Home Decor: Utilizing Space

My current apartment isn’t my first apartment, but it is my first out-of-college apartment, which is an equally big deal. Unfortunately, that meant putting away my orange Christmas lights (which stayed up all year, of course), my pink satin comforter and my awesome (but tacky) liquor bottle collection (which was actually just a bunch of sticky bottles of flavored Smirnoff). Luckily, my first big kid apartment came with more than one closet, a doorman (fancy, right?!) and an actual pantry! And that liquor bottle collection? We just replaced it with an oh-so-fancy Goose Island bottle collection — moving up in this world!

This is my biggest apartment to date at a whopping 1,000 square feet. More space means a few things. First, it tends to breed more stuff. Second, it’s more area to decorate and organize. In my attempts to become a real person, I’ve tried to decorate my apartment accordingly — as in moving my shot glass collection to the cabinet, instead of the focal point of my bedroom. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Alex from HRHCollection, wrote a post the other day entitled The State of my Living Area with a throwback to Decor: Arranging a Coffee Table, which I also loved. I thought it was adorable, and that inspired me to write a decor post to share with you. (Maybe one day I’ll get the guts to make a video post, too!) My house will probably never be as cute as hers … 

… but I try.

I’ve noticed that my interior decorating can be grouped into three very distinct categories. I’ll be sharing one with you each Wednesday for three weeks. 

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Home Decor Part 1: Utilizing space

I have a pretty big living room, but I don’t have a dinning room or an office. I didn’t necessarily need either of these rooms, since I can do work on my laptop from the couch and I’m perfectly capable of eating dinner at the coffee table. This comes back to to trying to be a grown up though, and grown-ups have kitchen tables, so I needed one too.

This is the living room I started with.

My goal was to add a dining area and an office area to the living room without taking away any of its utility. I wanted to have separate spaces, but not cut into the openness of the big room. My living room is also lined with windows and capitalizing on our view was also really important to me.  

The secret? Nooks.

I created nooks that where open and airy, but definitive enough to set the room apart. They added more use to the room, but didn’t take anything way from it. The divisions are soft, instead of harsh borders, which allow the room the flow together. 

The Dining Area

Purpose: All we really needed in our dining area was a table. There’s only two of us most the time, so we didn’t want a huge table, but we wanted the option to have a couple people over for dinner or lunch. We picked out this table from IKEA which converts from a table for two to a table for four. 

Location: Like I said, we didn’t want to take away from the purpose of the living room, which, for us, was watching TV. So we needed the dining area to still have a view of the TV. The window view was also really important to me, so I didn’t want anything obstructing that either. We chose this corner, because it allowed us to meet both of our standards. 

[Our TV, by the way, is on the wall opposite the couch]

Boundary: The next thing was how to set it off. I didn’t want anything obtrusive or harsh. I wanted the separation to be subtle and practical. We chose this bookshelf from IKEA, which was absolutely perfect!

The bookshelf was a great room separator because it was open from both sides, which made it was insanely practical. By using the bookshelf as a room divider, we could use the bookshelf from both sides, allowing for twice as much viewable storage space. Plus, by placing it perpendicular to the window, we hardly obstructed our lovely view.

The Office

Purpose: The idea for my office nook is actually what inspired my love of nooks. I wanted to have an area for my office that could block out distractions. I didn’t want it to be visible from the primary spaces of the room, but I didn’t want it to be a dark and isolated corner either. I chose to put it in this corner for a few reasons.

Location: By putting my nook here, the size of the living room hardly appears any smaller. The edge of the nook is parallel with the far edge of the room, which makes for a subtle cut into the room’s area. The windows were also really important in choosing the location. I wanted the natural light to help me stay alert and focused, but also to help create the sensation that my “place” was a nice little get-away. I also didn’t want to block the corner where both window walls meet, because that was the focal point of the room. 

Boundary: A tall desk made for a natural division for my office. It wasn’t quite that simple though. It started out with a simple, tall desk that I bought off one of my friends. 

To the left, you’ll notice some metal shelves. Since my desk didn’t have a lot of storage room, I needed the metal shelves to keep my office supplies, a few coffee table books and my Starbucks card collection. Also, you can tell that the back of my desk is open. That didn’t serve my purpose of creating an “office” free from distraction, plus it wasn’t very pretty. To solve this problem, I picked out some pretty curtain fabric from IKEA. It had to be thick enough to block out the light coming from behind it so you couldn’t see the silhouettes of all the stuff on my desk. I used tiny nails to attach the fabric to the desk. The silver shelves were a little lower than my desk, so I had to get creative. I pulled the the fabric taught, and nailed the corner of the fabric to the wall so that from the living room it appeared to be one solid structure. I also added a little bit of lace to the bottom for some flair. 

Check back next week for Home Decor: Surfaces.

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