The 2017 Designer on Call Workshop series continued Tuesday, April 18 with a presentation made by Dianne Wright, gallery director of Coats-Wright Art & Design. With over 20 years of experience in interior design (and 35 in the fine art world), she can speak with authority on all types of home decor and layout design. She spoke about how to design (and live in) a small space in a thoughtful way.
Dianne provided a slide show of her own apartment home, detailing all of the ways she maximizes her limited space with tips for storage, display and design. Her first rule is no clutter. She advises to “edit, edit, edit,” when it comes to living in a smaller-scale home.
“Keep the things you love the most and get rid of anything extraneous, not useful, or not pleasing to the eye. In a small space everything matters, because household items will often be in plain view instead of stored away,” says Dianne Wright.
Because of this, she advises people to use their cherished possessions, for every day, for display and for storage.
For example: Collected platters or trays can display groups of often-used items in the kitchen. Salt, pepper and olive oil bottles look elegant when placed next to the stove in this way. Rustic wooden bowls can hold fruit on a kitchen counter, creating a pragmatic still life. Mixing the practical and functional with the beautiful makes sense in a small area. Using the things we have already solves many problems – the treasured pieces you love get a useful life, and you don’t have to find additional storage for them.
Dianne takes that approach in all aspects of decorating. She offered many other tips to design a modestly-sized home:
1. Use combined storage
Not all of the things you need to store are nice to look at, so for those types of items, use baskets and other pretty containers to keep these things at bay. Vertical shelving and tops of cabinets and refrigerators are key as well, when it comes to keeping things available for use. She also suggested putting wheeled casters on some shelves and storage units to make it easy to move them around when they are serving dual roles.
2. Use double-duty furniture
In a bedroom, you can use an antique armoire to house a TV, while using the drawers below for clothing storage. Or use a small chest next to a bedside for clothing and a nightstand. In a living space, a buffet or credenza can hold a TV on top and store dining items inside, while an ottoman can be additional seating, a comfy place to rest your feet, and an expansive coffee table with the addition of a tray on top.
3. Hang family photos and art
Scattered picture frames are nice, but only when you have lots of tabletops and surfaces to display them on. Since small spaces are often lacking, hanging frames is more sensible. She also advised to create a gallery wall up a stairwell. It creates a lovely opportunity to display favorite pieces in an often overlooked spot.
For more design and art expertise, visit Dianne at her showroom in suite 122 of the Indiana Design Center. To view the upcoming Designer On Call workshops click here.
Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery
Indiana Design Center
200 South Rangeline Road, Suite 122
Carmel, IN 46032
Hours: Tue. – Sat. 10 am – 5 pm
The Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery is an eclectic mix of paintings and sculpture by regionally and nationally known artists, both traditional and modern, whose works span the 19th century to present. Among those are T.C. Steele, C. W. Mundy, Janet Scudder, Boaz Vaadia and internationally recognized Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. We are very enthused to be introducing to the area two artists who are gleaning much national and international recognition, painter Eric Forstmann and sculptor Michael Kalish. We are also excited to offer and showcase antiques from R. Beauchamp Antiques and provide interior design services.