5 Tips I Learned When Decorating A Combined Living And Dining Room

Floor space in many apartments combine living and dining rooms.  You also see this layout in homes, especially small homes. I've certainly had my share of living in such spaces. The challenge is how to keep these rooms decoratively cohesive.  How do you create a decor that is inviting while making the rooms truly functional.  Here's 5 tips that I had discovered.

1. Color

Unless you're inspired to design your space like a Picasso or Jackson Pollock painting, keep your color choices to a minimum.  (Guess what?  By the end of this post, you'll see this rule broken--but in good taste.)  Select a dominate color and play off that with varying shades, complementary or even contrasting colors.  For example, here the light gray rug and sofa color is the dominate.  The wall color is the same but in a lighter shade.  Warm wood tones in both spaces are like support players in making the rooms visually cohesive.  

BHG article on how to build a wall divider

BHG article on how to build a wall divider

Space permitted, as you see above, a wall divider will certainly mark your space.  But note too the color of the wall and the flooring gives this divided room color cohesion.  Other color elements are also at play here, such as the values of the colors (from contrasting to same intensity).  The orange her is a perfect example that you can use strong contrasting colors.

Let's look at a couple more:

color2-combined-living-dining-spaces

2. Group Furniture To Define The Space

The images above certainly illustrate this tip.  No brainer, right?  So group your furniture together but you can break this rule and still create gorgeous rooms--when done with other rules in mind.

The designer for this living and dining room combination maintained the rule to group furniture but placed a sideboard (or server) in the living room sitting area.  It's placed close to the dining room and functionally serves both areas.  But note too, its wood coloring is the same as the dining table and base legs for the dining chairs and living room side chairs.  Again, the rule for coloring is repeated in the gold light fixtures, drapery rod and the brass cocktail table.

3. Carry The Same Style Throughout The Spaces

In the two images above, the rooms are created in the contemporary style, while the room above mixes a bit of glamour and traditional.  Still, it maintains a cohesive style by iterating curvy, wavy lines in the white furnishings, wall shelves and mirror while softening the curves to an oval shape in the cocktail table and sofa.  What you don't want clearly is a kitchen table sharing the same space as your sofa.

4. Clear Space For Good Traffic Flow

You don't want your guests or even yourself bumping into furniture that blocks traffic, especially when that trip is to the restroom.  Nor do you want guests bumping into or stepping on each other.  (Okay, so its allowed in college dorms.)  Here are some excellent examples of small spaces but with good traffic flow in small spaces:

Houzz.com from Nicole Lanteri, Interior Designer & Decorator (loft living)

Houzz.com from Nicole Lanteri, Interior Designer & Decorator (loft living)

Apartment Therapy Jackie Clair's Home Tour

Apartment Therapy Jackie Clair's Home Tour

Houzz via Miller & Wright Architects

Houzz via Miller & Wright Architects

5. Light'N Up And Have Fun!!

Even the most serious decor could use a little levity.  Life is short.  You don't even have to go crazy about it. A happy paint color, a fun piece of furniture, accessories and paintings will all do the job.    

Pinterest via Houzz

Pinterest via Houzz

It's so exciting to decorate a small space.  I've often thought it is easier than decorating a large one.  These 5 tips are really from my own experiences.  And I have had examples of both the not so successful rooms and the successful ones.

What's been your experience?  You can share the faux pas too!!  I promise not to laugh:)  But please do share.  BTW, let me know if you like this post or share with your decorating buddies.

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