Wallcoverings help draw line around 'L'-shaped space

April 25, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q. My garden apartment has a large "L"-shaped living/dinin room combination. Besides the obvious choice of putting a dining table in the shorter part of the "L" near the kitchen, I can't decide how best to create a cozy dining area that's compatible with the style of the living room. Any suggestions? I prefer traditional designs.

A. What you're attempting to do is no easy task. The typical "L"-shaped apartment does not readily lend itself to traditional styling, which involves a comparatively formal interpretation of both the functional and decorative aspects of design.

Perhaps this photo will provide you with some ideas. Even though the designer of this room took a somewhat more casual approach to the use of the space and its furnishings, the mix of elements from different periods still results in a basically traditional look.

An "L"-shaped space can often accommodate a small table in more locations than you might suspect. Here, for example, a 48-inch round table was tucked close to the room's corner. Up to six chairs can be comfortably arranged around this table, which is decoratively skirted to the floor in a fabric that complements the colors and textures used in the living room.

Colors, fabrics and surface treatments have to be closely coordinated in order to form an integrated space. If those elements are in contrast with one another, you'll wind up with a dining area that stands awkwardly apart from the adjoining living room.

The simplest strategy is to treat the floors, walls and windows in both sections of the "L" in the same manner. For example, something like this textured wall-covering and companion border both from the Enhancement collection of Essex Wallcoverings -- could be used throughout the "L." That would certainly help the dining and living areas to look like well-fitting halves of an attractive whole.

Please note, too, that the marble-topped chest of drawers in the corner does double-duty as a server. In the same multifunctional manner, the wicker and iron chairs can be used for actual dining or as occasional seating pieces. Their texture and scale are also in keeping with the classically inspired design of this composition.

Don't be afraid to make unusual furniture selections or to use plenty of patterns and personal memorabilia. Such additions will further ensure that your "L"-shaped space avoids a predictable look and takes on a cozy and unique appearance.

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