs, fortune cookie fortunes, pictures, postcards, etc as decorations on my walls, computers, etc.

All of my redecorating is pretty cheap. The drapes were kind of expensive, but the cleaning supplies I got at the $ store. I love the dollar store. Got bubble bath there instead of at the Body Shop for $7.

Hubby coming home Friday & the bedroom, bathroom, & kitchen are a mess.

Thanks for the ideas. I'll keep you posted.

prmenrs, RN

4,565 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

In such a small space overall, you need to get rid of as much CLUTTER as posssible. If you don't LOVE it and/or USE it, adios.

See for more ideas on "de-cluttering". One thing she says is that "you can't organize clutter".

Once the clutter is gone, it will be easier to decide what you want to be where. Are you allowed to paint?

Even though you are "doing" people, you need an atmosphere to think and create.

kahumai, RN

304 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry.

I'm in love with I-K-E-A. You may not have one nearby, but you can order online. They have tons of inexpensive bookcases, shelves, tables, and other organizational tools needed for a busy nursing student like yourself. I could move in there. Request their cataolg for a zillion ideas on how to decorate, too. With a couple of bucks and some imagination, I-K-E-A can do wonders.


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