Interior designer Beth Armijo's 900-square-foot-condo has hardwood floors, 11-1/2-foot-high concrete ceilings, and large glass windows that offer a view of the Denver skyline. Beth decided to offset the industrial look of the space with comfy furnishings, warm colors, and rich textures. She chose neutral upholstery, such as the chocolate brown sleeper sofa, for the living area. Set against pale green walls, this piece strikes a dramatic silhouette. "The dark colors offset all the light," Beth says.
Beth sticks to five basic colors for her unit: green, brown, magenta, orange, and white. Colorful bursts of orange and magenta add vibrancy to transitional tones and forms throughout the condo. To keep things from being too contrived, she takes liberty with the values and tones of each color. In the living room, concentrated shades of each hue add warmth to the space.
A collection of colored glass vases on the windowsill blends in with the room's palette and offers space for an ever-changing floral display.
Beth found a box of 1920s New Yorker covers for $1.50 each at a tag sale. Her $22.50 art buy plus custom framing yielded big results. Framed in white, the bold display fills the wall and meets Beth's spatial mantra: Always design to scale. For extra seating, Beth chose upholstered floor cushions for their flexibility, budget-savvy price, and rich texture.
"Art is a great way to make a space feel original," Beth says. "I like to support student artists. It's an easy way to start an affordable collection." Because Beth was designing on a budget, she made smart choices, such as this painting by a student artist, throughout the unit. Double-duty pieces are another smart choice. The red lacquer trunk serves many functions: storage, display space, color, and extra seating.
Beth took advantage of a small nook between two concrete pillars by turning it into her home office. She installed an overhead cabinet for storage and a countertop for a work space. She continued the home's palette in this space with magenta and white accessories. Black subway tile grounds the space.
Beth's budget didn't allow big furniture purchases, so instead she reinvented bargain pieces and hand-me-downs. She revived the 1970s brown dining table with white lacquer. A mismatched collection of dining chairs provides eclectic interest. A wide-framed mirror dominates the dining area. "It visually widens the narrow space by reflecting the windows," Beth says. Below the mirror a long bench upholstered in green fabric with chocolate brown piping adds a traditional touch.
A poured-concrete half-wall separates the bedroom from the living areas, so Beth wanted to continue the unit's key elements in this room. A custom headboard echoes the chocolate brown coverings in the living space. Bedside tables repeat the white-painted finishes of the dining room, and pillows underscore the accent color palette. "Timeless design is hard to achieve," Beth says. "If you can mix a few of the classics with something that is happening now, you will have pieces that last."
Vintage lamps got a makeover with custom shades designed by Beth. Customization is Beth's remedy for a small budget. These simple projects are more budget-savvy than designer pieces and show off the homeowner's style.
Beth gave the builder's bath designer style with paisley print wallpaper. "It's playful and not too stuffy," Beth says. "The soft gray-blue ties nicely with the cement pillars and ceiling."
Beth relaxes on a mohair wing chair she bought at a sample sale. Beth says shopping flea markets, catalog outlets, and showroom sales is a great way to get designer pieces at bargain prices.