Wednesday, August 17, 2011

House & Home shows you how to lay out 1 room, 3 ways...

Happy Wednesday!

I get a lot of questions about how to lay out a room with furniture for optimal movement. The good thing is there is no "right way" and usually there is more than one "way." The two things I always keep in mind are:

  1. Always make a focal point, a fireplace, windows, etc. 
  2. You can always fit more furniture in a room than you think...this is why spaces you see in magazines look so great...they are usually stuffed (in a good way) with furniture. Don't be afraid to put accent chairs on either side of your focal point.

House and Home did a great feature where they showed one room set up 3 different ways. As you can see...all three layouts work. I vote for the Family focus layout!

Source: House & Home May 2010 issue
Designer: Joel Bray
Photographer: Michael Graydon

Setup #1: Private Party

This symmetrical arrangement is ideal for intimate get-togethers. Group furniture around the fireplace to create a cosy conversation zone. The room has a layered, traditional look, with accessories providing decoration over function.

Why It Works:
  1. A console table is tucked behind the sofa to provide a surface to display a collection of glass vases.
  2. Luxe silk drapes and bamboo blinds are a classic combination. The blue silk is repeated in the throw pillows, which are layered with elegant toile ones.
  3. The styling on the bookshelves is minimal and orderly, with an emphasis on books and selected objets with personality.
  4. Placing items in pairs — from the Louis chairs to the throw pillows and ginger jars on the mantel — creates a sense of visual balance and comfort.

Setup #2: Family Focus

A casual arrangement is perfect for family time. With the sofa now facing the TV (and in a more discreet spot than over the fireplace), the room feels instantly more casual and appropriate for a family's multitasking needs: a couple of people can curl up on the sofa and watch a movie, while someone else works at the desk or reads in the Louis chair. An Eames moulded plastic chair — a mid-century modern classic — gives the room some edge and provides extra seating.

Why It Works:
  1. The table, used as a sofa console in the formal room, now functions as a desk.
  2. Casual patterned linen curtains blend in with the walls, adding to the room's airy feeling.
  3. Large baskets provide easy storage of children's toys, books and DVDs in the open shelving.
  4. A family-friendly flatweave cotton rug was chosen for its playful stripes, and because it's less pricey than a more formal wool or silk rug.
  5. The silk throw pillow covers were swapped out for less serious cotton block-print ones.
Setup #3: Social Scene

A spacious arrangement for lively entertaining. Moving the sofa to face the window frees up floor space for mingling and allows easy access to a bar. With a more open plan, the emphasis is now on artisanal pieces, like the glassware on the mantel and the suzani on the sofa. A compact stereo on the bookshelf also makes the room party-ready. No curtains makes it easy for guests to gather around the table, and makes the room seem cleaner and more contemporary.

Why It Works:
  1. A drop-leaf table under the window provides a surface for drinks and plates. With the back leaf extended, the table makes a perfect spot to gather for cards or board games, or for a casual meal.
  2. Two small mismatched cocktail tables keep the look eclectic and can double as impromptu extra seating.
  3. A casual sisal rug adds an element of texture and allows the bright colours of the room's accessories, such as the yellow lamp and the suzani on the sofa, to pop.
  4. The console table/desk, truly one of the room's most versatile pieces, now serves as a bar.

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