After spending so much time outdoors this summer, the thought of spending hours and days in your home may make it feel blah. You might think it is time to reorganize your living room, great room, or den.
Start by deciding what will be your focal point. Commonly it is a fireplace, but that may not be your only option. A window with an outstanding view is something to consider. You can also create your own with a media center with televisions, stereo system, storage areas, etc. Stick to your decision because all the rest of the furniture will be arranged around it.
Think about how people will sit and talk. They need to hold conversations without contorting their bodies or shouting across the room. Sofas, chairs, and other seating elements should be close but not necessarily face to face. Depending on the room’s size and shape, you might consider multiple conversation areas.
As much as possible, keep the furniture from touching the walls. The theory is that it will make even a small room feel larger. It will also help prevent heads from resting on the walls and leaving a mark or furniture making dents in the drywall. If you are working in a large space, you can take advantage of the center of the room.
Try to imagine the natural traffic flow back and forth to the restroom, where you will place the food and drinks, and entering and leaving the room. People will need a clear path to navigate to one another including around the tables and seating.
If you are buying new furniture, don’t be swayed by the salesperson. Make sure it is comfortable as well as fashionable. Keep variety in shapes like a rectangular sofa with an oval coffee table. Don’t group all the small pieces together or all the large ones. It will make your space feel lopsided. Shoot for balance.
If you have hardwood floors, use area rugs. Be sure the rugs are large enough to accommodate all the furniture in the seating arrangement. This can prevent scratches in the hardwood that can be expensive to rectify. The area rugs also define spaces. If you are working with a fully carpeted area, still consider some throw rugs in areas where spills are likely.
Each seat should have access to a table, either a large coffee table, side tables, or some appropriate combination. Side or end tables should be about the height of a chair arm and coffee table about the height of the seats on the chairs or sofa. This will give the space an anchor and the practicality of having some place to put their glass or plate. While they need to be about arm’s length be sure there is sufficient room to walk comfortably.
Don’t ignore good lighting. Ambiance is great but not if you can see the food you are eating or the person across the room. Place lighting at different levels: overhead, table lamps, floor lamps, and sconces.
Before you start lugging furniture around and certainly before you go shopping, use a floor planner. There are a number of online versions that are easy to use. You might prefer graph paper and cut outs, which could be a fun family activity.