An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘furniture arranging’

Reworking Dead Space

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The most obvious culprit of dead space in our homes is the corners of rooms. But dead space is actually any vacant or underutilized area in our homes. Of course dealing with dead space becomes more of an issue when living in an apartment or a condominium. However, the size of the living space really shouldn’t matter; by eliminating dead space in a room, you are not only adding functionality, you are also increasing your quality of life.

In the Bedroom

Look under the bed. If you don’t already have a platform bed that has drawers, consider adding some type of underbed storage system. This will give you the perfect place to keep extra bedding or seasonal clothing.

Look under the windows. Because the bed is commonly placed in the center of the room, the space below the sill is often overlooked. This would be a great place to put a console table, providing a place for a small lamp or a vase.

Look beside the bed. By replacing one of the two nightstands with a desk, you are not only using dead floor space, you’re increasing the room’s functionality.

In the Bathroom

Look straight ahead. Of all the rooms in your home, the walls in a bathroom are probably the most underutilized. Transform dead wall space into an organized area with a full length wall cabinet. Use a space-saver to convert the area above the toilet from bare to organizational bliss.

In the Living Room

Look around. Wherever there is space by a chair, end of the sofa or between a piece of furniture and the wall, consider putting a floor lamp.

Look up. When considering what type of window treatments, choose something that includes a valance or curtains that go from ceiling to floor. This eliminates the dead space directly above the windows. If there is wall space below the window, place a storage bench there; it will create a comfy place to sit and read while increasing the living room’s seating capacity.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Home Decorating

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Design Question

I need your help. I have a coffee coloured settee and cream coloured walls. The ceiling is white. What colour of curtains will suit the living room to give it a beautiful vibe? Thanks

Design Answer

I would match the color of the curtains with the sofa. But choose a patterned fabric that will include cream and white, as well as another color like red, blue or green. When selecting additional colors for the patterned fabric, tie them in whatever other predominate color is in the room. The predominate color doesn’t have to be a substantial piece of furniture such as a club chair or a recliner; you could also pick up on a particularly bold shade in a painting or piece of wall art, throw cushions, a vase, etc. that is already in the room. Choose a patterned fabric for your window treatments, especially if it’s geometric or striped, as this will also add both texture and visual interest to the living room’s décor.

I hope this helps. Thanks for writing in. Don’t forget to come back next week when we’ll tackle another design question.\




From the Design Files of Heather B – Looking for Design Ideas

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Design Question

 Hi there, I am wondering what some better ways to set up my living room are? Also do you have any ideas about how to make the space more dramatic? I have put up some red sheers and am hoping to finish my window treatment soon. Thank you.

Design Answer

Many times you can improve the look of a room by simply rearranging the furniture. There are some simple things you can do to increase the aesthetic appeal of the room and to make the space more dramatic. 

  • It looks like there is just a plant in the left-hand corner of the living room on the other side of the entertainment center. If it’s possible, I would trade places; put the desk on the other side of the television. This will give the work area a sense of privacy, simply because it won’t be the first thing someone sees when they enter the room.
  • Once the entertainment and floor lamp have shifted down the wall toward the “entrance” of the living space, move the armchair in the far right corner to the left side of the room by the lamp. Then center the sofa and coffee table on the right-hand wall and position the dark-colored armchair accordingly. By placing the armchairs opposite each other, it creates another conversational group.
  • If the bookcase on which the aquarium is sitting has a finished back, perhaps you can turn it sideways; not only would it act as a focal point but it would function as a “divider,” defining the living room from the other areas of your home.
  • Adding red sheers is certainly a good start to making the living room more dramatic. If painting is not an option, you could give the walls some color with bright or bold colored prints or artwork. Try replacing the two smaller pictures on the sofa wall with one big colorful framed print. See how the two smaller pictures look on either side of the entertainment center. You might also consider placing an area rug that will work with the red sheers underneath the coffee table.

 Don’t forget to take measurements, both of the furniture piece you would like to move and the space to which you like to move it to. Assuming that you can shift a chair or table from one place in the living room to the opposite wall and have it fit is not always a good thing (and I speak from personal experience).

Thanks for writing in. Don’t forget to come back next week when we’ll tackle another design question.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Small Teen Bedroom

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Design Question

My daughter wants to redecorate her room. My dilemma is that the bedroom is small. The dimensions are 11′ high ceilings, in a 13′ x 11′ room. One wall has sliding glass doors that lead out to the pool (we live in FL) which she rarely uses. Another wall has the room entrance and a large four panel louvered door closet, which basically leaves two walls with a corner in between to place her bed, dressers, desk etc. We have used in the past probably every possible configuration we can think of, so I was looking for some help or new ideas.

The furniture pieces involved currently are a dresser with a mirror, a lingerie dresser, an oversized night table, a corner desk, and a wrought iron full size bed. All the furniture is white. The walls currently are chocolate brown. Can we place the bed in front of the sliders? Or is that a just not done? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Design Answer

Arranging furniture in a small bedroom can be tricky, but not impossible if you follow a few general guidelines.

  • When redecorating a bedroom, the first thing to do is to decide what the focal point of the room will be. Typically in a bedroom, it is the bed. For a cohesive bedroom interior design, the other furnishings should be arranged around the focal point. Once you have chosen the room’s focal point, you can then decide how to arrange the furniture.
  • Start with the largest bedroom furniture piece in the room, which in this case from the great detailed description you gave will be your daughter’s bed. Choose the wall that will best accommodate the bed.
  • Make sure that your daughter will be able to move around each piece of furniture easily without bumping into something else. Ensure that doors and drawers can be opened and closed without impeding the room’s traffic flow.

There are no rules about using the sliders as a “wall” for the bed. As long as it is not one of the house’s escape exits in the event of an emergency, there’s no reason that the bed cannot be placed in from of the sliding doors.

If your daughter doesn’t use the sliding doors, another option is to put the corner desk in the corner formed by the glass doors and the wall, and then place the bed on an angle in the corner that was occupied by the desk. Sometimes placing the bed on an angle in a small space opens up the room by altering the focal point. See if this little trick will work in your daughter’s bedroom.

Hope this is helpful in giving you a workable solution. Thanks for writing in. Come back next Monday when we tackle another interior design question. Keep sending me those emails and don’t forget to include pictures if you can.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Studio Apartment Space Problem

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Design Question

I have recently moved into a studio apartment and I am having some trouble arranging the space to create a sense of privacy. When you walk in, the first thing you see is my bed. I really hate that. I’d like to be able to hide the bed from view. Any suggestions? Thanks a bunch!

Design Answer

From your question, I’m assuming that the bed cannot be moved. If by chance it can, switch it to one of the walls on either side of the door, furthest away from the entrance as possible. If that is not an option, there are some other things that you can do.

The most important thing to keep in mind when “dividing up” a studio apartment is that it retains its functionality and esthetic appeal. In other words, anything you do to create privacy in the space should not:

  • affect traffic flow
  • chop up the space, making it visually unappealing
  • make the space look cramped or feel cluttered

Using a divider is the easiest way to create a sense of privacy in a studio apartment. Room dividers “mark” out and separate the individual areas of a studio living space. They also have the added advantage of being portable – you can simply fold them up and store them away when you wish to open up the area. Some types of portable screens are on wheels.

For something a little more “permanent,” bookcases work well as dividers. If this idea is appealing to you, make sure that the bookcase you select has a finished back – sometimes manufacturers don’t finish that backs of living room furniture pieces that aren’t expected to be seen like entertainment centers, bookcases or other kinds of storage units. However, when using bookcases as room dividers, be careful not to block out any light source. Choose something like the Modloft Pearl Bookcase that has no back and will let some light filter throughout the living space.

I hope this has been helpful. Thanks for writing in. Keep sending me your design questions, and especially if you’re asking for advice regarding wall color, tips on rearranging a specific room etc., include pictures if you can.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Apartment with Awkwardly Shaped Rooms

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Design Question

My roommate and I live in an apartment that has awkwardly shaped rooms. It’s hard to describe, but it seems that every room is on a kind of angle. We’re having problems arranging the furniture. Because of the weird shape of the rooms, we’re not sure how to make the furniture fit into the living space. It becomes more complicated because of the apartment’s open area design. We have antiques mixed with contemporary furniture, so I guess the style is best described as shabby chic. Right now it seems that everything is stuck just wherever and we’d like to find some way to make it feel more inviting. How do we arrange the furniture so that it looks right?

Design Answer

Arranging furniture in an apartment where there is not much continuous wall space does get tricky. But it is possible to arrive at a happy medium so that the living room furniture fits in the room in such a way that it is both esthetically pleasing and functional. I see that you have sent in just a picture of the living room (great space by the way), but you mentioned that the other rooms in your apartment suffer the same malaise. These following steps will be applicable to all of the rooms in your apartment.

  • Choose the biggest piece of furniture in the room
  • Determine which wall will be the best one to accommodate it
  • Decide what the room’s focal point will be. In the bedroom the focal point is typically the bed; in a living room, since you have one, it will be the fireplace
  • Arrange the other furniture in the room around the chosen focal point
  • Pay attention to the room’s traffic flow; you want enough room around each piece to be able to move freely. For bedroom furniture or living room furniture with doors and/or drawers, make sure that you will be able to fully open them

Specifically regarding the living room, in my opinion, in addition to the main problem of the odd shaped room, it is currently lacking a definitive focal point. Wherever there is a fireplace in a room, it becomes a natural focal point. In your case, nothing in the room faces the fireplace. Try the following to address both problems.

Remove the small bookcase from the left hand side of the fireplace.

Move the sofa into its place and put the bookcase and lamp (which may I add, is perfect shabby chic) on the left hand side of the sofa.

Place the armchair on the right side of the fireplace so that it is facing the focal point.

Put the coffee table parallel to the fireplace and in between the couch and armchair.

You have now created a conversational grouping in the room that makes the most of the fireplace as a focal point.

Let me know how it turns out and send me more pics! Thanks for writing in.

Keep sending me your design questions, and especially if you’re asking for advice regarding wall color, tips on rearranging a specific room etc., include pictures if you can.

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