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home décor advice Gain a sense of comfort from the contrasting environments of Big Rapids, Michigan

2 Home Tours AUG/SEPT


10  Lonny  AUGUST • SEPTEMBER 2012


2  Lonny  AUGUST • SEPTEMBER 2012

The Comparison and Contrast of Comfort Text and Photography by Kathr yn Bell


hether it is an internal transition from dorm to apartment or external transition from one side of town to another, Big Rapids recollects a personal level of comfort for any college student. It is amazing how much the scale of comfort can differ depending on texture and medium.

Comfort or the lack there of can alter emotion. The split atmospheres of commercial buildings and small town charm architecture coincide with the contrast between college living accommodations offered by the dorms and apartments within the town of Big Rapids, Michigan.


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Small things that go unnoticed day to day strike a level of comfort—cold tiles verse shaggy carpet beneath your feet.

The Small Things The transition from hometown comfort to college abodes is greatly affected by a person’s surroundings. The small things that go unnoticed day to day strike certain feelings and levels of comfort. Cold tile verses shaggy carpet beneath your feet, cement bricks verses wallpaper, or metal windows protected by screens verses wooden crown molding bordering clear glass are all elements that carry through emotion. Similar to adjectives stimulating the brain, people are emotionally impacted while surrounded by certain textiles. Contrasting internal and external living accommodations expose college residents to several environments offered by the town of Big Rapids.

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Transition Into Your Own Most college students live in a dorm for the f irst year, if they don’t commute from home. Many colleges require their resident students to live on campus freshman year. Despite the drawbacks, there are some benef its to living in college dormitory. The dorms can help jump-start your social life, ease the transition to life on your own and introduce you to a diverse group of people. With a life of your own comes a place of your own. The temporary space of dormitories is not the most inviting atmosphere to start this new life chapter. Having a fresh look to your new “home” can be a real spirit lifter and can help you feel new. However, in the context of a dorm, it is diff icult to make the space truly yours. Wallpaper, paint, or any permanent gesture is prohibited and therefore prohibits the permanent sense of belonging.

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An eleven by fourteen foot cemented square box is the equivalent of a university dorm room. Exposed water pipes extending across the ceiling and one metal-framed window is not exactly a home away from home. There are ways to decorate a home with quality furnishings on a budget and without spending a fortune.

Similar to comfort food, soft décor can become an escape from nostalgic places. Reclaiming a sense of relief, rugs, lamps, and cosy furniture trickle in but a lingering feeling of forced comfort still remains. Despite the attempt of adding a personal touch, the alternating functionality of dorm life comes with a temporary outlook on the space and the things that f ill it.

Comfort Décor Illusions of a more permanent place are made possible through altercations of household amenities. Big Rapids apartments allow for furnishing that is worthy of carpeted f looring and insulated walls rather than worn tile and cement brick barriers. Amazingly, a warm sensation is triggered with a shift in textiles. Textiles pleasant to the eye and touch amplify a pleasing nature of a room. Even the treatment of windows—a metal screen or stained wood window molding—generate emotion. Internal environments like a dorm or apartment offer so many aspects that alter a person’s feelings. Apartments allow a greater freedom to be able to come into your own. Finally, there is control over the things you love to surround yourself with including old and new, hard and soft, as well as minimal or cozy. Work with all the members of your household to come up with your home’s decorating style. Most men will not feel comfortable living in an all pink house while most women will not feel comfortable living in a home that is filled with all black leather and chrome. Having one decorating style for your home should be agreed upon prior to decorating. When deciding on your decorating style, collect your favorite decor items from your home and photos of homes you may have collected over the years. What items make you happy? What items compliment your lifestyle? What works with your home’s architecture, climate, and location? Clutter in the room can create clutter in the mind. This includes stacks of mail and newspapers, too many accessories, shoes, and clothes among other things. Make sure everything has a designated place that is out of sight.

DECORATING TIPS 1. Blended Style

You don’t have to have one decorating style for your home, you can have a blend of two styles that work together. If one person likes beach style and the other likes modern, find a way to combine the two to have a clean lined style with beach accents. Some of the most successfully decorated rooms use combined decorating styles to create a one of a kind space that is unique to that home. 2. Indoor Plants

Plants and flowers add a live element to your home. Live plants and flowers are always preferred over faux ones. If you can’t keep a plant alive, faux plants and flowers are acceptable in minimal quantities if they are high quality and dusted regularly. 3. Finishing Touches

You can have nice things, but they will not look magazine quality unless they are styled properly. Look through magazines to see how accessories are grouped together or how beds in magazines are made.

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An Everyday Concept Whether a college student comes from a largely commercialized area or small town, a sense of comfort from both can be obtained from the town of BR. Plazas f illed with restaurants and second-hand stores are amongst traditional barbershops, movie theatres, and café’s. Just as décor alters mood, external materials such as brick and metal do the same. A frame of mind is formed by observing styles as obvious as architecture or as minute as a mailbox.

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The commercial area embodies an industrial personification with smooth metal mailboxes, f lat signs, and square architecture. If the industrial portion of Big Rapids does not bring a sense of ease or familiarity, the contrasting small town charm qualities may. Homemade fudge shops, delis’, and barbers bring a small town essence to the traditional side of Big Rapids. Wooden benches and riverside parks add to the charm of the town.

A certain frame of mind is formed when observing styles as obvious as architecture or as minute as a mailbox.

As people, we distinct different styles to form a personal sense of comfort. The transition into college is the most vivid time that the idea of textiles altering mood comes forth. College is one of the most trying times where comfort is being sought. For many, it is the first big move away from the people and spaces closest to you. Big Rapids’s large selection of style meet the comforting needs of several different home life backgrounds.

Being a college town, Big Rapids has something to offer each individual with the diverse confines of its residencies or outside roaming grounds. Although college students have a strong relation to this concept, the phenomenon occurs everyday to all types of people and age groups. A sense of belonging can be achieved through the little things we surround ourselves with daily.

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