They’re made for storing stuff but wall units can be clutter
Dear Leanne: I have acquired a previously owned home and, although I love wood, there is more in this home than I know what to do with. Every bedroom has built-in wall units in a highly varnished honey oak.
This is a bit overpowering in the kids’ rooms. First, these rooms aren’t very big. Second, these open units invite a cluttered look as toys and books spill out of the spaces. What do you suggest to make these rooms look and feel organized and spacious?
A: I have a picture of chaos and clutter happening in these rooms. Wall units are intended to minimize this problem. However, in your home, the wall units seem to be the problem.
Remember that even though they are built in, you always have the option of removing them. Wall units would not be structural supports of themselves, so they are there for esthetic purposes only.
Built-in units in bedrooms were traditionally used in home designs in the 1980s and ’90s, but they were intended to be functional. Sometimes these rooms did not have adequate closet space or a designated working area.
If you remove these units, keep in mind the function will be eliminated as well. If you do keep the units, I suggest you apply little cosmetic touches to them, so they do not become the main attraction when you enter the room.
When you are dealing with a smaller space, it is important to understand what can impact its size visually. By using a few tricks you can fool the eye to think a space is bigger than it is. The thing that makes smaller spaces feel smaller is excessive use of contrast.
Your wall units are doing this in two ways, through colour and busy decor. Minimize the colour effect by painting the wall units to blend into the background. In other words, paint them the same colour as your walls. This will reduce the contrast and you will see a difference immediately.
If you have swing-space and it is logical to do so, add doors to the front of the open units. Closing the world off to the contents inside the wall units will minimize your visual clutter.
If you have lots of cubicles, select a few random spaces to hold a single item. Step back from time to time to see how the display looks. If you can, incorporate colours and themes from the room onto the shelves; that way the shelving unit becomes part of the room’s balanced decor and isn’t fighting for attention.
Dear Leanne: I am deciding on the purchase of a new sofa and have found a modern, tufted style that I love but wonder if it will get dated quickly. I don’t want to be stuck with something that is so trendy it only lasts a few years.
A: No worries; tufting has been, and will continue to be around for a long time. It may appear to be trendy since it is a popular design element that is finding its way into many items.
This look was in vogue in the 1920s and ’30s. Art deco styles often incorporated tufting in furnishings — a perfect example of easy sophistication. When contemporary or modern designs are mentioned, the image evoked is that of simple, minimalistic design.
The tufting detail on a long, sleek sofa, for example, provides visual interest while staying true to classic contemporary design.
Art deco design inspires us to live a tailored, sophisticated life. Think of glamorous Hollywood.
— Canwest News Service