Saturday, January 19, 2013

Onto the Living Room...

Ahhhh, the living/dining room. I imagine this space will have lots of potential, space, light, and crown molding ;) As I hope to eventually find a 2-bedroom apartment, there will probably be a spacious combined living/dining room with a window/terrace/balcony (that's the normal set up here). 

As it stands, I have no furniture (the result of living year to year) but lots of little trinkets... plates and lamps from Morocco, a wall hanging from Vietnam, weaving from Senegal, a brass bell and masks from Cameroon, a jewelry box from Syria, and the list goes on. I'm sure it will take seeing the actual space to know where exactly to place my treasures, but general ideas have been taking form.

So, I need furniture. Even though I know I will be in Senegal for at least 1.5 more years, I still don't want to invest in anything too nice as its very unlikely I'll be able to bring it with me wherever I go next. On the other hand, its super easy to tap into the expat community and sell all your furniture before you leave (did that last year!). 

The key is finding cheap to mid-range furniture that can be spruced up and look decent, but doesn't cost me too much upfront (especially since I'll also need to buy a fridge and a stove... yup, kitchens come empty here). Or I might just buy the essentials and slowly add more pieces as I have more money! Wicker is obviously a popular option, but I've been noticing other pieces I think I can jazz up to make this space livable, cute, and affordable. And without further ado...

A Space for Living and Dining
Eclectic, bright, comfy, and open

Clockwise from upper left: 
1. My collection of African textiles; 
2. A West Elm African-inspired coffee table (but I would find the real deal!); 
3. Coasters from Anthro; 
4. Bamboo shelves
5. L-shaped couch with lots o' pillows
6. POUFS!; 
7. Classy African mask wall
8. Scratch-off world map.
As you can see, my vision for the living room area is an L-shaped couch with tons of pillows (see African textiles in the left-hand corner), an African coffee or side table--a real one!, bamboo or wicker shelves, and maybe another chair or poufs for more seating.  My color theme is still coral/teal (and variations, therein), so I bought the teal coasters from Anthro over break for some visual fun :)

I had been eyeing the scratch-off map for months and found it in a little store in Paris last spring. I've also started collecting some masks to install a classy (and understated) mask wall. This might end up in the hallway or somewhere else in the apartment if the wall of masks is too much alongside my existing knick knacks (plates, weavings, etc). Again, I'll have to really see the space to figure out what works.

In the same room, I'm envisioning a simple round or rectangular wooden table with bamboo chairs painted white, pretty much exactly like this set up from Amber Interiors:

I definitely want a set of bamboo chairs (totally accessible here), and I will paint them white to feel more modern. I could also reupholster the cushions with one of my textiles. Oh the possibilities! P.S. If I could afford it/I didn't live in Africa, I would totally hire Amber Interiors to design my whole house!

AKA, these Jonathan Adler chairs, à la cheap-Senegalese-remake:

Oh, the reupholstering possibilities!!!
I also like this dining area...

I saw a teal table lying on its side in a junk yard yesterday... should I snatch it up?! I do like the weathered look, but this one looked very used. Hum....

Here in Senegal you can find plastic mats usually used for prayer similar to the mat above. A bright yet simple mat might look nice under my new kitchen table.

Whelp, those are my ideas for now, its obviously a plan in progress. All of the furniture will take time to order and build and who knows how things will actually come together. But the wheels in my mind are spinning!


  1. A "very used" table, you say? Sounds like a great project piece to me. I mean, unless it's completely destroyed or something... but if it just has some chipped paint? Scoop it up!

    Sarah |

  2. This is such a great comprehensive post! I've been encouraging other music educators to include some folk dance in their teaching, and I'm sharing this post with them! Thanks!! read more


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