How do you work with a mishmash of existing furniture to re-freshen a tiny living space? This was a question a recent client of mine had, who had downsized from a larger home to a small one-bedroom apartment. She had some oversized pieces that were the wrong scale and some gorgeous artwork. The most prevalent style was mid-century modern, with some Queen Anne reproduction and farmhouse thrown in for good measure. An ottoman that converts to a single bed was in one corner for a temporary guest.
First, I itemized everything and determined the pieces that had to go. Doing this can be ruthless; but it is important, and why having a third party, such as a designer, can be helpful to provide a fresh set of eyes. I made sure to keep anything of sentimental significance, such as all of the artwork (done by the client's husband), the wall-mounted Buddhist altar and a Queen Anne-period reproduction highboy. The over-sized dark wood, extendable farm table is to replaced by a slimmer, lighter-wood extendable rectangular table with a lower-profile base.
Then, I recognized that the majority of the rest of the existing pieces were classic mid-century and Scandinavian-infused modern -- two Eames chairs in white leather; a reproduction Yanagi Butterfly Stool; a Bo Concept two-seater navy sofa. I decided to work around all of these by adding a low, wood cabinet for the TV and for storage and a similar wood chest for storage beneath the altar.
Instead of a coffee table, I added a soft hexagonal ottoman with tray top in a grey with a contrasting different shade of blue for the tray for in front of the deep navy sofa. My client is drawn to blues and greys; so, I specified Excalibur Grey from Benjamin Moore for a grey accent wall behind the new media cabinet. This client also prefers floor lamps. So, I added a modern slim version of a pharmacy lamp for reading with a disc-shaped base that can slide beneath the sofa.
Since a key, large oil painting incorporates both blues and their orange complement, I decided the sofa needed some throw pillows in some orange-y reds. Now, on to implementing the plan (with possibly a few last-minute tweaks!).