Sunday, September 6, 2009

Decorating the Leopalace

First of all, I suppose I should explain what a Leopalace is.

Leopalace 21 is a chain of apartments and hotels that can be found all throughout Japan. Leopalace apartments are pretty basic – they give you all the necessities of 一人暮らし(single living). A lot of people I know gripe about how small they are and that the kitchen appliances (namely the double electric burners) are total crap. Leopalace comes with its own TV and Internet service called “leo net.” It’s nice.. but somehow I still manage to have to pay the NHK guy every couple of months. I personally don’t mind my leopalace one bit. Compared to some of the alternatives I’ve seen (like living in a guest house) it is literally like living in one’s own palace.
In addition to giving you all the basics needed for living, if you need to move somewhere else in Japan – oh.. say.. your job transfers you from Tochigi to Kanagawa – you can just go to your local Leopalace office and they will find you another Leopalace in your desired location for more or less the same amount of money. Leopalace also runs their own hotels, which I’ve never experienced, but from the looks of them in the monthly advertisements they seem nice.

However, when I first moved into my Leopalace, it was super boring and not homey at all. Bare walls and floors are just.. really cold and unwelcoming. I felt like I was living in a hotel or just… a big empty room.

Apaato 019So I decided to decorate. I’ve been slowly working on this over the past couple of months. I don’t really have a lot of money to work with and nor do I have a car to move big things like big rugs and furniture. A lot of the things I’ve decorated with are just things I’ve picked up at the Daiso or collected from my travels. 

decor 003First, on the wall directly above the drop-leaf table I made this collage of postcards from places I’ve been to. Some are of landmarks, some are of pieces of art, and some are artwork in and of themselves. The large center images are from a calendar of flower silhouettes I picked up at the Daiso. I add to it every time I go somewhere new!
It’s like a work in progress! decor 002

These are some day-glo colored votives I picked up at the Daiso. The candles were a little present from my Mom – they are battery operated so there’s no risk of curtains catching fire when I want to do this:

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This is the view of the bed/desk area from the doorway. As you can see, I’ve coordinated the color of the artwork on the walls with the colors of the fabric on the bed. Once again, here we have a montage of posters, brochures, maps and miscellany I’ve collected in my travels. The bamboo is a piece I painted. The two hanging over the bed are from an reproduction of Aloise Corbaz’s sketchbook – from an exhibition I went to recently. The piece on top of the bookshelves is an awesome cardboard dinosaur skeleton that I picked up at Muji. The blanket and comforter cover are both from Ikea.

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Another collection of postcards is below this light next to my bed. These ones are kind of special, as they are artwork by the same artist who designed my yukata. They came in the same package as the yukata in a matching envelope.

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The photo to the left is all of my kitchen ware. The plates and cups are a mix of patterns but mostly with a palette of blue, white and orange (except for the purple teapot, of course). The pans are even orange. Go figure. I keep my mini woodblock calendar in the kitchen so I know when I need to do my recycling. I draped a scarf over my mirror and put some hello kitty suction cup hooks (once again, from the Daiso) on it to hang my necklaces and small handbags on. I like the look of things in both of these places, so I thought I’d include them. I bought a small area rug off of Rakuten and some pillows for sitting on the floor, since I don’t have a couch (which… I really wish I had). You can see them in the reflection in the mirror. They were probably my best purchases. I kind of want to get another rug, since the current one is small.

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I suppose that the biggest challenge of decorating for me is the fact that I don’t have a car. It’s hard to pick up large items if you don’t have one. It was even taxing to tote all the stuff from my trip to Ikea while travelling via train and subway. However, these are the things that brighten my life inside of the Leopalace.It really makes me feel more at home. I’m used to living in brightly colored and eclectically decorated surroundings, and I feel much more at home if there are a million things to give me some visual interest. Hope this has interested you and maybe given you some ideas. That’s all for now!


  1. It looks so cozy!!! Great job! :-)

  2. I take pride in the fact that I didn't pay the NHK guy once in two years. Hehe

  3. Lovely! That collage is fantastic!

  4. nice, makes it look bigger then it is :P


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