How to Arrange Furniture in an Open Space – Architectural Digest
In cramped Manhattan, wide open spaces are cause for great excitement. (Head to Central Park on a summer Saturday if you need proof.) “Open floor plans are lovely, especially when confined to small New York apartments,” agrees Manhattan-based designer Tamara Eaton. “However, with an open floor plan comes the challenge of managing the space well so it doesn’t feel like a flea market.” When Eaton was brought on to tackle the design of a client’s sprawling loft, she was met with a massive open room studded with random seating arrangements that left much of the space empty. “It’s very hard to have defined zones while keeping the overall look and feel cohesive,” she says.
Eaton’s first move was to determine what exactly her client would be doing in the space. “We talked a lot about the activities they like to do around the apartment: reading, board games, playtime with the kids, exercise, etcetera,” she says. “Based on the functions we laid out and the constraints of the floor plan, I came up with a few options for furniture and space layouts that would serve all the clients’ needs.”
First up was the largest arrangement, deemed the formal living room, which grabs your eye immediately as you walk into the loft. A tufted love seat, two occasional chairs, and a daybed are all centered around the fireplace. “A TV would have ruined the elevated feel, so it was tucked around the corner,” Eaton explains. That little nook is defined by a sectional sofa, chosen for its smaller scale, which felt in line with the rest of the petite furnishings. Over by the doorway, a sculptural wooden wingback chair is the signal that you’re entering the apartment’s cozy reading nook.
Instead of a formal dining area, Eaton created a banquette located just off the kitchen. “There is a nice lounge feel to the dining room. The upholstery of the banquette ties it into the rest of the loft, so it feels like an extension of the living space,” she says. Similar materials weren’t Eaton’s only tools for keeping things cohesive; she also made sure that each area adhered to a specific palette of grays, greens, and lavenders. Of course, Eaton didn’t want each of these spaces to feel too alike—each serves a unique purpose, after all. That’s where the furniture comes into play. “Each sitting area has artful and sculptural furniture that makes it feel distinct from the others,” says Eaton. “So each area feels thoughtful and ‘collected’ through a few dramatic pieces.” Now, where to lounge first?
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