EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 2, 2012

Three Design Dilemmas Solved


Zillow

Syndicated — Home design can be intimidating. From finding furniture for an oddly-shaped room to keeping a space somewhat kid-friendly, there are always design challenges. Today, with some help from our friends at west elm, we're tackling three of the most common design dilemmas in the home:

Small Spaces

Source: west elm

The daybed serves dual purposes in a small office, pictured above.

How do you make the most of limited square footage? "Choose smart pieces that make the most of every square inch," explains Vanessa Holden, west elm creative director.

"Think about pieces that can work double duty: a daybed that doubles as a seating area, a dining table that does duty as a prep station, or a coffee table with hidden storage," Holden said.

And if you're struggling with additional storage options, look up. Wall shelves or tall storage units will not only give you more organization options, but extend the height of the room. Holden also recommends modular storage pieces for tricky spaces.

Mix and Match With Style

Source: west elm

Different patterns in the same color family create an interesting scheme in the bed above.

One of the biggest fashion statements these days is mixing patterns and textures and this trend has been carried over to home design. It's not as difficult to achieve as it may appear, says Holden.

"A good rule of thumb is to pick patterns that share a common palette," she explained.

This means pairing a wide stripe with a small floral print that shares a neutral base color.

"Tonal mixing works as well when patterns and colors are in the same family," Holden added. "A mix of blue and green pillows on a sofa, or a layered bed in pinks and reds."

If mixing patterns is a little overwhelming, you can also create a varied effect by pairing two different textures like silk with faux fur or suede.

Keeping it Kid Friendly

Source: west elm

A modern storage unit, pictured above, can hide toys and other objects.

Balancing interior design with kids can be a study in balance. Short of covering everything with plastic sheeting, there are a few tricks you can employ to create a space for you and your kids.

"A kid-friendly home doesn't have to be juvenile," said Holden, "but it should reflect the family that lives in it."

A classic sofa in tufted leather or micro-suede is durable and easy to clean. You can elevate kids' art by framing it and mixing it in with other pieces to create an art gallery wall. Rather than organize toys in plastic bins, choose a storage bench or woven baskets.

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