Light and bright; open and airy – when customers talk to the West Elm Design Crew about their style goals, these phrases come up all the time. It’s easy to execute this vision in large-scale homes (after all, if you have a lot of space to work with, you might instead have to worry about it feeling too open and too airy!). When you’re working with a small footprint and limited living space, though, can it still feel “open and airy”?

“Definitely,” says to Kelsi Geer, lead stylist at the West Elm Alexandria store. “You just need to play around with the space that you have.”

When her client, Carren, moved to a one-bedroom in Rosslyn, Virginia, she knew she wanted the living space to feel clean, open, and stylish enough to impress guests (and seat them too!) while still being comfortable and functional enough for when she’s there by herself. “She’s a young professional living her best life and she’s got this fabulous place,” Kelsi says. “When she came to me, she really wanted to turn it into somewhere she could have company over, but also just love it for herself. You want your space to look good when people come over, and they’re like ‘Oh, where did you shop? This looks great!’ But you also want it to be cozy when you’re home by yourself watching TV.”

Tour the space below!

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt


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Choosing a blue, gray and white color palette with marble and brass accents was a great way to keep a sleek and airy vibe going around the room. “She has a very busy lifestyle and she’s always on the go, working and traveling a lot,” Kelsi says. “I wanted her to feel like the space is minimal, so she can come home to a clean, open home when she’s traveling.” A round rug breaks up the linear lines from the large windows and coffee table, which is a smart way to create visual flow. “She wanted it to be very open, so when you walk in, you don’t feel like you’re in a small space.”

The Eddy Sectional was the perfect size (yes, you can fit a sectional in a small living room!) and the fact that it’s reversible gives her flexibility for any future living situations. “In a small space, you want to use functional pieces that will give you a lot of usage,” Kelsi says. The velvet Valentina Swivel Chairs face the sectional for conversation and can pivot towards the TV for watch parties (these exact chairs are sold out, but you can get a similar look with our Roar + Rabbit Pleated Swivel Chairs). “It’s so comfortable but very sleek at the same time. You can’t ask for anything more than that in your home.”

The kitchen is Carren’s main dining space, so they chose super-comfortable Slope Leather Counter Stools where she can sit for long stretches of time. The stools can even act as extra seating for guests in a pinch.

Kelsi and Carren also both loved the Tiered Bar Console, which fit in the small alcove by the window and tied in the brass elements throughout the room. “When you get excited with your client and they get excited for your suggestions, that’s the best part,” Kelsi says. “Through this project we’ve become really close. It’s been a really fun experience and it hasn’t felt like work at all.”

Kelsi Geer, Lead Stylist at West Elm Alexandria


Ready to make over your own space?
Book a free West Elm Design Crew appointment today!

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt

Follow @westelmalexandria for more!

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