Saturday, June 23, 2012

Scale - making a small room look bigger and a big room feel cozier

You walk into a room and you feel like you are  Gulliver in Lilliput, or maybe the other way around as if this room is too big for you. What should you do?

If you get the sense as if the dimensions of the room are smallish - meaning you are like Gilliver walking in Lilliput - you want to create the illusion as if your room is spacious.
Getting the feeling of small doesn't mean that your room is really small, it means we need to work and organize it so you will not get that feeling anymore.

Here are some ground rules for you to follow:
First, Think Small.
You don't need kid's furniture, but you also don't need the four seater sofa. Make sure your furniture scale is small. Window treatments are simple. If you are using fabrics with patterns, make sure the design motif is small.

Second, use Light colors on the walls and Dark color for the furniture.
Light colors on the walls expand the sense of space. If you are using drapes, use a light colors for them as well.

Small Living room that feels just right

Do you know the phrase, "Black makes you look thinner". This phrase does also apply to your furniture.
Maybe not in these exact words but the concept is the same. Darker furniture look "better" in a smaller space. If you use a light colored upholstery fabric, you make the furniture look bigger. 
Again if you want to use pattern on the furniture, choose a motif with a small design. 

Third, Aim for unity.
Try to use matching furniture with the same fabric on them. Window treatments that continue the flow of the walls and not break it up (if you are using a wall paper, try to use a matching drape).

You get the idea on a small room, now what do we do for a big room? exactly the opposite.
A large living room that feels nice and cozy
For a large room we want to give a cozy feeling, so our ground rules should be:
First, Thinking BIG.
Big furniture, elaborated window treatments. Big and bold patters on your upholstery.

Second, Dark colors on the walls - Light colors on the furniture.
When painting the walls in a darker color we get the illusion that the walls are much closer than they really are.
As appose to the smaller room, we want our furniture to have the feeling of big, so we need them to be in a light color and/or with a big and bold patters, otherwise they can "get lost" in the room.

Third, Diversity.
A large living room that makes you feel as it's too empty
Big rooms can handle different patters on the furniture (just don't take it to the extreme with each piece with a different patter).  You want the window treatments to stand out in contrast to the rest of the walls so they break out the large expanse of the walls. You can also use an Oriental rug.

Decorating your room is a challenge, but now you know what to do.

Till next time,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Living room design with kids in mind

As a mom for three young children, I always concerned for my kids' safety.
As an Interior Designer, I always consider how my house looks.
Do the two have to conflict? Not necessarily.

I remember as a teenager I used to baby-sit my neigh borer's two young children.
Their mom collected antiques. I remember whenever I came to stay with the kids, the rules were very streaked "Kids can only play in their room and eat in the kitchen".
The kids knew the rules and were terrified to break them.

My parents, on the other hand were very easy going. My siblings and I could hang wherever we wanted as long as we are safe.

At my house there is a balance (I hope) between the two approaches.
My Living room is sophisticated enough for adults and still safe for young children.

How can you accomplish that? place something in your living room that your kids know they can touch.
That way, when they are in the room it's not all "off limit" for them.
I once designed a room where there is a special drawer in this beautiful antique table, all filled with the toddler's toys. She loved it and the room still looked clutter free.

Coffee Table with Accessories that are kids' friendly

Of course if you have a big house and you can have two living spaces, one more kids friendly and one formal there is no problem for you, but just in case you don't there is a solution.

Till next time,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lighting fixtures - Interior Design 101 or No idea what are you talking about

Before I studied Interior Design, I had a feeling on where things should be placed in a room, what colors should I use etc., but I had no idea how they were called.

So in this first 101 session I plan on giving you some guidance so you will talk like a pro!

In this session, we'll be talking about Light.

Lighting fixtures are divided into five categories, depending on how they are placed in the room:
Wall Fixtures, Ceiling fixtures, Indirect Lighting fixtures, Floor fixtures and Table fixtures.
Each type of light serves a purpose. I am not trying to explain their purpose now just give you the idea of what they are.

Wall fixtures are mounted to our walls like Sconces, Swivel arms, Makeup light and Wall cans. The light that they cast can be in different directions. Some up, some down and some both up and down.
* Something very important to remember, when placing a sconce place it 5'6" from the floor.
Wall Light - light spread up and down

Ceiling fixtures, are what we use to see on the ceiling.
It is usually a socket in the middle of the ceiling and it gives a lot of light. A chandelier is a perfect example.
Other ceiling fixtures are Downlights which are the modern version of a chandelier. It can be recessed downlights, surface mounted downlight and track lights.
Each provides light from the ceiling down to the floor but it will be spread differently.

A combination of two different ceiling lights - see the light spread?
Indirect Lighting fixtures provides, as you probably guessed from it's name, an indirect light. These types of fixtures often provide subtle, yet dramatic, ambient lighting in a room. Why is that? because they provide soft even lighting on a large area. Their light reflects on a surface such as a wall or the ceiling.
Falling under this category are the in-cabinet lighting,  under cabinet lighting and indirect window lighting (i.e. light behind a valance).

Dramatic light

Floor fixtures are referred to fixtures that rest on the floor. Floor lamps and floor cans falls under this category.
Today's selection of floor lamps is huge and as you can make a design statement with a chandelier, the floor lamp is also the way to do so.

Table fixtures are fixtures that rest on a table. They are less likely to be used in Contemporary designs.

In every room you design there should be a combination of at least two of the above types.
Ceiling light and under cabinet light

Till next time,