A friend of ours just moved back to Los Angeles. Her lease started at the beginning of the month and her stuff arrived last Monday. By this past Friday, it looked like she'd been living there for five years already; curtains up, pictures hung, not a box or suitcase in sight. We were dumbfounded. How did she do it?
- Pick your color scheme beforehand. She chose her paint colors -- a palette of greys and light blues -- and decided which rooms would be painted each color and arranged to have the painting done before she moved in.
- Know what furniture will go in what room. Figure out your furniture arrangement before you move in so that the movers can put everything down in the right room. Our friend knew that the sectional and the credenza would go in the living room and that the dining room would be used as her new office. She made a floor plan of her home to help her figure it all out.
- Make a list of everything you need. Our friend needed a desk and a rug for her office, bookshelves for her living room and a storage system for her bathroom. A list will help you remember everything and will prevent backtracking.
- Narrow down your choices to help make decisions quickly. Rather than spending hours searching out the perfect item online, our friend decided to shop a few stores -- IKEA, Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond — and covered them all in one day.
- Let yourself be surprised. Though our friend though she wanted a greek key patterned rug for her office, she let herself fall in love with a girlish floral instead. Similarly, she knew she needed storage for her treasure of Domino magazines and chose a vertical bookcase instead of the one she'd originally had in mind.
- Schedule all your appointments on the same day. The cable guy and the gas man came the same day as the movers and the handyman.
- Unpack by room. Unpack all the boxes in the room they belong in and put everything away. Later you can go back and organize everything.
For more about Rebecca's amazing transformation of her latest small space and her secret to making your new place feel instantly homey, click here
Iimages: Rebecca Orlov / Loving Living Small