Home Decor: Ideas for Making the Most of Unused Spaces

Rhode Island designers Blair Moore and Nicole Martel share how

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Our homes have become the settings for most everything we do – from streaming the latest Marvel movies on the couch to unfurling yoga mats on the floor. Homework at the kitchen table is nothing new, but today the busy spot resembles an internet cafe with Chromebooks and laptops, coffee mugs and juice boxes. Over time, some of these set-ups fashioned in haste during the early days of the pandemic became more permanent, and it’s likely many will remain because they’re useful. We checked in with two talented East Bay designers for tips and tricks for making the most of unexpected spaces – some for their clients and some for themselves.

In her living room, Nicole Martel of Three Sparrows Design in Warren took advantage of an area along a wall that could easily be overlooked. By fabricating a desk from file cabinets and wood to fit, a zone is now ready for Zoom sessions for work or play. “This crisis has taught us to live better in our homes both for the short-term and long-term,” she offers. Similarly, for a client, she positioned a narrow table and chairs along a row of windows, making it an ideal place for remote learning, crafting, even daydreaming. “Out of the three spaces I designed for my client, I do believe that this will likely get used most,” says Martel.

Blair Moore of Moore House, a Tiverton-based family business that restores “forgotten homes,” wanted to create “somewhere fresh for the foreseeable future” for herself. She started by clearing out the entire space and then opening paint cans. “Dipped datum lines are always a fave of ours when designing spaces,” Moore says and advises using green painters tape. For the window, she ordered sheer linen, clipped and hung six inches below the crown moulding to add drama and make the ceiling look taller. “I just clipped these but was purposeful on folding the fabric into the clip to give the illusion of custom curtains. I also used the fabric orientation on its side so that the selvage edge is at the top so there was no sewing needed and it won’t fray.”

To complete the scene, Moore made pin boards from homasote boards purchased at a hardware store. “Added a rug I had and viola! Fresh flowers, some design books, and a Moore House Candle, and I was ready to work!” she says.

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