Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tricks and Tips for Buying and Arranging Furniture

For a room to harmonious, everything must work together in the space. When you walk into a room and feel like everything is "just right". When you walk into a space and you feel this way, then you feel more at ease and welcome in the space. Harmony in a space is accomplished when all the separate elements in the space merge together seamlessly. 

Some things to keep in mind when selecting furniture and considering it's placement in the room are; 
  • Cost - Are you replacing pieces that you have inherited or just need a fresh look? Consider formulating a budget to have a better sense of where you should be looking and what pieces to consider. Another reason why this is a good idea is because then you can prioritize your purchases (what needs to be purchased now and what can wait 'til later.
  • Mood & Style - What mood and style are you wanting to convey in a space? This pretty much decides what style or kind of furniture you will want to purchase. For example if you want a modern style of space, you want cool colours, metals and stark furniture. Once you settle on a style, you'll find that your selection of furniture and accessories narrows significantly. The better you know the mood that you wish to have, the easier it will be to furnish the space and decorate.
  • Mixing styles - Some of would like to mix different styles in one space. When done correctly, mixing styles can be very pleasing on the eye. But when this isn't done, the room appears un-welcoming and jarring. There are no set rules saying what styles go best together and what don't. The best way to learn what works is to experiment. A good way of figuring this out is to look through magazines and cut out pieces from different styles and see if they work side-by-side. A working combo  would be mixing a country style chair with a French period style chair. Another thing to consider is the different fabrics and patterns. Colours, patterns and size of the print can all be mixed together, as long as they are mixed properly and not too much of one scale or colour. This can be overwhelming. 
  • Proportion - This refers to the size of different elements of the furniture piece in relation to the piece as a whole. Some pieces can be out of proportion like a table with heavyset legs  and a smaller, delicate top. Even if you having a working furniture layout plan, the proportions of the individual furniture pieces could be just the thing to throw off the space.

This is a very disproportionate room. The picture is too tiny for above the fireplace. The recessed lighting is lighting nothing because the ceiling is high, making the pot lights irrelevant. Task lighting is then needed to compensate for the lack of lighting in the space and the two chairs flanking the lamp and table are to close to the doorway making it tight to fit through. 

Furniture Placement

Function - If you're having a hard time arranging the furniture in the space, it may be because the space hasn't been properly defined. Narrowing down what the main purpose is for the room will help make it possible. Any furniture that does not serve this function or help to serve this function should be reconsidered or removed from the space. Otherwise this unnecessary furniture is just adding clutter to the room.

Distance Consideration - Rooms are functional spaces, which means that they should be easy to move around without bumping into furniture or people. Every room has a traffic pattern that people use to make their way through the space and to get things done in the space. 

Here are some measurements to keep in mind when arranging your furniture or planning out a floor plan of the room. 

  • Don't make a shouting distance for conversation. If people are sitting more than 8 ft apart, this can cause communication problems. Keep the distance reasonable and in larger rooms, have two separate arrangements so as not to make people stress their lungs'. 
  • Make sure there is ample walking space. An average measurement is 22 in for a person to navigate comfortably through a space
  • The distance from a t.v. and the seating area should be 3x the size of the screen.
  • In a dining area, leave room for people to not knock elbows at the table. Leave 12 in in front of and to either side of a person when planning out the seat arrangement at your next wedding or dinner party. You should also leave 2' from the wall and the back of the chairs so that a person can excuse themselves from the table comfortably without taking a piece out of your wall. 
  • In bedrooms, remember to allow for ample space on all sides of a bed. Even if a bed is placed right in front of a wall, make sure that there are 2 in from it and the wall to make it easier to put the bed together in the morning. If a bedroom has two beds, make sure there is a couple feet between them for the people to move around comfortably. Another dimension to make sure is to leave 3 ft from the foot of the bed and the wall. 
  • Dressers need enough space to open and close the drawers. A clear space  of 4 ft should be left for dressing in front of the dresser, with a chair, mirror and table nearby for convenience. 

Architectural Considerations

When arranging your furniture in the space, take into consideration the elements that cannot be changed as easily as your furniture, such as windows, fireplaces, radiators, vents and air conditioners.

Keep these in mind

  • People need space to access a window, either for a fire escape or for viewing the outside world. About a foot of space should be sufficient to space the furniture from the wall that the window is on. This saves on people climbing the furniture when it rains or to open the window to let fresh air in. 
  • To function properly and safely, vents and radiators need ample space around them. To prevent your furniture from becoming a fire hazard, leave at least 6 in for hot surfaces. For registers on the floor, try not to place furniture directly on top of the vent, this is disrupt airflow. 
  • Air conditioners also need ample space around them to work properly. A model that blows air from the front of the unit needs 6-8 in to let air circulate. 
  • Fireplaces add richness to a space and make for excellent focal points in rooms. However they can also pose safety concerns. Make sure the entire hearth area is clear at all times. 

Entering and leaving a room....
Make sure that when you enter a space, you don't see the backside of a sofa. You want your room to be inviting, not to feel closed out. Imagine entering the room and thinking how you would layout the furniture to make to room more welcoming. Angled furniture invites people to come in, sit down, take a load off and relax. On the other hand, a view of furniture lined up again st the wall reminds people of a waiting room. As long as there is a sufficient amount of space to  move from the entrance of the room to a comfortable spot or to the most desirable spot in the room, this leads to enhancing the welcoming feeling in the room! 

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