Have you ever wanted to make a space more livable by getting rid of unsightly features like exposed pipes? Has a builder made a measuring error and installed a window unevenly?
Don’t fret – many problems can be minimized or completely camouflaged through good design. That “industrial looking” basement or attic can be turned into an attractive living space. And you don’t have to pay another craftsman to fix the uneven window. Here’s how I recently dealt with the first of these two challenges.
The basement room of a show house I completely made over last year presented quite a design dilemma – the metal furnace, ventilation ducts, and electrical pipes with wires were all exposed. The ventilation ducts gave the room uneven ceiling heights, the furnace protruded into the room, and the pipes snaked up the walls. The former homeowners were using the small area as a sort of wine room and had lived with those intrusions for years.
My concept for the space was to turn it into a cozy Couple’s Retreat, a quiet place where the homeowners could escape the cares of the hectic world above. For that, they needed to be surrounded by a serene décor without obtrusive, industrial-looking features.
A lot went into achieving this goal, but basically I used the natural stone walls to their best advantage by utilizing their earthy colors and playing up the nature theme. Since the offending furnace and pipes were against the stone walls, I had them painted copper, which not only unified them with the copper color in the stone walls but also echoed other decorative copper accents in the room. I had the ceiling painted metallic gold to give it lift and interest; the ceiling ducts were painted the same color so they would blend in. Finally, I selected furnishings that were proportional with the erratic ceiling heights and played on the asymmetry of the space; the upholstered pieces also worked to soften the room while coordinating with the nature theme and colors in the stone walls.
If you’re living with unsightly features, or if unwanted elements are stopping you from buying an otherwise ideal home, try viewing the obstacles as challenges instead of problems. By working with those elements instead of fighting against them, you can minimize their importance in the room and open up unique design opportunities.
Read about more ways to turn interior design problems into solutions.