I don't know about you, but my mailbox is full of home catalogs these days.
Catalogs do a great job in making our own homes feel inadequate. Everything is perfectly arranged and "lived in" - yeah right! Well, my friends, don't fall vicitim to catalog envy! It's tempting to want to start over, but I think it's always a mistake. If your house doesn't feel quite right, doesn't feel like home, then buying new furniture and accessories is NOT going to help. You need to get to the root of the problem. Most of my clients are in this situation when they first come to me and they're amazed at how simple it can be to turn things around.
There are so many facets of home design, but I think the best one to start with is space planning - i.e. where to put your furniture and stuff. There are lots of guidelines here but I think there's no better guide than just walking through your space to assess what works and what doesn't. Do you always bump your hip at the corner of your dining room table? It is awkward to have a conversation with someone in your living room (either they're too far away or they're too close)? Is the garbage can in your kitchen in an awkward spot?
How to start...
I always like to start with function when assessing a space. If your space isn't functioning well, then it will never feel right. So decide how you want to use the space, then go from there. Next, edit out the extraneous furniture and, pardon my expression, crap.
This is where it gets fun.
Okay, now that you've gone through your house to see what feels good and what doesn't, you have two options, you can either make floor plan on grid paper or just get to it and start re-arranging your furniture. It doesn't cost you a dime and can make all the difference in the world. Experiment and live with it for a couple of days then tweak it from there. Move furniture from one room to the other and don't get stuck on what a piece or room is "supposed" to be. You'll be amazed at how different a space will feel!
After this process, you'll be able to hone in on what you really need (or don't).
Some common space issues that I often come across...
1. Make sure your pathways are wide enough. It's best to have at least 36" to pass between furniture or walls. More if it's high traffic. You can get away with less between seating - for example a sofa and side chair.
2. Create a conversation circle. It's very uncomforable to have a conversation with someone who is sitting directly next to you or across the room from you. I like to make a circle or U shape of seating with a cocktail table as an anchor.
3. Let your furniture breathe - pull it away from the wall where it makes sense. There's just some furniture that feels better when it's away from the wall, especially seating. Creating that perfect conversation spot can oftentimes be a matter of just pulling a couple of chairs away from the wall.
4. Vary your height. One's eye naturally feels better if it can travel up and down while taking in a room so I like to have pieces that are high and low. If you're in need of some height, you can can usually achieve it easily with an indoor tree, floor lamp, secretary or tall bookcase.
Here's a great example of a conversation area with furniture pulled away from the walls. Notice that lush indoor tree in the corner. Boom - there's your height! Source: House Beautiful
If you need another eye...
I'm happy to help with this process! I have an obsession with floor plans and re-arranging furniture is one of my FAVORITE things to do. If I could move furniture around every day, I would. Unfortunately, my husband would kill me. So drop me a line and let's get to it! All you usually need is an hour or two to see some major results!
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.