Some people don't subscribe to fashion magazines because they make normal looking folks feel bad about themselves. You could apply this same philosophy to a decorating magazine whose pages don't even feature prices and profile a couple going through a living room redecorating project with the help of an upholsterer, an interior designer, and a "project manager".

Metrohomecover I won a subscription to Metropolitan Home about a month ago and at first, I too was depressed by the sleek modern house-scapes I will never have…until I realized the same thing I realized about fashion magazines awhile back. These photos are taken in the best circumstances and are not real life. The ideal display is designed to make you think "If my life is displayed this exact way, it would be ideal."

Here is how these magazines are helpful, besides being something to peruse: go through the pages attempting to be inspired by a general idea. Yes, you like the whole page but what is it you like? The clock on the wall? Or the paint color? After you isolate what you like, it can then be changed to fit your life. Here are five things I've learned from Metropolitan Home that are helpful to me. (Because if you can't learn even a little something, why bother?):

1) A room with less stuff in it looks better. Clutter should be contained and if it can't be, it's time to streamline.

2) Painting something black, white, or some kind of metallic makes it instantly more modern. Think glossy for higher drama but less glossy if the surface is a little rough. There are some great painting tips I never even thought of in this article from Metro Home.

Metrohomeinside 3) Too match-y is creep-y. Mixing patterns, fabrics, colors, and styles makes things much more interesting and much less uptight. The chairs around a table don't need to match but painted all the same color, they can still go together.

4) Don't work against your environment, work with it. For example, I love the sleek modern look I see in lofts but I live in a ranch style house. Since this house would look stupid with industrial accessories, there is a subtle nod to modernity with graphic prints and sleek wall colors but the wood furniture and homemade pillows keep things back at the ranch. Take a cue from your neighborhood and house architecture. One guy profiled in the magazine built a  house in Wisconsin but the metal siding on the house gave it a similar look to barns in the area.

5) Bring the outdoors in. Every great looking room in a glossy magazine has ginormous windows overlooking beautiful vistas. It's natural that people want to be outdoors but living a glass house isn't the only way to achieve that. Even a spider plant on a desk can help make things  a little more earthy. If you are not great at caring for plants like myself, you can try incorporating wood, stone, and other natural materials into an existing space.

In short, the free offers you get in life may not be exactly what you want but there is no reason you can't enjoy them and learn a little something you didn't even realize you wanted to know. Because the key to enjoying life and living within your means is the ability to be flexible with what you want. If you are, who knows what will come your way.

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