Why is it that we tend to put ourselves last? In my case it’s because I’m so busy designing other people’s homes that I run out of time for my own. Then, of course, there’s my family life, which always comes first before anything. So, I’m really thrilled that after a couple of years I’ve finally begun to work on my own living room.
Previously, I’ve used my living room as a template for two interior design companies that offer an online service. You can read my reviews of Designer At Home and and RoomJuice to see their solutions. The upshot is that, while I think this is a growing trend, it can’t yet compare to creating the best interior design solution without actually seeing the space. Read my reviews to see exactly what I mean.
I thought I’d share my interior design plans with you.
Here is the horrid picture of the living room “before”. I know, it’s a sad tale of woe.
I’ll spare you the gory details. But it involves no time and not enough parties. I definitely need to change all of that. Anyway, I did enough interior design work so as not to totally embarrass myself. The art placed along the floor was not part of the plan. I wonder how it got there?
Getting down to business, the major problem with the interior design of this long and narrow (23′ x 14′) room is that the coffee table is out of scale. It’s way too big. Basically, this is called Trying to fit the furniture from your old house into the new one. The sequel is called Then I got too busy to fix it.
Want to make your friends ooh and ahh over your beautiful living room? Don’t forget the recessed lighting. A good plan for recessed lighting is they key to creating a room that perfectly lights the room and adds some drama and romance. Take a look at a quick recessed lighting plan I designed.
The grey dots represents the recessed lights, or “downlighting” as we sometimes call then in the interior design trade. The first thing that might strike you is that they’re not placed in a grid pattern. You don’t need one because you want to highlight different areas of the room.
First, you must have proper ambient light. That means enough light so you can see. I’ve accomplished that pretty much with the lamps (in blue). Recessed lighting, set to their own switch, can add more if you need it.
Now for the most important part of your overall design of the room – the placement of your recessed lighting. You want to create drama! You may want brighter light on a rainy day. But you definitely want a romantic feel for parties and… well, use your imagination. Do this by putting you recessed lights on dimmers. This is essential! It might be the art, or it might be the seating.
Next, spot different areas you want to highlight. These can be things like artwork and separate seating areas, as I’ve done here. Set your switches so you can control what you want to highlight. Let’s take a look a few essentials.
On the left, I’ve installed three adjustable recessed lights to frame a large piece of art (in green). Lighting art obviously, brings more attention to it. The same goes for another adjustable recessed light over the mantle. By adjustable, I mean you can aim the lens at whatever you want. They’re not facing straight down.
Now, think of walking into a gently lit room for a party. The recessed lighting is focused on the seating and, therefore, highlights the people. There, again, is focus. That’s really important to creating a romantic and dramatic feeling. (Please note that the placement of my recessed lights aren’t perfect. Have your interior designer or a lighting expert plan the placement)
Here are a few tips to think about
Don’t place the recessed lighting directly over your guests’ heads or they’ll look like Frankenstein. Use a professional to help with the placement.
Step away from the grid! I promise you, no one will notice the recessed lights. They’ll be looking at that hot guy sitting on the love seat.
Use small, 4-inch recessed lights. The giant 6-inch “cans” are so last century.
Note that there a variety of adjustable recessed lights. You want the ones that don’t fall below the ceiling height. Halo makes a good product.
Don’t buy your recessed lights from the big box stores. They’re not the quality you want and a few dollars more will be money well spent. Go to a local electrical supply house. Or have your electrician buy them for you.
Have any questions, comments, photos you’d like to share? Ask away, comment away, and email your photos to me at designholeonline [at] gmail..com. Caio for now!
The Salone del Mobile celebrated its 50th birthday this year. Furniture companies, and the designers who work for them, stepped up to the plate with terrific new designs that pay full attention to the economy and current lifestyle changes. This was by far the best show I’ve seen in the years I’ve attended. Let’s take peek at what’s coming your way.
The typical straight lines and black and white colors that we think of when it comes to contemporary furniture are still on hand, but say hello to soft pastels and vibrant colors. They were everywhere and not just in lighting and accessories. Color is a major trend in furnishings.
Patricia Urqioula’s Klara Collection for Moroso. This was one of my favorites. I love the soft pink and the knit pattern.
Today is Earth Day. I’m beginning my Salone report today because eco-friendly designs were one of the major trends at this year’s show in Milan. Here are a few of my Earth Day favorites.
Emeco has created one of my top favorites – forgetting the eco-friendly element. Each of their new 111 Navy Chairs, is made from 111 plastic bottles, 65% recycled PET plastic and 35% glass fiber and pigment. This year, the chair has diverted 3.5 million bottles out of landfills. 111Navy is made in the United States, beginning in Tennessee and molded in North Carolina. Love it!
I’ve always loved the soft, buttery woods from 1920R. A few years ago, they had a small, lonely space. This year, their space was huge and business was booming. Their Briccole di Venezia collection was the star of their show. Made from Briccole, the posts standing in the lagoon from time immemorial. The old posts are replaced every year and 1920R is using those to create some beautiful tables and chairs. Venice is my favorite. See the rest on their site.
My other fave is their Aukland table made from Kauri trees that have been buried, due to earth quakes, under the earth for centuries. The wood has been preserved, not fossilized. Super cool. You can see a number of their Kauri designs here. Read More…
I first saw designs by Kenneth Cobonpue a couple of years ago and fell in love. With his lighting (not to worry misterarthur). I’m attracted to the natural and organic textures. He designs through his company, Hive. Here’s a Friday peek at one of my favorite resources. Read More…