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Lessons in A Small Room

Part 2: Charlotte Moss discusses small space decorating

Q. How can people create multi-functional spaces in small rooms? Charlotte Moss: A lot of people living in studio apartments or smaller houses, where they don't have a formal dining room, can create a dining area just by arranging the furniture like this. We could have done other things to separate the spaces. For example, we could have used a screen in place of the table behind the sofa. However, that would have eliminated that vista from the front window to the rear window. Your eye would stop there and make the room even smaller.

Q. Red is a fairly bold choice for the upholstery, when most of us probably would have thought we needed a light beige. Why did you choose red? Charlotte Moss: To me, red was natural. We painted the walls a buttery yellow -- all brown wood always looks great against the yellow. The yellow walls with red upholstery creates a warm color palette.

Beige goes with "everything" but so does a navy blue suit. You only live once -- you've got to kick off your shoes and try something new! I guess I've been around long enough that doing something like that, what many might consider bold, doesn't bother me.

Red is bold to be used on upholstery, but if you're reluctant to do a bold color on upholstery, then try it on the walls. It comes back to experimenting in a less confining way, because once you've done the upholstery, most of us are very reluctant to redo it immediately (whether you can afford to or not), whereas redoing paint is quite reasonable.

I don't think people can afford to hold back. If you really want to try red then go with slipcovers to give you added flexibility.

Q. You've used ten different fabric patterns in this room, but they are subtle additions that add a lot of interest. Charlotte Moss: You're right, there are a lot of patterns in this room, but you're not aware of them. The dominent fabrics are the linen print with the roses on it and the plain red. All the others are a mix to keep it from being monotonous, and we used them on the accessories and smaller pieces. I didn't feel it was necessary to make everything the same in this room, although I often do like using the same fabric everywhere... I love using toiles on the upholstery, on the curtains, on the walls, so you feel like you're just eveloped, and it adds harmony.

Q. A room in this style often has crown molding. Why did you decide to leave it out of this space? Charlotte Moss: The room didn't have molding, and we didn't feel compelled to add it. Also, it was another 'line' to add to a small space. What you can't see in the picture is that the staircase goes up and there are a lot of small walls and in-and-out lines, and the molding would have just added another horizontal line.

Q. This room has several vertical elements that add to the formal feeling, as well as adding some height to the space. How did you accomplish that? Charlotte Moss: Because it was a small space and the ceilings weren't tall, we had to give the illusion of tall. That's why the picture arrangements are tall, the bookcases are as big as we could make them, and the curtains are as high as possible. This creates an optical illusion of more height.



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