Thursday, October 23, 2008

MicasaStyle's Design Spotlight

Our goal at MicasaStyle is to help designers, amateurs and professionals alike, to inspire and share decorating ideas. And with so many fabulous rooms being added to MicasaStyle everyday, we thought it was time to highlight some of the most inspiring rooms. So, we will be selecting rooms from our site that awed and amazed us and feature them on our blog. It’s what we like to call ‘MicasaStyle’s Design Spotlight’.

Our first design spotlight is shining on one of our most popular rooms and still holds one of our highest ratings on the site: Low-Budget, High-Style, Grad Student’s Apartment. Looking through the photos filled with extravagant wall art and unique decorating pieces is inspiring enough, until you realize that the ‘starving grad student’ who designed the apartment did it all for only $1200.00. We decided to ask the designer, Tom, about his experience in decorating the room and just how he pulled off this modern/contemporary look on such a small budget.

The key factors in Tom’s decorating decisions were inspiration and compromise. Tom didn’t have a clear vision of what he wanted in the beginning but knew that he loved a modern, Asian-contemporary style and wanted to experiment with Feng-Shui. After some tweaking, his idea finally evolved into a theme of the 4 elements: earth, wind, fire, and water and he also incorporated the Chinese concept, Bagua, which represents the 8 corners of element, or 8 aspects of life. The compromise part came in to play when Tom realized that his budget didn’t quite support his tastes. A few hand-me-down rugs, drapes and several furniture pieces were too costly to replace so Tom worked with them instead.

Tom also opted not to purchase thousands of dollars worth of art and instead got his hands dirty and made some of his own. One of the most amazing parts of Tom’s apartment is that the expensive looking wall art is made mostly from Styrofoam. Inspired by his father, Tom used Styrofoam (about $5 per 2’x4’ sheet), metallic paint and some decorative materials, such as mirrors and glass beads, to create truly expensive looking art like his Shui (Water element) piece and the sunflower constellation mirror. His ‘Strength’ (Earth element) wall art, made from gluing together mosaic tiles and inspired from the Beijing Olympics, is another eye-catching piece that makes this room so unique.

Aside from how easy this decorating project was on the wallet, the way Tom personalized the décor to really make it his own is one of the reasons it blew us away. At MicasaStyle, we wanted to share this room to help encourage our designers. If a ‘starving grad student’ can create such a beautiful space, there’s no reason why you can’t too.

We’ll leave you with a few tips to help other novice designers on a tight budget:
1. Window shop to find the look you like, then figure out how to do inexpensively.
2. Try to keep the main pieces of furniture neutral and express the look and feel through decorative pieces and art. (This makes it easier to redecorate your room later on down the road if your tastes change.)
3. Decorate all in one month and keep the receipts, so if you don’t use anything or a piece doesn’t work, you can still return it.
4. And when in doubt, consult MicasaStyle.

A special thanks to Tom (naddhee) for letting us feature his apartment and sharing his decorating experience. For more details on Tom’s room, check out his space at MicasaStyle.

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