Living room and dining room combinations
Decorating a living room/dining room combination can be tricky when trying to define the two spaces, but at the same time unifying them.
Furniture placement, décor and the unified colours are key when designing the space to ensure visual and functional appeal, and flow.
To enlarge the feel of the spaces, paint the living room and the dining room area the same neutral or pastel colour.
Otherwise, choosing a colour for one room that is just one or two shades darker or lighter than the other room will create continuity and help tie the spaces together.
In addition to a good furniture plan with appropriately scaled furniture pieces, adding rugs helps define the two separate areas within your furniture groupings. Place one under the dining table and one under the coffee table. They do not need to be identical but they should have a similar pattern and colour pallet.
Position the largest piece of furniture in the living room area across from the focal point in the room. For example, place the sofa across from the fireplace, a glorious view, a breathtaking piece of art or a television and media area.
Place the second-largest piece of furniture, such as a loveseat or two armchairs that go together, at a 90-degree angle from the sofa.
This creates an L-shape or square seating group. Smaller pieces of furniture such as end tables and ottomans should be positioned so that they relate to the largest pieces.
The addition of large potted plants near the furniture grouping will further define the space.
Resist the temptation to stick a plant or a table in an empty corner to fill the space. That will only draw unwanted attention to the empty area.
Be mindful not to place furniture so that it blocks walkways or doors. Someone passing through the room must be able to walk comfortably without passing in front of people in the middle of a conversation or cramped areas.
Floating sofas with sofa tables behind provides this delineation of space.
The use of similar fabrics or patterns in the dining room and living room also assists in creating continuity and seamlessness.
Hanging the same window treatments in both areas will unify them and give the entire space a coordinated professional look.
When lighting the two spaces, highlight the dining area with a dropped pendant light and allow for ceiling lights and lamps in the living room portion.
A selection of wall art, including paintings, mirrors or textiles can liven up an otherwise bland backdrop and provide accent colours with which to select throw cushions and accessories from.
If you have small pieces, try framing them in similar styles and grouping them for a greater visual impact. Adding a mirror to an end wall can make the room appear larger.
Many people use a dining room table as a catch-all. Avoid doing this when you have a living/dining room combination, as it creates a messy, cluttered look.
Invest in cabinets, large baskets or other storage containers to stash coats, backpacks and other items. When one area of a combination space has clutter, the whole space looks untidy.
Measure your rooms, play with furniture groupings then shop your plan.
Making any change in your home shouldn’t be a horrifying experience, and that goes for bathroom upgrades as well.
That being said, it can be disruptive for your household and something that you may not want to go through twice.
When planning to upgrade your current bathroom, look beyond your current needs and wants. The possibilities are endless these days and fixtures are being designed for better accessibility for your future years.
It’s that ‘measure twice, cut once’ thing all over again, get it right the first time.
There are things that you can do in your current upgrade that will make it easier to make accessibility adaptations in the future and not take away from the look and feel of what you want from your bathroom now.
Start by making the doorway 36 inches wide and install the door so that it swings outward. This will allow for easy wheelchair access in the future if needed. Use a lever handle instead of a round knob on the door. This is much easier for everyone to use and there are many available now that will give you a real decorator look.
When planning the layout of your bath renovation, plan for a 60 inch turnaround circle.
This will not only make the room look and feel larger, it would allow for a wheelchair, should the need arise down the road.
Have the vanity designed in three sections with the middle cabinet removable, should knee space below the sink ever be needed. Until that need is necessary, the vanity reads as a contemporary cabinet fit for any home.
Use lever faucet handles for the sinks instead of turn ones, or consider motion sensor fixtures. These are better for children as well.
Have the shower valves, light switches and any thermostat controls placed between 38 to 48 inches above the floor. This will not only make them wheelchair accessible, it will be easier for children to turn the lights off as well.
Consider having the tub removed and install a large shower instead, especially if you have more than one tub in your home.
You can even make it a steam shower with a bench, large glass walls and doors. Turn it into you own personal spa.
Having less than a ½ inch transition from the bathroom floor and shower floor will give it a very modern look and enable easy roll-in access, should it ever be required.
You do not have to put grab bars in now, but identify where they would be needed in the shower and around the toilet, and put blocking into the walls now so that they could be installed at a later date — if needed — without having to tear down the walls.
Having this already in place can add resale value to your home as well.
• Michele D Smith is managing director of OBM International/Bermuda. Contact 278-3550.