NYC-friendly decorating takeaways from a one-week Paris apartment makeover

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Interior designer Kerra Michele flew to Paris to redecorate a tiny apartment. She had one week and a "teeeeeeeeny tiny"  budget, she writes on her blog. She did so around this time last year, but the takeaways are many for us New Yorkers, the least of which is that her client's apartment looked so much like an NYC one (not everything looks like Amelie in the City of Lights), so we thought we'd revisit her whirlwind decorating tour. Also, the sheer grit it took to finish that project in a week deserves a shout-out (though we have to admit a little surprise at the reliance on that old NYC standby—Ikea).

Michele encountered some serious drawbacks — like leaving her purse on the Metro — and ended up working up to the very last minute. Still, the documentary short made about her experience uncovers several helpful tips for the likes of us looking to redecorate a small space in a short time and on a budget.

1. Measure the apartment — and don't buy any furniture before you do.

2. Ikea is  a budget decorator's friend (but you may have already known that). Bring an assistant (aka your best friend) to help push the cart while you look around for the perfect furniture and accessories. And buy vanilla ice cream to give you energy.

3. Plan for the worst case scenario (like losing your purse on the train home from Ikea), and if it happens, push through and get on with it. The work will be a helpful distraction from the stress of worrying about your missing credit cards.

4. If you're decorating a small one-bedroom from scratch, expect the job to take a full week. Also, you won't sleep much. (Then again, your apartment will be done in a week!)

Small pops of color help make this small space look great.

5. A beige couch looks great paired with a striped rug and a brightly colored armchair (see photo above).

6. Group framed pictures together. Just make sure they're level. 

A small bedroom looks bigger thanks to well-placed mirrors.

7. If you don't need a bedside table, consider putting a tall mirror on each side of the bed (see photo above).

8. Power through. The job will get done eventually, and you'll feel great afterward. (But do make time to relax; in Kerra's case, we totally would've made time for a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens. And to see Winged Victory at the Louvre. And to flirt with French boys. But we digress.)


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