In Part I: 9 Elements to Create A Small Living Room That Inspires You Daily, I covered these elements: wall storage units; the sofa and sectional; the side chair(s); and floor pillows, poufs and ottomans. In Part II, I discuss lighting, area rugs, cocktail and side tables, texture and accents--and you. These are the elements that complete or rather give the finishing touches to that will inspire you daily.
Many standard apartments come with ugly, boring dome shaped lights that hug the ceilings. You may be asking why bother. To some extent, I agree. However, if you're goal is like mine which is to create a home and not just a place to park belongings, then I say if at all possible, bother with replacing them. Of course, you can just try to ignore them and never turn them on. Focus your lighting scheme with table and floor lamps. Which ever you choose, here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting lighting for your apartment living room:
- Lighting is described in three categories. General lighting or otherwise called ambient lighting and covers general area in a room. Task lighting to illuminate a specific space, such as a desk for writing or home work or a table for sewing. Then there is accent lighting also for a specific area but focuses on such items as art, architectural features, even a plant.
- Light up the corners of the room to eliminate cold uninviting shadows.
- Floor lamp lighting is best when at 68" from the floor. This will mask your eyes from looking into a glaring light bulb whether you are standing or sitting. Of course, that's if you have a shade over the light bulb.
- Lighting is now measured by "lumens." For ambient lighting in the living room look to 1,500-3000 and for task lighting, such as reading, look to add 400 lumens.
Area rugs are especially great for defining your living space in apartments when sharing one large floor space includes the living and kitchen zones. Area rugs are particularly useful when that one large space is a studio apartment. Other advantages to adding an area rug allows you to do the following:
- create a layered look;
- enjoy additional comfort; and
- anchor your color scheme.
Tables and More Tables: Coffee Tables, Side Tables
There never seems to be enough space for these very useful furniture pieces. They're gorgeous to have but more important, they have multiple functional uses from storage to displaying art objects and reading materials to providing additional seating in the case of some cocktail tables. Sides tables are often small and really pretty but are relegated to holding a light fixture and a few objects. But living in an apartment where storage rates premium, I say designers and manufacturers really need to create more sides tables that give storage and are also drop dead gorgeous like the mirrored storage chest below.
On the matter of cocktail tables, I honestly believe these too should be multi-functional. Even in a small apartment, the larger the cocktail, the better because it can do so much more than hold a drink or a magazine. Getting one that invites extra seating for dining, playing games or even holding your laptop makes it multi-functional.
Texture And Accents
Texture can be visual and textile. Both are key elements to creating a welcoming home. If all elements in your apartment decor are smooth or rough, this can be quite boring and dull. Even if you take a very modern approach of slick furnishings, you will notice that there is still some differences in texture. For example, the ultra modern apartment living room below has an abundance of smooth surfaces. Look closer and you will see a touch of rough texture in a single plant. Do you see another?
Clearly this modern black and white apartment living room, though restricted in color and lines, stunningly juxtaposes smooth and rough texture. The ornate black side chair is wonderful counter point to the clean simple lines in the sectional, cocktail table and wall entertainment unit.
Your accents is how you tell your story and who you are in more details. In many ways, it says who you are and what is important to you: your family, your first born, your dog, your hobby and your collected interests. Offer these up in your decor to greet you when you walk into your living room. They conjure up sweet memories, love and happiness.
I just had to add this dark moody living room. It's part of an apartment renovation where the walls are dark, pops of pink are added, book collection wall paper and interesting furniture collections. See the rest of the apartment on Soul Design Studio:
And Then There Is You
Are you like me, having downsized from the multitude of decisions, contractors and maintenance responsibilities of a home? Are you hoping to leave your rental and move into a home? Or are you just a very busy entrepreneur, a career or careers seeking millennium? It really doesn't matter where you are in life, your home is where you end your day. A good chunk of your budget goes into it and you work hard to keep it. Don't just park your belongings there, watch T.V. and eat and sleep there--make it the most magical place you can escape to and share if you wish with those you want to be with.
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