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December 11, 2008

How to Pimp Your Pad

Kishani Perera, the owner of Fuse I.D. in L.A., offers a room-by-room analysis, explaining where to spend and where to rein it in.

single girl alone in apartment decorating with picture frame

Photo Credit: Somos/Getty Images

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A funky chandelier can personalize the plainest of apartments. Check out Anthropologie's vintage-chic options ($700+, anthropologie.com).

Don't bust your budget on that table that gets covered by your keys and mail. Try a cute folding tray table, like West Elm's Butler Tray + Stand ($169, westelm.com).

Living Room:
You need a comfy couch that will hold up to those The Hills marathons. For a sofa that'll last longer than the Heidi and Spencer faux-mance, pick a classic shape in a neutral canvas upholstery. "Funk it up with pillows," says Perera. ($2000+)

Don't shell out for bookshelves; they're obscured by your stuff anyway. Ikea's gridlike Expedit Bookcase, at $149, does the low-cost trick. "This piece will change your life — it's functional and decorative," Perera raves. (Full disclosure: An Allen wrench is involved.)

Roll that metal frame on wheels out the door and replace it with a headboard that makes you want to log serious sack time. Perera recommends Brocade Home's ornate options ($350+, brocadehome.com).

Don't spring for wall-to-wall carpet; try a flokati — a wool rug that looks like it came right off the sheep's back. "They're decadent and add instant warmth to a room," enthuses Perera. ($200+)

Dining Room:
The table anchors the room. "Go for a solid piece with a leaf or two to expand it for dinner parties," says Perera — perfect for your next, bigger pad. ($450+)

Forget matching chairs. Go thrifting for mismatched ones, says Perera. "Then stain the frames, and reupholster them in a fun fabric." Voilà — your one-of-a-kind set comes at a deep discount.

More Articles from The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living Alone
8 Ways to Double Your Closet Space
Cooking for One
Boy-Proof Your Lair
13 Things We Learned From Living Alone
3 Huge Space Savers

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