Decorating UNschool: Furniture Arrangement

Hey there! I’m back today with another installment of Decorating UNschool.  For the other posts in this series click here.

Today I’m talking about arranging furniture.  Because this is UNschool, like I keep saying over and over, I don’t have hard and fast rules for you here.  I just have some ideas and truthfully, I don’t have a magic formula.  Every home is different and the real key is every person is different.  Design is subjective in so many ways and in this area especially, there might not be a perfect way to arrange your living room furniture.  You just might have to try several different ways, and even live with them for a few days (weeks, even?) until you figure out what works best for you and your family.  But I’ll share with you what I’ve found to generally work well.

My general “rules” for bedrooms

When you walk into the room, the bed should be centered on the opposite wall.

Large matching lamps make a statement; matching side tables are not necessary, though the lamps should end up around the same height.

Mismatched Nightstands

This is a great example of mismatched nightstands and big beautiful lamps.  Unfortunately I could not find a source on this one.  If anyone knows it please let me know!!

Pattern/texture mixing and rug rules apply and its always nice if you have room for a spot to sit as well.

Colorful bedroom with books

Source – Lonny

This bedroom is a beautiful example of lots of texture and pattern and of course you know I love all the books!

My general “rules” for living rooms

Pattern/texture mixing and rug rules apply.

Have lots of lamps easily accessible.  Maybe a console table behind a sofa with two matching lamps?  A floor lamp near a chair?

Have side tables easily accessible and don’t feel the need to clutter them up with decorative items.  A cleared off space is a welcoming space.

Pattern : Jones Design

source – Jones Design Company

Those flowers are pretty but not practical in my house!  I keep one tray for books, coasters, and remotes on my coffee table and that’s it.  Its not exactly “styled” but it allows for us to live and play on it.

My living room

My living room

Determine the purpose of the room.  Will there be tv watching?  Is it a formal or a casual space? Do you need lots of open space and a cozy rug for playing on the floor with little ones?  Do you have a high priority for lots of seating?  Will you be hosting a lot of guests in this room?    Do you need storage for toys, books, media?

FURNITURE ARRANGEMENT

source – Urban Grace Interiors

Go to the trouble to make the arrangement you’d like to have work. I know some designers may disagree with this (its UNschool, remember?), but I love having my tv over the fireplace.  We have a small living room and it is our only family room.  We do everything in here from watching tv, hanging out, wrestling matches, bible studies with our small group, and sometimes even dinner parties when the kids outnumber the adults and they take over the tables.  Our priority was to have a lot of seating.  Which means there’s not really anywhere to put a big media console.  I love our fireplace and putting the tv over it just made sense.  It took a little reworking since there used to be a window above the fireplace (yep, so weird, I know!!) and we had to have wires channeled through the wall but we had a great contractor help us figure all of that out.  It was a bit of a pain in the beginning but it has worked so well for the flow of our living room and I’m so glad we went through the trouble to make it all happen.

Pull the furniture away from the walls if possible.  You’ve probably heard this before, but everything pushed against the walls can feel too open and awkward.  If you’re going for a cozier feeling, consider pulling at least a few things away from the walls.

two couches

source- Emily Henderson

Even if you’re facing a couch toward a tv, consider having a chair or two that face away from the tv.  You still want your room to feel conversational and welcoming- not necessarily a media room (unless that’s what you’re going for!).

two chairs

source- My Domaine

Consider the scale of your room and your furniture pieces.  Remember to measure everything before you buy.  I’ve made this mistake, too!  You’re looking at it in the store (or online) and it looks perfect but once you get it home, its actually way too big or small.  It is really important to not skip this step and understand the size that you need.  A lot of small pieces in a large room might end up looking kind of junky.  However, a small room can actually handle a few pieces of large furniture if they are carefully planned!  My favorite online tool for arranging furniture is floorplanner.com.  Plug in the dimensions of your room and then add in furniture of varying sizes and play around with different layouts before you actually buy.

Floor Planner Bedroom Floor Planner Living Room

 

Another thing to consider- create contrast with varying heights in your room.  Make sure everything is not hovering around “couch height.”  Add in a low ottoman, a bookshelf, a large floor lamp or plant, etc for balance.  You’ll notice most of the example pictures I used above have used these elements!

And lastly, are you unhappy with your current arrangement?  Change things up!  What can it hurt?  Take the 30 minutes to rearrange and just see.  Have you been wondering what that little side table from upstairs would look like downstairs?  Go grab it right now and try it out.  Have you been wanting to try the chair from your bedroom in your living room but just haven’t gotten around to it?  What are you waiting for?  Shopping and arranging from your own house is about as low risk as it gets.  The worst thing that can happen is that you hate it and you end up putting it back where it was.  Its definitely worth a try!

Any other questions or thoughts on furniture arrangement?  I’d love to hear from you! It really is subjective because there are so many possibilities and I don’t necessarily believe a room has one right way.  That floor planner website really is my best secret for you though… hopefully it will be helpful! Have a great weekend.

xoxo

Bethany

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4 Responses to Decorating UNschool: Furniture Arrangement

  1. Susan February 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    First bedroom photo, source: Gregg & Rains Parade Home at the 2014 Kings’ Chapel Parade of Homes in Arrington, TN

  2. Effie Vaidya April 14, 2016 at 4:34 am #

    There’s certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I really like all the points you’ve made.

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