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10 Ways to Add Theatrical Drama to Your Small Space


Last night some friends and I toured Cedar Rapids' historic Paramount Theatre. Built in the 1920's, the theatre displays the jazz era's opulence, extravagance, and drama – all beautifully preserved through the decades and restored after the devastating floods of 2008. From acting onstage to working tech backstage, I've been infatuated with the theatre since I was a little girl. Seeing historic, gorgeous theatres like this one takes my breath away and makes me really miss taking the stage. I especially adore the mingling of red velvet, gilt gold, and ornate patterns that create so much drama.

Looking down at the stage. I'm swooning over all of the red velvet.
View from center stage. The ceiling here is breathtaking. 

Inspired by my enduring love for the theatre and my new-found love for the Paramount in Cedar Rapids, I've pulled together 10 ways you can add some theatrics to your small space – whether you're looking for just a little drama or a showstopping display, there's no business like show business!

1. Red Velvet Drapes
Instantly transform your space starting with the curtains. Heavy, velvet, red drapes bring in instant drama and luxury. For added effect, use gold rope tie-backs with tassels.

2. Vintage Marquee Letters
These illuminating metal letters are so on trend right now that if you can't snatch up a vintage piece, you can probably find a new made-to-look-vintage letter or a DIY tutorial to make your own. Spell out a word or display your initial – either way, marquee letters are marvelous.

3. Velvet, Tufted Chair
I love the feeling of sinking into a velvety chair at the theatre. Bring that feeling home with a velvet, tufted chair – preferably in crimson so that it matches those curtains!

4. Elaborately Patterned Rug
Patterns abound in historical theatres. Everywhere you look there are florals and damasks and intricate designs. Makeover your floor with a gorgeous Turkish rug rich in pattern and color.

5. Gaudy Gilt Mirror
Mirrors are a classic trick for opening up small spaces. Do more than just add an optical illusion of space – add optical opulence to your space. Hang a big, gold, ornately framed mirror for maximum splendor.

6. Movie Reel Bookends
The Paramount spent its early days showing silent films. These movie reel bookends are a perfect cinematic touch for a bookshelf, mangle, or desk.

7. Ornate Chandelier
You can't decorate a big, beautiful theatre without a big, beautiful chandelier. While you may have the room or money for a gigantic crystal masterpiece, you can add a touch of glistening glamour with a small fixture. A little sparkle goes a long way!

8. Gleaming Gold Furniture
In the theatre world, more is more. Forget your typical wooden furniture pieces and mix in a few shiny metals like brass, copper, and gold. Don't want too much spotlight? Sprinkle it around in small doses – like a gold accent table.

9. Broadway Memorabilia
If you're a theatre geek like me, you've been looking for a place to hang your play posters and musical flyers for a while now. Frame them and display them. You can incorporate other items, too, like ticket stubs in a picture frame, a Phantom of the Opera mask on the coffee table, and playbills on the bookshelf.

10. Silent Film Posters and Prints
Lastly, bring in some Old Hollywood glamour with silent film posters, black and white photographs of those 1920's and 30's screen sirens, and print-outs of your favorite silent film lines and frame them as art.

Your apartment or dorm will be ready for a silent film showing in no time!



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