Friday, 15 February 2013

The Izu Life: Ten DIYs for Life in Japan

Some of us more than others have arrived in Japan full of optimism but upon opening the front door to our new dwelling felt that optimism drown amidst drab chipped paint, daggy décor, and (worst of all) mould. Living in a clean, comfortable environment is crucial to mental well-being (for obvious reasons). So, aside from paint and elbow-grease, what other quick and easy ways are there to make your living space more colourful and welcoming? I’m here to share 10 nifty DIYs to help your apartment go from tragic to très chic !

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  1. Don’t be afraid to paint your walls; your landlord is probably your school and they will most likely be thrilled at not having to hire professionals (but check first).
  2. DIY pretty bird wall stickers! Nail-free, non-permanent and easy wall-art.
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  3.  Wall art is also one of those options that has endless possibilities. So get creative! Cut animal shapes (birds is a great option) out of magazines and newspapers and create a mural on your walls. Alphabet shapes could be used to spell out messages. This is a great way to cover up dirty/chipped paint too. Use tape or tack that doesn’t leave marks. Also, try using masking tape (one that doesn’t leave marks) to create interesting shapes on your walls (see the reindeer in the previous image).
  4. Make a Giant Confetti Wall by Beci Orpin
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  5. If your new apartment is cramped, hang lots of mirrors and, if possible, look into using clear plastic furniture to create an illusion of space.
  6. If the furniture is your own (or with your landlord/school’s permission), paint your furniture to give it new life.
  7. Mend tears in your paper screens with stickers or glue paper shapes onto the screen to create a silhouette.
  8. Mend bug screens with a needle and some colourful wool. Use this opportunity to spell out an interesting message to passersby.
  9. an embroidered front screen door!- gotta do this on my window screen!!
    Image Source
  10. Use chalk or cornstarch to remove grease stains from walls, fabric, and wooden surfaces. Cornstarch can also silence squeaky floorboards. Chalk can hide hairline cracks in paint.
  11. Raid your local 100 yen shop; you will be surprised by the range and quality of home wares. 100 yen shops stock cushions, shoe racks, potted plants, holiday decorations, you name it! 
  12. Japan has some great options for buying affordable furniture for your apartment. Ikea--the famous Swedish home-assembly furniture company--has branches in Yokohama, Funabashi, Osaka, Kobe, Saitama, Sendai and Fukuoka. Ikea offers home-delivery. Nitori is a Japanese-owned company that is very similar to Ikea. It offers cheap furniture--some home-assembly--but unlike Ikea you can shop and order your furniture for home-delivery from their website.
  13. Finally, a piece of advice: no matter where you purchase goods for your apartment, think creatively about what you find and how it could be applied to make your new home more home-y. You'd be surprised how versatile many household objects can be. 

         Now, go forth and decorate!

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