into smaller spaces

Little Friends
[I love the photo above, and the book by Seth Casteel featuring his amazing underwater photography.  This is a completely unsolicited blurb.  Just love the images.  Click on the link above to find your copy.]

So, I have a few friends and clients who have downsized lately.  Many from very large to not so large homes.  But some from large to very very small homes or apartments.  
Some are retired, some are divorced, some are empty nesters, some are temporary,
 all are trying to make small spaces cozy and efficient.

much like this reader who asked me to help her with her very tiny apartment in the big city

Hi Claudine.
I've been following your blog for a while and only (finally) today did I decide to take the plunge and write you an email.  Here is my situation: I just recently moved between cities and I'm now living in Toronto, Canada where every living space is TINY.  I'm having so much trouble making my place look nice and homey...it's depressing to be honest. I spend days and nights trying looking at websites trying to find inspiration but I can't seem to be able to apply it to where I live. My walls are bare and although I have some great stenciling ideas for the walls, I always think that it's going to look crappy.
I've attached 2 pictures of my living room, which is the area in dire need of an appropriate design. 
I was hoping you could help me with some ideas so make it look better. One thing to keep in mind, I have a black dog that sheds...so I can't do with light colors or else his hair will show all the time. 

I know it's asking for a lot but I would truly be eternally grateful.
Thank you!!!

Dear Sofia - I'm happy to help!
Right off the bat I can see quite a few things you have going for you in this apartment.  Lovely wood floors, large window with good light, good layout, good taste in furniture.  It just needs a little cozying up....

Adding fabric will soften, add pattern and texture and color to your room.  I would add floor length curtains to the outside of your windows.  You have blinds (is it blinds?) so you don't need them to close across your windows, but they should start at the top and touch the floor.  No gap between the floor and the bottom of the curtain.  Its better they puddle a little than come up short.

This diagram shows the proper way to hang curtains - 
makes the window look larger and doesn't block any light.

find coordinating fabric pillows to cozy up your sofa
You have a Magenta rug.  
If you like that color, consider adding some navy and white, or acid green to that palette - 
or find a fabric pattern that you like that has the magenta in it 
and pull in some of the other colors in the fabric.

I can't see your side table or the items on it very well, which leads me to believe it
 should be a little more substantial and a little taller.

I'd also like to see a coffee/cocktail table in front of the sofa. 

If things are too tight for a piece of furniture there, 
tray for your ottoman would allow you to add some accessories 

I like the idea of a painted treatment on the wall behind the sofa
as an accent wall
to add color and pattern -
perhaps horizontal stripes?

subtle, not overpowering

You mentioned a stencil treatment.
If I were to use a stencil treatment it would have to be an entire wall stencil treatment
more current, and looks more like wallpaper
No borders.  They are decades old and will date your room.
you can purchase stencils online for this treatment..

don't let your t.v. be lonely,
frame it with art or photos and make the art and the television become one large statement 

Change your lamp out for a more substantial lamp - larger base, bigger shade.
Let it make a statement.
Depending on your choice, it can add color, or shine, or interest.
Add a floor lamp on the other side of the sofa.
You can never have too much light.

 These rooms are quite similar to yours in size and layout.
Both have rugs to define the living room space.
A rug adds so much interest in a room
softness, pattern, warmth
Your current rug is a little small for the living room space
make sure you choose one large enough to fill the space, not float in it

The sofa wall has a piece of art on it that is a little small for the wall.  Not that you need a huge piece of art.. in fact several pieces can read as one larger art statement
You can add two additional framed pieces to the sides or do something else entirely.
It is also a little high on the wall.  
[Most people hang their wall art too high]
Art over a sofa should work with the sofa as a unit and not take away from the furnishings. 

little things finish a space
and make it personal
your rooms should reflect your personality
so make sure you inject them with a healthy dose of YOU

YOUr colors
YOUr photos
YOUr reading material
YOUr interests
YOUr favorite things

Adding an accent chair to your living room will add additional seating 
and allow good conversation flow.  
It will feel more cozy.  
Don't be afraid of adding furniture in a small room. 
Just keep the scale of the furniture a little smaller. 

think outside the box
this floor plan looks very much like yours 

if you picture your television on the left


1 comment:

Decorate with floor lamp said...

Very creative ideas at all! Especially floor lamps. They are a beautiful, not kitschy, not plain too.

Thanks for this informative and rich in ideas!


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