Saturday, September 29, 2012

Furniture Arrangement

Since we're having our new fireplace/stove installed in a couple of weeks (YAY), I've had to re-think the way my living room is arranged.  (Big groan from Big A).  I move the furniture around on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.  A fireplace taking up one whole corner of the living room is going to limit my furniture re-arranging ability to an extent.   And I have to steel myself to the fact that whatever I come up with may be one of only a couple of ways I can arrange the furniture.  Although I'll be missing out on many a rainy afternoon throwing my back out and stubbing my toe, I remind myself, I will have a new fireplace to cozy up to, and I'm REALLY excited about that!

When arranging any room the first thing you have to think about is the function of that room.  When we built our home, we decided we wanted a home where the kitchen, dining room and living room, were all somewhat open to one another.  We have a large family and want to be together for functions, rather than in separate rooms.  SO, the function of our living room is mostly for tv and chilling out (as the l'il man loves to say), but also for entertaining, and eating on laps (depending on the event).

For us, we have two sofas, and a large chair with ottoman, several tables/coffee table.  The two sofas face one another with the coffee table between.  The large chair/ottoman faces the tv (and will be next to the fireplace).   The fireplace and the tv will be at either end of the room. This works for us for having people over, or for movie night/relaxing by the fire.

Next, speaking of tv, we had to figure out our focal pointI KNOW, I KNOW, you should not make the tv your focal point.  But realistically, we have 5 kids, and we watch a lot of Netflix.  When Big A is home in the evening, we want to relax and watch our DVR'd shows.  The tv, unfortunately, has to be a focal point.  We also have a huge picture window which looks out to the back yard with a view of the bird feeder and the woods.  That also competes to be a (classier) focal point.  AND, now with the new fireplace, well, that has to be a focal point too.

I know lots of us have lots of awkwardly shaped rooms, and the only way to get it right is by moving it around and finding what works the best.  There are no rules.  For example, you don't have to have a sofa.   You can have four large chairs around a coffee table, or two large chairs and a sofa.  And the furniture does not have to be stuck to the wall, it can be pulled out, or arranged on the diagonal.  If you do have open plan rooms, use area rugs to create a natural area for a grouping of furniture.

This is my parents living room, which has a large picture window, a tv and a fireplace.  Their tv is not a focal point of the room, because it's generally only my Dad who watches tv in there - here he is, in disguise and looking like something from "Weekend at Bernies" - in his big chair (facing the tv).  The other sofas face the fireplace, and the picture window, which are their main focal points.

The last thing you need to think about when arranging any room is the flow of traffic through that room.  The stairway to the upstairs is in our living room.  Furthermore, the hall "divides" the living room and dining room, and allows us to go from the kitchen to the master bedroom, to the basement, to my office, etc.  Obviously, there needs to be a somewhat clear path to allow for us to move about freely.  (I'm clumsy enough trying to walk around without bumping into things as it is!).

How is your living room arranged?  Do you like to move furniture around as much as I do?  C'mon, admit it!