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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Bachelor/Adult Bedroom! Limited Budget

Nathanial RossDecember 29, 2012
I'm a senior in college and just scored my first full-time job, but still have a limited budget due to loans and such.

My goal is to express myself through my bedroom while still being able to have a warm and relaxing evironment. As you can see, I HATE having white walls, but if it can work, I can live with that. For now I've ran with the whole white/black scheme and actually built that glass desk that is anchored into the wall and cannot move.

I also painted the stripes myself as well, but now that I look back at it, I prefer it to change with the maturity change I'm currently experiencing.

Thanks for your help and can't wait to hear some of the great ideas!
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Immediately, I see the need for taller night table and a headboard. The headboard can be as simple as plywood, padding, batting and some inexpensive fabric (duck cloth or piqué). You can simply mount it on the wall and get really creative with the shape. Some pops of color will add life. Pillows, artwork, etc. Have fun with the process.,
1 Like    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 5:13PM
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Aja Mazin
Nifty glass desk, but time to replace the plastic containers.
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Hi, enclose a picture of my bedroom in my last home. The bed was actually a remnant from the days when I was a bachlorette in my first job - bed and night table cost less than $200. The bed comes in black too.
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Michelle Moscow
So ... I'm guessing this is a house you are renting with others while you are in school and that's why your computer is in your bedroom? Also you said this is the room where you'd like to express your personality but you didn't tell us much about yourself. I'll make some generic suggestions and you can adjust for your individuality.

I would go in the direction of trying to bring more "class" to your bedroom. I can appreciate the time and effort you put into installing your desk, however, I would recommend that you purchase a genuine desk with drawers for storage. You can pick one up rather inexpensively at thrift stores. Look for one with simple, straight lines and not too big. Paint it black and replace the hardware with brushed chrome. This will give you a real piece of furniture which will eliminate the need for your plastic drawers and will hide all the unsightly cords as they can go behind your desk, wound with ties. This piece will also serve you well in a future residence as a desk can be used in almost any room of the house such as in the foyer to hold keys, briefcases, etc.

Secondly, look for a pair of nightstands. Also, simple, straight lines. Paint them black as well. It appears you may not be able to fit a pair right now but you won't regret it if you buy a pair and keep the second in storage.

Thirdly, look for a pair of lamps that show your personality. Lamps are really art in a form that is functional. Do you like modern? eclectic? something ethnic? Glass, chrome, or anything else that has a shine to it would be appropriate.

Lastly, get some curtains that have a black and white geometric print.

I'm not recommending that you purchase a headboard since you don't know what size your bed will be in the future. If you really want a headboard, consider purchasing a large mirror and mounting it horizontally, securely behind your bed. Again, this can be used anywhere in your future home.

I've tried to give you suggestions that will have the most impact with the least amount of money and the least wasted amount of money as all of these items could be repurposed in future digs. You don't have to buy all these things at the same time. Save your pennies and buy things you really like. Check out the pictures below for more inspiration.

Re-Styled Bedroom · More Info

2011 HHL Master Bedroom 2 · More Info

Continuum · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Congratulations on your job! If it is any consolation, we had 6-figure debt because of law school for many years but it has since paid off (and our loans are paid off too!).

I think the key to having an "expensive looking" and stylish space is to keep clutter to a minimum and go for bold pieces. I agree a larger night stand is needed that should be close to mattress level for functionality. You can get a moderately priced piece that would incorporate storage. If you like to put things on the nightstand, use buffet lamps - they give height without taking up much space on the stand top.

One thing that will give you great bang for the buck is to hang curtains behind the bed in lieu of a headboard. Find a curtain rod that has finials to your liking and mount it near the ceiling and make it as wide as your bed. Choose curtains that go to the floor that you enjoy - it can be burlap, wool, faux silk, patterned or not - just the size will make a great statement. You can tie them back to reveal a mirror or framed art/picture or leave them down for drama. Mounting the rod near the ceiling will make the ceiling look higher too. Good luck!
8 Likes    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 6:21PM
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You've gotten some wonderful advice already. I have two things to add - art and luxury bedding. Your room looks small, and not much space for adding things like furniture, although a taller bedside table would be so much more useful. You mentioned wanting to move on from the black and white theme. Go shopping and spend time looking at and feeling various types of bedding, because if you change it you will not only be making a dramatic difference in the look of your room, but if luxurios enough, how it will make you feel. Down comfortors are heavenly, as are down pillows. It can also set the theme for your new color. You could paint out the black wall striping, or leave it if it goes with new stuff. Secondly, pick out at least one good piece of art that has the correct size and shape for a prime spot in your room and complements your bedding. Or pick the art first and then the bedding. With a simple padded headboard, new luxury bedding and a great (and nicely matted and framed) art work, plus a new bedside table and lamp, you may get that upgrade to the look you're seeking. I don't think you have the space for a new desk, but if you do, that's a good idea too. I noticed you have what looks like a big speaker, and some sort of mixer, so assuming that music is important and a regular desk might not work with your gear. But you may be able to find a more classy set of small drawers at a container store or Ikea - ones that would look more built-in under your glass desk top.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:08PM
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The least expensive headboard is to paint one directly on the wall. A wall decal (inexpensive) above your desk would be graphic and you can remove and take with you anytime. In a graphic that suits you. I'd touch up the black stripes back to white. Instead of the plastic drawers, you can get old two drawer filing cabinets off craigslist cheap and spray paint them silver. (or gold even!) Black and white photography on the blank wall in a subject that interests you would be "mature" as you put it. Have fun and study hard. : )
Wallpicture behind bench · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:10PM
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If you want to introduce color...
Modern Guest Room · More Info
    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Temisan Ojabo
congratulations on youy new apartment. Enjoy the process of decorating and furnishing.
    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:42PM
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Deanna Anderson
I love the glass desk, what creativity! If you can get another filing cabinet to match the one that is there and add organizers to it's drawers that would be a great way to replace the plastic drawers. Also have you considered a way to organize and hide your cords? Maybe a piece of PVC pipe sliced in half and painted to match the wall that is mounted to the back edge of the desk or just below it. Make notches for your cords to run into it. You are so handy you may figure out a better solution to clean up the lines so the the beauty of the desk is the highlight and not the cords.

I agree with the need of a higher night stand and if you desire to attract a bed partner the Feng shui suggestion would be to have 2 matching night stands. It would also add balance.

Since the bed is really the focal point of the room, adding a headboard or other bold object behind the bed would give it more presence. I am getting ready to build a very tall headboard from plywood, drill some holes for a tufted look (to pull the button cords through) and cover it with padding and fabric and that idea would work with some modifications in your space. If you are opposed to a headboard, do an image search online for "headboard alternative" and see some other really great ideas.

Some rooms can come off well with just black and white if you have some texture and pattern to add interest but the easiest way to add a little spice would be to add a few splashes of color.

About expressing yourself... what are your interests, your unique qualities? How could you translate those into visual objects? What things or art could you place around the room so that as you glance around, you see and think of those wonderful qualities?
    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I think wall mounted lights on either side of your bed would be good. They are great for limited space. They are not that expensive and available everywhere. I purchased some on Amazon. They move easily.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Forgot to post picture :))
    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Nancy Hehmann
It is easy to get rid of those white walls which I happen to like. Just hang brilliant high def photography in a theme that will be uplifting to you. Click on the link below and it will take you to one
example. Lots on my photography site.

Etsy also has colorful decorator pillows and other home decor. Easy to do from home when you have limited time. Etsy is a collection of virtual stores with artisans and craftsman all over the US. I just sold photography to a college student - they wanted a picture of a horse and carriage in Brugges Belgium. Perhaps they had been there or would like to go in the future. I find high def photography very uplifting. Good luck with your studies.

By the way, if you ever need curtains or drapes, JCPenney.com is a good place to shop on a limited income and they always have sales.
    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Do you have a dresser or someplace for your folded clothes? If so, can you show a picture of that?

I recently started a thread about my black, white and gray bedroom. Got many good suggestions. You may want to take a look.

Congrats on getting a full time job! :)
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:34AM
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Hi Nathan, You can definitely work with your black and white color scheme with the addition of some accents. I like this Skyline bedding from CB2 as well the Go-cart rolling side table used as a night stand for an urban/industrial look. You might also consider a rolling file cabinet beneath your glass desk to replace the plastic bins for a cleaner more sophisticated look.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:47AM
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What's your favorite color? So far, I see a lot of black in the room and it makes the room feel smaller since the bed is the largest surface area in the room. If you don't need both a computer monitor and laptop, perhaps buy a tall dresser which will add height to the space, store the existing monitor and desk, and use your laptop freely either sitting in your bed or using using a side table (see images).

Reading through other comments, I think a couple nightstand would add more surface area and sophistication in your bedroom. If you don't want the room to look cookie-cutter, try finding nightstands that come to the top of the mattress and then find similar heights in lamps. Overall the less in such a small room will be the best.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:05PM
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You've got a good start here. I like the various suggestions for an accent wall/faux headboard behind the bed. An extra blanket folded across the bottom (like kafka65 had above) can be a nice accent, and protect your bedcover from wear & tear.
Don't forget the floor & ceiling - a nice throw rug, or a classy Calder mobile might be just the thing. And REALLY don't forget your other senses - sound (good speakers; sound-proofing), touch/texture, and scent add a lot to a space.
The glass desk is cool. The plastic shelves are not. I'm deeply fond of simple wire shelves (sample below), which are sturdy & easy to assemble/adjust. Target sells a variety of sizes/shelf counts very reasonably (their 'Room Essentials' line) in both silver & black. Add some nice storage containers, and you've got a quick updated look. Target also sells a padded shelf-liner, if you want a more 'solid' look; and casters if you want a rolling unit. Highly portable, easy to match/find similar ones if you want to add more, and can be repurposed down the road (kitchen/bathroom/closet/garage/etc).
Another useful thing to look for are the removable picture hangars & hooks that 3M makes. Great for mounting all sorts of things.
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I would add a cool rollershade to provide room darkening.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Alexei Rebrov Art
You have great advices here already. I would also add that buying some inexpensive art can make a lot of difference. Later on you can move out from this space and take prints with you.

I sell abstract prints on aluminum. They are scratch and fingerprint resistant. 18x12" print will cost $110 and it's ready to hung. It will serve your design needs for 7-10 years for sure.

Take a look at some examples:
1) http://alexeirebrov.com/collections/abstract-prints-for-living-room-and-apartment
2) http://alexeirebrov.com/collections/red-1
    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Nathanial Ross
OMG. I really don't know where to start by thanking everyone who has posted in this thread thus far. But I've already started on making adjustments to my bedroom by hanging curtains at the headboard of my bed and hanging a picture of new york behind them and it gives the illusion as if there is a window overlooking the NYC skyline behind my bed. I've also cleaned out my desk completely and moved a lot of the "plastic storage" and not EVERY DAY used items to the depths of my closet while still maintaining proper organization. I'm buying a black striped feather down comforter soon and just got new Egyptian 600 thread count pearl sheets that are extremely comfortable along with 4 new pillows.

I'm a Software engineer so my computer must be setup with the secondary monitor on my desk because I'm always productive. I also use the monitor to stream movies in bed when ladies want to come over and relax. My bed is a lot more comfortable during my couch at the moment.

Question for everyone though. I fell in love with these nightstands. Anyone know where I can get them?!
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Would love to see a photo of your completed space.
    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Bravo for asking for help. My suggestions: consider a platform bed to maximize under bed storage. OR consider (literally) stacking 2 bed risers on top of each other (from BedBathandBeyond.com) to fully elevate each support point of your metal bed frame (single mattress only); now your luggage, seasonal clothing boxes, christmas decorations, halloween costumes, etc will fit underneath--Just cover the gap with a bed skirt. Table lamps are nice but take up valuable space. I'd suggest 2 wall mounted "plug-in" wall sconces or "plug-in" ceiling-mounted pendant lamps on either side of the bed. Lamps Plus.com has a huge selection of either style with a wide variety of shade styles/colors which could add some pop to your color scheme (match/contrast the pillows or end-of-bed throws). Overstock.com has some fairly inexpensive bedside tables/lamps as well. Have you looked at Ikea or an office supply store? I've also used wall-mounted spine bookcases from West Elm to get books off the floor and table tops---very handy and provides an interesting visual point. Can also add a little more color by buying long pieces of decorative fabric to drape over the end of the bed, just fold the raw edges underneath so you can't see them--No one will be the wiser. Smaller pieces of Same or coordinating fabric over the end tables would add just a stripe of color (like a table runner but on a smaller scale)......just thoughts...have fun...and yes, send update pix!!
    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:22PM
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sounds like great progress.

google led me to your tables: http://www.lampsplus.com/products/tables/type_accent-tables/manufacturer_zuo/

my husband and i are fans of the neutral palate that you seem to be going for. our bedroom has this bedding set: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/assets/product_images/380/193877134925C.JPG
....it looks odd in the photo but its black/grey/ivory/beige. we painted our room a light sage green and have dark furniture....the room feels quite relaxing.

I also have a dual monitor computer system, although my desk is in another room. I would suggest that if you are keeping the glass top desk (which those nightstands would compliment well), that you choose some sort of under-desk storage -- perhaps this? http://www.homedecorators.com/P/Stanton_6-Drawer_Wide_Cart/120/ I have one in my office and its quite well built and not 'college' looking.

lastly, a few accents of color (green, burgundy?) would help the room feel cozy. perhaps a throw pillow or two, or some sort of textured artwork? you also seem to have very little as far as storage solutions. a few shelves above the desk might also help make the room have a bit more luxury and design. googling 'floating shelves' might give you some neat ideas.

good luck!
    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:04AM
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ah - forgot one thing.

WIRE MANAGEMENT! There is nothing that looks sloppier than a nice neat room with wires and cords all over the place. straightening that up will immediately give your desk area a cleaner look =)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:05AM
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I haven't read through all the comments above, so I'm sure what I'm saying has already been said, but here goes!

1) Bed-side tables - preferably one on each side, but at least one, It needs to be roughly the same height as your bed to look good. Be sure not to clutter it. The lamp you have looks good.

2) If you don't like white walls, perhaps change it to another neutral, mature tone that also looks good? Alternately, paint just one wall another colour to create a 'feature wall'. The stripes are probably best to go.

3) If possible, get a headboard, though this is not urgent if the rest of the room is presented well.

4) Get some proper shelving/some form of tallboy cabinet rather than using plastic drawers.

5) Organise the wires by your computer. You can get cord clamps or simply tie everything together with an elastic band or even string, anything to hold wires together (whilst still being functional) will create a neater look for your workspace.

6) Turntable thing goes on top of the desk! (Or in a closet if not used).

7) If you can move the exercise bar at your door, do.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Hey, Nathaniel. You've got some amazing advice here, so we don't have much to add on that front, but we did check our selection for your preferred table and found we carry it for a few pennies less than Lamps Plus. Going further, though, we noticed you seem to have a taste for glass-topped tables, so we filtered our selection of end tables by top material (http://www.atgstores.com/glass-end-tables_1023.html?&option0=optionA=170027|10243~Valu) and found a few more you may like - some of them less expensive than the Zuo model. We hope this helps and wish you luck. Congrats on the job!
    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Ms. Elizabeth
I love plactic drawers. They keep dust, bugs, and mice awayfcause they have a tigher seal. They come with rollers which make it easy to move for cleaning and moving from place to place. They are not expensive.

I have used craft paper and wrapping paper to change the look to the front. They can be spray painted. Should he decide to keep them, in order to change the front, use posters or paper. I have seen mirrored paper in the crafts stores too.

I biggest peeve are all those cords hanging under your desk. I have used those foam covers used for water pipes but now they have some actual products specifically for that.

Think out of the box and have fun.
    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:09AM
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Laura Redd Interiors
You have received mountains of advice, I have no idea how you follow any of it. As you start to buy pieces make sure you buy the best quality you can afford, styles you love and can take with you as you grow into your continued success.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Since you mentioned that you are on a budget, check out Freecycle.org With a little patience, you could pick up some additional furniture free of charge. There is also the local Goodwill and Salvation Army. Both have furniture, bedding (quilts, bedspreads), and curtains. If it can't be washed in hot water, sniff it and examine thoroughly before purchase (cat/dog hairs are a problem if you're allergic, so are fleas). Some churches have thrift shops that are a treasure trove of inexpensive decor items, including furniture.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 12:52PM
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First add a huge flat screen in your room turn bed facing it. Second add track lighting in your halls and corners and above you bed. Go to homegoods and get huge pillows for a headboard. Third of all stay a bachelor until you have paid off your loans.You can pay them off faster when your not bogged down with a girlfriend.Play the field and let women know exactly what your plans are. Travel with your freinds and have fun.Getting married, having children, buying homes is all a headache when you still owe student loans. Then once your done with all that, then email me, through houzz.com.Cuz im single with no kids.lol
1 Like    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 1:21PM
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Nathanial Ross
Random. ^ I did the whole 55' LED Tv in front my bed from 18-22. I matured early. Sorry. :/ But the traveling with friends part I do every year! Last year was a Germany and Spain.

To all: I'm expecting a rather large order from allposters.com to ship in tomorrow so I'll post update pics!
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
LOVE the idea of the NYC skyline behind faux curtains!!! Genius! You really don't need "help"! You just need to feed your creativity! You are already so far beyond many people's creative bend that you just need some brain storming to keep you going!
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Temisan Ojabo
wooow am so excited for you can't wait to see how it all works when you are done. Happy decorating.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Hi Nathanial! On your way up! Good for you. You might consider your headboard to be a whole wall bookcase, where you can add lighting, art, boxes or baskets for storage (simple cardboard boxes wallpapered or even gift wrapped are big design with little investment. Wallpaper stores have bargain bins, very cheap chic there. Storage in such a small space requires you to go up, consider elevating your bed to access the space beneath it, a little or a lot. Like industrial style? Consider looking at train or steamer berths. With the bed elevated, the office beneath it, you would have floor space for a nice chair.
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 4:14AM
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Nathanial Ross
Hey all! I've painted and primed, hid stuff in the closet ;), and got rid of A LOT of junk on my desk that I normally don't ever use. Now it's more productive and helps me as I work from home now since my full time student status is holding me down. In addition, you CAN see wires on the desk, but those are only present when I am working. When I'm not working, which will be over in about an hour...it all gets packed away into my bag that sits beside my computer chair and the only things you see on the desk is my monitor, external hdd, maglite, coin counter, and my accessories..ie watch, shades, tie clip, etc., oh...and a smelly (great that is) candle.

On the flip side, y'all like the new york window idea I had? I like it. I get paid next tuesday and plan to go on a little Target date with myself to see what other cool mumbo jumbo I can find and hopefully the girl I'm dating digs it! ;)

Check out the update photos!

I can't thank you all enough for the GREAT ideas thus far! Whomever said a little can go a long way is correct.

PS: A LOT MORE TO COME! Including my new modern living room makeover as well.
4 Likes    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:40PM
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Clever idea in place of a headboard Nathan!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
Loose the poster. Get real art. Clean up the mess of computer equipment. It can be made to look neat and professional. A some blue-green color touches. Either in bedding or paint. The black and white is good. The grid pattern could have some of the squares filled in with color think contemporary painting. It will all come together.
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Nathanial Ross
You sir ^^ should of read the rest of the conversation and not be so stern. If you'd like to get me the real $500 piece of art then by all means please come to Indianapolis and I will meet you locally. Thanks for the input though.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
All you need to do is go on Etsy.com you will find some great original art. I wasn't trying to be stern. I just did my 21 year old Nephews place and he bought great art for a lot less the $500 and he loves them. It surprised the heck out of me that he talks about his art all the time now. He sends me links to new paintings he's found. This coming from the guy that gave ms S*** for have more money tied up in art than I do in all my cars added together. He gets it now, good art doesn't need to be expensive you just have to love it. Good luck and I think it's great that you are starting to care about the design of your surroundings.
ps; I have been collecting for 30 years.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Go to Google, type in "artist mondrian" and hit the images button. See how many ideas you can get in 3 minutes! Have fun! Here's the one I like:
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Nathanial Ross

Here is where it stands right now!
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:03PM
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
I agree with what a lot of others have said. Get the nicest bedding you can afford, something that really speaks to your personality. Add in some fun accessories, get rid of any thing that's not necessary (clutter is a big culprit when you're trying to get a style going). Sell the things you don't like and use that money for things you do like...like different lamps, etc.

Have fun!
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Temisan Ojabo
This turned out beautiful, I am impressed. Good job.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Jayme H.
Looks better and a lot less cluttered by your desk..good work!
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Now I need help me a new headboard idea!
    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Timothy Rivers Interiors
Hey there...I am starting a series of blog post in February designed specifically for bachelors. I think the content could help a lot.

The first goes live on February 3, 2015


I hope it provides a lot of answers for you..
1 Like    Bookmark   February 1, 2015 at 7:26PM
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