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Random Interior Design Questions

sungs

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I thought it might be helpful to have a catchall thread for random interior design questions, especially for first time buyers. It would be great for the experienced to contribute their insights.

I'm going to be moving into a condo looking South. I'm concerned with natural lighting and how the flooring can contribute it. I'm not going to have flooring when I move in, so my options are open. I plan on doing hardwood, and would like some insights as to what would be ideal for something that would maximize natural light...if that makes sense?

My buddy has darkwood and while it looks classy, it seems so dark and gets dusty fast. Should I be looking at Maple or Cherry? What else is there?

Obviously I also have to look after curtains, so suggestions would be appreciated.

Oh yeah, besides cactus, what kind of plants grow good in a south-looking unit? Wish I had an east facing unit, but then I would sacrifice my view!
 
Plants love southern exposure, you should be fine.

I know a lot of people who have dark wood and are regretting it because it shows the dust, etc. Also, I read in some design magazine that the trend is back towards medium-coloured hardwood. No idea if that's true or not. I personally am a fan of bamboo flooring.
 
Bamboo flooring is great.

I'll be choosing dark hardwood flooring, but not simply the traditional dark wood. It has more of a grey and grainy look to it. Dust won't be so apparant on it. As for maximizing natural light, perhaps the lighter the wood make for a brighter feeling in the unit? If you have floor to ceiling windows throughout then the choice of hardwood may matter less.

Window coverings will be one of my first projects. I like the idea of roller shades, but at the same time would like some light fabric to create a warmer feel. In my mind, doing both works. What ideas do people have for window treatments? I have a north east corner unit with floor to ceiling windows throughout so I think this is going to be of major importance.
 
Dark wood looks terrible in small spaces.

I don't know about that. I understand that, in theory, lighter wood will make a room brighter and therefore feel larger. But often I think the flooring and kitchen need to work well together in order for the space to look best.
 
8th May 2010 @OCAD Industrial Design Department, Student Show. Here's some brilliant interior design/furniture design solutions for small spaces.

1)I see $$$$ making opportunity for the designer of this brilliant desk/shelf/chair/table solution--the chairs slide neatly fit into the unit as needed or the space taken by the chair can be used as storage space. By student designer Iris Mandy Lam.

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I could see the design working in other materials--plastic, steel, wood, anything really. Perfect for Ikea to sell!

2)Got a tiny balcony or into growing your own herbs and flowers by your French balcony? This OCAD designer has the solution! A vertical garden wall.

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3)Not quite so well thought out, but modified to having a table lower from the ceiling I think would be great too! Storage on the ceiling that lowers down to become accessible. I'd consider mounting a light on it as well.

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Saw those at the show as well. I agree - the integrated table, shelving, desk, wall unit was awesome. The hanging gardens been done before and is commercially available although not with the tech that was included. Some great stuff!
 
Walnut floors are popular now, however walnut does fade a lot in the sun -- just a word of warning.

As for bamboo, it is extremely durable however it is a pain to install because the material is so hard. Even some professional installers would shy away from installing it. If you choose bamboo, I highly recommend the carbonized vertical grain type. The grain is much nicer looking than the horizonal grain and the carbonized finish gives it a medium honey tone instead of the cheap looking yellow tone of the natural finish. You could get stained bamboo, but it could get pricey.

Personally I don't like cherry and other red-toned woods, it looks dated and reminds me of wood used in car interiors.

Though I don't like oak, I find oak with a limed finish looks very nice and tones down the heavy grain of the wood:
IMG_0323__1_.jpg

It has a nice light warm neutral tone, and the liming process gives it an almost whitewash finish, but in a warmer gray or beige color with very fine white streaks.

You don't have to stick with light-colored woods to make your condo look more spacious, remember that you could always add area rugs to lighten and add interest to the space, and some of the floor area will be taken up with furniture.

Good luck!
 
Thanks for the insights dudes and dudettes! So what are peoples thoughts on blinds and window coverings? To maximize lighting facing the south, perhaps something white and translucent?

I always like Moroccan color schemes, anyone have pic or examples of that executed nicely in a small space? Oh, and if anyone has links to interior decorating for small spaces, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks again folks.
 
8th May 2010 @OCAD Industrial Design Department, Student Show. Here's some brilliant interior design/furniture design solutions for small spaces.

1)I see $$$$ making opportunity for the designer of this brilliant desk/shelf/chair/table solution--the chairs slide neatly fit into the unit as needed or the space taken by the chair can be used as storage space. By student designer Iris Mandy Lam.

dsc03573c.jpg


dsc03571i.jpg


dsc03572p.jpg


dsc03570cv.jpg


I could see the design working in other materials--plastic, steel, wood, anything really. Perfect for Ikea to sell!

2)Got a tiny balcony or into growing your own herbs and flowers by your French balcony? This OCAD designer has the solution! A vertical garden wall.

dsc03579dc.jpg


3)Not quite so well thought out, but modified to having a table lower from the ceiling I think would be great too! Storage on the ceiling that lowers down to become accessible. I'd consider mounting a light on it as well.

dsc03575s.jpg

UD,

As an OCAD student, This year's GRAD-EX have exceed the expectations I've seen in past few years.
FWIH, most of these students are being hired by professional design companies!
I can't say much for ED counterpart; as an ED student, I am actually ashamed! The presentation of our side's grads are not as impressive as it was last year!
 
1. This concept (the chairs and table that stores on the wall) has been around for a while now. I even think IKEA might have produced something like this a while back, but from what I remember the individual furniture pieces actually folded so it was even more compact.

2. The wall mounted flower pots would sell well for apartment dwellers.

3. The ceiling hung table is rather disturbing. It is not very practical nor realistic. It looks really large, clumsy and not very thought out. With it's geometric pattern in plastic it's like something out of the 70's. The presentation looks like it needs more work and refinement.
 
New random interior design question...

How much do pot lights generally run for? And are they usually offered as an upgrade by developers?
 
I had red oak flooring put in a few years ago and it works rather well - it adopts a yellow appearance in the room with yellow walls and looks redder in the room with red walls - it unifies each of these spaces in a way that wouldn't be possible with darker hardwood flooring. The tonal variety in the boards also gives it a slightly rustic look, which seems appropriate in a small house. Dust bunnies stand out just as nicely against light floors as against dark floors though.
 
Window coverings will be my main consideration since I'll be moving into a corner unit with floor to ceiling windows all around.

Still not sure what the best options will be. At first, I was considering roller shades, but then just like you I started thinking about sheers or drapery. I want the place to feel light and airy, but still have privacy when necessary. Not sure what all the options are.
 

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