Design Crew

Posted on Thu, 4 Feb 2016 by KiM

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you…. that’s you lot… the readers! Hop to it. I know you have just the right solution. Today’s design dilemma comes from Paula.

Desperately seeking kim & jo’s interior ideas for a super/super long (24 feet long) by a super narrow (6 feet wide) living/dining/kitchen empty blank space that all connected open. I mean, I haven’t any clue how to explain this cold empty apartment and I am lost without a clue where to begin. Paula is looking to create a warm, calm, inviting home with the rather awkward space she has to work with as seen below.

I would like to share my thoughts and I hope many of you will too! First though – why oh why do people think dividing up a floor in an open concept space like this with 2 different materials is a good idea?! This space would be easier to work with and flow better if all the floor was hardwood. Paula I don’t know if you own or rent but either way, if you can swing getting that doing-nothing-for-the-space tile pulled up and replaced with the same hardwood that would be an awesome start. So I would basically pick a lovely calm, neutral colour and slap that all over all the walls. I usually say grey but you can really go with anything you like. Then pick 1 or 2 accent colours. I would then delineate your dining and living room zones using area rugs (neutral with a bit of your accent colour). I would get a round dining table and some not too weighty chairs like Eames or Philippe Starck’s Victoria Ghost chairs. I would try and find a very slim loveseat/sofa just under 6′ long and cram it in that nook under the 2 windows along the back wall. Or check if Ikea or small-space furniture companies makes a sectional that isn’t too bulky that might fit with the lounge part along the back wall. Then you can have a couple of occasional chairs in the more open area facing the loveseat with maybe a tiny table between them and they won’t be so crammed in. I would mount the TV on the wall behind that door in the photo above so it’s out of the way. That’s it – just keep a flow of colours throughout the entire space and keep every piece of furniture light, airy and ideally armless because I guarantee you’ll bring home furniture and wonder why it looked like a good size in the store but so big in your space. 

midcenturyjo says:

Hi Paula. Jo here. It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep so now is the perfect time for me to throw in my two cents worth. Not sure if it's just you living alone there but that's going to be my assumption. I'd place a sofa at the far end under those 2 windows. Small coffee table in front. Then 2 small chairs facing the sofa. Think low, leggy, armless, light weight or perhaps one chair and a small side table next to it if the chair is a bit bigger. Rug under all of this to define living "room". I see that your power point and aerial for the TV are where it is sitting on the floor. I'd mount the TV to the wall there on a swivel bracket then you can swing it towards the sofa or the kitchen and swing it back when not in use. A console or trunk or drawers etc underneath. Don't go crazy vignetting this as the TV will need room to swing through. If a dining table is not high on your agenda I'd suggest a long island bench (on wheels so yo can move it closer or further out) placed parallel to the wall of kitchen cabinets. That gives you more kitchen prep space and somewhere to sit to eat or chat on the stools you'll have pulled up to it. On that far wall I'd put some shelves or a cupboard or a credenza. Nothing too deep. If it is low like a credenza or console then a big statement piece of art above. Not sure if you are renting but if you can I'd change out the pendant lights for something less fussy and modern but your main light when you are not working in the kitchen should come from table lamps placed here and there.

Steve says:

That narrow dining area would be good with an "L" shaped banquette and dining table because it takes less width than a full set of dining table with chairs and because it makes the area more comfortable for occasional lounging and reading/working on laptop, etc. A banquette sort of makes it another living area, not just a dining room and it allows more color (upholstery) in that area to balance out the living room's furniture.

Axie says:

I'm in the same boat, er home, Paula. 30 ft long and 9 ft wide. 25 ft ceilings and a loft help. I'd love to hear arrangement solutions from everyone. too!

ombia says:

I like your suggestions above.
Here some inspiration for a narrow living-dining-kitchen space.
Also I do understand if somebody cooks twice a day it is not really practical to have a wooden floor in that area. Rather something what you can scrub daily and remove tomato sauce, some oil or oder accidents.

And multipurpose furniture – a stool/table or two in one.

ombia says:

I posted a long answer with many links and it is gone. Would just say – search pinterest for narrow spaces and use multifunctional furniture like stoll/sidetable or two in one.

I like to have tiles in a kitchen and have a chance to scrub them all the time properly. Wood would suffer from oil stains, tomato sauce ups-ies etc.

Paula says:

Hi Everyone!

Having a goal to demystify decorating led me to desire to inspire. I hadn’t a clue what to do or where to begin in transforming an awfully long & narrow living space into a warm, cozy and safe home. Kim listened to the issues surrounding the odd space and immediately offered to post pics of my rental apartment and create a reader's dilemma post.

Since I am a visual person, initially, in thinking over her generous offer, well, It was my belief I would encounter an obstacle while reading ideas on how to improve the aesthetics to the inside of the apartment without illustrations. I couldn’t “imagine” – couldn’t “see” how it would be possible to understand concepts and “words” being posted as comments by your readers.

My doubts diminished while reading both Kim and Jo’s comments. What I discovered was amazing! They provided a clear picture of what the future space can transform into and they were able to communicate their vision. They decoded the mystery of the entire process as they strategized about dividing up the space, color schemes, even factoring in practical consideration for a renter, and their combined use of descriptive words surrounding different types of furniture created a visual that made sense, it all came together, it all “click” in my head.

I began to “see” each piece in isolation. Easily I could “imagine” how it can be layered piece by piece, diving up & delineate the space with usage of rugs, honestly, I could go on and on but that would be silly.

Your aim was to—inspire. Well, mission accomplished. Kim, & Joe, both of you have inspired me so much today that I find myself walking with a beautifully unassuming swagger that reflects newly gained confidence.

To all your faithful readers offering wonderful ideas to help me turn my cold scary apartment into a warm and safe home, I Thank you ever so much!!!!!! Paula

KiM says:

So glad this helped with your dilemma Paula! Good luck!

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