Upper West Sider Daniel Friedman specializes in turning cramped so-so apartments into places you’re not embarrassed to show your friends. His friend Allison sent me photos of a bunch of his work, and agreed to write about how Upper West Siders can spruce up their apartments without hiring a contractor, Daniel-style. Of course, if that sounds too daunting, you can just hire him (mention you’re a West Side Rag reader, and he says he’ll give you a 10% discount).
By Allison Goldberg
Ah, New York. Where space is sacred, and all you have to do is roll over after dinner to find yourself in bed. How convenient! But that makes it even more important for us New Yorkers to show our apartments a little love and make those trips to the Sunday flea market on Columbus and The Container Store. Let’s face it: most of your paycheck is headed back into your apartment each month anyway, so you might as well spend some time spicing up the place. Daniel Friedman, DIYer extraordinaire, offers three simple ways to make your apartment the talk of the Upper West Side.
1. Paint the walls
Painting the walls is an obvious path to a whole new look. But now that you’ve decided to go for it, go all out: a straightforward, geometric design is what really makes people think you’re so trendy you should move downtown. The photos below show how to use a Chevron pattern, but horizontal or vertical stripes or other simple designs will do the trick. Daniel recommends neutral colors, because they work well with anything while helping to make small spaces feel clean and expansive.
2. Paint the furniture
Similar concept here. Sanding and painting just a few items can have a huge effect on the overall feel of the room. Even something as small as painting the handles and feet of your dresser can spruce up an old item that you found at aforementioned flea market.
3. Get creative with your leftovers
For one UWS client, Daniel remade pane windows into French windows and hung curtains on copper rods from, yes, Home Depot. He had extra rods, and so he made a chandelier. A bit complex for the average DIYer, but here’s where we inspire and encourage you to take matters into your own hands. What can you do with the leftover fabric and hardware that you already have stuffed into your limited storage space, because you’re holding onto it “just in case”? How about sewing new pillowcases for your couch? Make a lampshade, a picture frame, a new fruit basket. Start small, and see what you can do… Because the great thing about Manhattan is that you can see your improvements from every room in the apartment.
Photos courtesy of Allison Goldberg.