Saturday, October 1, 2011

How You Too Can Polish Your Turd

Is the title to this post a little irreverent?

Answer: Yes

When I was a newlywed, we rented a basement apartment with paneled walls, old carpet, and fake gold marble leafing and a matching olive green tub and toilet in the bathroom. My cousin came over once and said,

"Wow Lindsay. It's 2004 outside, but it's 1975 in here. You keep polishing your turd though. You spit shine it and make it yours."

You see, I have been a renter for quite some time now. I've rented 5 places over the last 7 years. I'm not complaining about this. I'm really quite thankful that I have a place to live at all, and in truth there are a lot of benefits to renting. You don't have the responsibility to fix anything electrical, plumbing issues are taken care of for you, most of the time there's no yard work involved, and when it's time to leave there's no fear of selling or not being able to sell.

The decorating limitations (unable to paint, change finishes, or hang much), however, can be somewhat frustrating.

I know it's ridiculous to care seeing as it's a place you're most likely leaving. This is true to a certain extent, but at some point you want your living environment to reflect you and feel like home no matter how long you're going to be there.

I'm not an expert decorator by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I do think that my experience in polishing all my turds, gives me some credibility.

Here's some photos of my latest turd along with my some tips of my trade here.

(Note: This turd is new to me still; it's not finished. Although I'm having a baby, so it's probably as polished as it may ever be. )

1. Neutrals and bright throw pillows are your friend

*The fact is that you're moving on to a new place. Pick major pieces that will go in most any room. Throw pillows can be changed out quite easily and give you a chance to have a little fun with pattern and texture. Also, you NEED to find your nearest TJMaxx or HomeGoods and treasure hunt.

(Happy accident of this room: I hung the drapes and realized they were about 4 inches too short, so I bought 1 dark brown panel and added the extra length to each panel in a dark brown stripe. I now like them better than I did originally.)

2. Paint color (or carpet color) can be ignored sometimes

*So here's the nursery and originally, I thought in a purple room, I needed bedding with purple in it. But then I couldn't find bedding at the right price, in purple, that I liked. So I decided that I'd buy what I liked and try to make it "go" rather than "match."

(The crown picture over the crib was found in the Target clearance section, another place I highly recommend perusing.)

3. If you're not sure you'll ever need it again (in your next turd), don't spend money or time on it

*This is our basement bathroom. I am glad I have two bathrooms as it makes having guests so much better. I am not counting on always having this luxury, however, so I found this funky plastic shower curtain that acts as it's own liner. This is about all I'm going to do to this room. Not worth the money or time.

4. Ikea is your friend when doing this on a budget

*In a perfect world, we all wouldn't need Ikea, but when needing two new beds for two little ones on a budget and right away, these little cheapies do the job. I'm planning on painting the bed frames green eventually too. A bold move I'd never dare do on a more expensive piece of furniture. And let's be honest, kids are to furniture what a tornado is to Kansas. Why spend a ton of money?

(The bedding was also a Target clearance find. I got it for 60% off the original price.)

5. There are things YOU CAN'T CHANGE; white is your only option

*You're looking at the tile that surrounds each wall of our bathroom and the blue blue sky...J/K that's actually our bathroom ceiling. Why on earth would you paint the sky on a bathroom ceiling? I don't know. I walked the aisles of many a store looking for some sort of blueish shower curtain that may mask the ugliness of both. In the end what did I go with?...

The white shower curtain that I've had for 7 years. When you move around as much as I do, you have nothing that you got when you were first married...unless it's the plain white waffle pattern shower curtain you've been using to mask bathroom imperfections your entire renting life. Yes, this is the same curtain that adorned my first turdy bathroom with gold marble walls. It's become sort of an homage to all the polishing I've done over the years.

Plus, it can eternally be bleached.

Happy polishing to you all!

(And if you have any turd polishing tips of your own, don't be shy. I'd love to hear them as this is still a work in progress.)

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