17 Ideas To Turn A Dark Apartment Into A Coastal Living Haven

So you love a coastal living decor but you live in a dark apartment somewhere in the northern hemisphere.  By dark, I mean you don't have the luxury of natural light flooding into your apartment through tall wide open windows.  

Indeed Decor  

Indeed Decor

 

You don't have white white walls--not even hardwood floors.  And enjoying the easy going, relaxed life style of coastal living can only be reached through a short vacation.  Still, you long to be there.

Elements for an east coast beach style decor

While it may not be possible to achieve sun drenched light against soft white walls, a sandy floor outside your door and blue blue water to view, there are some key elements you can bring into your apartment--namely through color, furnishings and accessories.  Let's start with color. 

East Coast Beach Colors for a Dark Apartment

When painting your apartment walls is an option, go for deep intense colors: navy or indigo blue; a deep turquoise; or even a deep coral. 

Navy and blue paired with contrasting white in soft furnishings and accessories is of course a classic nautical theme color scheme. The key is to add lots of lighting fixtures, especially in the corners and next to seating areas.  Add multiple lighting styles, such as ceiling lights, table and task lamps.  

This New York apartment uses accent walls in navy blue with white marbling walls, and a sofa, picture frames and lighting and other elements in white.  A few beach accessories, such as pictures and an over-sized sea shell would suggest the flavor of being near the ocean. 

apartment therapy

apartment therapy

Deep turquoise walls can always be made to reference the deep waters in the Caribbeans with a few beach-theme accessories.  Which accessories would you add to glam bedroom such as this one?

Of course, nothing is really set in stone, is it! The living room below brings together a lovely light turquoise on the wall and uses shades of blue in furnishings, the fire place, window treatment and accents. Did you notice the turquoise bench seat?

You may find coral a bit much for your dark apartment living room walls.  I'd have to agree.  However, it does work well in a small powder room, a bath room, even as an accent wall in a bedroom.  

When painting the walls is not an option and you're looking at apartment white walls, you can reverse where to add coastal colors.  Add these colors in soft furnishings and accents.  With this color scheme you can even go to a lighter hue in blues, turquoises and corals.

Here, against the white walls coral and blue come together beautifully to create a warm and restful reading vignette.

You can use lots of blues or turquoise in your accents, such as a gallery wall with beach and seaside blues against a white wall.  Note here how the blues make the white wall feel even whiter.

In the image below, the soft light turquoise pillow accent and ottoman keeps the white sofa from fading into a white wall.  Don't you just love the sea shell collection in the serving tray?

Elements For A Relaxed And Casual Look And Feel

If you want your east coast beach decor to look and feel more relaxed, add slip covers to your sofa and chairs.  Wicker furnishings softly speak relax "in this spot." Complement your furnishings with your beach theme accessories.

Elements For When You Already Have a Decor Scheme

You may have the same issues I have:  dark apartment with furnishings and other accessories already in place.  My living and TV rooms already have chocolate painted accent walls.  And I have taupe over-sized sofas.  Moreover, I actually live in a beach town!  But I'm excited having discovered two fabulous examples by just adding a beach theme gallery over a sofa wall.

source unknown

source unknown

Finally, Be Sure To Have Fun Displaying Your Beach Theme Accessories!

Here's smile-filled idea to remind you of your last vacation to blue waters, frame your flippers in a shadow box, add a little sand or netting and a star fish:

Ready to take the plunge and dare to re-make your dark apartment decor
with happier times at the beach?  Talk to me!  What's stopping you!

XOXO, 
Shirley

15 Apartment Balcony Decors From My Pinterest Collection

Wow!  I'm really excited that so many of my readers are as interested in apartment balcony decor as I am.  Clearly, we apartment dwellers love our apartment balconies.  So I thought I would share with you more of my favorite balcony decors from my Pinterest board.  

What great ideas they all have in common are

  • lots of color; 
  • lots of soft seating, back cushions and pillows; 
  • lovely places to eat and drink;  
  • a jungle or near jungle of plants; and
  • creative outdoor lighting. 

For more ideas and inspirations,

For my apartment balcony porch, I have a head start from last year. The hostas I planted in pots are just starting their new growth and my red bark maple has already leafed out. I'm just waiting for the pollen slow before I get into the full swing of freshening up my balcony.  I promise to share pictures on a future blog.

In the meantime, how sharing your plans with me.  
Would love to receive pictures of your balcony decor and plantings

XO
Shirley

Part 2 How To Satisfy A Serious Gardener's Itch But You Live In An Apartment

In Part 1 How To Satisfy A Serious Gardener's Itch But You Live In an Apartment, I discuss becoming a volunteer master gardener.  The benefits of this type of gardening is that you gain a wealth of horticultural and agricultural education and experiences, as well as provide invaluable services to your community.

Part 2 on satisfying a serious gardener's itch is about participating in community and urban farms.  This too is generally a volunteer service.  The focus, however, is to grow and provide fresh produce in urban communities where such foods are simply not available.

Moreover, it empowers a community through agricultural and environmental hands-on education.  (I once heard a little boy's first exposure to an urban garden say he thought food just came from the grocery store.  He had no idea that a seed is planted in the ground, is cared for, grows and is then harvested!)

The American Community Garden Association, which serves the United States and Canada, is a great place to start to learn more about community gardens.

 

Shout Out to Growing Power Inc.

This gardening project was started by Will Allen.  His project is located in my old home town, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Perhaps I'm just bias.  But here's why:

In 1993, Growing Power was an organization with teens who needed a place to work. Will Allen was a farmer with land.

Will designed a program that offered teens an opportunity to work at his store and renovate the greenhouses to grow food for their community. What started as a simple partnership to change the landscape of the north side of Milwaukee has blossomed into a national and global commitment to sustainable food systems.

Since its inception, Growing Power has served as a ”living museum” or “idea factory” for the young, the elderly, farmers, producers, and other professionals ranging from USDA personnel to urban planners. Training areas include the following: acid-digestion, anaerobic digestion for food waste, bio-phyto remediation and soil health, aquaculture closed-loop systems, vermiculture, small and large scale composting, urban agriculture, permaculture, food distribution, marketing, value-added product development, youth education, community engagement, participatory leadership development, and project planning.
— -From Growing Power History page
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Rent Space For Urban Garden For Your Own Consumption

Another type of community gardening is where a municipality rents small plots of land to individuals to grow food, herbs, etc. for their own consumption.  Often a large plot is allocated, such as the corner of a block.  The plot is shared by renters with individual spaces separated with a short fence, such as a chain link or chicken wire.  

These types of gardening plots are difficult to find given the value of land in a city.  But it's definitely worth looking into.  Also, there may be farmer(s) with land just outside of the city who rent small plots of land to individuals.  Check with your local municipality, county master gardening office and other local community gardening programs.

Okay, in short you could say that Parts 1 and Part 2 on How To Satisfy A Serious Gardener's Itch But You Live in an Apartment is all about volunteering and giving back to the community.  And you're right!  But what better way to learn so much about horticulture, agriculture and the environment?  You meet and work with a fabulous group of people.  You share what you've learned with others.  You enrich your own life.

In Part 3 on satisfying a serious gardener's itch I will focus on a variety of ways you can actually garden on your apartment balcony porch.

So, what do you think?
 Are you already participating in a community garden?  
Please do share your experiences and where are you located!!

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Part 1: How To Satisfy A Serious Gardener's Itch But You Live In An Apartment

This post is Part 1 of 3 on how to satisfy a serious gardener's itch but your dilemma is that you live in an apartment.  Here are three ideas to scratch that itch.

Butterfly garden in Lake County, FL where I did volunteer work.

Butterfly garden in Lake County, FL where I did volunteer work.

 

  1. You can become a master gardener.
  2. You can rent a community garden space, if your city offers this.
  3. And yes, you can garden in your apartment but just on a smaller scale. 

 

 


First, let me explain what is a serious gardener's itch:

  • you love getting your hands dirty in soil; 
  • you love planting and watching plants grow; 
  • you can't go near a garden center without buying a plant;
  • you watch gardening television and cable channels, read magazines and books on gardening;
  • you love planning and talking gardening with anyone that will listen; 
  • you love visiting and touring gardens;
  • you make it a point to know a beneficial bug from one that will destroy your plants; and finally,
  • you can't imagine life without a garden--any kind, small or large, ornamental or edible.

Part 1 of this three part series is about becoming a master gardener.

Trust me, being a master gardener is one of the most proudest things you can do, not only for yourself but for your community.  I was a master gardener totaling 5-1/2 years over three different states.  The more I learned, the less I knew because there was always something new to learn.  Being a volunteer master gardener is both challenging and rewarding.  

Every county in the U.S. (hope I'm not overstating this) has a Master Gardener program as part of their horticultural extension program.  Activities and requirements may vary but basically they have the same goal:

Advise and educate the community in best practices for gardening and provide the latest information in horticulture.

Here's how it works:

  • You submit an application to your county horticulture extension office.
  • Once accepted, generally you pay a fee to cover the books and materials you will receive.  This can be a bit expensive but the quality of the books and materials are well worth the cost.
  • You attend classes for about 3 weeks.  Topics cover an introduction to the program; a tour of the facilities; and most important, a wide and very thorough training on plants (ornamental and edible), planting guidelines, lawn care best practices; beneficial and harmful insects, and more.  Your education doesn't stop with just that class but continues throughout your service through monthly meetings and seminars.
  • You graduate.  Often you are asked to volunteer in the various areas of the program for a certain amount of hours to learn how each area works.  After which you can just volunteer to work in a specific area or just continue to rotate and work in the different areas.
  • You are a trainee until you complete a certain amount of hours.  Then you become a full fledged volunteer.  You are expected to volunteer a certain amount of hours (generally 20 a month) to retain your status as a volunteer master gardener. 

Areas of service may vary but here are a few that tend to be consistent from one county to another: 

set up for the annual plant sale in Lake County FL - open to the public

set up for the annual plant sale in Lake County FL - open to the public

  • Answer questions from the public.  This is done in a variety of ways but is most often done through dedicated methods from answer a telephone hotline to working on the mobile units.
  • Work in one or more of the theme gardens from edibles to ornamentals to lawn care to even a bog.
  • Assist or even lead in annual or semi-annual events open to the public.  Activities can range from plant sales to garden exhibits to field trips to attending or conducting a seminar.
 

Field trip to the Butterfly Rain Forest at the University of Florida.  Did you spot the butterfly in this image?

The white butterfly:

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Butterfly chrysalis

White and black butterflies emerging from chrysalis

White and black butterflies emerging from chrysalis

In Summary,

There are many bonuses to being a volunteer master gardener.  I've already a few above.  You also get work with groups of wonderful people and you'll meet a wonderful side of the public.  The knowledge and experience you get, you can bring home to create a lovely garden in your apartment--and with less "crop" failure!  All the while, you'll be satisfying that gardener's itch while living in an apartment.

You'll find lots of information on becoming a volunteer information on your county extension office website.  However, if you have any questions on what's it like, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or contact me.  I would love to share with you my wonderful experiences of having been a volunteer master gardener.

 

 

17 Light Airy Bedrooms With Ideas You Can Use

Whenever I see a light and airy bedroom, I can just feel the calmness oozing out all over myself.  They're just so inviting and comforting.  But it's not just the light pouring in from the windows that gives the feeling of peace and order, there other elements too.

Here are 19 examples of ideas you can use to create a light and airy bedroom--regardless of the amount of natural light you get.

  • Order in light airy bedrooms is one of elements of a peaceful feel.  Clutter is not allowed.  A half made bed suggests "rest and relaxation" but note here how everything else is in order.

  • White isn't the only color element.  Soft pastels of almost any color can be used.

  • A slip cover sofa, lots of pillows and a light rug work beautifully here that adds to the large window and white walls, flooding the room with lightness.  But note too the darker accents.  Clearly, you don't have to bleach the room in just white.

  • A tailored look with soft light colors can create a light and airy bedroom.  Note here how the turned-down sheet and comforter in white rests along with crisp ironed-white pillows that lay flat. 

  • Here's a wonderful mixture of ornate period pieces in the chandelier and mirror contrasting to the slipcover chairs and a modern platform bed and side table.  Note the soft blond colors of the furnishings to tone down the bright white in the rest of the room. 

  • Again, white need not dominate the room.  Just use soft and pastel colors.

bulktrash on tumblir

bulktrash on tumblir

  • You can warm up the room with deeper colors if used sparingly.

  • Note the use of texture, shapes and of course shapes in the furniture in this nearly all white light and airy bedroom.

  • A mirror, particularly a very large mirror, is a great accessory to use to reflect more light into a room.

Admittedly, there are lots of apartment bedrooms that get little natural light.  While it can be difficult to create a light and airy room, it's not impossible.  Here's a recap of elements to create a light airy bedroom even in a dark bedroom  ( This almost sounds like an oxymoron!) .  

  1. White walls.  Use a paint color that DOES NOT have a gray hue, preferably a pink or blue.  It would be best to test white paint on the walls and observe at different times of the day.  Most, if not all, paint manufacturers describe on their color charts the undertone color of the white paint.  Does it go without saying, be cognizant of when and how the sun comes into the room?
  2. White sheets is a definite.  You can use pastel colors in other elements from blankets, to a duvet to window treatment, to chairs, etc.
  3. Add as little or none if possible window treatment.  But if you must have draperies, keep them light in color.
  4. Remember, clutter in a light and airy bedroom doesn't make it so.  It'll just be a light room with a lot of visual-interfering stuff!
  5. If you don't get much natural light, be sure to add lots of artificial lighting such as a crystal chandelier, bed side and wall lights. Use daylight bulbs.
  6. A mirror is a great way to get reflected and ,of course, more light into the room.
  7. Try to stay away or at least limit using dark wood furniture.
  8. If you feel like you really need more color, remember a pop of color in accenting will do the job.

Although I love bedrooms with a light airy feel, I'm stuck with dark wood furniture, even a head and foot board.  My remedy will be to make light-quilted covers for them but continue to expose the beautiful turned-wood posts.  Window treatments will be added to help lighten up the room and probably a white shag area rug.

In short, anything is possible with just a bit of creative thinking.  Love those bedroom styles?  Get inspired, get creative, then do it!  But do let me know what you decide.  Would love to chat with you about your final project.  Send me a photo.  I'll post it too!