In an earlier Ezine article (Cool Apartment Stuff: Things To Make Your Apartment The Happiest Place On Earth), we explored a few practical but fun things to shop for in your quest to transform your small drab apartment into a place to be proud of and at home in. Continuing with that list, I must explain first that I am under no illusion that everyone who reads this will agree with its contents. Tastes differ and you are certain to have more things to add to this inventory, as well as remove. There is a point to this though - I trust your imagination is rich enough such that reading this list, and agreeing or disagreeing to part or the whole of it, will have gotten you thinking about a list of your very own. And that, after all, is the entire point. So then, here are more of what makes my apartment score those important extra few "coolness" points:
A soft, fat, fluffy pillow. This is affordable luxury at its finest. Of course the pillow of your dreams will probably be unlike mine; I like the models that are thickly stuffed with synthetic, hypoallergenic down. The best for me are the ones that let my head sink into it, therefore cradling a big percentage of my cranium in cloudy softness.
A bean bag. I'm talking about the old-fashioned kinds, large and generally round and made with strong but soft fabric stuffed with tiny foam balls, the way they were intended to be. Don't get the ones with back rests because they lack shape-shifting ability, and back rests belong to chairs. The self-expanding ones, although cool to watch the first time they're unpacked, are a lot more expensive and do the same thing. A bean bag is a timeless piece of furniture that you can sit, lounge, or sleep on, but only if it's made so that you can access its insides, adjusting the amount of stuffing so that it feels perfect to your particular body shape and weight. It also has the potential to be a decorative item, a spot of color that lends accent to your room, a piece that expresses your personality, and a topic for lively conversation all rolled into one, so don't buy the first one you see. Look around, take your time, and eventually you will find one in a design that seems to have been manufactured solely for you.
A tall, sturdy stool, light enough to carry and strong enough to stand on. A stool is one of those things you can't afford to live without. You'll need it to change ceiling light bulbs, paint the upper edges of your wall, and even keep the newspapers in place to catch the paint drips. When you have guests, sit on the stool while they sit on chairs so that your head is above theirs, symbolizing that you are master of this kingdom (all 200 square feet of it).
If you do your own cooking, spend for a quality set of pans and pots. All you need are a few essentials; something to fry in, something to boil in, something to make sauces in, plus some cheap wooden spatulas or cooking tongs. Remember that metal-handled pans are usually more durable and you can even use them in the oven. Thicker, heavier pans distribute heat more evenly and are easier to handle when you need to do some energetic stirring. Also, mind the size of your burner, try to get pans that are of the recommended diameter for it. Invest in a good knife. Search the internet for chefs' recommendations, you will probably find many of them agreeing on the same kind and brand for good value.
As to dinnerware, get a good, inexpensive double-set of spoons, forks, and their necessary companions, and look for plates and cups that are elegant but plain enough so that if one piece gets damaged, finding a matching replacement won't be too much of a bother. Lastly, get a good corkscrew. Maybe you don't drink wine that much, but when that evening of evenings comes along and you and your very special guest are starting to loosen up and get to know each other better, you'd better have the wine chilled right and the corkscrew ready. Will all this fancy stuff make you cook or eat any better? Why yes, it will. Call it inspiration, or better tools making for better work, but if you want to squeeze the best out of your apartment, then you will need cool apartment stuff like this.