If the mid-winter blahs have gotten you down, a great way to gain a new perspective is to give your rooms a mini-makeover for a whole new look.
One of the easiest ways to change the feel of a room is to rearrange the furniture. Take a hard look around your home and determine if you have a space that needs attention. Some questions to ask yourself:
Have I moved my furniture since move-in day?
Do I often overlook this room because it doesn’t “feel” right?
Do the people in my house have very different tastes and it‘s hard to make the rooms flow?
Can I get a new look without spending money?
I think most of us could answer “yes” to at least one of these questions. Consider the function of the room and try to ascertain what does and doesn’t work with the way you have it arranged now. You need to also keep in mind who uses the room and the traffic flow throughout the space.
The best way to really “see” a room is to empty it as much as possible. This gives you a blank slate by erasing the previous arrangement from your mind and allows you to study the space to determine the focal point. Stand in the doorway to the room and notice the area that draws your eye immediately. Whether it is an architectural feature such as a fireplace, built-in bookcases or window view or a significant piece of furniture such as an armoire, the focal point is a visual reference that holds the room together. Sometimes there are two focal points in a room so you must decide what is the most important for the way you live.
Now that the room is empty, it is time to prowl around your home for pieces that can be added to the room. It’s important to rethink the function of your furniture and consider using it in ways that might not be conventional. For example, a dresser may also work as a buffet in the dining room and have storage for your table linens. A trunk from the bedroom might make a great coffee table with a hiding place for wayward toys or a cozy throw for winter evenings and several small benches could stack on top of each other to form an interesting bookcase.
The living room or family room is typically the most used room in the house so we will use that as an example. Begin by bringing in your largest pieces of furniture and arranging them to address the focal point. The first pieces are typically the sofa or entertainment center. This will dictate the placement of everything else in the room. Once the sofa is in place, the area rug should relate to the angle of the sofa. Many rooms have more than one focal point, so using an angle for your furniture placement allows you to take in more than one area at a time. Pulling furniture away from the walls, rather than around the perimeter will give your room a fresh look.
Start by building a conversation area – a “U” shape is the best arrangement. Remember to keep the seating no further than 8 feet apart for easy conversation and take note of traffic paths through a room to avoid blocking easy access to the seating area. Try to balance the weight of a fireplace with a tall piece like an armoire or the largest sofa on the opposite wall. Contrast the heights of furniture around the room so your eye follows a gentle curve. In a long, narrow room, a second seating area may be used to break up the length and allow for a place to read quietly or place a small table for playing games or enjoying a cup of tea.
When all the major pieces of furniture are in place, it may be fun to try to include some of the items you have found around your home. Bringing items from another room can be a refreshing change. Fill in with smaller tables and chairs, making sure that every seat has a place to set a glass or a book comfortably.
The final step is to add lighting to the room. The ideal situation is a minimum of three lamps in a triangular pattern to get an even distribution of light. Don’t feel limited by a matching set of table lamps on each end of the sofa. Avoid being predictable by elevating one lamp to new heights on a stack of books or changing out the lampshades for a fresh look.
Reevaluate your work to see if you have addressed the focal point, created a cozy conversation area and have placed a table or surface next to each seat for convenience. Finally, notice if you have a well-lit room to enjoy.
Look around your home with a critical eye and get creative. Rethink, rearrange and re-energize your space with what you already have and beat the winter blues for a room with a fresh perspective!
Pam Hartz-Miller http://hartzandhomes.com