Rearranging Your Living Room Furniture Requires a Plan

One of the most common mistakes furniture shoppers make is they don’t measure their space before buying new living room furniture. There is nothing worse than coming home with your brand new sofa or coffee table or entertainment center and realizing that it’s not going to fit in your living room. It’s even worse for us New York apartment dwellers when we realize we can’t even get our new furniture up the stairs to our 3rd floor apartment! That’s why, before you start rearranging your living room furniture (or shopping for new pieces) you have to plan and map out the space you have to work with.

Mapping out your living room isn’t nearly as hard as you might think it is. All you need is a regular old piece of paper and a tape measure! Measure each of your walls and scale them down to fit on your piece of paper. Make sure you keep the scale the same throughout your sketching, so make it something you can easily convert and remember productscoastercolorellery_181734809_505771_b1__95456.1452545236.864.850(like one foot of living room equals one inch of paper). Once you have your room sketched out (don’t forget to include doors and windows), measure your existing pieces of living room furniture and make small paper cutouts from a separate sheet of paper. You can use these paper cutouts to rearrange your living room without having to do any actual heavy lifting. That way you’ll be 100% sure everything will fit before you start rearranging furniture. You might also want to mark where things like radiators, electrical outlets or cable hookups are since those influence how much flexibility you have with your living room design.

If you are looking to buy new living room furniture, be sure to bring your living room map with you to the store! If you know where you want a new piece to fit all you have to do is check the measurements of the display models and you can be sure it won’t be too large or too small for the space available. Furniture shopping can be a very stressful experience since you have so many options to sort through and hoping something is going to fit isn’t going to make it any easier. If you know exactly how much room you have to play with, that will help narrow down your options and focus your vision.

Making a quick map of your living room before you start rearranging furniture is a quick and easy way to save yourself a lot of time and hassle later!

Creating a Concealed Home Office for Telecommuting

Some studies suggest that as many as 50 million Americans telecommute at least once a week and over two million workers consider their home their primary office space. With so much of the employed force being able to work from home, the need for home office furniture and design ideas is greater than ever. Some telecommuters are lucky enough to have a whole room as their home office (either specifically built as office space or maybe even a former guest bedroom), but for many homeowners and apartment dwellers, their “home office” is little more than a table with a computer crammed into the living room. But just because you are short on space, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great home office to work from!

One of the most important things about creating a home office is that you want it separate from the rest of your living spaces. Many telecommuters find it hard to stop working when they never physically go to and from a new work environment. Work and home life start to melt into each other, but you deserve to close the door at five and call it a day!

To help keep your work and home life separate, especially when you are short on space, consider converting an armoire into a concealed home office. You can add extra shelves for books and papers, file drawers and a pull out shelf for a laptop or keyboard.  On the desk__34727.1458059336.864.850inside doors you add corkboard and use pushpins to help keep ideas, memos and notes organized. When you close the doors at the end of the day a functional workspace is concealed inside. With a custom-fitted armoire, you’ve essentially created your own version of a secretary’s desk!

Another great solution for a concealed home office is by converting an extra closet in a guest bedroom.  You can fit the closet with a small filing cabinet, cubes for storage, floating shelves, wire baskets, peg boards attached to the doors, hooks, sconce for lighting and a small chair. When you are done with your workday you can simply close the door and leave your work in the closet.

The key to keeping a concealed home office functional is to minimize the clutter. After all, you have to be able to shut the doors at the end of the day! Make sure you invest in the right storage solutions; things like small bookcases, shelving units, filing cabinets or even a small hutch make it a lot easier to keep your concealed home office organized and tidy. You don’t have a lot of room to spread out, so be sure to build up if possible (like adding shelves to the back wall of the closet) to optimize the existing space.

Have a Vision BEFORE You Go Furniture Shopping

It’s very easy to walk into a furniture store and immediately be inspired. You have the opportunity to completely redecorate your apartment—who do you want to be? You could go for a cool, white, minimalistic approach that screams modern. Or maybe fun and crazy throw pillows and rugs to show off your creativity! What about 60s-inspired lampshades or a free standing bar? Sometimes having so many options is actually a bad thing for inspiration; it pulls your focus in a dozen different directions at once. You either end up getting frustrated and not buying anything, or making decisions at random and ending up with a hodgepodge of furniture. Neither of these outcomes makes the furniture shopping process very fun.

That’s why it is so important to have a vision (or at the very least a basic idea) BEFORE you go furniture shopping. Having that starting point will help anchor your furniture buying decisions and you’ll walk out with what you need, what you want AND it will all work together.

A good place to start is by using your favorite piece in a room and build out from there. rois_sectional__91597.1446041778.864.850Let’s say you have this great sofa in your living that you want to decorate the rest of the room around. Not only is it the largest piece in your living room (which usually mean it’s the focal point), it’s a design style you love. What are some of the features of that sofa? How tall is it? What is the fabric’s color or pattern? Does it have metal or wood accents? Those details will help you find complementary pieces while your furniture shopping so you can more easily focus your vision.

Before you go furniture shopping, it’s also a good idea to figure out exactly what you need and how it is all going to fit. Chances are your apartment isn’t the same size/shape as the furniture store’s display room, so you need to know what is going to work in your space. You may want the end table AND the bar AND the entertainment center AND the bookcase AND the ottoman, but what can you realistically fit in your space? Having a vision (and a floor plan!) before you walk into the furniture store will help you avoid buying a piece of furniture that will have nowhere to live in your apartment. Also make sure you take measurements! There is nothing more disheartening than finding the perfect piece and realizing it won’t fit up your apartment stairs or through the door.

4 Tips for Decorating a Studio Apartment

Queen Captains BedGothic Cabinet Craft is based in New York City, so we know our way around a studio apartment pretty well. We understand that living in a studio apartment comes with certain design and functionality challenges. Limited floor space, limited room for storage and a limited budget (the main reason someone lives in a studio apartment!) all mean that decorating a studio apartment is no easy feat. In order to decorate your studio apartment without sacrificing functionality, it’s important to remember the following tips:

Be discerning with your design ideas
There is not a lot of room in your studio apartment for design, and too many ideas can make a small space feel even smaller and more cluttered. While there is nothing wrong with mixing prints, patterns and colors, you don’t want to go overboard. You also want to think carefully about what the focal point of your studio apartment is going to be. Maybe you have a really cool love seat with a funky patter you want to show off, or a fantastic view you’re proud off; maybe it’s just a fun poster. Whatever the focal point is, build you studio apartment around that.

Invest in multi-use furniture
When is a bed not a bed? When it’s also a dresser! Multi-purpose furniture like a Captains Bed is a great way to maximize your limited floor space and de-clutter your studio apartment by removing bulky pieces. A secretary desk with drawers gives you plenty of space to work and compartmentalize your office, plus it’s easy to close up and hide any mess when guests come over! You could also get a bookcase that pulls double duty as a headboard or turn a radiator cover into a small shelf.

Create “rooms”
So living in a studio apartment negates the physical presence of rooms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create the allusion of rooms! You can use dividers (easy to move as needed), bookcases or dressers to physically separate the living/sleeping areas from the dining area, or just arrange your furniture so you have a space for sleeping, a space for cooking and space for relaxing.

Make sure there is plenty of light
Nothing makes a small space feel smaller than no light. If you’re studio apartment isn’t blessed with a lot of natural light, invest in some great (and fun looking!) light fixtures to brighten up the space. You can also position mirrors across from windows or other light sources to help reflect the light and make the room feel bigger. Using a lighter color on your walls will also help reflect any light.

These are just a few tips for decorating a studio apartment. Just remember, just because you live in small space that doesn’t mean you can’t love the way your apartment looks and feels! It just takes a few easy design choices to make a studio apartment feel like home.

3 Easy Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Bigger

Small spaces are just a fact of life for most urban apartment dwellers. Many apartment owners struggle to find ways to make the small space look and feel bigger, but don’t want to do anything that will clutter up what little space they do have. Visually expanding a room can be hard to do, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible!

If you are looking for way to make your small space feel bigger, here are three easy tips that won’t break your decorating budget:

1. Keep the wall color consistent
One way to help make your small apartment look and feel bigger is to use the same wall color throughout multiple rooms. This tricks the eye into thinking that the space is much bigger because the line between rooms isn’t broken by different colored walls. Contrary to what most people believe, dark colored walls don’t automatically make a space feel smaller. In fact, a dark wall with light molding makes the wall feel farther back, once again creating the illusion of more space.

2. Don’t hang everything at eye level
A good photographer knows that when it comes to mounting their work, there should always be a little extra space below the image compared to above it. This helps keep the picture from looking like its being pushed down and squished. The same holds true for your artwork and other wall decorations! Hanging everything at eye level will make your space feel short, and when you’re already trying to combat small you don’t want anything to look like it’s shrinking! Hang things a little above eye level, or even try a few low pieces, GK31__79531.1419891050.864.850to keep the eye moving.

If you one of the lucky few that have vaulted ceilings (even if it means you still don’t have the floor space), draw the eyes up by hanging art work high and investing in tall bookcases. It may not be as easy to clean, but it will help you take advantage of the height in your apartment.

3. Invest in mirrors
Mirrors are a small apartment owner’s best friend. Large mirrors, or even a cluster of small mirrors, can really help open up a space. Putting a mirror across from a window will help reflect limited natural light, which can also help make a room feel more open and bright. If you live in a basement apartment and don’t have windows in your room, hang up a large mirror and add curtains to give the look and feel of a window.

When trying to make a small space feel bigger, it’s important to not go overboard. You don’t have to use every trick in the book to make your apartment look and feel bigger. Sometimes just one or two things, provided they are the right things, can make all the difference.