The 1 splurge
When Kaplan was a production designer on "The X-Files," she had to solve her own baffling mystery: how to make agent Dana Scully's apartment visually compelling on a budget.
While the character was living on a government salary and wearing virtually the same outfit every day, viewers needed to glimpse Scully's interesting, quirky side, says Kaplan.
The solution? Go with one attention-grabbing piece.
In Scully's case, Kaplan selected a pricey, vintage refrigerator and stove set.
"It looked fantastic," she recalls. "It was a very common space, but you see it and say, 'This kitchen is amazing.' The kitchen's not amazing, but the refrigerator made the space. Everything else I got at Ikea."
"Get that one thing that ties the space together," Kaplan says.
It may take a little research and time, she says, "But it's worth your while."