Storage space is needed in family's living room By Design: Decorative storage pieces need to suit the room and your taste, and must not interfere with the operation of the electronic equipment placed in them.

April 21, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

Our contemporary-style living room is used mainly for family activities, including TV watching. The room needs more storage space. A decorative storage compartment might be a good addition. Any suggestions?

First, you should measure the equipment that would be housed in that single piece of furniture. Difficulties often arise due to the depth of many television sets.

Remember that not every component has to be placed in that storage unit or even on just one wall. Items such as stereo speakers, which can be as small as books, may be placed in various parts of the room -- and be hidden from view as well, if you wish.

Once you've decided what it's going to contain, you can shop for a decorative piece that's in keeping with your tastes and appropriate to the room's size and shape. Accessibility, in terms of viewing and operating the electronic equipment, should be taken into account.

Some styles are much easier than others to integrate into a contemporary setting. Asian design, with its purity of form and strong rectilinear character, is one candidate. A person in your situation will seldom go wrong by choosing a piece of this type.

As an example, take a look at the photo showing an adaptation of a 19th-century cabinet from Thailand. This piece, manufactured by Milling Road, measures 52 inches in width, 22 inches in depth and 70 inches in height.

These types of cabinets were traditionally made of pine or teak and were painted with pale finishes. Originals can occasionally be found in antiques shops, but seldom in a depth and width suitable for today's storage needs.

Note the inward slanting of the vertical elements -- a design technique used by the Chinese as a means of enhancing the piece's stability. This effect gives the cabinet a distinctive appearance that's just right for a contemporary room; it also helps ensure that the internal shelving will be able to hold heavy electronic equipment.

I would advise that you add to the height of such a piece by placing decorative objects on its top. Vases, planters and boxes would all work well. The latter option offers the advantage of serving as convenient containers for tapes and CDs that will be played on the equipment inside the cabinet.

Pub Date: 4/21/96

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