join ’em! no…beat ’em!

You’ve heard the phrase, right?  When facing a situation against which your protestations seem powerless, the adage “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” promises that the path of least resistance and the path of greatest prudence overlap.  In apartment decorating this often holds true; there’s only so much a renter can change without abandoning all hope of ever seeing the deposit check again.  But sometimes you get a dark, dated bathroom and then, I say, fight, fight, fight!
I tried the surrender tactic first.  Let me take you for a spin.  Here’s what I had to work with.  Brown pairs well with orangey-yellow, right?  Yeah, just like polyester pants and a hemp bag.

Here’s the view from the other side.

Oh, my land: look at the cabinet hardware!  And just in case it’s lost on you how audacious that linoleum is…

The white balance is off in this photo; in reality the tile is paler but the makeup lights on the mirror lend everything a yellow cast.  But check it out!  Crocodile texture and everything. 

One more:

There you have it.  It wasn’t quite a blank slate since the color palette was set.  Actually, our lease stipulated that we could make improvements to the living space but that upon termination or non-renewal of said lease, all improvements would be the sole property of the landlord–no rent reduction or pat on the back for making lovely permanent changes.  Besides, who replaces the countertops, cabinets, or flooring in a rental apartment?  Not me.

Instead I try to find accessories charming enough that the average visitor never looks as far as the backdrop.  Let’s begin round one.  (Spoiler alert: this is the round where I lose.)

First little Babu, the bamboo plant I received as a gift several years ago and still haven’t killed.  (gasp!)  He can live without light; who knew?

Now for the rest of it.  Instead of a detailed look at what went wrong, just take a glance and I think you’ll see:
Still looks dark and gloomy.  So I quit joining ’em and decided I wanted to try beating ’em….
The pictures came from a garage sale copy of Anita Jeram’s adorable book All Together Now.  The whole art arrangement cost about $30 when you add $5 frames and a .25 book.  Inspired by my sister, I maintained one element of the “woodsy” motif from before, but in new surroundings I think it looks more playful now than it did at first:

So that’s how I coped with a dungeony-dark room–by bringing in as much spring and sprightliness as I could.  I smile when I look at the precious bunnies and ducklings, and I chuckle when I think of how much money I didn’t spend on changes that couldn’t follow me to the next place.

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  1. ombre pinterest fail « wellcrafted

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