Michael Boodro knows design. For the last five years, Boodro has served as the editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, a preeminent American shelter magazine spun off from its French counterpart, Elle Décoration, in 1987. In a recent, wide-ranging interview with Curbed, Boodro talked about his 5-year anniversary at the shelter magazine, the place of print magazines in a steadily digitizing world, and design trends rearing their heads once again after successful runs in the 1960s and 1970s. While we had his attention, though, we wanted to hear tips and tricks of the trade for making a gorgeous home out of modest digs. Boodro didn't disappoint. Below, 5 great tips and a handful of inspiring shots from recent issues of Elle Decor that will get your decorator juices flowing.
1. Even if you can't afford a shop or showroom, just look.
"Educate yourself," says Boodro. Though some furnishings and home goods retailers and special shops may be fiscally out of reach, knowing what's out there will help you identify what you like—and, perhaps more crucially, don't like.
2. Buy less of the best quality you can afford.
"You can find great things on eBay," Boodro says, and we second that. Online marketplaces are a great place for design hunters looking to find vintage issues of classic pieces for a fraction of what they would retail for new.
Look at what you have. If you don't like it, give it away, especially to places like Housing Works (Boodro is a member of the non-profit's board) or other consignment or charity shops.
4. No matter its size, make your apartment a special place.
"Not having an authentic Eames chair at 25 is okay," Boodro laughs, adding that until the day comes when your budget allows for bonafide Eames designs, there are more affordable seating options that won't break the bank or affront your aesthetic sensibilities. Ikea, anyone? It's more important to create a space that you want to spend time in, entertain in, and that serves as a sanctuary.
5. Don't be afraid of color!
"Beige isn't going anywhere," jokes Boodro. It may seem counterintuitive, but dark paints for bedrooms and bathrooms create a kind of '70s glamor that can be both cozy and sophisticated. Don't worry about using light, bright shades on your walls to create an illusion of space. There are other ways to accomplish that.
∙ From 'Stripes With Plaids' to 'Unmade Beds': Major Players Talk 25 Years of Elle Decor [Curbed]
∙ 5 Small-Space Decorating Tips from Interior Designers [Curbed]
∙ All Adventures in Interior Design posts [Curbed]