Does Your Room Feel Like A Bowling Alley?

How can one shorten a long room without making structural changes?

A rectangular room is the most attractive and easiest to decorate, but what if it’s really narrow and long?  The example below shows ways to shorten it visually.  Horizontal lines like the striped rug, those formed by lights in the kitchen and the dark bulk-head behind make the eye stop, interrupting the length of the room while widening it — at least that’s the illusion.  Anything that delays or stops you from scanning the entire length of the room has this effect.  For example, the central stove in the photo is a well placed focal point.  If  it was against a remote wall your eyes would have to sweep the length of the room to see it.  What else can we do?

long rooms

As noted above the central stove is great but it would be more prominent in an eye-catching mirror finish with extra seating angled around it.   A tighter seating arrangement will improve conversation and redirect traffic flow.  Use of a square rug over a herringbone wood floor would bring attention to our focal point and break up the area into smaller sections, perhaps affording a second seating area under a group of pendant lights to divide the expanse of ceiling and demark the zone beneath.   It may include 1 or 2 sofas placed horizontally.   The sketch below shows how to do it.

Grouped Seating

Grouped Seating

Below: A 2nd seating group is placed next to the 1st (2 sofas back-to-back)

long sketch

Have you spotted the horizontal lines?

By dissecting 1 long space into 2 zones we’ve improved visual appeal and comfort.  We created more horizontal emphasis with each sofa and also by using 2 square rugs instead of one continued length.  Even the ceiling chandelier points to the room’s width.

Please follow this blog to get more of my pro tips!  You can also find me on twitter @designfelt .    – Sacha

Use Space As A Design Element

When used well, each element of design reinforces the designer’s concept.  The element Space is an expanse to arrange objects in for beauty or function.  More than just walls and floors, space is also the 3D area or volume between them.  When designing, don’t just plan for use of the space at eye level and below; think of ways to use the layer over-head.  This frees up more physical space and visually heightens the room.  Lofts are an example of this.  However, it feels more natural to view things within our horizontal field of vision.

loft_living_city freshome

Take care not to fill every bit of a space.  When you have many elements you should leave some areas free to give relief.  ‘Positive space’ is filled by objects or elements in the design but ‘Negative space’ is the shapeless empty area left over.   We move through negative spaces to reach areas of interest.  Physical space is used to both separate and connect elements in design.  Wider spaces separate elements from each other and narrower spaces show how elements are related.  Groupings of art are an example of this.

Small spaces tend to feel comfortable, intimate and private but their occupants are more likely to feel confined and restricted.

There are visual cues that create appearance of greater space.

For example, grouping similar objects simulates greater space by reducing clutter and improving rhythm.  One can cut the number of furnishings and use small-scale furniture pieces without pattern.  While smooth, reflective surfaces supply a sense of space as do light colours with little contrast, dark walls and dimly lit interiors psychologically diminish space.

Large spaces can convey a sense of freedom but they also have negative emotional impacts.  They are impersonal.  Their users may feel uncomfortable, isolated and insecure.  The formality and generous ‘negative space’ associated with expansive rooms, like those in convention centres, discourage social interaction.   Creating sub-zones, seating groups and defined areas of interest help to segment the space into a more manageable size, at least to the casual observer.

When one understands the elements and principles of design and uses them the result is a beautiful and effective space.   How did you use space in your project?

Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sacha K. Chabros and Design Felt with specific direction to the original content.

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L.E.D.s Take The Stage

Empire State building, New York City USA

In 1932 a searchlight atop the Empire State building in New York announced  the election of Franklin Roosevelt as President.  Now dynamic lighting on the building heralds special events and holidays.  

The time has come for LEDs to take the stage.  The Empire State building’s light fixtures have been replaced by a computerized LED system that can display over 16 million colors in unlimited combinations.   Philips Color Kinetics LED technology will allow for ripple, cross-fade, particle and burst effects.  Will the changes pollute the night sky? No, says Jim Sulley of Philips in a May 9, 2012 news release. “The new Philips lighting system will also allow the building to minimize light spill, ensuring that light is focused on the façade and mast, while  providing enough light to allow the building to be seen from anywhere in New York City.  This feature not only respects the night sky” he continues, “but the building’s neighbors as well.”   Read More

Pati-oh! Umbrellas

 
Why wait for the wind to blow the umbrellas inside-out?
Johnson Studio Architects & Designers came up with this 
great way to define the space and create smaller zones 
within the grouping. The rooftop restaurant has been 
closed to the public since 10/12/2011 but is available 
for special events and private dining.

Cibo Matto Restaurant - The Wit Hotel - Chicago, Il USA
 

The Wit, Chicag

http://www.thewithotel.com/       http://www.johnsonstudio.com/