|Edouard Manet's Masked Ball at the Opera - on display at the National Gallery of Art and in my living room.|
As it is, I live in a modest Manhattan apartment compared to the 3-4 bedroom houses that people elsewhere tend to occupy. My #1 decorating rule is, there is to be no clutter, and so all the objects I bring into my space are full-sized, yet compact and multi-functional. Often I say, "I don't buy pretty. Everything must have a purpose." My couch and ottomans have storage for pillows and blankets. What's more, the top of a sturdy ottoman can be flipped over to use as a table.
I painted my walls an off-white (with a tint of warm yellow) and the trims a bright white for a pop of crispness. A bright white as a main color looks institutional and sterile, but not so with a yellow tinted white.
Since the walls are white, I bring color into the apartment with a huge Pottery Barn wool rug, colorful pillows, plus prints of museum paintings I like. The Manet 1873 painting (at the top) is one of them. As a congressional intern for the U.S. Senate, I walked over to the National Gallery of Art frequently to look at the original. I simply bought the museum poster and had it framed. Artwork on a wall is a smart decorating choice for a small space since it only requires vertical and not horizontal cubic feet. Select art, or personal themes that make you happy, as you will look at them everyday.
I have one article of whimsy in my apartment, James the Butler, but he, too, has a function. He holds a wine glass or cheese platter for guests who come into my home. Every city dweller needs a butler! Sometimes he holds my mail, gifts or other items I need to take with me to events. Always ready to serve, James is a treasure trove. He charms my guests and never complains!
Do you have an item in your home that is especially useful, has a history, or makes you smile?
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