Cottage Cheesy

Eric: One of the joys of being a double Capricorn is the absolute certainty that everything has its proper place.
One of the agonies is when they're not in it. Like in this dump.

Let's just jump right in. The microwave cart? That's where your cheap pine breakfast counter with slide-under stools goes.

I don't know to where the coffee table has wandered. My recommendation is for a wheeled footlocker. That way you can toss your clothes into it before you answer the door and kick it out of the way before the fun starts. Cardboard behind the couch? Unless you often break out in break dance, don't keep it there.

Glad to see there's a skeet blanket, but it's out of position. Those chocolate starfish marks will never come out of the upholstery. On the other hand, that might be an improvement. There's no such thing as Granny Chic. Slipcover immediately in a nice nubby neutral.

The rest is an easy fix. I almost wish the entryway linoleum ran throughout, but we must work with the unfortunate carpet and its palette of grays. We're going with a light, warm version. The secret? Locate the color in the middle of a paint strip. That goes on the walls. Darkest tone goes on the chair rail and below. Lightest, the ceiling. Of the remaining, one's for the kitchen and the other on the accent wall.

Suddenly, you find that your place has an understated cottage theme. Don't get cutesy with it. And speaking of cutesy, that "whimsical" "artwork" behind the couch has got to go. Into the dustbin, hopefully.

In its stead hang up some modern art. Modern art goes with everything.

If you don't have modern art, make some. It's easy. Don't know how? Buy four blank canvases, four colors of acrylic paint, put the cardboard on the floor one last time and invite three Bohemian-type guys over for a naked spatter party. Everything will quickly fall into place.