Category Archives: Store it

Ashley’s Living Room

So you’re moving into a new apartment with a living area that’s a little snug, and need to figure out the right furniture layout?  Let’s see if we can help some.

Here’s Ashley’s new apartment (furnishings not staying, they are courtesy of the current tenant).  What, you don’t like the couch snuggling to that built in?   😉

living area closest to entry (left side of space)

That’s the side of the living area that is closest to the main entry.  This next photo is looking across the room, and the kitchen is to the right before the dining area.  Great, big, windows by the way.

view from entry towards right side of room (dining area)

We don’t have all the measurements or much sense for style preferences, but here goes.

The first thing to do is envision how you would use this space.  How many people do you want to fit comfortably, and what activities do you want the space to function for?  Ashley wants a space that will allow them to entertain, but most importantly that will be functional, cool, and comfy.

They own a 47″ TV, which needs to be considered when determining the furniture plan.  A TV this size typically requires a minimum of 6 feet viewing distance, but preferably 9 feet.  With a total room width of 9 feet (fireplace wall to opposite wall), if you are looking for *optimal* viewing that means the TV would flip to face the length of the room since you need to factor in seating, fireplace, etc.

This plan places the TV to the left upon entry to provide optimal viewing distance from a couch.

With this plan you can see the TV from the couch and dining area, if that is desired.  In any plan it is really important to consider the main circulation path, which for this room is from the left entry to the kitchen entry (right, before dining area).  It is also important to create a conversational arrangement where chairs and sofas face into each other.

If you need additional seating you could place a small profile bench along that circulation path with some throw cushions, or even a few movable ottomans which won’t be too intrusive.  The bench could also have storage underneath.

tufted cushion from Urban Outfitters

Here is another plan with the TV left.

This plan also places the TV left, with 2 chairs flanking the fireplace and a couch opposite.

This plan does not provide optimal viewing of the TV for most of the proposed seating.  This is OK if the TV is not to be the focus of the space, but rather you want a comfortable conversational arrangement and to maintain an open feel between the dining and living areas.   That is a good consideration if you entertain more people and some will overflow into the dining nook.

Here’s a third plan that keeps the TV facing the length of the space, but now it’s on the right side.

This plan offers a clear divide between the dining and living areas, keeping the TV facing the length of the space.

This places the TV in a room divider between the living and dining areas.  If you want a clear separation between the spaces, this could be a good option but you’ll have to walk around that chair.  Here’s a visual of the TV divider concept…

Create division between the spaces with an interesting TV stand.

The final option is to flip the TV to the right upon entry, placing it opposite of the fireplace.  This would allow you to enjoy both the fireplace and the TV, but consider that the seating arrangement will require you to turn your head to watch TV unless you are lying on the couch.

This plan places the TV opposite the fireplace.

You could do 2 couches facing each other, or 1 couch and 2 chairs, or 1 couch and 1 large chair.  It all depends on what would be most functional for your use of the space.  The biggest thing you need to consider with this plan is how you will handle your TV components.  Since this is a main circulation path you really should maintain a 3 foot path.  If you put the TV on that right wall then you need to consider how far the TV will jet into this walkway even if mounted on the wall, what you will do with all of your components (do you need a stand, too), and how annoyed you will be when everyone walks directly in front of the TV to go in and out of the room.

At this point we would want to hear from you as to what plan best accommodates your preferences and how you see using the space.  Each offers its pros and cons, so which do you think would be most functional?

You may be asking why we don’t propose to put the TV over the fireplace so everything is on one wall.  It’s not a stellar idea, especially in a space this narrow and with that size TV.  We guarantee an instant and painful neck strain if you do it.  When you are seated you should be comfortably looking straight ahead, not up.

Now let’s talk furniture.  Given the size of this space, we have proposed loveseats for couches.   Somewhere around 5′ is most ideal, a little bigger would be OK depending on the final configuration.  The style you pick is also important – a tailored look and smaller profile will really help in making the space feel larger.

Company C Parker armless 68 inches

Anthropologie Astrid sette, 60 inches wide

Anthropologie Astrid sette, 60 inches wide

John Derian Dromedary sofette, 56 inches wide

Chairs will depend on which plan you go with.  Side by side chairs should be smaller profile, but if you pick a plan with single chairs you can go larger and more comfy.  You could even consider a smaller rocking chair.

West Elm Ryder Rocking Chair

Using ottomans is going to be key in this space as they can be multipurpose – additional seating, coffee table, leg rest (necessity with small sofas).

matching small scale ottoman-tables

You could do something like this pouf from West Elm.

West Elm Andalusia Dhurrie Pouf

Or an upholstered one with legs.

West Elm Turned-Leg Dhurrie Ottoman

You could even throw some floor pillows in there in front of the fireplace to soften up that tiled hearth.

And place a mirror above the fireplace to create a larger sense of space as well as add a place where light can bounce and reflect (also note shelves here which we will get to).

Use a rug to define the living area space, but don’t allow the edge of the rug to intrude into the circulation path.  Either have it cover the entire path, or stop just short of it.

And lastly, for that recessed area over by the dining area we love the idea of built in shelves for additional storage.  There are a few fun options.  You could paint or wallpaper the back wall, and/or paint the shelves.  Place them in a  random pattern like this.

random shelving

Or mount them straight across.  You can go to home depot and have them cut boards to the exact size, and then mount them with brackets (go find some salvage ones and paint them, or Ikea has lots of cheap options).   You could also use hardware that will allow them to appear as they are floating.

shelves with painted brackets

Or how about wallpapering the shelves?  Consider even making that little nook a desk area, if you need one.

wallpaper shelves

OK Ashley, so hopefully we gave you some ideas and we can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

Does anyone have a favorite plan?

Happy weekend!

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Filed under Decorate It, Furnish It, Spaces, Store it

Storage Warz

Nope, Im not talking about the show, even though I admit it is totally addicting!! Today my friend Jen needs some ideas for toy storage and what to do with a printer when you don’t have a dedicated office.  So I’m going to try and help her out.

Those of you with kids understand what a challenge it is to keep your homes from constantly being overtaken by toys.  Family loves to spoil our little guy with billions of them, especially the ones with a billion more little pieces that can be used as weapons and thrown at our new TV.  He also totally needs a new stuffed animal every time they come to visit, right?  (we still love you and think its cute…)

Having storage options that allow you to easily re-organize the mess at the end of the day will help preserve a little sanity.  It’s good to have options that kids can easily maneuver themselves, so they can learn to put things away all by themselves {someday, Jack}.  When we design a space we take into consideration the style and available space, as well as what types of toys need a home. This will all determine what is the right solution for your space.  Variety is key.

Here’s a good combo of open shelves for display,  closed storage cabinet for messes, and a soft storage basket @ floor for easy access & clean up.  Soft fabric baskets are ideal because the kids can drag them around the space and not hurt themselves, or your precious floors.  Ikea has some great basic budget options, but you can also find lots of cute options on Etsy.

Evie Lala @ Etsy

I found these cotton baskets @ Pottery Barn a while ago.  We have a changing table with open shelves underneath, and since I knew Jack would do his best to pull down the diaper bin everyday I wanted something soft and light.

How awesome are these upholstered cubes?  A padded wall AND storage.  Mess with them by hiding new things in the cubes everyday.   That’s fun.

With Via boxes you can have fun picking colors and designing your own structure.   Let the kids stack/organize them like a set of blocks.  Creativity, structure, balance.  Jen already ordered these and I can’t wait to see what she picked out, great choice.

Kalon Studios has a similar option that are a little larger but less of a storage option.  A set of 3 nesting tables / stools with squares, circles, and lines. You can store the kids and they will have fun crawling through them.

Take an old box and paint it.  How cute are Jack’s handmade owls?

Check out ModBox on Etsy, adorable.

Take an old crate and put it on wheels, kids will love driving it around like a car.

or make/paint your own.

If you have open shelves, take a cardboard box and wrap it in fabric or fun paper.  Cheap but also not the most sturdy so probably want to keep it out of the kids reach.

One of my favorites.  Storage and a bench with soft cushion.

OK, now onto what to do with that not so attractive large box of a printer. They take up a lot of space, so not ideal to sit on the desk if you are limited.  But you also need it to be easily accessible.  Most printers these days are wireless, which means you don’t necessarily have to have it sitting right next to the desk.

For office stuff I gravitate towards storage solutions that don’t look like office furniture.  This is especially nice when you don’t have a designated office and want it to just blend in.  Hideaway!  One of the best solutions I’ve seen is modifying an Ikea dresser so that the drawer face hinges down so you can pull out the entire printer when needed.  Make some holes in the back to run your wires.

You could basically do this with any bureau or cabinet, just takes some handy work.

Young House Love writes about how they used the Effektiv cabinet from Ikea for their printer.

Transform a flea market find.

For a less complicated option you could also make your own “cover” using a wood crate that would also double as a place where you can rest things when not in use.  Picture something like this, flipped over.  Then maybe painted, or embellished with wallpaper.

Well, hopefully Jen that gives you some ideas. Let us know how you make out! And if anyone else has ideas for Jen, shout out!

By the way, Jen writes an awesome blog called Parenture that blends her love for travel with her love for parenting…as she calls it, the “inevitable adventures of parenting.” Check it out!

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Filed under Ramblings, Spaces, Store it