Every piece you own might not have a perfect spot in your house, but it does have a best spot. It’s your job to find that spot based on what you have and how you need to use your rooms. The best spot for your favorite chair when you have a new baby might not be the best spot when you have a home office.
First and before all, pour yourself a tall glass of iced coffee, put on some banjo music, lock the dog outside, and start moving furniture around until the layout feels right.
I want you to try your sofa on every possible wall and in the middle of the room. I want you to try it at an angle. I want you to consider trading it out for the sofa in the other room. Everything is up for grabs, and if you are going to do this right, you need to explore all the options so you can find the best layout for you and your family.
Your assignment for this chapter is to find the best placement for the furniture that will go into the room you’ve quieted. If you are getting a new sofa in two months, use your current sofa as a placeholder
Here are four questions you can use to help you figure out where to place your sofa and other big pieces.
1. IS THERE A FOCAL WALL? Not every room has a built-in focal wall, but if yours does, you’ll want to keep that in mind. For a family room, the focal wall could be a fireplace, a picture window with a view, a wall with the TV, or a combination of these. Ideally, you want to find the best place for your sofa in relation to the focal wall before you find the best place for anything else. The goal is to set up your room so that the majority of the seating is facing or angled toward the focal wall.
2. WHAT IS THE LARGEST PIECE? Push all your furniture out of
the way except for your largest seating piece, which is most likely your sofa. The sofa is usually the biggest, most important piece in the room, so it gets priority. In the bedroom, the largest piece is usually the bed. Nine times out of ten, the bed feels like it’s in the right place if it’s on the wall opposite the door. But sometimes that’s not possible, or sometimes you may want it to face a focal wall, just as a sofa would.
About the only time a sofa looks right when it’s placed against the wall is when it’s a corner sectional and it’s in a corner. Always pull your sofa out from the wall at least a few inches. This lets the room breathe, creates white space, and makes the room feel bigger. Try it!
For now, don’t worry about anything except the focal wall and the largest piece. Grab a friend and move that sofa around until it feels right. If you are working in a room with a TV, I give you permission to move that around as well. And I give you a pass if your TV is in a fixed spot (hardwired over the fireplace, for example) or moving it would require paying the cable guy to move the hookup. If your TV is mobile, then this first move is more fun because you get to find the best spot for both items at once.
Always give yourself plenty of time with this. Yes, the rest of the house is in chaos (except for your one sane space, remember). Plus -eyes on the prize- you are doing this so you can finally make some decisions, get your home looking the way you’ve always wanted, and move on. Taking the time you need is so worth it!
3. WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SEATING?
Primary seating is any object on which someone sets their tush every day. By that definition, a toilet is a primary seat -and it is. Primary seating is also your sofa, your favorite chair, and the chairs at your dinner table. Primary seating deserves a little more attention, and we can feel fine about investing a little more money in it because it works harder than secondary seating. Be sure to find the best placement for your primary seating before you move on to placing your secondary seating.
4. WHAT SURFACES AND STORAGE DO YOU NEED IN THE ROOM? I usually wait until after I place the secondary seating to bring in any surfaces and storage because, while seating can be tricky to place, it’s relatively easy to swap surfaces with other things in my house. By surfaces, I simply mean the things on which you set other things. These include coffee tables, side tables, bookshelves, and desks. Storage items like armoires, cabinets, trunks, and dressers can be surfaces too. Use only surfaces and storage that are truly needed to help the room serve its purpose.
Fight the urge to include items in a room just because they’ve
always been there. One mistake I see time and again is the tendency to pack too much stuff in a room in the name of being organized.
When I had a larger kitchen, I could easily store my slow cooker in a dedicated corner cabinet.
Finally, always remember there is no right or wrong. You get to decide what is right. Once you have your furniture in a place that feels right