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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Design Angst: Interior Design Lessons for the Living Room

Despite the fact that I spend an inordinate (and probably unhealthy) amount of time coveting beautiful furniture, I have never really had a well decorated place. This is mostly due to the fact that I have moved across country 4 times which has made me very good at not getting attached to things (or accumulating things I might get attached to). Hence, I had a lovely collection of Sauder furniture and a mishmash of functional items (the most hideous of which was a bright (and I mean bright!) yellow pleather futon that doubled as a couch in the living room of my new york apartment.

I am not certain I am done moving, but I have decided that I am at a point in my life where I should probably think about nesting. The task seemed so daunting, however, that I have lived in a mostly unfurnished apartment for the greater part of two years.

I certainly spent plenty of time looking for furniture, but I found myself agonizing over the decisions. I asked a few interior designer friends and they told me to pick a piece and design around it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just seemed unable to decide on anything.

Finally five months ago, I decided to take the plunge. One day while flipping through a catalogue I saw the Henredon Cocktail Table {H} and fell in love. I really love its graceful legs -- it has an 18th century English aesthetic with a decidedly modern twist.

I already had one or two pieces in my living room including the porcelain Napali Vase {A} and the Miyoko {k} from Room and Board. I found it difficult to buy anything else, however, because I was unable to imagine how everything would look together once it was assembled in my living room.

To solve this problem, I found pictures of the things I liked (multiple side tables, chairs, pillows, rugs etc.) and I put all the pictures in Photoshop and created a mood board. I started with the things I knew would definitely be in my living room: the Henredon cocktail table and the Miyoko media center and I tried out several combinations until I came up with something I liked.

This approach enabled me to quickly tell what didn't work without having to go through the pain of ordering and returning it.

The mood board pictured above is the one I liked the most out of all the various combinations I created.

{A} Napali porcelain Vase
{B} Hubberton Forge floor lamp
{C} Magazine stand in oak
{D} Jasper Sofa in Desmond
{E} Pillows
{F} Room and Board picture frames
(I hung 8-9 different frames in various styles and sizes over my couch. The photos are all black and white and were mostly taken during my trip to India: Roll I , Roll II)
{G} Stones rug
{H} Henredon Aston Court cocktail table
{I} Bergman leather recliner in Sundance Vintage
{J} Moooi Cork Stool
{K} Miyoko Media stand
{L} Gigi chairs in Winslet Sunset