One complaint you often hear from those new to Foreign Service life is how awful the furniture is. To keep things simple (and, I imagine, cheaper, though I could be wrong; this is the government we're talking about), USG-provided furniture at posts worldwide is all exactly the same. There are a few varieties to choose from, but it's not at all unlikely that the same blue-and-gold floral print couch you hated in Kyiv will be waiting to greet you in Nairobi.
Having grown up in the service, I can attest that a lot of the models are the same now as they were 20 years ago. Our bedroom set is the exact same one I remember seeing in my parents' room in Tel Aviv in 1990. Heck, it might even BE the very same set that was in use in their room when we lived here in Moscow in 1986. I am so used to this furniture that it doesn't even bug me anymore, and it honestly had never occurred to me to try to make Embassy housing my own until I started to see how nice these apartments can look if you put a little effort into them. Friends of ours here on the compound have even painted their walls.
Anyway, the folks over at Something Edited This Way Comes have announced a contest for the best disguised Foreign Service Couch. Since, as I mentioned, I tend to just accept our housing pool furniture, our couch isn't really customized so much as covered in crap. I also take lots of pictures of my sewing and knitting projects on it - and I shouldn't, because it's really a horrible mustardy olive-drabby pukey kind of a color.
Anyway, just because I like entering contests, here's a photo of the couch covered in most of our cloth diaper stash. I call this style Fluffy Bum Couture.
For the record, I think another great contest would be something to do with the horrible drapes we seem to run into at every location around the world.