Apartment Halls, Part 2

Furnishings Floors: Smooth, hard floors are the elegant, practical choice for the apartment-style hall. Pale and modern wood flooring is light and space-defining, and looks good on its own or with a vibrant abstract design rug or two. A smooth sweep of plain floor acts as a foil for light and bold areas of color, and acts as a flattering background for the clean lines of streamlined furniture and furnishings. Alternatively, a boldly colored floor – tiles or a customized linoleum design – can work equally well as a focal point in a low-key setting.

Lighting: This is more than functional – use it to create an inviting mood and use vibrant lampshades to create color accents. Position spots or torchiers to emphasize architectural details or color features, and place table lamps to illuminate plants, flowers, or other accessories. Take the opportunity to make a feature of a central fixture with a futuristic design or quirky chandelier in metal, glass, or plastic; or opt for a minimalist, gallery effect with wire tracking and adjustable halogen spots; or just choose the simplicity of a paper shade.

Windows: Emphasize the functional aspect of a hall window – if it has colored glass take that as a color lead for other accents – and make the most of the light. Simplicity is the key, with plain white or color accent blinds, or cotton or linen fabric panels to tone with the walls. Lace these through metal eyelets onto tension wires, or fit simple tab-headed or clip-topped curtains, hung from wrought-iron or steel rods.

Furniture: Choose furniture which blends with the pieces in adjoining rooms, provides useful storage or display potential, and looks light, airy, and uncluttered. Shelf units, a console table, a chest of drawers, or a desk can all be found in a range of attractive designs and are above all functional. Finishes can include pale, blond wood with steel; contrasting black ash with honey-tone wood detailing; glass with wrought iron, and lacquered white or colored laminate surfaces. Hat, umbrella stands and coat hooks should match or blend with your furniture finishes. Choose chair or seating shapes for their sleek silhouettes – curvy organic forms or strikingly sculptural looks – and upholstery in vibrant colors. Powerful acid green, deep turquoise, scarlet, and ultramarine as well as neutrals, black, cream, or charcoal, are all colors that are in keeping with the contemporary style.

Details Colorful plastics and molded resins come of age when they are used for innovative accessories in the apartment-style hall. Lamps, frames, and containers, in quirky shapes and jewel-bright colors, have the stamp of modernity and, as sleek examples of contemporary chic, can be clever or practical. Metals – brushed steel, aluminum, sand-blasted finishes, and industrial-style sheet metals such as zinc – are also appropriate for details. Use them for surfaces, containers, and elegant lamps, and for fittings such as handles and hooks.

For a white or neutral setting, choose one or two eye-catching color pieces to add dramatic impact. A brightly covered chair, an impressive table lamp, or the details in a pair of framed prints are good subjects. Alternatively, focus on shape and texture contrasts. Add to the graphic quality of black aluminum frames, and display the group in a tight formation; or place a curvy, floor-standing iron jardini?re or coat stand where its silhouette makes a dramatic contrast with the background. Otherwise, arrange a group of the same-color objects together, as on the shelf unit on the left below, so that they create a low-key pattern and textural interest.

Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, MyInteriorDecorator.com. May not be reprinted.

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