Yesterday, when I should have been getting back into my normal work and life routine, I was instead spending time rearranging my front living room, a.k.a soon to be living room / office.
For the past month, different furniture layouts have been flowing in and out of my head and with the Christmas decor housed away till next year, I couldn’t stand not acting on these ideas any longer.
My main issue with the space is that when we moved in, we already had the furniture. I love the pieces which were purchased when the hub and I were first married (so I have sentimental attachment too), but the room is difficult to lay out and the furniture never really worked. Secondly, I also have 4 separate desks around the house (I know, crazy, right?), so my paperwork, computer, etc. is all over the place, and in my new-year-get-organized-mode, I want to have ONE PLACE for everything – I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, right?
So in the midst of my rearranging, I thought I’d share some ideas with you on the best approach to rearranging and moving furniture. It’s not as easy as it seems, so lets break it down so you can love the space you live in too!
1. DETERMINE THE FUNCTION
There is obviously a reason that you want to rearrange the space (ie: I really want to make my room a dual office / living space), so it’s best to determine that first. Once you’ve decided how you want to use the space, then think about what works in the room and what doesn’t. Some pieces of furniture or accessories may have been bugging you from the first moment they were placed in the room, so get rid of em’! Don’t keep things that aren’t functioning as you need them to (ie: a desk, a side table, a chair) or you don’t like. As the famous Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe always said, “Less is More” – keep what is essential and eliminate the rest.
2. CLEAR IT OUT
Once you’ve determined the rooms function, remove everything from the entire space including all the furniture and accessories. By taking all the pieces out, you are able to see the room as a clean palette. Your mind won’t be bogged down with the current furniture arrangement, and instead you will be able to think outside the box for a better functioning layout.
3. MAKE A PLAN OF ACTION
This step can either come before or after moving everything out of the room, but either way a plan of action can help you determine the best layout. To get started on your plan, measure the length and width of the room, as well as the locations of the windows and doors. Then draw it on a piece of paper – I use AutoCAD for space planning, but you can simply use a plain piece of paper or graph paper, like the sketch that I created below.
This was idea #1 – relocate the sofa under the window and put my desk in it’s place. The bookcases would create an “L” in the corner and the armless chair would sit on the shorter wall with a side table next to it and a task lamp. I like this layout, but I wanted to explore more…
Onto idea #2 – the sofa is back in it’s original spot and the desk is under the window. The one bookcase remains in it’s original place and the other bookcase sits opposite of it, but would cover the window. Hmmm…will this work? I like this layout, but am unsure of the bookcase in front of the window. Let’s see if it’ll work…
After sketching out some ideas on paper (or as an alternative, writing a list), it’s best to just jump in and get started! Time to start bringing in the furniture…
Once you’ve determined some ideas, bring the furniture back into the room. Start with the largest and/or most prominent piece(s), while always keeping in mind the main function of the space. Take it step by step. For me, I started with the sofa. I first moved it under the window, but wasn’t crazy about it there, so then I moved it back to it’s original place and relocated the bookcase instead. And that was the trick. Once you start to introduce things back into the space, the room will start to click and once it’s just right, you will know. You’ll have an Ah-Ha moment. Sometimes it’s difficult to find an arrangement that you like and that’s okay! If the room is not jiving and you’re just not feelin’ it, leave the pieces for a few days. Live with them and see how you feel – it might grow on you.
This is my room during the process of arranging and rearranging.
Believe me… it was not pretty for quite some time!
And then it finally was all coming together…
In the end, I think the room looks best with the book case covering the window. I know it’s crazy, but the room has never before layed out so well. The Mister thought I was crazy when I first mentioned the idea of blocking the window, but he actually was convinced once he saw it. The room feels so balanced now. I just need to get the desk in place.
Once the large pieces are set and you like flow and aesthetic of the overall space, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Using lamps, books, accessories, and artwork, this is the last and most important step to making a room feel and look complete. A rooms function is important, but accessorizing makes it whole.
I’m still finishing up my newly arranged living room / office space, but working on transforming the room one step at a time, has really minimized the anxiety of rearranging. Breaking it down and analyzing all the options has made it much more manageable.
Check out how this room has evolved over the years. It looks so different now…
In 2014, this space was featured in Better Home and Gardens Storage magazine…