How often have you sat in your living room or family room and wondered if there was anything that you can do to make it into a more exciting space? It seems to lack personality, charm, or coziness? The furniture placement is boring and just simply does not work? No one wants to be in that room.
Clever room arrangements can transform a conventional room into something new and different. It can actually shape the space and make it visually more stimulating and conducive to great conversation and warm family gatherings.
Here are some tips to make your room come alive:
1. First, find the focal point in the room. The cornerstone of every arrangement is a focal point. It may be the view, a fireplace, a wall of built-ins, or an armoire.
If there is no focal point, create one. Hang a painting on a wall or make a picturescape out of several pictures. You can use a large breakfront, etagere, or even a television set. You can create it with a beautiful area rug on the floor. The focal point in a room is essential.
2. Determine the traffic flow in the room. People cutting in front of a sofa while you are trying to chat is a no-no. Make sure that electrical cords are not in the "walkways". Keep this in mind when planning the arrangement of furniture.
3. Measure the room and then draw it out on a 1/4 inch grid. Remember to include doorways, windows, built-ins, and any other features that would interfere with arranging the furniture.
4. Make cutouts for your furniture pieces once you have measured those.
5. Play with your cutouts on the drawn floorplan until you get a pleasant arrangement. Remember that it is easier to do this first than shifting furniture around from one end of the room to the other. Keep the focal point in mind as you "play".
6. Place the furnishings so that the focal point is where your eyes should naturally and comfortably be looking. Place the larger seating pieces first as these will be the boldest and most room-painting articles.
7. Move furniture away from walls to get away from that "waiting-room" look.
8 .. Think about placing the furniture on angles if the space in your room allows it. Perhaps making a "V" in front of the fireplace would be exciting. Maybe angling the sofa on a 45 degree angle in the corner would be a great place to start your grouping. Doing so emphasizes the width of a long narrow room.
9. Remember to arrange the furniture to encourage conversation. Make sure that seats are no more than 8 feet apart. Farther than that will result in a need to shout to one another to be heard. Naturally, the seats should face one another for eye contact. Of course, if you want to be anti-social, you can place the seats back to back!
10. Add the smaller or occasional pieces to compliment the larger furniture. Include a mix of larger and smaller pieces. Remove non-essential furnishings to create space. Make sure that some of the pieces are mobile. You can also add furniture (if your room is large enough) to divide a room into activity areas. Breaking a room into two or more groupings can help make it function better.
11. Do not forget about the size and scale of pieces in your room. Lots of small scale pieces in a large room will make the furniture seem miniature and you will feel like you are in a dollhouse.
12. Every seat requires a table within comfortable reach. Coffee tables should be about 18 inches in front of the seating. End tables should be no more than 6 inches away from the arms of a seat.
13. Do not forget about lighting. Add the three types of lighting into your scheme; ambient or general lighting, task lighting (for reading and other tasks) and accent (candles, uplights, spotlights) lighting. Only the combination of all three will make the room feel and function properly.
14. Now you can decorate. Remember to keep the focus on the focal point. Accessorize in "odd" numbers as it is most pleasing to the eye. Make sure that you exceed the height in the room to keep it from looking stale and to keep the eye moving. Create a triangle placement with your plants and task lights through the room.
15. Think about breaking the rules. Use space creatively. Maybe swapping the dining room and living room spaces makes great sense. Maybe the dining room is a better area for a cozier living room seating arrangement. Just think how cozy it would be eating by a fireplace if you made living room into a dining room!
Remember, make this a fun project. This is not something you should fear if approached with the right attitude. Be practical, be realistic, be flexible, and most of all … you can forget about perfection, break some rules and think outside the box!