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Use Books as Interior Design Accessories

It’s #WorldBookDay and we can’t think of a more appropriate day to celebrate the inherent beauty and timeless role played by books as a design accessory. More than just paper, ink and words, books offer a sense of warmth and create a sense of comfort. Books add a certain alchemy if you will, a je ne sais quois and yes, we celebrate them, both for their utility as a design accessory and for the words and messages they hold within their covers.

Hartman Design Group uses books in our commercial interior design schemes for lobbies, co-working areas, reading nooks, models and other amenity spaces within the many multifamily, senior living community and other projects we design for. Whether hardcover or paperback, books can be a great way to add color, visual interest and texture to an otherwise bland area. Even more, they can serve as a centerpiece and to showcase your interests too. Here are a few our favorite tips when incorporating books in your interior design scheme:

Use books to reinforce a theme

Books can convey a consistent look and overall vision: Use books to reinforce a theme. If you have a room decked out in a nautical style, think sailing, marine animal and coastal living-themed books. If the area you are designing is airy and light with big windows showcasing the gardens, perhaps floral and garden-style books would fit. Books on the motion picture industry, musical instruments, and celebrity biographies would be great additions to any media room. You get the idea.

Interior design using a book in a mint green color referencing a garden and outdoor theme is strategically placed near a breezy window area to bring nature indoors.
Reinforce a theme: A model unit at Haven National Harbor, designed by Hartman Design Group featuring a book in a mint green color referencing a garden and outdoor theme is strategically placed near a breezy window area to bring nature indoors.

 

 

Use books to showcase your interests and personality

Show off your confidence and individuality by strategically placing books about your favorite subjects in an area lacking personality and warmth. A dog lover? A stamp collector? An oenophile? Set up a collection of books featuring your passions to serve not only as a point of interest but a great conversation starter.

Interior design - Shelves with books flat against the wall displayed as artwork but ready to pick up and read.
Designed by Hartman Design Group, The Easton’s co-working lounge window seating is accented by books as art.

Add depth to a room by choosing books covered in patterns or textures. There are a range of textural choices in covers, ranging from glossy, to intentionally textured, to matte. Printed covers can feature repeated geometric patterns, organic patterns or abstracts. Choose books featuring these characteristics to strategically complement or serve as a foil for a room lacking in texture or patterns.

Use books to add a pop of color

Infuse your space with color: Books come in all colors of the rainbow and provide a great way to reinforce your existing color scheme or add contrast and interest. Group like-colored books together for emphasis.

Use books in a bookshelf display

Create a bookshelf display with carefully selected bookends to stand books upright, or stack several on their sides, spine facing the room, pages to the wall, with a decorative item perched on top, such as a candle, small plant or small figurine as a vignette. On another area of the bookshelf, add framed photos, perched on easels, other plants, or vases to add more interest and variety. Repeat as necessary to create your own personal work of art.

bookshelves with a grouping of green books, white books and other accessories, along with a black bar
A grouping of lime green books near another grouping of white books to break up the expanse of wood from the bookshelves at The Signature Co-working space.

 

Use books as a centerpiece

Finally, there’s always the use of a single book or book grouping as a coffee table centerpiece. The size of the table will dictate your choice here. This can enhance any room.

So remember, if you are looking for a way to add contemporary yet timeless depth and interest, take a look at books.  And if you are looking for an experienced, award-winning commercial interior design firm for your next multifamily or senior living community project, contact Hartman Design Group.

5 Multifamily Interior Design Trends of 2020

The Healing Power of Nature 

There is a new-found appreciation for the therapeutic properties that plants and botanicals bring to the built environment. Spaces come alive with the introduction of floral patterns and greenery. Whether real or through imagery, a connection with nature supports our physical and emotional well-being. In Emma McGowan’s article in Bustle, Emma attests that plants, a green palette, images of foliage and views of nature enhance creative thinking, reduce anxiety, clear your head and make you more productive.

1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Preserved Moss Wall at the fitness center in this multi-family re-positioning renovation.

Parc Meridian in Alexandria, VA – Connecting the interior to the natural grasslands on site

More than a trend, this lifestyle shift exemplifies our desire to embrace wellness where we work and live. In the design world, this movement is showing up in homes, restaurants, the common areas of multi-family apartments, and condominiums, and in the materials that we use to design interior spaces. The wall-covering, tile, and floor-covering industries are introducing natural scenes and botanical images in new and inventive ways, all supporting our desire to bring the outdoors in.

Personal Spaces

“Creating a sense of security is one of the underlying roots of all of my designs…In fact, the notion of feeling cocooned, protected, and pampered underlies my whole design ethos. And it is no crime to design with comfort in mind.” Timothy Corrigan, The New Elegance.

1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Acoustically sound booths create intimacy within a social environment

The Signature in Reston, VA – A room within a room provides an intimate personal space for work or socializing

The desire for intimacy and personal comfort, especially in common and large-volume spaces, is well established. Rather than a trend, we see it as a lifestyle shift. Living and working in an urban environment can be lonely. By nature, we want to feel included, to be a part of a group. Finding your personal space in a coffee shop, a multi-family building, or at work fulfills the need to be with others and, at the same time, embraces our individual need to feel protected and secure. Whether co-working or relaxing, providing guests and residents with a place they can call their own creates comfort.

Mixed-Use Spaces

The demand to do more with less space is increasing. As land gets more expensive and the cost of construction continues to rise, multi-functional amenity spaces become increasingly important. Rather than compete in the amenities race, another road to success is to shrink the square footage dedicated to amenities and make every inch fully functional as well as visually stunning.

1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Repositioning is the perfect opportunity to add functionality to every space. Featured are the ride-share lounges where a previously oversized vestibule dominated this lobby.

The Bartlett in Arlington, VA – The private residential connection between Commonwealth Joe Coffee Shop and The Bartlett lobby creates an energized vibe

Studies show that social interaction contributes to happiness. Active social spaces emanate a sense of community, create resident engagement, and positively affect resident retention. The “no one is home” lobbies of the past are a waste of space and create a negative first impression. Every nook and cranny can be programmed to provide an opportunity for residents and guests to find their personal space to work, play, and socialize. featuring a wrapping station for gifts and Amazon returns, the required mail and package rooms can be “experience centers.” If the building allows for a combined amenity/retail experience, a lobby that connects with a boutique grocery, wine bar, or coffee shop creates lots of energy and a great vibe.

Hand Crafted Materials

With our desire to connect to the natural environment, comes an exalted appreciation of authentic materials-especially those that have been handcrafted by artisans or by the “maker” within each of us.

When the textures, colors, and materials of nature are married to interior spaces, we are reminded of the gifts found in nature and the importance of sustaining these gifts for future generations. As interior designers, we have the unique opportunity and the obligation to use materials wisely, and creatively and to embrace talented artisans that contribute so much beauty to our built environment.

Cultural Elements

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Today, people are more traveled than any generation in our past. The desire to see and experience other cultures is top of our bucket list. This is especially true of millennials, who are highly motivated to seek out new cultural experiences.  Their technological skills make it easy to find that special place in the world that offers a true authentic encounter centered on local art, music, and ethos.

Travel expands our design aesthetic.  Connecting with other cultures broadens our vision and view of the world. As our customers become more travel-savvy, the design profession is positioned to embrace the wanderlust trend by designing environments that recognize artists and artisans throughout the world. Furnishings, textiles, architectural materials, and lighting are just some of the ways that we can introduce multiculturalism into interiors.

Lighting Your Way to Excellent Design

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Lighting is one of the most important elements to consider when designing any space, and this important tool is continually evolving. Meeting the requirements of the state, county and national regulations, as well as the electrical engineer’s energy model, necessitates the evaluation of our client’s needs on a grand scale.  This evaluation must balance many factors including budget, aesthetics and energy efficiency.

Though the first cost is still considerably more than conventional fluorescent and incandescent luminaires, LED lighting is the way to achieve both the low wattage requirements and the appealing effect. With this in mind, a realistic approach to the lighting budget is important. Considering that the savings over time will well outweigh the initial cost, LED lighting is an investment that pays off.

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Not only will the cost of electricity be substantially lower, the greatly reduced labor (to re-lamp) and bulb replacement expense quickly help to recoup the initial cash outlay. Additionally, when renovating a building, consider the many retrofits LED lamps on the market. There could be no need to replace light fixtures and Pepco rebates may well be applicable. Whether using retrofit lamps for a renovation or new construction, choosing the right color temperature and rendition is critical to setting the mood and obtaining the desired ambiance. For calm, relaxing spaces, consider using soft, warm lights with orange and yellow hues (2700K or warmer). For a room that is intended to be livelier, like a fitness center, a slightly cooler temperature (3000 or 3100K) is ideal. The color rendition of 80 or higher is recommended for the best color interpretation.

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To create the mood, many different types of lighting fixtures are required. Downlights provide general lighting and pooling of light on the floor, accent lighting is used for special features and art, while sconces and chandeliers are used for additional layering of light as well as decorative elements. The good news is that there are LED lamps for most fixture types today so you can easily achieve the look desired and contribute to the green initiative. If you’re working with an interior design firm, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the mood you wish to create, the budget and required energy efficiency. Your interior designer will know the best way to utilize the natural light coming into the room, and how to properly support that light with general, task, accent, or a combination of all three types of lighting.