Designing your HOME when it’s not your home.

Its a new year! One of my resolutions (which I hope not to break too soon) is to blog more often, twice a week to be exact! This might mean you will be hearing more of me!

So, to kick off my first post of the new year, I am going to share my design plans for our next move, into a small town home. The Living space downstairs is quite small, which challenges me to think creatively so that I can a.)maximize space b.)make the space “look” bigger c.)find creative ways to add storage for all of our junk (namely kids toys). The other obstacle with rentals is the subject of painting walls. Luckily we found a place where it is allowed, however even if it weren’t allowed I would probably paint them anyway and then just paint them back upon moving. Of course you would only want to make a decision like that if you were planning on staying in the rental for more than a year or 2.

This floor plan shows you the limited living space we have to work with and my initial floor plan with our existing furniture and some new additions… hope my husband approves!

Floor Plan ViewI drew up this floor plan before getting exact measurements, and it is actually smaller (less wide). Luckily my layout will still work!

As you can see it is an L shape, mostly open floor plan, layout. Along the back wall are windows and sliding glass doors to the patio, which makes the layout even trickier as there is little usable wall space. I love myself a challenge!

view 1

Upon approach into the main living space, you can see a fireplace on the center of the back wall. To keep it a focal point (although it is in a very odd location) I decided to put the dining table there, flanked on either side by some awesome DIY, black and white striped Wing-back chairs (on the top of my project list). This give the cozy, lounging feel of a fireplace while also serving a function – Dining! In order to make the view as grand, trendy, awesome as I could, I decided some bright, teal colored ottomans as the other 2 seats at the table would bring the perfect splash of color to pop off of the black and white general scheme. The upholstered ottomans also bring visual interest down to the floor plane, and again purposefully utilize space since it is so limited.

Hanging above the fireplace will be a large fashion print. I liked the one shown (zgallerie art) because it had the gold tones which I utilized throughout the space. Both sets of windows and doors on the sides of the fire place have floor length white velvet curtains. The velvet although white will add luxury to the space and the white keeps the space feeling fresh, clean and open- all important in small space design! The lighter and brighter, the better!

Another view of the back wall.

Now, for the main living area, the biggest obstacle is always, ‘where to place the tv’. Personally, I am not a fan of having a giant TV as a focal point in any room. In general I think of it as an eye sore. Yet, it has to be practical and comfortable so the tv has to go… Somewhere!

Spot it now? Around the corner from your initial view point upon walking in the room, the tv is perfectly placed. Somewhat out of sight but still easily viewed from both the couch and striped wing-back chairs. Mounting the TV on the wall is a good solution in our case, because we have minimal TV accessories, which means minimal wires running down your wall. Placing the TV closer to the counter surface helps hide some of the cords a bit better. The teal antique console table, is a table that my mom gave me and I painted. It is the perfect accent for the room, with a historical flare to boot! Under the console are 2 small storage ottomans. These hold a great double function as they are storage (for kids toys, blankets, etc) as well as extra seating when entertaining.

My sofa is a neutral, grey, squared arm sofa from Zgallerie that goes well with simple changes and updates in any decor. I chose to center it on the side wall, to keep the room open and allow a “hallway” of sorts along the other edge of the room. Flanking the sofa are ikea end tables with hammered gold lamps and beveled trey mirrors on the wall. The lamps and mirrors help reflect light and give the illusion that the space is larger. It took me a while to figure out what to put on the wall above the sofa, and between the 2 mirrors, and I finally landed on an idea (shown in last photo). I have some $1 gold plate charges that I thought would be a nice accent to hang. The metallic ties in nicely with the metallic of the lamps and isn’t too graphic or overwhelming in the space.

As for the wall color, I stuck with a light, neutral tan. I wanted to keep the space feeling as open and big as possible and dark colors accomplish the opposite. Yet, I thought the wall color alone didn’t have quite enough interest. So I loved the idea of painting the wall 3/4 of the way up and leaving the top section white. This is another illusion/trick that makes the ceiling feel taller- great for small spaces!

Every corner of a room can be space well used or space wasted. In a small space, you can’t take any chances of leaving corners under designed. So the corner you see above has some square, corner wall shelves. I thought these were a simple and elegant way to add much needed storage. Spaced appropriately, they can hold square baskets, vases, books, or other nik-naks deemed important!

A neutral area rug on the floor helps define the living space and hallway path. It is topped with an oval, mirrored coffee table. Again the mirror helps to bounce the light around the room and make it feel larger as it reflects the white expanse of ceiling.


Now looking back the other direction into what is a very small eating area: I already addressed that the dining table has been pulled into the center of the 2 “rooms” to serve dual purposes, but it can also be expanded into the eating area if more guests are present. I fancied up the back wall with wallpaper! I love wallpaper, but I love it sparingly! I love patterns like this bleached barnwood, but too much of it could look a little wacky or over the top! But here, on this small span of wall, it allows the perfect combination of rustic and chic.Plus, the white color of the pattern blends in with the overall decor and isn’t overpowering. On the wall is our tall china hutch, with 2 painted, silver, x-back chairs on either side. The silver chairs are actually my typical dining chairs, and I have 4, but with limited space they can serve other purposes. Pulled up against the wall here, they are out of the way and still a showpiece. And they become functional again when a dinner party of more than 4 is present. Lastly (not pictured) I have 2 beaded, 3-tier chandeliers from my wedding that would be the perfect size to hang above each of the silver chairs.

In the above image you can also see the short wall below the kitchen pass through. At first I thought I would incorporate the teal blue color on this wall for a pop. But then I thought it was starting to look a little too cheeky with all the black, white and teal. So I decided on a metallic gold. It gives the same pop and pizzazz that I wanted with a more regal outcome. I am loving mixing metallics! Who said silver and gold don’t go together? When used sparingly, consistently and purposefully you really can not go wrong!


This last view show the area that I have deemed “the hallway” Really it is just a wall with entry into the kitchen and a bathroom. But by painting it a different color it helps to differentiate the space! I decided on this dark charcoal/navy color to break away from the otherwise light and airy color scheme. Where there are rules, there are always rules to be broken!

What I mean by that is simply that, although I wouldn’t paint the whole room this color (that would be a huge mistake) it is okay to add this richness to a wall in an area that I purposefully want to make more intimate. On this wall will hang intimate family photo’s, framed in metallic gold. The dark color will draw you in to look closer as well as to pull you farther into the room or into the hallway on the other side.


This is my design board with the actual pieces of furniture for the space. The majority of the pieces I already have, making this a much smaller endeavor than it could otherwise be. The stripe wing back chairs will be my largest project aside from painting.

A Final Note:

Design plans are just that, a plan. They are meant to guide you through what is generally a long process of getting your space perfectly designed just the way you want it! Just because you have the plans doesn’t mean they will happen over night. And that is OKAY! The biggest mistake I can think of is having NO PLAN! This just causes you to buy things impulsively, waste money, change decor styles along the way, ending up with out of place, mis-matched, un-planned, cluttered, un-designed… (sigh) …stuff.

Have a Plan. Go for it. Don’t rush. Good design takes time.




One thought on “Designing your HOME when it’s not your home.

  1. Whitney roe says:

    You are amazing! I recognize this condo. Haha! I would never had the idea to lay it out this way. Please come over and tell me how to layout my room and rhema’s room. I’m having trouble.

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