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If your dream home is more of a compact condo than a mansion—or if you reside in one of Seattle’s many small homes—getting the most out of your living space can be a challenge. Combining the functions of your rooms will not only maximize your space, it will free up other areas to use as you please. Here are three ideas for room combinations that work well:
1. The bedroom and the living room.
Ah, the studio apartment—typical for single dwellers and young couples, this tiny space can be tough to design. But even if you live in a studio (or a basement), you can get the look of a separate living room and bedroom as long as you visually separate the space. False walls, curtains and tall bookshelves are easy options for this. Arrange your living room furniture into one compact conversation area and section off your bed and dressers with your furniture or false walls. Add an area rug to the “living room” to further divide the spaces.
Of course, you can also enjoy the look of one open area. The trick is to make sure your bed is properly styled. Pick out bedding the complements the decor of your living area. Keep your bed made and pile on the decorative pillows.
2. The living room and the home office.
If you need to set up a home office but don’t have a spare bedroom, the living room is the most obvious choice. You can choose to separate the spaces, tucking your desk into a corner and lining the walls around it with shelving and other storage. Or you can choose to make the office part of your living room, working the desk into your decor. Whatever you decide, make sure to schedule plenty of personal time if you work from home—it will be necessary since you never actually leave the office!
3. The guest room and the home office.
One easy room combination: the home office and your spare bedroom. The trick to pulling it off is investing in a Murphy bed, a pullout sofa or a futon. That way your guests will have a designated space while they’re staying with you—but when they leave, you can fold it up and get back to business. If you have a traditional bed, you can separate the sleeping area from your work area with a tall set of shelves.
Decorating your home should be a fun process, though it often comes with its share of challenges. Unless you live in a perfect space and have a sky high budget, you’re bound to hit a snafu or two. If any of these common decorating dilemmas have affected you, we’ll show you the simple solutions:
- Problem: a small living room. Consign Design is located in Seattle, which is full of modern condos and apartment complexes with smaller interiors. Setting up a small living room can be a challenge, but the key is to pick your pieces wisely. Filling a small room with small furniture will only make the room look smaller, believe it or not. Instead, add a few large, well-proportioned pieces of furniture you know you’ll utilize. Add some cheerful artwork, window treatments and a large area rug to brighten up the space.
- Problem: an outdated dining room. The dining room is usually the space in a home that is updated the least often. Since it’s such an essential room for hosting dinner parties, celebrating holidays and enjoying family meals together, your dining room should always be kept up-to-date. You can keep the dining room table and chairs classic—we’ve got a great selection of affordable designer dining room furniture here at the store. But update the room with contemporary touches, like a bold accent wall and elegant centerpieces.
- Problem: creating the perfect gallery wall. Gallery walls look chic and glamorous. But putting one together is often more challenging than it looks. If you’re working with a group of artwork that is cohesive, stick to similar frame styles and sizes that reflect the theme of the work. This will give you a polished look. Anchor the layout by placing two large, important pieces in the middle of the gallery space. Build out from there, being careful to keep the main focus at eye level.
- Problem: your space is always cluttered. Piles of bills, magazines, and other items that just don’t seem to have a place can cause quite the clutter pile-ups on tables and counters. Aside from becoming perfectly organized overnight (ha!) the solution is finding creative storage space. Invest in side tables with drawers, stock shelving units with pretty boxes you can fill with old photos and letters, and use common household items for small knick knacks—mason jars are great for storing pencils and pens, for example. Devoting 10-15 minutes every day to clutter clean up will prevent the task from getting overwhelming.
Whether you have a small or a large living room, knowing how to arrange your furniture properly will allow you to best utilize your space. Even small rooms can look larger if the furniture is properly placed, while bigger living rooms will accommodate even more pieces with the right guidelines. Take these five tips into consideration when arranging your living room furniture.
1. Arrange pieces to encourage face-to-face conversations. Arranging the seating pieces to face each other makes conversation easy. Place your coffee table in between the facing furniture so you can set drinks and books on it.
2. The natural parameters of your living room make a great guide for arranging furniture. If the room doesn’t have a fireplace, arrange seating so that it takes advantage of a view (of the window or a TV). If you have a large area used for living and dining space, divide it into separate zones. Make your couch face away from the dining room table and place an area rug underneath the dining room table to form a clear separation.
3. Give your couch a little space. Placing a couch a few inches away from a wall will create a little breathing room, making the space seem larger. Give chairs or end tables a little space as well. Chairs that face each other should be no more than eight feet apart, however, so conversations can flow easily.
4. Create order with symmetry. Place matching end tables on the sides of the couch, topped off with matching lamps. Matching occasional chairs should be lined up symmetrically as well. Symmetry creates a sense of order and organization.
5. Consider traffic flow. Allow about 30 inches between pieces in places where you’ll need to walk around and about 16 inches between a coffee table and a sofa. You don’t want to create any tight squeezes, and you’ll want to be able to reach your drink or the remote control from the couch.
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