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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Empty Apartment

jmbj17October 9, 2012
We relocated abroad to a new lovely empty apartment in a small town. Where do we START?
Living/Dining Area:
Dilemma- structure in middle (may be used to separate areas) first time with tile floors and unable to find modern decor or gray couch.
Need help deciding what non-boring, yet common color schemes for furniture and decor will work with this fresh paint and how to arrange dining area and living room here. We will have table custom made so important to chose fabric/color before we chose wood finish.

Any suggestions help! Thanks
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The post gives that two room feeling before you even set the apt. up. Which end is closer to the kitchen? A rug for the living area will ground that area and a sideboard and chandelier will make the dining space. What an adventure!!!
living/dining area · More Info
5 Likes    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:58PM
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This is a very neutral color on your walls. You can go with leather, or just about any color sofa. Perhaps a sectional? [houzz=
Living Room · More Info
] A colorful area rug could help: [houzz=
Jaipur Grant Design Indoor-Outdoor Area Rug, Bough Out Orange/Gray · More Info

I don't see any overhead lights, so you will need tables and lamps, or floor lamps: [houzz=
Ruth Livingston Side Tables and Accent Tables · More Info
] [houzz=
Ruth Livingston Side Tables and Accent Tables · More Info
] [houzz=
Ellison Plum Jar Lamp · More Info
-] [houzz=
Shinto Floor Lamp by Robert Abbey | Lightology · More Info

There is probably a set-up for cable or satellite tv in the room, put your living room there and your dining room at the other end.
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:03PM
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The first door that is almost out of frame in the photograph, the other large door is to a separate small room (art/music studio).
    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:05PM
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Great ideas so far. I would be inclined to go with a versatile cream colored sofa with the warm tile and paint colors in your new apartment. You can customize the look with throw pillows in accent colors that suit your taste. Good luck!
living room · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:08PM
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I would take down those blinds, first of all! And depending on privacy needs, either replace them with sheer curtains, roman shades, or bamboo blinds. They would all look great. You can hang either two of the same chandeliers, or two different ones, which I would do, personally. Use a neutral sectional to define your living space, and maybe an interesting credenza or sideboard could separate the spaces? Judyg's photo illustrates the point well!
Good Luck.
3 Likes    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi jmbj17, Marie here. Never take advice for colours over the internet. You need someone to come and see the space and help with colour.

Secondly, get rid of those awful blinds - put up either temporary drapery panels - you can find those online, or invest in some great HunterDouglas Silhouette blinds.

Loft spaces are normally light and bright with minimal changes to your hard surfaces. Wood floors, creamy white walls, may be a textural accent wall - like your one wall should be in textured wood, or brick, or stone cladding.

Most importantly - what direction are these windows facing? You could get away with a bold hit of colour in your room - but to what darkness?
Depends upon the light source and what time of day sun comes into the room - send more photos, and my best advice - get professional help to set you off in the right direction it will be the best money you ever spent!
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Thank you for all the great suggestions! I will keep in mind, unfortunately, not many stores around which is why I'm having table and sofa(s) custom made and well, for the rest, I will have to get VERY creative.
What thoughts on a modern sofa set vs. a sectional and chair? I'm thinking it may be too matchy perhaps, I can choose color and style but best one I have found is a sand color.

I will post more pictures as I go.

Thanks again!
    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:32PM
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Start with your view! X
    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:55AM
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Take down those awful blinds...I dunno, can you do that in this building?? A one of clean floor to ceiling drapes would be much better.
Try Persian carpets if they don't lash with the sofas you are having made, and hanging lanterns/ chandeliers across the length of the room balance out the length and gives room depth.
    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:50AM
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Also, you can divide up space into seating areas. Instead of having sofas facing they can be back to back with console table between them.
    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:53AM
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To call this a blank slate is an understatement. As previous comments above the column shouldn't be a real issue and helps divide the room up for you. A good way to start is with a neutral scheme, and add colors and textures as you live in the space for a while.

Sky High in Los Angeles · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 7:19AM
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I didnt think about adding a chair closer to the window but love that touch! The blinds were custom made and already here, Im wondering if I could somehow make it work by putting curtains on each far side. All great ideas, thanks!
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:52AM
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I understand they were custom...but they were someone else's custom...and quite honestly, they're the most Unattractive thing about the room. Putting curtains on each far side will have little effect because the room is too big and too long.
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Matt Patterson Custom Homes
try primary colors
1 Like    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:48AM
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It appears you will have to work with the blinds. It is possible to make them recede by using enough bold color in furniture, rugs and art. Perhaps sheers over the blinds from end to end.
    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:34AM
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I see you have the typical European ceiling wiring waiting for your own lighting fixtures. You are fortunate to have fresh paint, clean tile, and custom window coverings. The Landlord will NOT be happy if you remove the custom blinds.

Regarding windows:
If you have a nice view, open the blinds and adjust for lighting throughout the day.

If your view includes you in a "fishbowl" effect, consider adding floor to ceiling sheer draperies along the entire wall to allow light in but have some privacy. If you cannot find sheers, try bed sheets or folding screens to accomplish this objective.

It can be extremely challenging to live in a small town without shops nearby. Is there a larger town that you could visit once a month? You might be able to shop online for things in this town. It can be very difficult to order things from the USA and have them bogged down in Customs and have to pay Duty fees as well.

If you are fluent in the language of the country where you live now, check the newspapers for sales of used items in the larger town, for notices of festivals where crafts might be sold in small towns close to you, and so on.

If you can afford an interior decorator, it could be one of many cultural experiences of a lifetime!

I realize that you might not be at liberty to tell us where you are located. I'm sure Houzzers understand that options that are taken for granted in the USA might as well be on another planet when it comes to your town.

Please let we Houzzers know how we might assist you in the most constructive manner.

Best wishes.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Rebecca Behrent
Does your budget allow for an interior decorator or designer? Perhaps you should give one a call - and see if they can at least help you pick out the major pieces of furniture for your room. A good, professional decorator or interior designer will know where to find the kind of pieces you desire. Find out the designer's experience with ordering furniture over the internet - that may be an option. My sister is great at decorating (no, she's not a professional - just makes it look like she is), and she has found many great "modern" pieces at more upscale used furniture stores. We have two in my town, and unlike thrift shops, these pieces were originally expensive, and have been well taken care of. One store deep cleans everything that comes in before it goes on the floor. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a store like this nearby?
    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:03PM
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The first thing you need to decide is the color of your furniture. Unless you are using relatively cheap wood and planning to paint or stain, your wood choice will play a role in your color scheme. Be aware that many woods darken over time. I'd recommend paying more for nice wood. If you are planning to buy a rug, this might dictate your color scheme, too.

Then go to Houzz living rooms and make an ideabook of stuff you like and decide what color schemes would work with the bits you have more limited choices with. Also, think about how you will use the rooms. Will you have frequent big dinner parties? Or rarely using your dining room but probably cramming a few too many people in your living room. Will you mostly be eating in the kitchen and might use the dining room table for work? Having thought through this kind of question will help you figure out what you need (dining table that's easy to move, chairs that will go with your living room, rather than looking like borrowed dining room chairs. You don't want to choose based on the generic dining room designed for the average person.

When you have stuff custom made, think about the skills of the furniture maker and how complicated the furniture is to make. Modern can be very simple.

BTW, I really don't think you want to put a gray couch in a beige room. I'd go for browns/creams with pop of red or green for color. Blues would work well, too.

If you think you will be doing a lot of moving, stick to neutrals for your furniture, get color with accessories, otherwise you will be stuck contemplating the sight of your green flowered sofa on the navy and gold wall-to-wall carpet of your next house.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:02AM
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    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:06AM
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Lots of great ideas already posted. I agree that your furniture should be a neutral color such as the sand you mentioned. You said you worried about being too matchy if you bought a couch set. You clearly have few choices because of where you are. I wouldn't worry about that because you can add so much character with your accessories and other color choices. I'd decide which style by which would be the most comfortable or works the best with your space. Will you be buying any end tables or a coffee table? If so I'd match your new dining table to that wood color if they are wood to keep a flow. I noticed the large dark wood door set down at the end of the room. You might want to keep that in mind when choosing a wood color also. We all realize the blinds are not the best as far as a decor choice but you may not have a choice about using them. Putting sheers over them would look best but if you can't do that then hanging the drapes at each end would at least give them a more finished look and allow you to add some color and warmth. As was mentioned above you may have no choice about where some things are placed because of where the TV cable,etc may be. If you could tell us which area is the living area and which is the dining area it would be easier to give you ideas about furniture placement. I think a modern patterned area rug in the living area with your sofa color in it would look great. I'd use the other colors in it to figure out your accessory colors. Adding things like lighting,artwork & accessories will work wonders in filling it in and making it a warm and attractive place to live. Would love to hear more info about room or even more pic's of other side of room.
    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Nancy Hehmann
I understand having grown up in WV the small town and not finding what you want. Perhaps I can help. NC still manufactures some of the greatest furniture in the US. All of the NC furniture stores are used to working with people at a distance and ship. You can google them. Just type in NC furniture. One great one to work with is Grindstaffs in Forest City NC and they have decorators on staff (just know from having purchased from them) I think they are having a sale. They have wonderful furniture companies that they work with. Drexel is a great furniture manufacturer and they have a website listing where there stores are. You can order a sofa of many styles and pick out the upholstery you want separately. Grindstaffs is where I got my Drexel sofa and had it shipped. It is so comfy even though mine is a formal style and has lasted and I clean it with my Hoover steam cleaner (can be used on floors too). I also noticed on Vanguard website they have some modern furniture. I have also ordered great leather parsons chairs from Carrington Direct and they make fabric ones too. They ship. If this does not work out for you since I just noticed you said you are living abroad. Perhaps you can state what country b/c some of the people that participate are from other countries.

If you need area rug, check out the Target.com site they have many and some are better than in their store. Also, check out Capel website. Sometimes Overstock.com has some great items too (furniture, bed linen etc )

For art (and other home decor as well as jewelry, purses) check out Etsy.com and use their great search engine to input just what you need. For instance, put photography Hawaii or Paris or blue or green in the search engine. I have a photography shop on etsy which is nancyhehmann. I can have whatever pic you like made in whatever size or on whatever media you like since I have accounts at more than one nationally recognized photo lab and you can easily contact me on Etsy. You might want to choose your art or photography before you choose the colors for your accessories b/c you can pull a color out of it to accessorize with.

If you need some colorful vases, go to Blenko.com they have handblown vases in a variety of color and may be the last US co doing this so you will be purchasing an heirloom item.

If you need new drapes or roman shades, check out JCPenney.com they have a lot on their website and some can be custom made. Big box stores like lowes and home depot also have Roman shades you can order. These stores also have organizer things for closets etc.

Have fun!
I hope I have been of help to you!
Nancy Hehmann
    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:57AM
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Yes you and everyone has helped! Thank you.
I should have mentioned that we are in a small city in Bolivia, South America! It is rich in culture and has unique hand-made treasures and other lovely things I will be using to decorate. However, for the bigger items we cant seem to find a good fit which is why we are having it custom made.
After all the suggestions, we have decided to change the color scheme from grey and light colors to more earth tones. The sofa will be a comination of a sectional that can be put apart, similar to the pictures but with wood feet in espresso finish. Im thinking of carrying that espresso finish to the dining area but it may clash with the wood on the doors, which are dark cherry. What do you think?
I know that it would help to get an interior designer here and respect very much what they do, but we are having so much fun discovering it all that we will count on Houzzers assistance instead!
Happy Thursday!
1 Like    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:53AM
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I would not worry too much about matching your furniture to the wooden doors in your apartment. Espresso and dark cherry are both dark colors. Perhaps a textile for the dining table that incorporates both colors, along with the main design will be complimentary.
    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 10:47AM
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HI -- Looks like a great place . I love the example picture Dytecture posted ,- I think that should be your guide . Only thing I am going to add is.... if and when you can afford it, have the post covered with mirror -all sides top to bottom and then it will almost disappear . I also love the modern boston condo picture that Bobbi posted .
1 Like    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Rebecca Behrent
Above all - Please show us pictures when you get done! :)
    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 10:46AM
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It will take about 4 weeks to get furniture but will do for sure! Thanks Houzzers!
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 6:39AM
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We have to pick the wood finish of the table we are having made. Light or dark finish? The table and chairs match but the color of the cushion I'm thinking will be an orange or a circle cream/black design.
The sofa will be a light cream and the walls are already a neutral color. Final details but almost finished. WIll post pics soon. Thanks!
    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Hi. I really like both. Going with your cushion color choices they would be striking against the darker color. Which ever you go with I'd try to find other similar items in that wood tone to mix around the two rooms. Looking forward to your pictures.
    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Why don't you consider using Bolivian folk art fabric for DR chairs?
    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Make your choices easy to clean. This will really be helpful to you as the years pass. Natural fabrics breathe but take longer to dry when wet. Humid there, right? if you can get away with it, paint that column a darker color once you know what will work. That is, paint it if the landlord is OK with it. It's not architecturally cool, so it stands out when it should recede.
    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 12:17AM
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Ranch Lite · More Info

this link will give you access to other wall partitions. There are some beautiful ideas with laced slats of wide bamboo. Not sure what you want so thought you could rummage through the wall partitions category (modern) on houzz. Enjoy your new landing pad.
another idea.
If you appreciate the clean lines of modern styles but enjoy the texture of natu · More Info
- this one under (tropical) room dividers. You can have two of these made to measure in your place, have casters on bottom. attach to that column if you like, or not, with no casters.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 12:25AM
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Old post and almost a year later! About to get some color on the walls! Royal Blue for entrance, yellow for office which is next to entrance and deciding if I should paint just the dining wall orange or under the blinds too. Or both ends orange? Meaning the wall behind couch and dining area.

Thoughts if you read this? Thx!
    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 4:52AM
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Orange is very bold. I'd just do the dining wall and then use that color as an accent throughout the whole area. Maybe put throw pillows on the sofa with that color in it to pull it all together. An area rug would warm the look up.
    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Timothy Rivers Interiors
I think the key to designing an amazing small focus is to actually not focus on the fact that it is small. Great your dream space. Incorporate all the things you love then devise a plan to make them work with the space you have.

I have an amazing blog post that I think may help.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 1:46AM
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