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Ask Flipped: I Got Swallowed By a Whale. How Should I Decorate?

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Welcome back to Ask Flipped, where we answer very real questions from readers who are having problems with home decor, design, or anything else. Do you have a question? Write it on a post-it note and throw it into a strong gust of wind. If it was meant to be, we will find the post-it and answer the question.

Dear Flipped,

Last weekend I went on a sailing trip with some friends. We'd been out on the water for only a couple hours when a huge storm arose. This was no ordinary storm, and my fellow sailors decided that karma must be punishing us for something. Since I am the worst person out of all my friends, the blame was placed on me and everyone threw me overboard. I thought I would surely drown, but luckily I was swallowed by a whale and I now live inside its belly. My question is, how should I decorate?

Beluga Boarder

Dear BB,

You know, a lot of people say that you aren't an adult until you get your first job, or buy your first car, but for my money the moment you're really independent is the day you move into your first whale belly. So first of all, congratulations. This may seem daunting, but remember, being swallowed by a giant whale is scary for all of us, at first.

As for decorating, your options may be limited but don't let that get you down. Sure, we all want to recreate that perfect whale belly we've seen on Pinterest, but that probably isn't going to be feasible on a limited budget of (we're guessing) zero dollars. Here's what you can do:

1. Work with what you've got
What else has the whale swallowed recently? If he went for you, chances are he isn't sticking to an all-kelp diet. Since you're going to be forced to go with a sort of minimalist approach, arrange your space to draw attention to the two or three boldest items you own—a piece of coral or a colorful dead fish, for instance. Planks of wood from wrecked ships are also extremely versatile, so let's hope a few of those ended up down there with you.

2. Place your sleeping area on high ground
One thing that people never tell you about living inside a whale, is that if you spend too much time wallowing around in its stomach acid you will actually start to get digested, and that can really put a damper on the way that you connect with your space. Either find a protrusion to sleep on, or stack items into a sort of bed platform.

3. Carve out a fireplace
A friend of mine and his son were was once swallowed by a great big fish, and the son, who also happened to be a puppet, had the great idea to create a natural, open fireplace using sticks of furniture. Unfortunately, they were never able to realize their vision because the fish sneezed them out, effectively evicting them from their home with no notice, but perhaps you will have better luck.

Remember, whales and other giant fish can be very irresponsible landlords, which comes with its benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, you can do pretty much whatever you want without having to worry about losing your security deposit and they are also famously lax about collecting rent. On the other hand, if the hot water goes or if there's no oxygen, good luck getting anything done about it.

And remember to enjoy yourself! No matter what anyone tells you, this is the best time of your life.


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