Now that you are all well-versed in the car­di­nal rules of incor­po­rat­ing it, you might be won­der­ing exactly what con­sti­tutes flair and per­haps even long­ing for a few out of the box ideas.  So stop bit­ing your nails and wet­ting your pants about it, because this week I will be dis­cussing a few areas within the typ­i­cal inte­rior that just beg for a lit­tle inspi­ra­tion. My sin­cere hope is that after this two-part series, any­one and their mom will be able to take that bor­ing beige apart­ment and make it into some­thing fantastic.

Use your ver­ti­cals — The first area that I will be dis­cussing is the wall.  If you are like me, your 500 square foot floor is noth­ing com­pared to the beck­on­ing vol­ume that com­prises your ver­ti­cal wall sur­faces.  So don’t take that space for granted, as a lit­tle $15 quart of paint can turn your stu­dio into a rock­star of urban design.  How­ever, as I learned the hard way (yes, I’m look­ing at you orange bed­room), there is a right and wrong way to mix flair and paint.  So read on for the two dif­fer­ent flairy flam­boy­ant camps on paint.

This hot pink box is play­ful and bright, but also helps to ground the pho­tos and pro­vide vis­i­tors with a warn­ing of the over-stimulating envi­ron­ment within

A lit­tle dab’ll do ya — As every­one who knows me can attest, any bright color is fair game.  Hot pink? For shiz­zle.  Neon green?  You bet.  Blood red and blue­berry blue?  Totes boats.  And as you set your barf bucket aside, let me assure you that these col­ors are har­mo­niously liv­ing together in 600 square feet.  Why is that?  Because it’s only a lit­tle bit here and there.  Aside from my 12′ high yel­low wall, I do not have more than a quart of any one color in my apartment.

The secret is to have every­thing else be the can­vas and just let the color shine.  Call me crazy but I love me some bright blank apart­ment white.  In fact, that’s the first thing I do when I move in, paint every­thing bright bright white, because then noth­ing else is com­pet­ing with the color or reflect­ing hues into it and mak­ing it all muddy and nasty.  So the first rule of mix­ing flair and paint is to do so in small doses.  Really, you don’t need a lot of hot pink to make your point.

Paint out­side the lines — Hands down, when some­one first comes to my place they aren’t com­ment­ing on my per­fect cor­ners and stun­ning use of tape.  They are talk­ing about my cus­tom painted walls.  And guess what?  I suck as an artist, so don’t go think­ing I have some mad skills that you don’t and that’s why you’ll never be as awe­some as me.  Truth is, if you can trace or tape, you too can have a cus­tom wall.

As you already know, I have the Union Jack on the office wall (made pos­si­ble by a straight edge and mask­ing tape), and to be hon­est, when I leave this apart­ment, that’s one of the things I will miss the most.  But since I’ve beat the Union Jack horse dead into the ground with pre­vi­ous posts, I thought it pru­dent to high­light a few other cre­ative geniuses and how they have done cus­tom walls (most likely using a good old pro­jec­tor and trac­ing the design onto the wall).

Ultra-Mega Awe­some incor­po­ra­tion of flair by thedesign­guy (via Ikea Hackers)

I love love love this wall.  And to be hon­est, aside from the tip speech, I am not even a huge fan of the movie.  But damn, what an excel­lent imple­men­ta­tion of pop art, paint, and flair.  In fact, this room inspired me to design in some­thing sim­i­lar for my new place (although after review­ing the flair to rest ratio it had to go).  But instead of going to bed each night with visions of Mr. Blonde and a straight-razor, I was think­ing some­thing more along the lines of the iconic Mad Men imagery, or even a styl­ized sil­hou­ette of the Avengers (yes, I’m a nerd).  This type of flair incor­po­ra­tion really opens itself up to what­ever you’re into, and for the price of rent­ing a pro­jec­tor, is pretty budget-friendly.

Grand­fa­ther clock design by Molly Stern via Apart­ment Therapy

This lit­tle clock is another exam­ple of using a lit­tle bit of paint to add a lotta bit of flair.  And the best thing is, it is so sim­ple, you just want to slap your fore­head and say “why didn’t I think of that?”.  I could see this idea being imple­mented either as the sim­ple line draw­ing shown here, or just block­ing out the entire grand­fa­ther clock area and mak­ing it a sil­hou­ette.  With the lim­it­less options for scal­ing and color choice, this is another design that makes me want to pull out the paint brush.





Bright and loud tex­tiles pro­vide an ele­ment of flair paired with functionality

Crazy Bold Fab­rics — As an alumni of an inte­rior design pro­gram, it took me sev­eral years to reach the point where fab­ric swatches didn’t make me gag.  True story.  I hate fab­rics.  How­ever, after dis­cov­er­ing the tex­tile selec­tion at Ikea, my life took a turn toward dec­o­ra­tor­ness that I still have trou­ble rec­on­cil­ing myself to at night. But the fact of the mat­ter is, fab­rics play a big part of any home.  By the time you add up pil­lows, fur­nish­ings, cur­tains, duvets, and blankies, you’ve got a big old pile of fab­rics that bet­ter be worth their salt when it comes to design weight.

I have sev­eral great tex­tiles that I pur­chased from Ikea, almost exclu­sively because Ikea gets it.  My cur­tains that are 12′ tall by a total of about 20′ wide, and have a vari­ety of super fun and crazy images, any­thing from dead goat heads play­fully float­ing in a pond, to some swedish ver­sion of a GI Joe wav­ing from atop a snowy moun­tain.  When paired up with the hot pink pil­lows on the adja­cent mid-century chairs, the flair-sodden fab­rics are just another avenue for me to test the lim­its of my won­der­fully under­stand­ing husband’s met­ro­sex­u­al­ness and squeeze in just a lit­tle bit more hot pink.  And as much as I despise tex­tiles, my apart­ment just wouldn’t be the bold and cre­ative place that it is with­out them.

Tiny Man­hat­tan wooden blocks are a play­ful detail that gets a lot of smiles.

God (or the devil) is in the Details — The details are my favorite place to squeeze in a lit­tle bit of flair.  In fact, if you have any per­son­al­ity what­so­ever, it is nearly impos­si­ble not to incor­po­rate flair in the details. How­ever, because some people’s details are com­prised of glass fig­urines and wretch-inducing lit­tle knick-knacks, it’s worth men­tion­ing that gee-gaws and flair are not syn­ony­mous with one another.

I love using pop cul­ture icons as ele­ments of flair.  We pur­chased an awe­some lit­tle wooden blocks set of Man­hat­tan that resides on our min­i­mal­ist stereo cab­i­net.  Or another lit­tle detail that I adore is the orig­i­nal GI Joe doll (circa the 1950’s — his clothes are actual fab­ric and he has a sleep­ing bag that he packs on his back), sit­ting next to the molded plas­tic astro­naut that we picked up at the Seat­tle Sci­ence Cen­ter.  They hang out together and just emanate bad-assery from the book­shelf.  They are also com­pletely com­ment wor­thy.  So I guess what I am try­ing to say, albeit in a long-winded way, is that if you, nor any­one else, would ever think your details are inter­est­ing enough to com­ment on, they are prob­a­bly just crap that should be tossed immediately.

image cour­tesy of air­tank via Flickr

A smirk­ing sense of irony — At the end of the day, the whole point of flair, is that you can’t fake it.  Your space is either inter­est­ing and full of cre­ativ­ity, or it’s not — you can’t just hire a designer to make you an awe­some flair-filled space, because if you’re not awe­some and inter­est­ing, every­one will know you’re just a wannabe.

Flair is really all about per­sonal expres­sion and find­ing fun and ironic ways to shout it out.  Grow a pair, man up, and say, “hells yeah, I think the Avengers are so awe­some, I’m going to paint them on my wall” — if it’s well done, and put together with an over­all aes­thetic in  mind, it doesn’t mat­ter what the sub­ject is, peo­ple are going to think it’s super rad that you’re ballsy enough to do some­thing out of the ordi­nary and be who you are.  That’s what flair is really all about, so get out there, have some fun with it, and wow your friends at your next backgam­mon tourney.

That’s all I have for this week.  Luck­ily for all of you, I made it a super awe­some arti­cle because it will have to sus­tain my devoted fol­low­ing through next week as the world head­quar­ters for Every­day Mod­ern will be mov­ing it’s phys­i­cal loca­tion.  I’m pretty bad ass, but I don’t think I’ll be able to move, design, and write all in two days whilst main­tain­ing the small shred of san­ity that remains in my pos­ses­sion.  Check back in a cou­ple of weeks for updates on the new digs.  Until then, thanks for read­ing and please feel free to re-publish and share — just please give me credit for my work when you do.  Cheers!