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  • Debbie J. Elder

Decorating the Italianate Apartment

Color scheme inspiration

When I first thought about the color scheme in my new apartment, I decided upon a different approach to the bright reds, golds and yellows that we have in our sun-filled Arizona house. I wanted something warm and cool to match the antique wood finishes and dark tones of the Italianate Apartment.

My inspiration came from this set of coasters that I purchased at Harrod's during our layover in the London Airport on our trip home from Europe last May. I loved the different colors of blue, navy, mustard, green, strawberry, beige and cream tones in this design.

Painting the walls from white to taupe

The first step to decorating the apartment was to have it repainted from bright white to a softer tone. The medium taupe paint color had already been selected by my landlord so as soon as Hap finished painting the room, I was ready to put my finishing touches on it. (If you missed my earlier post about the apartment, read here "Introducing the Italianate Apartment".) https://www.mykansaslife.com/post/introducing-the-italianate-apartment

Since I had a limited budget to work with in furnishing and decorating my apartment, finding the right essentials that I would be comfortable living with was important. My goal was to purchase items that were almost all recycled or repurposed, but in excellent condition. Everything needed to be at a low cost in order for this adventure to work out well financially. My search for great pieces of furniture began in Arizona before we left.

I ruled out all furniture stores and resale designer furnishings shops as the markup is typically too much. I needed a few basic things. A couch. A coffee table. An extra chair for the living room. A bedroom dresser to hold my clothes. A headboard for the bed as it would be angled away from the walls in order to fit into the room. A few end tables. A dining room table and chairs (seating for four-six). A small kitchen table for two, plus chairs. A television. Something to put the television on. Some lamps. A washer and dryer. That was about it. Budget: $2,500.

Searching Craig's List and Marketplace on Facebook has proven to be great resources for bargains. My rule was to pay a low price with purchases that came from houses without pets or smokers. Everything had to be in pristine condition. Or, if it wasn't, I could repair it or paint it. And, I wouldn't be buying a used bed. That would have to be new.

The search has been fun and does take time. Daily review of these search sites is how I found the items I'll be sharing with you. Some things get sold before I have the chance to pick them up. Others turn out to be somewhat disappointing when seen in person. My territory is large, Greater Kansas City. A very spread out city, much like Phoenix. So I also have to consider how far away each item is in terms of mileage. Will it fit in my SUV? If not, how will I get it home? I travel to Kansas City once I week (an hour away from Fort Scott), and if the owners are willing, I arrange for pickup of items all on the same day. Some owners want it gone immediately so I have missed out on a few finds.

My first treasure was a cream-colored, barely sat on all feather down-filled linen couch. It was located an hour away in Peoria, Arizona, where the owner was moving out of her second home and back to Colorado. She had rarely used it. There were no stains or damage to the couch and I loved it's size. Eighty-eight inches long and 40-inches wide. In fact, the legs had to be taken off in order to move it into the apartment doorway when I got it to Kansas.

The price of the couch ended up costing me $300. I did have to pay a moving guy with a trailer to bring it back to my house in Fountain Hills, so that added more money that I would have liked. Another $120. Total $420.

The couch came with two down-filled matching pillows. After I got settled in Fort Scott with my sewing machine in hand, I found two azure blue fabrics at Joanne's Fabrics that I loved. Cost of the pillows and fabric: $100. Over the past week, I made four pillows to sit on each side of the down-filled pillows.

An added bonus. Once the pillows and back two cushions are removed from the couch, it can easily be draped with a sheet and blanket, add a bed pillow, and it turns into a single, easy to rest on bed for an extra guest's overnight stay. I had a guest one night already. I slept on it myself this week, and it was comfortable and spacious.

The couch nearly fills up the one full wall in the living room. The other walls are loaded with windows and openings to other rooms. I think it works perfectly. Now I am on the search for a large picture to place above it. I'll share the rest of the room soon in a future post.

Sofa with my hand sewn blue pillows