Decorating: Creating Special Places In Your Home

In your house, you probably have two types of spaces to decorate: your “predetermined spaces” and your “free spaces.” Your predetermined spaces (or entire rooms, in some cases) are those that you know you need, you know exactly how you’ll use them, and you know what type of furnishings you need for them. In your bedroom, for instance, you know you’ll need a bed and something that stores clothing, such as a dresser. In your living room, you’ll need some sort of seating, such as a sofa.

Free spaces don’t fall neatly into place as predetermined spaces do. In fact, some free spaces come about almost by accident. Let’s say you’ve just moved into an apartment, you’ve set up all your furnishings, and you realize you have a little more space than you thought or that you could shift your belongings a bit and end up with open areas that could be put to use. These areas can also be as compact as a corner of a room or even an unused closet or as large as an entire room.

A wonderful way to get the most out of a “free area” is to dedicate it to a favorite interest or hobby. Some popular hobbies that could benefit from such a space include these:

Artwork. If you’re an artist, setting up a studio area-even if it’s a small, cozy one-can help foster your creativity. (Areas without carpeting work well in case of spills, or you can cover flooring before tackling messy projects.) An art table, some shelving, and ample space for storing supplies will likely be needed.

Sewing. Sewing supplies can take up lots of space, unless you plan carefully. Setting up a sewing machine on a table is a must. To keep fabric neatly stored, fold pieces then stack them neatly on book shelves, or tag baskets (e.g., by color or fabric type) and either hang them on a wall or line them up on a table or the floor. Other supplies can be accommodated by using wall grids.

Reading and writing. Whether you’re writing the great American novel or just want to read it, you can create a cozy corner with a desk, a lamp (or two), a bookshelf stuffed with great reads and reference materials, and a warm fleece blanket so you can get comfy when you read.

Computer work. Computer desks and workstations come in every size, shape, and color you can imagine. Look for them used at flea markets and yard sales, or hit an office supply store if you’re looking for a larger selection. (At least a few should be reasonably priced.) Also opt for an adjustable chair with appropriate back support, ample lighting, a printer stand, and a filing cabinet if you need to store files.

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