I don’t have the cash to invest in legitimate artwork yet, so I opted for a temporary solution: graphic designs for the wall. At Home & Haven, I came across the Dvider line. The bright-orange design on display, Animal 08, would have added a great splash of color to my white wall. But the pattern looked like a bird swooping into lollipops—a little too chaotic for my taste. 177 Smith St., nr. Wyckoff St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-875-1775.
Swarmed by Park Slope toddlers wearing more expensive clothes than I was, I resisted the urge to dash out of Area Kids. Then I spotted some artwork stuck above the register—the Cloud stickers by BliKids. The gray and sky-blue color palette was bright and cheery—if only the overly round shapes didn’t look like they were drawn by a preschooler. Even though I haven’t lost my childish whimsy, I don’t want my apartment to scream “baby on board.” 233 Smith St., nr. Douglass St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-522-6455.
A few stickers were in stock at Live It Up, but what caught my eye were the wood panels. Made of maple and compressed into plywood, these slabs were light enough to attach to walls with a little double-sided adhesive. The candy-apple-green block pattern I chose, Letters, was also available in white and blue. Though $74 was more than I had planned to spend, the panels came in a set of four. Plus, I could reuse them if I ever switched apartments. 207 Ave. B., nr. 12th St.; 212-529-3172.
Fighting off the L-train crowds, I headed to the Future Perfect. The only self-adhesive art they had were border trims. Four meters in length, this panoramic design featured famous cityscapes. Paris seemed clichéd, so I opted for Berlin. The roll, which never repeats an image, was addictively detailed, like a scrapbook. I couldn’t quite afford my dream European vacation, but I could definitely spring for this. 115 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-599-6278.
Since A&G Merch was closed for renovation, the accommodating Future Perfect sales team pulled a few vinyl images from their sister store for me to peek at. Most of them, unfortunately, looked like a messy Rorschach inkblot test. Of course, the $12 price was tempting, but I didn’t think psychoanalyzing my friends’ interpretations would be. 111 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-1779.
Inside ABC Carpet & Home, the only stickers in sight were in the children’s department. I decided to give the youthful selection a shot, but all I found were alphabet letters and pastel farm animals by Wall Candy, reduced from $55 to just $38. Sure, these might work in a nursery or even in an ironic hipster’s living room, but not mine. 881 Broadway, nr. 19th St.; 212-473-3000.
Yoyamart was last on my list. As a dashing shop clerk, Stefan, confirmed his Versailles travel plans, he managed to point me toward the wall-art selection. But Les Louistettes’ car print was just not for me. The big size would have filled my blank wall, and the image is probably perfect for a retro-car fanatic, but it was too dorky for me. 15 Gansevoort St., nr. Hudson St.; 212-242-5511.
I was surprised to find that Urban Outfitters wasn’t selling the trendy wall decals. Heeding the salesgirl’s advice, I checked online. And bingo! My favorite was the faux fireplace, $125. But when I showed my roommates, they scoffed, called it “incredibly tacky” and accused me of “wanting to turn our living room into a freshman dorm.” So, swayed by peer pressure, I closed my computer. Available online.