Eames Lounge Chair, the first chair created by American design couple Charles and Ray Eames for the luxury market has been in our homes for 56 years. The only downside? It’s been in the market so long, that decorating a house around this chair in a way that is original is difficult. Especially if you’re decorating a small space. At least for some…
And then there’s Philippe Harden, a French architect who likes to work with “materials, proportions, and colors that let you feel good,” as he states. Harden decorates minimalist rooms that are also intimate and tailored for living. Take for example his one-bedroom apartment in a small apartment in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower that Harden remodeled. You’ll notice the Eames Lounge Chair is a big part of the decor.
Why the Eames Lounge Chair?
The Eames Lounge Chair is perfect to decorate all kinds of spaces and we want to show you just how dazzling and versatile this chair is. This design’s availability in different colors and a large range of upholstery materials and plywood veneers make easy to build a distinct atmosphere around it.
The legacy of the Eames Lounge Chair has been famous for more than 63 years. By then, molded plywood and leather were combined in what would become an iconic design. Since then, some details were changed over the years, adapting the production to modern technology. For example, the original Eames Lounge Chair was made out of five layers of Brazilian rosewood veneer, a less eco-friendly option. Now, the modern version of the Eames Lounge Chair features seven thin plywood veneer layers shaped under heat and pressure, premium Italian leather upholstery on the back and seat cushions, connected to a stiff plastic backing that allowed the veneer to be smooth, uninterrupted by marks of screws or bolts.
We’ll use the apartment mentioned above and the Eames Lounge Chair to illustrate 9 ways in which Harden teaches us how to decorate small spaces
Choose versatile furniture
The first, big takeaway from this small apartment is to always use versatile furniture when you’re decorating. That’s one of the reasons we love mid-century modern furniture. They’re pieces that can function in several rooms and with different styles. And apparently the owner of this apartment, too.
In the apartment above, you can see lots of mid-century modernist icons such as a Noguchi table, an Eames Walnut Stool, and Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. To make these pieces work well together in a small space and still be able to move around, the Eames Lounge Chairs and Ottoman were pulled apart to create two seating opportunities instead of one. This might seem weird, but Harden’s advice for arranging a room is to do it by instinct: “Forget about the rules; think with your feelings.”
Create depth by using darker shades
See above how this living room features a wall with a gas fireplace and a shelf that is tucked into a niche. If you have a similar space you can paint it in dark shade that’s space-enhancing like the green-black hue Harden used above.
This niche, framed by white walls and painted in green smoke gives the room added depth and visual interest. “Green is complementary with the brown wood of the floor,” Harden says. “Dark colors are interesting because they change color according to the different moments of the day.”
Unused corner? Use a round dining table
One of the biggest concerns of someone decorating a small space is how to fit a dining table into a small living room. The answer doesn’t come from an Eames Lounge Chair, granted. But from another mid-century modern icon: the Tulip Table Designed by Eero Saarinen.
Neatly tucking a Saarinen Tulip Table, with its characteristic round shape, is a lot easier than a rectangular dining table and that way you fill an empty corner while giving the room a dual purpose without feeling crowded.
Don’t block sightlines
Harden uses Eames Side Chairs with see-through bases (a great wink to the Eiffel Tower) to teach us not only to keep sightlines unobstructed but also to keep the corner looking airy. You can do the same with windows: Harden decided to forgo window treatments and used pocket shutters instead.
Why is it so important to keep sightlines obstructed? Because sightlines play a huge role in helping us determine how we move around a room and how to navigate throughout it. Sightlines often make rooms seem as though they flow well together, so remember to always keep them clear.
Enhance the sense of space
You can always use art and mirrors in niches add dimension, just like in this apartment the mirror and the vintage Roger Prigent fashion photograph hanging outside the new kitchen.
Unite the flooring
Take a look at this streamlined kitchen. Harden changed the floor and installed a new one to match the apartment’s existing wood floor and consistent look throughout the apartment. Having a consistent flooring will really help a small apartment feel bigger.
Use wall sconces
There’s no best way to light a small apartment than wall sconces. We love floor lamps, but wall sconces take up far less space than floor lamps. You can always pattern your walls with light. They also are a great way to set the right mood in any room.
Use Pocket Doors
Not many people are aware that the problem with traditional doors requires swing space. That space adds to the visual clutter of the room. Take a page out of Harden’s book. Create a tidy division between the bedroom and living room with a pocket door. “Keeping connections open allows perspective and gives a sensation of larger space,” says Harden.
Splurge On The Best Materials
In this particular apartment, all the square footage gained for the living room meant the bathroom had to be smaller. In a small space such as this, you can splash out on materials because not many are required. Just like Harden did, lining the walls and shower with natural marble tiles and the sink top with Marquina marble.
Like many iconic pieces of furniture, a genuine Eames Lounge chair and ottoman will make a dent in your wallet, at $5,000 and up. Lucky for you, an Eames Lounge Chair replica won’t cost you that much!