2006-09-28 / News

Rearranging furniture for a fresh look for your home

By Tresa Erickson

Now that fall has settled in and you're preparing your home for winter, you may have noticed that some of the rooms in your home have become drab. You could perk them up with a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture and accessories, but before you go to that extreme, why not try a simpler approach and rearrange the furniture in your room? You'd be surprised by how much a new furniture arrangement will perk up a room and make it appear warm and inviting.

Nothing picks up a room like a new furniture arrangement. Of course, there is an art to it. You'll find dozens of magazine articles, book chapters and TV show segments devoted to the art of furniture arrangement. No matter where you learn about it, the basic principles remain the same.

Analyze the Room

Take a look around your room. How many people use it and for what purpose? Most rooms function in more than one way. If yours has multiple purposes, make sure you set up the furniture within the room to convey those purposes. Put a desk and reading chair in the corner to create an office area and a sofa and chair in front of the fireplace to create a conversation area. Add a small table next to the window for playing games. Use area rugs or bookcases to separate the areas.

Determine the Focal Point

Almost all rooms have a focal point, an area that naturally draws the eye. Common focal points include fireplaces, bay windows and other areas of interest. Because the eye is naturally drawn to the focal point first, you should arrange your furniture around it. If you don't have one, you can create one with a large piece of furniture like an armoire or a special artwork display or by painting the wall you'd like to emphasize a different color than the rest of walls.

Create a Floor Plan

Many experts advise homeowners to draw a floor plan of their room and the furniture pieces within it on graph paper and use the two to create the ideal arrangement before moving anything. As you move the pieces around on your graph, consider the traffic routes. They should be a minimum 24 inches wide. Arrange the largest pieces first, allowing ample room between them. There should be at least 14 inches of space between the sofa and ottoman or coffee table and more than eight feet between pieces in conversational areas. If there is a television in the room, the chairs and sofas facing it should be

placed three times the size of the screen from the TV. Next, place the smaller pieces, making sure you have enough room to move in and around tables and to pull out drawers and shelves.

Create a Sense of Balance

Balanced rooms in general are more pleasing to the eye. Keep yours balanced by mixing smaller and larger pieces throughout the room. Don't sandwich a small end table between two overstuffed chairs on one side of the room and place an armoire and Grandfather clock on the other. Instead, scatter the taller pieces around the room and pair together furniture pieces of the same scale.

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