If you live in a small town but yearn for big-city ambiance, avoid the kitschy decor typically found in themed rooms. Your Manhattan-inspired space can satisfy a number of visual design elements from color to lighting. So forgo skyline-themed bedspreads and souvenir trinkets -- a cluttered world is fine without them -- but opt for realism and artistic imagery. Mirror an urban landscape with strong geometric shapes and patterns along with man-made materials such as chrome, metal and glass. Or show the softer side of the city through the natural tones of Union Square Park.
Rotate a variety of Broadway-inspired posters every few months for a framed wall display. Add depth to your display by using frames with risers and adjustable frames for easy layering. Choose musical posters that pay tribute to "The Great White Way" from "Cats" to "West Side Story." If musicals are not your thing, highlight a historic midtown venue such as Radio City Music Hall or the Beacon Theatre and decorate your bedroom like the structure's interior. Express your topic with embellishments such as playbills, velvet roping, scarves and cat masks. Signify the hustle and bustle of the theater district by turning a metal floor lamp into a makeshift signpost. Attach street signs -- 42nd Street, Times Square and Broadway -- under the light fixture at different angles; secure them with metal adhesive or slip-on brackets made for tubular posts.
Bright Lights, Big City
One of the defining aspects of the city is its bright, colorful lights. You can represent the concept of light through abstract art made from glass as well as unique electric lighting. Coat several light bulbs with neon-yellow acrylic paint and hot-glue them onto strings or elastic cords; then suspend them from ceiling hooks. For another option, fill a wood or black-lacquered rectangular planter with globe-shaped light bulbs. Set the planters on shelves and windowsills to resemble footlights. For your electric light sources, mix it up and install a row of chrome track lights to spotlight art and decorative objects. But depict the true energy of Times Square with bright electric neon signs showing dining, shopping and live music themes.
Build an Architectural Look
Model a section of your room after New York’s iconic buildings. Hang a replica hotel sign or a cropped photo of a time-honored skyscraper. Showcase the Empire State Building's Art Deco angles through geometric-shaped wall decals and Old Hollywood-inspired mirrors. If you prefer a different look, follow the same concept but focus on another style building. Spotlight sites located in the Tribeca area known for their wrought-iron fixtures and rich colors such as the Chelsea Hotel. Dress up a wall or headboard with a railing from a wrought-iron balcony or staircase. Reinforce the modern lines and bright facade of the Freedom Tower by painting a wall light blue and crisscrossing a few white, silver and navy-blue lines over it.
Go Up- or Downtown
Create an edgy vibe with artwork inspired by Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Layer a door collage with graffiti-style artwork and memorabilia from the area's historic clubs: Pay tribute to CBGB's, Max’s Kansas City and the Blue Note with photos of performers, paper napkins and matchbook covers. Otherwise, invite a more uptown look exploring New York's landmark attractions. Hang a wall tapestry of Central Park and accent your room with small-scale replicas of the park's statues and bridges; complete the look with wooden accessories and green plants. Focus on one strong element such as a ceramic replica or mural of the Statue of Liberty, and match accessories to her green hue. Cover a half-wall with a black-and-white decal of the George Washington Bridge, or model your room's decor after the elegant mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion.
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