Rooms within a Room

Have you too much space in a living room?  Often spaces can be too big, as big as a barn,and the spaces just don’t seem to be intimate, warm and welcoming. This may seem surprising, but it is as common a problem as too little space and is actually a little more tricky to make work.  Take some interest in the big public spaces around you – hotel lobbies and bistros – to get ideas. Notice how the different spaces work and how they have been linked together to make a cohesive whole.  Is it tied together with colour, similar furniture styles?  Is the flooring different? Note the layouts – you will see each has smaller zones for relaxing, dining, or conversation areas within the greater space.  It still functions as a seamless, personal attractive whole, and your large living room can be similarly zoned.

Furniture arranged in zones keep this room interesting.

Furniture arranged in different areas fill this room & allow for various activities. Held together with similar colours in wall & floor coverings. Via Damask & Dentelle.

To create a spacious feel, unify the room with colour, texture and light, to create harmony within the different areas.  Texture is the best way to add personality and keep things welcoming.  Using the same texture across the different zones and spaces will provide the glue that pulls the whole thing together.

Several seating areas have been created using different pieces.  Again held together with colour and pattern.

Several seating areas have been created using different pieces in this fabulous room. All held together with colour and pattern.

Keep furniture arrangements simple and easy to reconfigure for gatherings in different ways.  Buy more versatile pieces that can be used in different ways. Having a focal point – a large one such as a chimney surround or  a rustic armoire for example will brings warmth, texture and personal interest into a room and will anchor down the different areas/zones.

The fireplace anchors this room as it is the focal point.

The fireplace anchors this room as it is the focal point. Colours are repeated throughout, tying together the different areas.  Interior created by Cindy Rinfret

Get the bigger pieces such as sofas off the wall (have said this before) and then place a desk or even smaller chairs behind a sofa with a table in between  so that you immediately create another area.Thinking creatively about furnishings and re-inventing pieces will make the room even more interesting.

By keeping the chairs and tables simple and not too heavy looking-be sure you can see underneath them as this creates the illusion of space- they can be easily moved around to suit visitor numbers as and when required.

Largeroom2Layout

Note how the colours and tones are similar throughout. Textural interest and lighting help to anchor the scheme as does the contrast in scale and height of the furniture.

Built in seating is a good way to add interest and another zone to a room.

Built in seating is a good way to add interest and another seating zone in a room.

If you would like help with your large room layout please contact us.

Look and follow our Pinterest board for inspiration. (warning Pinterest is highly addictive!)

We also visited Sarsfield Brooke furniture showroom today, with lots of new furniture to get creative with.  Available through Interior Designers nationwide.

Related Links:

http://www.atlantahomesmag.com/

http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

http://rinfretltd.blogspot.co.nz/

http://www.damasketdentelle.com/en/

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How to buy a Quality Sofa II: Foams

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of talking to the Stage 2 class at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design which  has been the inspiration for this 4 part post on what makes a quality piece of furniture. First off it is the frame which we talked about in our last post. However Foams are equally important for supporting your body through their structure and how they shape a piece of furniture.  Then finally Cushions are the true source of comfort in a piece of furniture and the foam that goes in them is very important.

 

Be wary of a sofa that is super soft and squishy.  If it is soft on Day One  it will be positively saggy & offer no support by Day 365.  Your knees will be up around your ears when you sit down!  Equally be wary of a sofa that is way too firm.  Hard foam is not dense, and it is the density you pay for in a foam. Poor quality furniture has very little upholstery padding and the foams are cheap, cheap, cheap, light and offer no support. Look for lots of padding across the back and arms.  Look underneath the cushions.  You should not feel any sharp edges, staples, or the wood that lies beneath.  The piping and stitching should all be straight and not crooked.  Park your bottom on the seat.  Can you feel the front rail underneath your thighs? Can you feel any part of the frame beneath the foam? No?  Good, this could be the sofa for you then as it means lots of padding has been used and the seat foam is of decent quality.

 

Look for the use of Elephant foam, it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of firmness and stability which is good in a cushion. Memory foam and Luxura foam are used quite a lot but we wouldn’t recommend it to provide you with years of service.  Memory foam is lovely and soft and squishy for your sofa, but has no structure.  It was developed fas a topping foam for mattresses, and really should not be used in furniture.

Some manufacturers make a foam sandwich with their cushions.  But think about it – If you have a cushion that is 100mm thick you will get good structure by using all Elephant foam.  However, if you then make a ‘sandwich’ with Memory or Luxura foam (using 50mm of it for comfort) you will be taking away 50mm of structure and good support for your dear self in years to come.  So, it is a compromise.

 

In our next post we will talk about the cushioning on your sofa, and how elephant foam is used there along with feathers and other goodies.  Please come back to continue reading.

If you would like help selecting a comfortable, quality piece of furniture, we’d love to hear from you!

Be your own Interior Design Coach

Have an empty room or two in your home that you are not sure what to do with?  Are there things that your are not sure about/ scared of that are holding you back in getting started on the rooms? How long has that room been empty and unused? Do not continue to be frozen in fear of doing something just because you spent a bit of money on it a while back and it still isn’t correct.  You’re not using the room and that is wasteful in itself.  We have Life Coaches, Sports coaching, Personal Trainers these days, but often what you need to be is an “Interior Design Coach”.  (A lot of a designer’s job is planning, then trying to get the job done and moving a project forward.) Remember, every journey starts with one step. 

So, think:  “How do I want to use the room?”  “What do I want to do in here?”  Do you want to: Watch TV? Listen to music? Read? Entertain? Play the piano? Once you have nailed this think about placement of the important things for carrying out those activities. For example- if you are wanting to watch TV where is the ideal place for the TV to go?

TV

After positioning the TV correctly the furniture layout will easily follow on from there.  Questioning yourself and getting the priorities of the room sorted, will lead to getting the Room Layout correct and moving forward toward your goal.  Be prepared to spend the money to get wiring and the necessaries to that perfect place.  (You’d spend it on a personal coach if you wanted to get fit right?)

TV2

Don’t just make do and keep the TV outlet where the builder and electrician decided to place it when they were building.  It is never in the correct place, believe me. It is all doable, you just have to find the correct person to do the job and be prepared to spend the money to move a few things and maybe rejig the wiring.  If you decide not to do what deep down your heart is telling you do to do, it will be making a mistake.  Big expensive regrets.  The room will never serve the purpose you want it to, is always going to be half measure, unused and annoying you.  Did I also mention disappointing?   So, take a deep breath, make a plan and be your own Interior Design Coach and “Just Do It”.

If you would like help and free yourself from fear of making a mistake please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Related Articles:

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/on-line-design-class-starts-tomorrow/

http://justdecorate.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/are-you-color-hue-blind-try-this-website-tool/

Get the Furniture Moving

Another other big no,no is having all the furniture shoved against the walls. Am not sure why people do this – do they think it looks spacious?? Because, no it doesn’t! It just looks, well, weird!  Walking straight through a room is so dull & there is no interest or focal points.  One of the easiest ways to reinvent your space is to move furniture (sofas and chairs) off the walls.

“Yikes!” we hear you say, but remember how we said you have to have courage and need to be daring to be different. (It also doesn’t cost anything to try does it?) This can seem a little scarey, but please start by pushing  all the big pieces into the middle of the room. (You can play around with this by drawing different plans first if you want to save your back.)  Perhaps you could try the plan below?

Image

Have faith and just try this: Place sofas and chairs like they are talking to each other, because that is what you will do when sitting in them! Make conversation areas in L shapes or  U shapes- with sofas and chairs, whatever arrangement suits your space best. Then add in the area rug, coffee table or ottoman.  The side tables place in between to put your drinks, books, lamps.

Hey presto! With a little bit of imagination your room could look like the wow space below. Re-pinned from Abigail Ahern. The yellow sofa just says Kapow and that shot of colour totally lifts an otherwise monochrome space. Like the touches of whimsy with the cat cushion and sheep skin throws – all giving warmth and textural contrast too.

Image

Often our rooms are open plan so use the big pieces of furniture as walls,get the orientation right with the sofa and chairs & then add the smaller bits. Last up is the art and accessories, and the cushions can tie it all together.  Image

This could then be translated into this interior below:

Image

Here on you can see a similar seating arrangement to the plan above.  Shown in a blog written by Live Breathe Decor. Great combination of colours, with the tangerine warming up the cooler blues.  There is seating and comfort here for everyone, including the cat! Side tables positioned exactly where you need them for drinks, books etc.  Note the layering, layering, layering & repetition of the colours.

Feeling cold on a wintery day? Well, warm up by getting that furniture moving!  Will post again tomorrow with more notes from tonight’s talk at St. Heliers Library, 7.30pm.  See you there.