Q: I've just moved into a high-rise apartment building, and I'm in need of suggestions on how to furnish the dining room. It's small, but it opens out to an oversized balcony that's as wide as the room itself. What's your advice?
A: Such a layout practically demands that you integrate those two adjoining spaces. This will not be a simple task, however, since the choice of furnishings for the balcony depends on the climate.
But even if the outdoor space cannot be used for dining all year round, it may still be possible to design the balcony in a way that will visually enhance the adjoining interior.
The dining room shown in the photo was furnished in a contemporary manner with art and accessories in Oriental style. The round table is not centered in the room, but was instead placed closer to the sliding glass terrace doors. A sideboard is situated against the wall opposite the terrace, while the wall perpendicular to the glass doors has been partly covered with a Japanese screen.
A standard outdoor table and chairs would visually detract from the design of the indoor space; therefore, the balcony has been outfitted with elements inspired by objects typically found in a Japanese garden. A segment of traditional bamboo and reed fencing was used as a decorative addition along the two side walls. Japanese-style wood and ceramic planters filled with stones and shoots complement the look of the dining room, thus producing a continuous, restful design.
Low-voltage recessed ceiling fixtures and up-lights for the terrace create pools of light in both areas. The screen, the off-centered table, the serving area and the planters are all lit with differing degrees of intensity.
Sophisticated interior design often makes use of fool-the-eye techniques. In some situations, the actual furnishings are of less importance than the manner in which they are arranged. And the effects produced by colors, lighting and artworks may sometimes be the most crucial factors in determining the appearance of a setting.
tTC I'm not necessarily proposing that you furnish your dining room and balcony in Japanese style. Rather, my intention is to show that furniture is not the only design element to be considered in a situation like the one you describe.