Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Swing of Things

Long time, no blog? I realized I need to put a greater effort into blogging---and I'm starting by joining bloglovin! It's time to see if people are interested in what I have to say (also make some interior design friends maybe? Hmm?)

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I also hope to revamp my layout soon. I'm currently at my mum's in England, but when I get back to the apartment, there will be a style overhaul! My sister has moved out and my best friend has moved in! So, we need to find our collective personality. Since we don't live in a dorm room, we can't exactly split the place down the center and design our respective spaces separately, can we? Currently, the apartment is covered in pictures of my family and friends from high school. Sooo something must be done.

Lately I've been getting into more minimalist look. Well, I just don't want my walls to be covered with frames. I think I'll do a frame collage wall on the staircase (I just have two Lord of the Rings posters there from Etsy right now) with my roommate. Then, the living room can be neutral art things/maybe a mirror. The bedroom, I will try to keep calm.

This is an old photo. I have added a garden bench on the right at the bottom of the stairs and the cat is no longer living with us. 

The main problem I'm encountering is that building/storing upwards is the only solution to limited square footage, yet I do not have the funds to buy more furniture. I will only live in this place for a school year more and then I'll be moving into a furnished apartment my parents have, so my only option is stealing furniture from there. If I can transport it in my little, lime green Ford Fiesta.

Enough chit chat! You want some quality tips and tricks. Seeing as I'm currently in a sizable house in England, I don't know how I could be of much help. However, I will see what blog posts I can wrangle up before I fly back to the states.

xx Madhu

Friday, 30 November 2012


Don't be scared of making things yourself. Obviously, they're a huge money saver. Also, not all DIY project involve a lot of work---I can't even sew and I've done a lot of DIY! If you've got string, a glue gun, tape and a thrift store, there's a lot you can do.


Just click the link because Karen Kavett makes amazing pennants. Everything I know, I learned from her. She has even uploaded a template for us! Isn't she amazing?

There is this "typography" art ALL OVER etsy. But really, it is so simple to do yourself.

-old encyclopedia/dictionary
-black paint/dark paint
-stencils (for words or figures)
-OR stickers for letters

1. Carefully rip out pages from the book of choice. To be really "meta" and "cool" you can rip out pages that have to do with what you decide to paint on top of them. (If you want to paint/sketch a coffee mug, rip out the coffee page! If you want to write a quote from Harry Potter, rip out the page with "magic" on it!)
2. You can attach a piece of printer paper/cardboard to the back so your "canvas" is just thicker and sturdier, but it's really not necessary since you will frame it.
3. Now, choose what you want to do. If you just want to put a quote, I would suggest buying stickers for letters. Preferably in black to keep things bold. Or, you could paint the quote on in your own handwriting for a personal touch.
4. If you want to do a picture, make sure it is bold enough to be seen from far away. Don't just paint a small heart unless you want people to put their noses on your art.
5. Stick in the frame (preferably black, again) after it's done drying.

Voila! Personal, cool art. See how easy it can be?

The collage itself is a bit shit, but look at that board! It's a corkboard we have had for A LONG time. It had holes all over it and just never looked good. So, I got a loose bedsheet and put on I think 3 layers. I stapled the bedsheet to the board and there we have it. An UPHOLSTERED board! It was so easy and looks pretty seamless. This is the easiest way to spruce up something you already have & use. I love corkboard, but I don't like the look of cork in anything but my wedges. 

This one is a no-brainer. BUT it's a conversation starter! Who are these people? I don't know! I went to an antique store and bought these old postcards/pictures for 3/$1. I'm pretty sure the closest antique store to you will have them too. Sometimes they are more expensive, but I don't think they are worth any more money. Basically, dig for old postcards that just seem interesting to you. I chose these mainly because they made me want to know what was going on or because they were just aesthetically appealing. I just put them in a cheap frame from wal-mart, but you could put them on a photo mobile! I have one and I love looking at it move at night. 

I have a bit of a button collection. It has actually grown since I took this picture, but not very much. I didn't know how to showcase my interesting collection, though. (The whole thing started with Hitler mustache Ronald McDonald. I found him on the floor of the hallways in my high school. Nobody was around, I laughed out loud and stuck it on my backpack. The rest is history.) At first I had all my buttons on a string, but that was getting heavy and awkward. I bought this hat at a $1 and realized I probably won't wear it. BUT covering it in pins worked! I just stuck a thumbtack in the wall, hung it up, and I'm able to add pins as I get them. I like it. When I have space for my dress form in my room (IF I have space...) I will probably put the hat on my dress form. You could show your stamp collection/pin collection/button collection/sticker collection in a similar way. Get something that is a cool decorative object and stick your stamps/stickers on it! (Like a random animal figurine) It will be a piece of art in your room.

Well, that's my DIY post. It was very low key because I really can't do much. I have a million sewing machines but never learned how to sew. I can knit a bit but nothing too fancy. My main tools are tape, thumbtacks and staples. You can't go wrong with those basics.

Until next time,
Happy Living!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Wall Collages

Every college student has one---you know what I'm talking about. The one place where most people decide to get crafty, the empty wall. My university actually supplied corkboards in each dorm, which was great because it confined the crazy.

Don't get me wrong, I love wall collages. They say a lot about the resident's personality, friends, hometown, priorities and hobbies. They're really interesting to look at and a great conversation piece. Most of them are, sadly, just waaay too crowded or overwhelming. Examples? I think yes!

So, most people put these things up for inspiration/motivation. I'm all for that. In fact, that's why I had collages. I have mixed feelings about this one. I really like that everything has been carefully arranged and spaced so that it looks neat. I don't like the size. Yeah, teenagers should be allowed to personalize their rooms and all, but I'm here to tell you guys what is visually appealing. When you look at this, do you think, "wow that's beautiful" or do you think, "wow he covered the whole wall...". If this person had just divided the collage and put some of the stuff up elsewhere in the room, it would be less visually distracting and more visually enticing.

This is from Karen Kavett's blog. She is a flawless human being. I think the main reason her collage works is because it has dimensions. Yes, it has a lot going on, but does it look TOO busy? No! Because she scaled the collage down and because she stuck to a black&white&green/blue color palette, things aren't too hectic. The fairy lights make sense in the space because they act like a frame and draw attention to the beautiful pennants! Of course, she is a professional visual designer so she knows her stuff. However, if you're bold and have an "eye", you can layer posters and random knick-knacks too. Overall, this is what you want to strive for. Something diverse, but controlled. Not something that draws attention away from the rest of the room, either. Looking at this makes me WANT to see the rest of her room.

{ Sorry this was so short! And late! In all honesty---I wrote this ages ago. And I thought I would be able to have my PERSONAL wall decorated but this (below) is what it looks like and I'm stumped. Don't worry--I will think of something at the most inconvenient time! }

See you all soon-ish?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Maybe you're one of the people who has had her dorm room planned since applying to college. However, it's more likely you're the student that doesn't really know where to start. Well, how about you look at these spaces and see what you like about them! Be sure to read my comments on what their doing right and what probably wouldn't work in a college lifestyle. Enjoy!

Endtable, desk, and dresser. University of Arkansas at Fort Smith

This desk is great because it has personalization, but it's not completely full. You might want to get a tray to put important papers, because you will definitely end up having papers on your desk. Also, making sure each drawer has a purpose really helps when you're studying for midterms and need to know exactly where you put last week's graded test.

You already know I don't like those chairs, but I love the idea of making the area under your bed to divide the room and create a "chill space" of sorts. Usually people put their desk here but that's a bad idea because this is a dark space and natural light will really help keep you awake. However, it's perfect for snacking and watching TV! Also, it's a great place for your friends to sit when they come over and you're sitting at your desk.

I love this window. You don't even know how much I love this window. However, this student is doing next to nothing to make it awesome. There are beams there for curtains! Utilize them! Also, instead of putting Easy Mac and random food on the window sill, put some flowers or pictures or decorative things to make you happy. De-clutter the pretty areas of your room so you can let them be the center of attention.

This one just makes me itch. In a bad way. Do you see that brick wall? Correction---do you see that BEAUTIFUL exposed brick wall? That's an accent wall! THAT ACTUALLY ACCENTUATES! Some dorms come with accent walls, but usually they're a puke-gross color. This one is not. But this girl isn't taking advantage of that! If you have one beautiful thing in your dorm, exploit it. Put a huge picture or mirror on the wall. Buy a bunch of command strips and hang lights up at the top! Display your quirky button collection/any other collection you have! Get a wall guitar holder if you like that kind of thing! I sound really crazy but I don't think you guys understand how rare these things are. If brick isn't your thing, cover the whole things with posters / pictures (but tastefully arrange them. I will do another post about this).

Until next time,


Monday, 13 August 2012

Dorm Shopping

Alright, so it's mid-August. Most of you have probably already started shopping, but I remember that shopping was the last thing I did. That's because I spent most of my time planning! I find planning fun, but if you don't, here's a reason to: YOU WILL SAVE LOTS OF $$$

  1. make a list - Lists are and always will be your friend. Take a look around your bedroom now, make a list of the stuff you know you'll take with you. Then, make a list of the stuff you use now that you'll probably need to buy. There are tons of websites that help with this. My favorite is because you can sync it with Facebook! Yay! Also be sure to go online and find out what is provided in your dorms. Most colleges include this information and if not, you can always ask someone who has gone there or just search it online. I'm going to assume your college provides a bed&mattress, some clothing storage, desk and community bathroom (private bathrooms are a toootally different issue)
  1. upcycle/use what you have - Chances are you've lived in your house for ages. You don't even know what's in it! Show your parents your list and ask them if they have some of the stuff on your "buy" list.
  1. buy cheap - If we're being realistic, you're not going to Nordstrom and such for college stuff. Anyway, it isn't smart to buy high-end things for your room. Your stuff will be wrecked by your friends, the dust, wear and tear and just daily use. Buying cheap stuff is okay because you only need it for 9 months. If you live in the dorm your next year, you can buy all new things. You'll certainly want them.  Cheap stores like Target, TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Walmart are you friends.
  1. never use the phrase "just in case" - If you think "Oh, I'll get this just in case I need it" then leave it. You don't have space for stuff like that and if you do indeed need it later, you can buy it when you're in college. No big deal! Online shopping is so easy when it's safely delivered to your dorm's front desk.
  1. be creative -  do you get sick of decor easily? If you like to change your room around a lot, buy stuff that is convertible. Instead of buying a really bright, loud printed comforter, but a cheap, but warm one like this one from TJ Maxx. Then, you can buy these amazing things called DUVET COVERS from the same place for $30 or less. Hey, it's better than buying & storing multiple comforters. Or, you can take your favorite blankets from home and layer up/switch them out. TIP: don't skimp on your bedding. Bring all the pillows, bedsheets, blankets and mattress pads you need. beds are important in college. especially since they're also your couches/entertainment centers

Now, you're ready to go shopping.
Here are some things I found online of the top things you should and should NOT buy (unless you already have them):

**My dorm also included a microwave and minifridge. If yours doesn't, BUY THEM. Totally crucial.

(1) Tupperware is useless. You'll keep leftovers in the boxes they came in and food you buy in their packages. (2) They look ugly and you really don't need them if you have multiple pillows. Also they're so heavy. (3) These are so difficult to lug down to the laundry room! Just get a bag&hamper that can fit under your bed. (4) TVs take up A LOT of space you probably don't have and are such a burden. Everything's online now anyway! (5) In my experience, nobody sits on these chairs. They just become an extended closet space, which looks really bad. And they're pretty difficult to sit in. (6) Unless you iron all the time at home & love it, you won't have time to iron. Skip the ironing board.

(1) Corkboards might be provided like they were for me, but I like decorating the wall so they were still useful! Just make sure they stay up with strong command strips. These individual ones make your room look more homey. (2) Storage ottomans are cheesy but extra seating + somewhere to put bedding? Not cheesy! (3) Floor mirrors are absolutely necessary. You want to see how you look, don't you? (4) Floor lamps are great because the overhead lighting always sucks. This one has shelves so it can double as a bedside "table" PERFECT! (5) Decorative pillows make you happy. It's a fact. Also, they add comfort and you need that when you watch Netflix on your laptop with your friends. (6) Buy a printer. Don't be the annoying roommate who uses the other person's printer. This one is so inexpensive and you don't need the expensive ink, just get the job done. Simple and you don't have to go to the library late at night to print your papers. (7) Table lamps are definitely necessary because you don't want to keep your roommate up all night with the overhead light. This one has a charger for your iPod + pencil holder. Bonus! (8) BED RISERS are the best $4 you'll ever spend. They make it possible to put your storage boxes, laundry basket, clothes for next season and suitcases under your bed. Just get them.

Of course, I could go on and on. But this is the basic stuff you need to know. And it's almost all from Target, now didn't that work out well?

Happy Shopping and Moving In!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My Dormitory

So, this is the before picture. This is how the room looked when I entered and dumped all my things. It was a pretty good size, I have to say. I was quite lucky. The floors were hardwood, not laminate. Next to the door (where I'm taking the picture from) were in-built shelves. Proper, full sized shelves. And those doors are the closets (not too large, but not bad at all). So, I didn't exactly have any storage problems. I bought all white bedding because I didn't want to get sick of it. (The only thing I got sick of was the bedding getting dirty, though.)

This is after. Granted, I did change the room one or two more times, but just changing the position of the desk or the bed. So, I'll start with the shelves. I wasn't too concerned with making my shelf (the one on the right) look good because I had ugly textbooks, but I was determined to not just throw all my crap there. I only put books out in the open. I boxed up all my camera equipment in these really cute floral boxes I got from Spain a few years ago. A set of matching boxes is always a good idea for college as long as you have a shelf or space under your bed/on the floor.

I did a photo collage above my bed and I didn't plan it. At all. I just started sticking photos up there and they turned into a sort of mosaic. For the space above my desk, I have loose corkboard that I bought from Target where I put my more memorable knick-knacks up (postcards/ticket stubs/pins/drawings). I'll have an individual post on how to decorate walls because I think I could've done much better (even though we weren't allowed to poke ANY holes or leave any marks on ours). I also had a full-length mirror.

My desk is nothing great, just a lamp and a framed graphic T-shirt (I'll talk about this later too). Then, I have a photo mobile hanging in front of the window. The piece de resistance, however, is the lamp. I love this lamp for college because when I take it apart, it folds into four pieces. I bought a cheap, maybe $5, lamp from Target with a crappy shade. I got this nice, floral shade in the Ikea Clearance/As-Is section for about $3. I did a little frankenstein-ing and VOILA! The lamp!

I wish I had better pictures, but I didn't really take anymore good ones. This is all I've got. I will definitely talk more about dorm decorating and I highly encourage questions! 

If you have any "pre-college" questions, those would be great too!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer vacations :)


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Blogger

Hi, my name is Madhu. I'm not new to blogging, really. It all started in middle school with my multiple, embarrassing Xanga pages. Then, I had a brief stint with MySpace, but that was quickly replaced with Facebook. In late high school, I started a tumblr for personal blogging, and then a blogspot with my friends. I go to the University of Texas in, you guessed it, Texas. I lived in the dorms for my freshman year, but starting sophomore year (2012-2013) I am living in a one-bedroom apartment with my sister.

I'm just an amateur who loves interior design. Magazines, HGTV, and constantly redecorating my room back home are basically the extent of my knowledge. I also really enjoy photography and did graphic design in high school. I am studying Psychology, but I wouldn't mind being a freelance stylist when I'm older and have the time.

Currently my mother lives near London and my dad (who is in Texas) will join her within a year, so we are on the move. This means a lot of opportunities for me to discover different spaces and design ideas for them.

I love all sorts of design themes, maybe even all of them. I actually really like designing for small spaces, not only because it's a challenge, but also because it's so economical. I am definitely not a big spender because I get bored with layouts so quickly. My dorm was perfect for me because I bought most of my stuff from stores like Target and TJ Maxx.

This blog will be more geared toward University students, obviously. However, it will also be great for "space savers" and very very quick, simple DIYs. I have a lot of ideas that I've tried (and a lot that have failed) and many that I want to. I just thought maybe other people can learn from my mistakes and successes!

Thank You for visiting my blog and hopefully I can make it more creative with my own pictures and videos.