Styling a room versus filling it with crap… there is a book for that.
During my most recent book shop crawl I found this gem of a book called Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson. If you have art and travel treasures and things you love and find beautiful and meaningful and want to display them in a way that honours them and inspires you then this book is for you!
Interior design is a mix of technical work and artistry. I define “styling” for our clients as placing and arranging all their art, collections, books and “treasures”. Styling with art and objects that have beauty and meaning. This is the perfect way to finish a technically well planned space. Styling a room is like the jewellery on an outfit. It finishes it and adds soul to the space. It reflects the most important thing about your space which is you.
What I believe:
I believe the things you have in the room should have meaning and value to you. In that they make you happy or remind you of people or experiences that feed your soul. Things that inspire you with their beauty or function. The bags of knick knacks from home decor shops dragged into your home in the hope of injecting this feeling is futile. I strongly discourage it! Personally I am not a fan of over doing “stuff” in a room. Stuff for stuff sake or “shelf shit” as my friend calls it detracts rather than enriches a space. An empty shelf or table top is better than one that is filled with things that mean nothing to you.
How Good Space Plans Online deal with Styling:
We have worked out a way to help our Good Space Plans Online clients with styling. Good Space can do that when we are not in the same city let alone the same room! There is a great styling section in the Good Space online plans that we create for our clients. I know this is really helpful for hanging art and placing treasures
What if there was something totally free that you could do to feel good in your home even if your home isn’t perfect or close to how you want it to look yet?
What are you focusing on?
It is becoming a well documented scientific fact that our brains search out and hang on to the negative. I invite you to start to notice when you do this about your home. Raise your hand if you have ever welcomed guests at the door and immediately apologized for or pointed out a mess or a flaw in your wall or furniture? My hand just went up for sure!
We unconsciously and sometimes consciously find the flaws or failings of our homes, furniture and fittings. This causes us to spend precious energy focusing on it without any intent or willingness to take action to change it. It becomes a habit and unknowingly starts to change the relationship we have with our homes. I don’t believe this serves us or gives our homes the love they require to support us as we live our busy modern lives.
What we focus on expands.
There is a fun game that my grandson and I play it can be played inside or outside. We say, find all the blue or red or yellow and it is amazing what we see. Suddenly so many objects with that colour appear and we didn’t notice them before. All that changed was that we focused and looked for it! I think this is true about our homes too. If we focus on the flaws then they too seem to expand and become all we see.
Change the focus.
It seems reasonable to conclude that if it works one way then it can work the other way too. By focusing on what we love or what makes us feel good in our homes we expand and notice these things instead. This seems like a healthier more productive practice. To be grateful for those things that sustain and enrich us and to openly express what we are grateful for and love about our homes feels so much better. This becomes the path to making good choices and planning for changes to our homes.
Let’s find the good and build on that.
Through our work as interior designers we have the privilege of helping people find the good in their homes as we work together to create beautiful and sustaining spaces. Whether it is online or in person we believe this is the foundation of our work. Find the good and what our clients feel they really need and want in their homes and build on that!
Lighting Design for Your Small Space
The final of a four part Good Space Plan Online series.
Lighting, we can’t say enough about it!
We believe well considered lighting is essential for your comfort. This is particularly important in small spaces where one room has an influence on the next. The reason being they share the lighting. Firstly, we put dimmers on all the switched fixtures and then we drill down on the details.
If there is a dining area fixture…
We like to play with scale and select a maximum sized dining fixture that is fabulous to look at and delightful to experience. A big “ta-da” with lots of light and interest. It is the star of the show. Once this is in place all the other lights can quietly do their job. These fixtures work by supporting the space, providing general lighting and task lighting as required.
The supporting cast of light fixtures…
Because we have minimised table tops in living areas and the bedroom, table lamps are often not possible. At Good Space we use floor lamps and our most favourite kind of small space lamp, wall mounted lamps! These are fantastic and offer super functional light without taking up precious table top or floor space. Some of these fixtures have two lamps in one – which are great as bedside lights. We search out fixtures that are dimmable.
The price of real estate aside….
Living in smaller spaces puts us in closer proximity to our work places, our activities and interests. Small spaces can simplify our lives and minimize the stress and expense of maintenance. A well designed space of any size supports you by freeing up precious time and resources to enjoy your life.
At Good Space Plans Online we work with you through a highly engaging online interior design experience that gives you peace of mind, certainty and an achievable design plan for your home.
The Design of Your Bedroom in a Small Space.
When is bed more than a bed?
When it has integrated storage! How much stuff is under your bed? True confessions are that mine doesn’t have an inch of space left under there! That is why we love a lift storage bed – these add an amazing amount of storage and function. The reason a lift storage bed is usually the best option for small spaces is that it goes up and not out like drawers. Storage beds with drawers when opened require space around the bed, often in small spaces this isn’t possible. Well designed lift storage beds allow some toe space under them. If you have ever smashed your toes on the bed you will know what we mean. There are wood and upholstered options so lots of creative possibilities.
Tip: A lighter weight mattress is best for a storage bed – especially a king!
Where does my coffee go?
Bedside tables also have potential for storage. The key is get the height right – you don’t want to reach up from your mattress to your bedside table top. These can be freestanding or wall mounted – we think the surfaces should be durable or at least have a tray for protecting the top from a hot coffee mug – because a cozy coffee or tea in bed is the best!
Bedside lighting is for next week…
Your bedroom or your sleeping space is sacred space and worth taking the time to select the best things for you and your bedroom experiences.
Next week: let’s talk about Lighting…
Multi Purpose Furniture for Designing Your Small Space
Furniture for small spaces has become the norm and much easier to find! Smart and creative multi use pieces make a huge difference when furnishing a small space.
Extendable Dining Tables – are not a new idea for small spaces
Anyone who remembers digging in the back of a closet or under the bed for those heavy wood “leafs”? Then you will appreciate a self storing dining table. There are wood and glass top options of expandable dining tables. Both styles have “leaf” storage integrated into the table itself. This smart table reserves your precious storage spaces like the closet and under the bed for better things.
Dining Chairs – have more potential than you think…
Whenever possible we choose dining chairs that can also be used as a task chair and living area seating. Chairs designed with accommodating or soft seats and backs with handsome upholstery transition from purpose to purpose and room to room seamlessly, and they don’t have to be huge to be comfortable. Chairs with low backs keep them from taking up visual space.
That snappy trendy little chair that looks fantastic in a magazine or showroom… may not be fantastic for sitting through dinner and a movie or responding to all your emails. Summing up… a good dining chair is a worthwhile investment for your small space.
Next week: let’s go to the bedroom
What We Think About When We Design Your Small Spaces
At Good Space we love to think about you, your home and your comfort there! So we always start with getting to know you!
Let’s begin to get to know you:
It is important to be honest about how you live – is it you and Netflix at home or do you have people in for dinner or social events or sports nights? Do you have pets, kids, an entourage? A deep dive into your lifestyle and heartfelt needs in your home is the most important place to start when designing any space.
Thinking of you and your needs rather than what may impress others or look like a magazine photo takes a bit of focus on your part but will be worth it when you you feel genuinely welcomed every time you come home! When we are working with clients through this phase we call it the Inform phase – it is the most important part of the collaborative design process.
No matter how many people (or pets) are in your home the plan should be for them to be comfortable – we are passionate about people first in a space- we always try to maximize the seating and the function of a space no matter the size.
How to Maximize Seating
When we are space planning a room we select the largest possible sofas and chairs and make sure they don’t have fat arms or thick backs. This leaves the remaining area of the piece for people or pets…. because that is what really matters in your space no matter how big or small it is!
Where does your drink go?
We always allow space for side tables because we believe every seat in a living area should have a place to set a drink or a book. Narrow side tables are the best way to create this. As the concept of living with less catches on the options for these small versatile tables is getting better every day!
Next week: more about furniture…
1. Decide to completely change their style and go in an entirely opposite aesthetic direction for their new home.
2. Decide to keep furniture because it “cost a lot of money” rather than will it actually physically fit in the new space.
The Unfortunate Reality
Unfortunately the reality is that what you paid for something won’t make it fit or be of value to you in your new home. If you can’t move freely in the space because of your expensive dining table then it isn’t serving you.
As for style change, the most common decision is to go “modern” like show suites or magazines. Modern is often confused with hard and uncomfortable. Remember you don’t change because you move, your desire for comfort while reading or watching TV doesn’t change so sitting on a hard white leather sofa, no matter how good looking it is will not allow you to live in the way that works for you.
– Decide what you love and can’t imagine living without.
– Measure it – photograph it
– Do a floor plan of your new place and see if it will fit
– If it doesn’t let it go.
Downsizing or moving to a smaller place can be incredibly challenging. It might be exciting and it might be just what you want, but for most people it is not a comfortable experience. It means letting go of things that have deep meaning and history, things that connect you to your past and the people and memories that are uniquely yours. And yes they may have been expensive. The most important thing in this process is to honour the past and acknowledge it, and most importantly remind yourself they are just “things”. Then roll up your sleeves and start giving stuff away – unless you are a great wheeler dealer I don’t suggest selling things to strangers. If it is fine art or valuable antiques consign them because strangers haggling over your personal things is a really unpleasant experience. I say give it away and allow your history and the energy of the item to carry on. Start with family and friends and then call a charity who will come and get it! Your gift can make a huge difference to someone else. Let your stuff and you go in a new direction and enjoy the process and the freshness of a new start. Good Space can help so head over to our Get a Quote page and see what might work for you.
As much as you might think it is good value to buy cheap furniture because you have kids it isn’t. I say buy sturdy and durable, this usually means you spend more money, and the furniture will stand the test of time.
My daughter in law has the first brand new grown up sofa I ever bought (1983 – recovered in 1990), and my grandson uses it as a trampoline (he is two) and it still looks pretty good and as a bonus large cabbage rose fabric is so hot right now…When my grandson is older/heavier he will not be jumping on it but for now he is learning and the sofa is standing up to that process as well as it did with my kids.
Tip of the day: It is easier to wash a kids hands than a sofa.
This weekend ArtVancouver!
Featured work by several Canadian artists. One that stood out was the work of Marc Baur – at a glance the work was appealing – full of colour and movement but there was something happening here and a closer look showed the work was created using small torn pieces of paper.
This is the Japanese art of Chigiri-e – check out the work of British Columbia artist Marc Baur and see for yourself his unique and inspiring use of this method.