Consider the EnvironmentColor is one of design's most powerful tools, and the challenge for our remaining four contestants is to demonstrate their understanding of color and how to employ it most effectively in almost identical studio apartments. Although one's initial reaction may be to use the assigned color choice all over to boldly communicate the designated hue, sometimes color is most powerful when it is used sparingly. In addition to coming up with a great way to effectively utilize their color, designers are also challenged with coming up with unique space solutions for studio apartments that have to address every aspect of life in one, efficient space.
Keep Small Spaces OpenBlues of this tonal value look fresh with white, fashion-forward with brown and a bit edgy with black, and go well with almost any wood tone, which is why it's a smart choice for a studio space where adaptation to the current need is key. Alice does a great job for the most part by smartly utilizing mirrors and soft barriers (such as fabric around the bed) to further open up the visual space. Sticking to glass accents and white in furnishings, cabinetry and in fabric choices allows the space to feel light-filled and clean.
Use Every Bit of SpaceHer one major mistake is not fully using the leftover square footage on the other side of the kitchen counter. In a city like New York where space is at a premium, every last inch must be smartly put to use. A bistro table for two, writing desk, reading chair or vertical storage would have all been better alternatives than leaving the area empty. Overall, Alice uses blue effectively and demonstrates that she clearly understands color, balance and the importance of light.
Choose Yellow CarefullyMany people associate yellow with cheery and happy spaces, but it's important to select the right value for this color if you are going to utilize it in large quantity. Because incandescent lighting (the standard light bulb most of us are used to) tends to cast a yellow hue anyway, it's important to determine how yellow will be utilized in a space before picking its exact shade.
Temple chose to universally employ a mid-tone yellow on all of her studio walls, which can be difficult to live with everyday since a studio apartment offers no escape. The wrong tone of yellow can have the ability to reflect an unflattering hue on people and can make things seem a bit duller than they actually are. To successfully go down this road, a better strategy would have been to pick a warm pale/butter yellow for the walls that almost read neutral and accent it with several stronger, bolder yellows in pillows, drapery, rugs, artwork and bedding.
Use Area Rugs for DefinitionAnother path that could have given the walls some dimension would have been painting horizontal or vertical stripes in a gloss finish over the same pale yellow matte wall surface. Balancing the walls with some items that provided contrast would have also created some visual interest in the space. Some dark brown candlesticks and accessories, a few black ceramic pots or some graphic green plants would have given the room something that "popped" rather than kept the feeling more on the bland and monotonous side of things.
Do Double DutySome other key tricks Temple could have employed would have been to hang longer drapes to the ceiling line to create a sense of more verticality, as well as utilize her rugs to define her separate living areas by squaring them with the furniture on them. However, great space-saving solutions can be found in her studio apartment. Positioning the bed to double as a sofa and placing the television on the desk makes furniture do double-duty in a tight space!
Attention to UndertonesUtilizing different tones of the same color in a space is a great way to keep the room unified while also adding interest and visual texture. While Tym employs this strategy with his studio by selecting a different green for his bedspread, he mistakenly selects a jarringly bright, neon version that detracts from the soft, soothing green selected for the walls. In the spectrum of green, there are hues that have more of a yellow undertone and those that have more of a blue undertone. Tym's selected wall color has a soft, yellow undertone, which makes it warm and comfortable—but his bedding employs harsher blue undertones that make it look like a mistake rather than interesting.
Build Simple PartitionsTym always has unique construction techniques and here he architecturally defines the bed area with some structure. Another nice move on Tym's part is the combination of the pale blue paint under the windows and above the kitchen cabinets that, paired with his soft green elsewhere, creates a nice reference to the outdoors.
Carry The Plan ThroughAdding some artwork to the walls, a few more plants, flowers, books and additional accessories would have contributed a different scale to the environment which would've not only warmed it up, but also made it more relatable and finished-looking. Some more finishing touches would have taken this room from looking less "dorm room" and more cool, hip, New York City retreat.
Color Goes a Long WayKudos to David for explicitly understanding the challenge and the color red. Red is powerful, attention-grabbing and strong. In nature, red is naturally seen in a bold flower on a green bush, in a cardinal contrasted against the blue sky or in jewel-like fish swimming in the vast ocean. In other words, a little red goes a long way and by painting an accent wall red while keeping the rest of the wall neutral, David showcases his color perfectly.
Keep Small Spaces FlexibleDavid also uses red glass accents perfectly to tie in the rest of the room and comes up with an interesting space solution to compartmentalize the studio apartment. It would have been a potentially more functional choice to have separated the "bedroom" from the "living room" with a curtain instead of a half-wall to allow that space to be more open at times as well as making the television accessible to the bed but, overall, David does an exceptional job.
Everyone's an ArtistAs David has been demonstrating, art can be a great way to create focal points to direct the eye and create layers in a room. If you are not a talented artist like him, painting canvases in stripes, squares or other easy to create geometrics gives you instant access to cheap, original artwork.