The Right Arrangement Can Outwit Awkward Room Space
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: Our master bedroom is long and on the narrow side. We like to watch TV in there, but not always from bed. We’d like a couple of lounge chairs, but I’m not good at furniture arranging. Should we put the bed against the end wall or the side wall (crosswise in the room)? To complicate things, there are two windows on the end wall.
I need help.
A: Help is here: Study this photo of a bedroom where problems similar to yours have been masterfully solved by interior designer Jamie Herzlinger (www.jamieherzlingerinteriors.com), who is widely celebrated for her signature blend of diverse elements, design periods and cultures.
Herzlinger has tamed the awkward space in this longish, narrow bedroom by imposing classic formal balance — mirror-image furnishings that create an innate sense of calm — and a soft gray-and-blue color scheme that’s equally calm, cool and collected. And at the same time it’s expressed in overscaled, almost baroque patterns on the wallpaper and rug.
Typical of Herzlinger’s work, there’s an intriguing interplay of the familiar and the surprising. Is that Chippendale-style fretwork on the bedside tables? Is that a leather Barcelona bench at the foot of the bed? Is it a traditional barley twist bed, painted white?
To your question, the arrangement of the furniture is as creative as the mix of styles. The designer has carved two activity areas out of the elongated space: In the sleeping area, the bed fits neatly between the windows in the far end wall, balanced by the white bedside tables on either side.
The seating area in the foreground (facing the entertainment center) pairs low chairs with matching, moveable ottomans. Anchored by a small table conveniently within arm’s reach, the arrangement is both comfortable and much more flexible than the pair of one-piece lounges you have in mind.
Q: Is yellow appropriate for a dining room? A formal dining room, not a breakfast room. Everyone keeps telling me yellow is for kitchens, but I love it! It’s sunny and happy. I need encouragement to go ahead and follow my own taste.
A: Don’t just take my word that yellow is a classic color for a dining room (for almost any room in the house, in fact). Get the word from Thomas Jefferson, no less.
Yes, I’m talking about the fourth president of the United States. About the connoisseur, gourmet, gentleman farmer and taste-maker who not only designed his elegant home, Monticello, on that Virginia mountaintop, but he also chose the furnishings and decorations — ordering wallpapers from Paris and deciding what colors to paint the rooms.
What did he choose for his dining room? Chrome yellow! Curators digging through centuries of paint on the dining room walls found a layer of brilliant yellow. They think it was applied about 1815, soon after the color was first made available in America.
“Jefferson’s bold and fashionable color choice cost twice as much as Prussian blue,” they report, “and 33 times more than white lead.”
So, now Monticello’s formerly blue dining room has been repainted Jefferson’s brilliant yellow. Follow his lead, and tell your color critics that a yellow dining room is your personal declaration of design independence.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of “Manhattan Style” and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at creators.com.
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