Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine
Lifestyle architect Randy Altig explains how to furnish and decorate
a small space for entertaining
WRITTEN BY RANDY ALTIG
PHOTOGRAPH BY HANK DREW
TRANSITIONING FROM SUBURBAN to urban living can be a challenge. It requires a new way of intersecting form and function while staying true to your own sense of style. It’s about maximizing space while living in the details, and calling upon your furnishings to multitask when creating an environment for entertaining.
The shift to urban living means redefining how you live, from the furniture you buy to how you entertain, but it can affect your life in positive ways.As a lifestyle architect, I find more and more clients asking for advice on setting up their new urban homes to be multifunctional. Their questions range from what colors make a space feel larger to how to choose the right furniture, but making space for entertaining is crucial. Here are some of my tips:
- Maximize space by using low-profile sectionals that can create a large entertainment area or multiple smaller conversational vignettes. A sectional lets you change a room in minutes by creating different configurations to accommodate different events. For your next dinner party, try topping the ottoman from the sectional with a white tablecloth and a large decorative serving tray to make a striking cocktail table. Place the other chairs around it and you’ve got a casual dining area.
- Think vertical when it comes to food presentation. I stack pedestal cake plates to make two- or three-tier servers. They make great displays for finger sandwiches or desserts.You can also make multitiered serving trays out of serving plates and candlesticks,using museum putty to secure the candlesticks to plates of decreasing sizes.
- When placing furniture in a room, always try to create a circular floor plan with no dead ends. This helps traffic flow smoothly and allows guests to easily move through your home.
- Choose furniture that doesn’t create visual barriers. Look for pieces made of acrylic and glass, such as tables, credenzas, cabinets or highboys. If your furniture has transparent elements—whether in the top, base or legs— it will reflect light, adding beauty and dimension to the room and making it feel larger.
- Make your deck part of your living environment. Use the same colors and design elements inside and out to increase the sense of openness.
Follow my motto for urban design and you will never go wrong: “Less is more when designing a space from ceiling to floor.”