New Lease on Living Rooms

When you don't own your home, it's sometimes hard to justify spending oodles of cash on decorating a space to which you have only a temporary claim. All our honeymooner pals settling in at their starter-home condos can hardly understand, but the idea of investing thousands in a sofa set or calling in a designer for a feng shui consultation isn't on our radar (or in our budget) when even painting our walls still seems too hasty a commitment. Luckily, blogger India Shannon feels our pain: the Boston gal's site about affordable finds and DIY designs, Apartment 528, has recently launched an online store of contemporary pieces - pillows, dishware, wall décor, and more - that keeps renters in mind by stocking items that are almost all under $50. The store celebrated its cyber-opening in September, but this month, it becomes the exclusive local retailer for Paperdoll Woodshop, a producer of kitschy, quirky woodworked items that make for cute conversation pieces. We love the countertop-sized four-bottle wine rack in the shape of a panicked robot ($40), the magazine rack in the shape of a tea kettle ($40), and the salt-and-pepper shaker set in the shape of a moustache ($28). Design-challenged renters, you're welcome - and we won't even charge a finder's fee.