Oh, the joys of Collegetown. City Bucks, bars that stay open “til all of 1 AM, and, at last, a walk to campus that doesn”t involve a hill. Having recently become a resident of the Cornell”s most-desired residential epicenter, I finally feel that I have arrived. My apartment has it all: great location, bad plumbing, and even worse couches. To remedy my landlord”s poor style choices (no offense, you are a great landlord despite this fault, Landlord Ed), I spent a good part of my first weekend back in Ithaca looking for the best Ithaca has to offer in home decorating. My hope in writing this column is to impart some of the knowledge I have gained from my search for the perfect slipcover and possibly help other lost souls currently living with Al Bundy”s leftovers-I know you”re out there. High above Cayuga”s waters, I began my search for cheap-chic furniture at the Pyramid Mall. Being removed from a major urban center has its pluses and minuses. For one, it allows you to discover the heaven that is Target. Target has an answer to everything, and its all for 9.99 — pillows, sheets (to cover up those pesky couches), rugs, ottomans, you name it, they got it. In one shot I was able to find the perfect lamp to go with the street signs my roommates and I have some how accumulated and display proudly on our blank walls. Luckily, I was able to find everything I needed at one place, from a fold out book case to the fan I will be putting back in the closet in a matter of weeks.
A good place to start is by covering up your blank walls with a little personality. One of the seemingly random things about Ithaca”s commercial enterprises are the number of arts and crafts stores in the area. There are almost more places to buy glue sticks here than there are outposts of College Town Bagels. In an attempt to be arts-and-crafty I walked into Michael”s Arts and Crafts store, which is located on Routh 13 S. Stores of this type always seem to have an overabundance of faux-flowers waiting to be picked and put into a vase, or worse, garnishing a window. I beg you: take my advice and skip the ‘Are they real or are they fake’ flowers and just buy the real thing at the Ithaca Farmer”s Market. If you are like me and you are unable to design and build your own window treatments, you can always just settle on posters for sale in the back and get a great deal on custom framing.
The last piece of the puzzle, and perhaps the best trick that was passed on to me was how to avoid spending big bucks on a television set or a stereo (you know, to set the mood.) Now, there”s option one: accepting mom and dad”s old set from college that they luckily just found in storage just in time for move-in day. But, unless you want to spend your best TV hours standing with one arm on the antenna, searching for a clear picture, take my advice and go for option number two: stop by Rent-a-Center. I used to wonder why such a place existed, but now I see that, if used the right way, the RAC is Ithaca”s answer to MTV”s ‘Pimp-My-Ride,’ if your ride is your compact car-sized apartment, and the Pimped-out extras have to be returned at the end of the semester. Rent-a-Center has new merchandise from Sony, Panasonic, and Phillips, and can be rented on a monthly basis, making it the perfect non-committal way to get that big screen tv you”ve been wanting but can”t exactly afford.
Now, there is no one way to decorate. There are only price brackets. For those who try and avoid the Pyramid Mall area like the plague, there are of course options. Ithaca is a land of diversity. If you are looking for a groovy-wall tapestry or hemp furniture, I would say try the commons. On the other hand, if you spent you summer at a bank and want to spend a little more green to spice up the place, you can find 10 different colors of scented candles at Pier-1 or Habitat on Route 13.
So, my Daze readers, I leave you with one final note: remember, whatever you buy, you are going to be stuck carrying up the stairs.
Archived article by Logan Bromer