I'm Redecorating My Rental Apartment—Help Me Choose the Floor Plan

Updated 06/07/18

I've been living in Los Angeles for over three years, and you'd think that as the editorial director of MyDomaine, I would have a finished apartment by now. Well, you'd be seriously wrong. While I definitely have a design eye—I know what I like and what I don't—the main challenge as a working parent has been finding the time to decorate. Not to mention sourcing the products. Trailing through each and every home décor site to find the pieces that I (I mean my family) like is very time-consuming. Don't get me wrong, I love to trawl, but this required a different level that I just didn't have the time for.

But all that aside, it was the planning part that I really didn't have a grasp on.

So, on one sunny weekend, after lying on my sofa staring at my living room, I finally decided it was time this design enthusiast finally got her act together and redecorated the space into something I was proud to show off to other people. As someone who is entering her late 30s, my approach to a good time is more dinner party than disco. So I reached out to one of my favorite New York–based Australian interior designers, Tali Roth of Homepolish, to collaborate with. You only have to look inside her strikingly modern NYC loft to see why.

The first thing on Roth's agenda was creating a floor plan for my living and dining areas. These two spaces are just one big L-shaped room, so Roth wanted to define each section, giving them definition and breathing room. The small-space factor of my teeny apartment didn't phase her either. In fact, she saw it as a challenge. "The beauty of working with a small space is that you have to be considerate and thoughtful with every inch," she says. "And every single piece needs to make total sense. There isn't room for error and clutter.

It's actually easy to make a small space work. You just need to focus on floor plan and proportions. If the space is laid out well and each corner is utilized beautifully, then it often doesn't feel too small." 

Below are the four simple floor plans Roth presented to me for my L.A. apartment. I've laid out Roth's and my feedback for each of the plans to give you insight into what we're thinking. Scroll down to see which one we went for, and let me know what you think. Did I make the right decision?

Floor Plan 1

ROTH'S TAKE: "We wanted to create a conversational space that emphasized people facing each other (as opposed to facing a wall or the kitchen). We also tried to give Sacha and family the option of having an entire wall of storage. We suggested the hanging chair as a fun reading nook and another cool interactive detail of the space.

"The advantage of this design is the storage. The disadvantage is that it feels less cozy and almost is a little too formal for Sacha's family's style."

MY TAKE: "From the mood board Roth created, I really loved the idea of a daybed in the living area to create a relaxing family environment. Right now we don't use the space for that as much as we could. While I loved the idea of more storage (and somewhere to hide all of my son's toys and electronics), my husband really wanted to save that wall for his record player. I do love the round dining table though. We currently have a rectangular one, and it does take up a lot of space." 

simple floor plans—living room
@sacha.strebe

Floor Plan 2

ROTH'S TAKE: "We wanted to present an option that was similar to the existing floor plan—sofa on the back wall, facing the kitchen. We added a hanging chair in the corner to add an additional seating option and insisted on bringing two lounge chairs to face the sofa to create more of a social space. We kept the existing shape of the dining table for this option.

"The advantage of this design is the really pretty view of a sofa against a large wall that acts as a blank canvas for art and design. It anchors the space. I also like that this floorplan is super open. The disadvantage is that it tends to create wasted space as the sofa only takes up less than half the wall and so it's awkward to fill the rest of that space."

MY TAKE: "This is super practical and family-friendly, and I loved the social element to the living space with two chairs facing the sofa. I do appreciate the whimsical element of the hanging chair, but I'm unsure if we would use it. Although, it would be fun for dinner parties. The only negative feedback I have is that it does feel a little too similar to the current layout of this room, and I'm keen to change it up." 

Floor Plan 3

ROTH'S TAKE: "This was my favorite. I like multidimensional spaces that have multiple seat options and give a relaxed and social vibe.

"The advantage of this space is that it makes it feel bigger and more dynamic. The disadvantage is that it's very directional, meaning that it's a real look and you have to love that kind of thing. It also will be tight between the curved sofa and the dining table but the three-foot rule of clearance doesn't totally work in smaller spaces."

MY TAKE: "I really loved the curved sofa in this option—I've been eyeing them off since we shot Anine Bing's home. I also loved the various seating and felt like this would encourage conversation and a comfortable vibe when we had people over. This was definitely at the top of my list." 

simple floor plan—dining room
@sacha.strebe

FLOOR PLAN 4

ROTH'S TAKE: "This is what we landed on. We wanted to keep the existing sofa, so this made a lot of sense. Sacha really wanted a Mantis wall lamp from Design Within Reach, so that worked so nicely behind the sofa. We very quickly found these Chairish hunting chairs, so they got slotted into the plan. We changed the existing rectangular shape of the dining table to a circle (Sacha had to have the new Consort Tangle table) for a fresh new look."  

MY TAKE: "This floor plan felt like a marriage of all four. It blended enough of the old with the new to make me feel like the overall outcome would be fresh and inspiring. As soon as I saw it I started picking out the pieces and seeing how they would visually fit in the space. We swapped out the storage for this console where my husband's record player and speakers could live (very important). There was also enough additional space around the counter for counter stools and near the entry for a side table and vase (I'm obsessed with this one)."

Did I make the right decision? Help me choose and then help me to decide on the coffee table layout. Take a look through the two options below and let me know what you think. 

Coffee Table Option 1

ROTH'S TAKE: "To fit the large plinth we needed to rotate the chairs out a little more at an angle. The advantage is that it's large and it's another surface to engage with and eat on and put your feet up on. The disadvantage is that scale-wise it errs a little on the large size for the space."

MY TAKE: "I really love the idea of a plinth, especially a marble one like this from TRNK, however, I'm not sure it will leave us with enough room either side to move. Not that that really matters, does it?"

Coffee Table Option 2

ROTH'S TAKE: "The two smaller cubed tables are super flexible, which I love. You can stagger them, you can have them completely in line, you can pull them apart so there is a gap of use one of them as a side table. It's slightly less dramatic than doing a larger plinth but more practical."

MY TAKE: "I love the idea of two smaller cubes because it opens the space up slightly more than the plinth. I love the idea of having a little white space between them and seeing the rug though. But I'm still undecided. This is not an easy decision."

Related Stories