Learn how to love your home in this 30 day series about making small improvements to,
being grateful for and seeing the beauty in the home you have.
Welcome back to day 15 of our HOME SWEET HOME – 30 Days to Love Your Home series!
You may not have to spend a dime to fall in love with your home again. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest impact in your home.
Have You Tried Rearranging the Furniture?
One of the things that could be holding you back from really loving your home is that perhaps one or two (or all) of the rooms don't work well. Maybe they look a little off, but you're not quite sure why. Or maybe, you're just tired of seeing everything as it is.
In any case, rearranging the furniture is a zero-cost, high-potential solution you should try!
How designers do it
Interior designers will measure a room and draw out the furniture, note all of the outlets, windows and doors, etc. and then map out the traffic patterns of the room, before drawing a floor plan.
Which is a great way to plan a room when you’ve been doing it for years or if you can actually visualize a space that way.
But most people can’t.
How I want you to do it
For beginners and just the average joe, I prefer to use a more hands-on approach. One that uses a little muscle power, but makes it very easy to visualize how the room will look. It’s a method that allows you to move around in your space to view it from various angles and really get a feel for how the space will function for you. (Please enlist the help of a strong spouse or friend for this section if you are not comfortable or able to move furniture yourself.)
Where to start
It’s important to note that your room should be mainly empty. The only things in the space should be the larger, purposeful pieces that you determined were necessary for the function of the room. No little bits and pieces, no accents. Not even any artwork or lamps! Just the big stuff. If needed, remove all the small stuff and place it somewhere safe temporarily.
So just how do you plan a room’s layout?
The steps to planning a room layout the easy way are:
1. Identify a the room’s focal point
You need to choose a focal point to decorate around. This is one of the most important things you can do in a room. If you have a focal point, and you keep the rest of the room simple, you will keep your space from feeling overwhelmed and chaotic.
This is pretty easy if the room you’re decorating has say, a large fireplace or picture window to orient the furniture around. The focal point is essentially chosen for you.
However it takes a bit more effort if there is no built-in focal point.
Here are a few focal point ideas for you if you have to create one for yourself:
- A bedroom's focal point could be the bed/headboard.
- The focal point in a family media room it (much to the typical designer’s dismay) could be the television.
- In a dining room the focal point would be the dining room table.
When you think about each room, it should be fairly obvious what or where the focal point should be. Choose your one – and ONLY ONE – focal point for the room. Move it to the best possible place if it’s movable so that when you walk into the room the focal point draws your eye towards it.
2. Arrange the furniture
Rearrange the large furniture pieces to suit the space around the focal point and for the current purpose of the room. If the room is large, or has several purposes, set up zones like a conversation area or somewhere to play board games and do puzzles and a reading nook. Try to arrange everything so that the space feels open and welcoming. Often it helps to stand and look at it from a doorway.
I want you to feel free to step back and look at the room as many times as necessary (and for as long as necessary) to decide if you’ve chosen a good arrangement. You want to love the space. If you aren’t happy with how the room feels or looks, by all means tweak the layout until it works for you.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when choosing your furniture layout:
- Keep 15 to 18 inches of space between a coffee table and a sofa.
- To keep traffic flowing well there should be a minimum of 3 feet around the most prominent objects in the room, such as behind dining room chairs. Major walkways need 30 to 48 inches of space but minor ones can get away with as little as 24 inches of space.
- You can safely use one over-sized item in a room to add drama without making the space look crowded or cheap. But the other pieces should properly suit the scale of the room. Don’t buy a matchy-matchy set of oversized couches and the coordinating coffee and end tables, for example. Scale can be very tricky. Employ an extra set of eyes if you need help with this.
- If you plan to watch television in the room, seating should ideally be placed away from the TV at a distance of three times the diagonal measurement of the TV. For example if you have a 40 inch television the seating should be about 120 inches away.
- If you have a small room feel free to place the major furniture pieces along the walls, but avoid doing so if the room is larger. Placing at least one piece of furniture at an angle will go a long way to creating a designer look in your home as well.
- Symmetrical (basically two of everything in a mirrored layout) furniture layouts are easier for beginners but can look more formal than asymmetrical layouts.
- You will need access to electrical outlets for electronics, so be sure to keep them in mind when deciding on your arrangement. Of course extension cords or power bars may also be utilized. (Always follow instructions and keep safety precautions in mind.)
- If you have to put a piece of furniture (say a couch or a bed) over a heat register, that may be okay. That’s why they make special floor register vent covers that blow the air forward instead of straight up.
Just remember to choose a focal point and go from there. Make the space work for you given how the room needs to function and its focal point. And never fear – you can always change the layout later if it’s not working for you. You literally cannot mess this up in a permanent way!
Choose one room that you don't love as is. Rearrange it using the method above. Step back and live with it for awhile. If you find that the room still doesn't work well for you, you could always rearrange it again – or swap rooms like we did at our old house with the living and dining rooms!
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