Planning the arrangement of furniture is hard enough when you are buying new furniture to fill a house for the first time. It becomes even more challenging when you are moving a houseful of furniture from an existing home into a new space. It may take a while to get a feel for the new space and figure out how to make the rooms both comfortable and functional. And you need to be ready to rearrange, get rid of pieces that don’t fit, and perhaps purchase new items that might work a little better than your old pieces.
If possible, give careful consideration to the arrangement of furniture in the new space well before you move. This advance planning can make the arrangement go much smoother when moving day comes, and it might even prevent you from moving furniture that is not going to work in the new space, anyway. If a couch is destined to be given or thrown away, why go through the labor and expense of moving it from the old house to the new?
Over the years, interior designers have recognized a number of simple, easy-to-apply principles that work. Just follow these common sense rules and you’ll find that arranging furniture isn’t so scary after all.
1. Think About How the Room Will Function
Consider how the room is used and how many people will use it. That will dictate the type of furnishings you will need and the amount of seating required.
2. Decide on a Focal Point
Identify the room’s focal point — a fireplace, view, television — and orient the furniture accordingly. If you plan to watch television in the room, the ideal distance between the set and the seating is three times the size of the screen (measured diagonally). Therefore, if you’ve got a 40-inch set, your chair should be 120 inches away.
3. Start With Priority Pieces
Place the largest pieces of furniture first, such as the sofa in the living room or the bed in the bedroom. In most cases this piece should face the room’s focal point. Chairs should be no more than 8 feet apart to facilitate conversation. Unless your room is especially small, avoid pushing all the furniture against the walls.
4. Consider Symmetry
Symmetrical arrangements work best for formal rooms. Asymmetrical arrangements make a room feel more casual.
5. Create a Traffic Flow
Think about the flow of traffic through the room — generally the path between doorways. Don’t block that path with any large pieces of furniture if you can avoid it. Allow 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.
Try to direct traffic around a seating group, not through the middle of it. If traffic cuts through the middle of the room, consider creating two small seating areas instead of one large one.
6. Aim for Variety
Vary the size of furniture pieces throughout the room, so your eyes move up and down as you scan the space. Balance a large or tall item by placing another piece of similar height across the room from it (or use art to replicate the scale). Avoid putting two tall pieces next to each other.
7. Build in Contrast
Combine straight and curved lines for contrast. If the furniture is modern and linear, throw in a round table for contrast. If the furniture is curvy, mix in an angular piece. Similarly, pair solids with voids: Combine a leggy chair with a solid side table, and a solid chair with a leggy table.
8. Design for Ease of Use
Place a table within easy reach of every seat, being sure to combine pieces of similar scale, and make sure every reading chair has an accompanying lamp. Coffee tables should be located 14 to 18 inches from a sofa to provide sufficient legroom.
9. Allow for Circulation
In a dining room, make sure there’s at least 48 inches between each edge of the table and the nearest wall or piece of furniture. If traffic doesn’t pass behind the chairs on one side of the table, 36 inches should suffice.
In bedrooms, allow at least 24 inches between the side of the bed and a wall, and at least 36 inches between the bed and a swinging door.
10. Do Your Planning
Give your back a break. Before you move any furniture, test your design on paper. Measure the room’s dimensions, noting the location of windows, doors, heat registers and electrical outlets, then draw up a floor plan on graph paper using cutouts to represent the furnishings. Or, better yet, use a digital room planner to draw the space and test various furniture configurations. It’s less work and a lot more fun.
I’ve spent more than three decades with a home office. When you work at home, even part time, you discover that a makeshift desk area on a kitchen counter or the dining table isn’t the best setup. Having a dedicated home office, even if it’s compact, makes a big difference in comfort and productivity. Having a dedicated space also serves as an important signal to those who live with you that you’re ‘at work’. Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand.
Stake Out Your Spot
You need to pick a spot in your home with the fewest distractions, and where all the essentials (like electrical outlets and your modem) are close by. Modern WiFi is a wonderful thing but understand it can still be inconsistent in even the most tech-friendly neighborhoods. I anticipate that our connectivity speed will be further degraded by all the streaming and game-playing that is happening now, in addition to everyone trying to work from home as well……be patient and see if you can upgrade to a higher speed with your home Internet provider.
Also, try to find a spot near a window with some natural light so you don’t feel completely tucked away from the world. Think about storage and try to keep work-only items grouped together. Think outside the file box to find an organizational system that works for you; see what you can use around your home. It’s more important to give everything that has been sitting out in piles a permanent home than it is to buy new containers. Here are a few ideas for organizing your home office:
· A grid of clipboards on the wall can make for a handy place to keep papers organized.
· Wall-mounted cups keep frequently used supplies neat and within reach.
· Cups and bowls borrowed from the kitchen make great desktop and drawer organizers.
· Labeled, open-top baskets on shelves are great for people who like piles
· Traditional files are still useful for important documents.
Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. I say “morning,” but not everyone who works from home follows a nine-to-five schedule. Yours might be a “getting started” routine at another time of day. I want my elderly parents to be able to call me anytime, but have reminded them that “after 6” is the best time to get my undivided attention. I ask other family members and friends to respect my work hours and stick with the less obtrusive email or text for non-emergencies.
Act as if you are “going to work”. Whatever your routine was when you were going to the office, try and maintain it now that you are working from home. Exercise, shower, get dressed (not pajamas), and then “go to work”. I try and avoid eating at my desk and taking a coffee break, lunch break, etc. Use these times to reconnect with other household members and address their needs and concerns.
Think About Your Back, Feet and Shoulders
Pick a back-friendly, ergonomic chair if at all possible and always make time for exercise (don’t forget to stretch!). I prefer to stand or walk around while I am on the phone but now that my husband is working from home as well, we find that this is distracting to one another. Go outside and get some fresh air while on that call.
Although you can easily work on a laptop from anywhere, an entire day, week, or even a month spent looking down at a screen is not going to do your neck muscles any favors. If you have the space and the budget, think about upgrading to a decent-sized computer monitor to plug your laptop into. I use two monitors so that I can multitask between emails, software applications required for my work, calendars, and more.
Most desks, chairs and monitors and still designed for the average sized man. I have made adjustments by ensuring that my monitors are at eye level. You can use boxes, books, magazines or anything you have around the house to easily accomplish this…no need to be purchasing special desks, risers, etc. If your chair is not adjustable, use pillows, etc. to ensure that you are sitting at the right height to keep your back straight. I have purchased an ergonomic cushion that provides comfort and support for my spine as well as adds two includes to my seat height.
Make Friends with Your Postal Worker or Delivery Person
Thank goodness for USPS, UPS and FedEx!!! These people get bonuses at Christmas for their daily deliveries to my door. I have always been an online shopper for convenience and time-saving and now that I am getting deliveries for food, office supplies and more the visits to my front door have increased ( still can’t find toilet paper however).
Take the time to let your local postal worker or delivery person in your neighborhood know you’re now working from home if your work involves a lot of envelopes and packages. I have made a point in the past to have a few daily words with the drivers that frequent my home. It helps when my local delivery person knows I’m working at home and sending and receiving envelopes and packages on a regular basis. In today’s world something as simple as leaving a note on your door explaining your situation will work and be appreciated. My UPS driver told me a couple of days ago that I can leave the package outside my front door with a note to pick it up or if I see him in the neighborhood to just hand him the box…..no need to go out to the UPS store!!!
Pump the Brakes with Social Media
Social media can be absolute poison if you don’t limit yourself. It’s definitely good to stay on top of the news during these uneasy times, but if you allow yourself to be sucked into endless posts, you might look up at the clock and discover you lost three or four hours of your day.
I enjoy social media and participate for both personal and work reasons, but I have learned to use it wisely. I check it before I head to my office with my morning coffee and then again at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you can’t laugh at someone’s funny online story, or post about your favorite sports team or TV show. Just try to limit the damage during work hours.
Give yourself a big pat on the back, because the hardest work is now behind you! Today is all about making your home workspace fresh and clean, so it will be a healthier, more pleasant place to spend time in.
· Vacuum your home office from top to bottom. Use an attachment to clean window treatments, high corners and fabric lamp shades.
· Wipe down shelves and surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth.
· Use monitor wipes to clean your screens.
· Use a keyboard cleaner to blow dust from between the keys or gently clean them with cotton swabs.
· Bring in some fresh plants to help clean the air.
Straighten up your home office before you are done working each day. Bring the coffee cups back to the kitchen and completely clear your desktop.
We are all anxious and a routine will help keep our life as “normal” as possible in these difficult times. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not as productive as when in the office. Working from home is a mindset and a discipline and cannot replace a normal work environment. It takes time, discipline and commitment to find the right balance for your personal and family needs.
Online interior design services are transforming the way we access interior design help. It’s the magic combination of professional design guidance, affordable prices, plus an easy and quick process that is attractive to people everywhere. Whether you’re deciding what color to paint your living room, envisioning a different furniture layout need design assistance with a room or an entire home, these online resources can get you started.
Anyone who has ever considered repainting his or her home knows how overwhelming a trip to the hardware store’s paint section can be. Pittsburgh Paints offers a fun way to find the best hues for you: at The Voice of Color, you can play their 13-question ColorSense Game to find out what your signature color style is. With questions about words that inspire you, your preferred scents and favorite vacation spot, the site will come up with a personalized set of colors. They’ll then offer you palettes within your range of hues so you know which shades match, making it simple to coordinate every room of your house.
Whether you want to design your dream house or experiment with redecorating the home you already have, Homestyler can help you visualize your plans. The site lets you drag and drop furniture and brand-name products (there are over 15,000 items to play around with) into your virtual home to check them out before you commit to buying. You can build the online version of your house to match the specifications of the one you own, play around with new layouts and furniture, and view the whole thing in 3D for an even more realistic picture. Get design tips from their instructional online videos as well as find inspiration from the site’s gallery of user-generated designs.
Ask any interior decorator how she gets inspired and she’ll show you a mood board. Often featuring compilations of fabric swatches, furniture photos and torn-out pages of decorating magazines, mood boards are a great jumping-off point for any home decor project. However, not everyone has the time to cull all those bits and pieces. At mydeco, you can build your own mood board in just a few clicks. Search the site’s listings, which contain thousands of pieces of furniture, works of art, maps, fabric, tiles and more, then drag them onto your virtual board. You can search by color or store to find exactly what you’re looking for, or just browse your options to see what inspires. And if you fall in love with your creation, you can click on each item to purchase it.
Internet-based businesses are helping homeowners get professional design expertise and merchandise more affordably and faster than ever. The latest iteration to shake up the process is online companies that employ staff designers or freelancers with the goal of simplifying the designer-homeowner partnership and allowing the act of home furnishing to became transparent, faster, and more affordable.
Interactions with the designer can happen via email, phone, instant message, Skype, and sometimes in-person meetings. Before the homeowner signs off on a project, they are provided a floor plan or 3D rendering, which shows how to arrange the furnishings once they arrive. Since the first companies emerged in 2012, many have grown and added locations.
Here are a few online interior design firms gaining prominence.
Decorilla: This company now uses 10,000 designers across every state and reaches internationally as well. Decorilla also has an in-house staff who handle other parts of the job, such as coordinating delivery, dealing with returned goods, and managing construction. This company starts clients out with a questionnaire, but they can also search its website to pick a designer whose portfolio they like. The company offers three packages, from basic bronze for $499 for one room to gold for several rooms for $1,699, while offering clients access to highly experienced designers. Rather than providing one plan or rendering, four options are offered to clients with realistic renderings from two different designers. Each client also gets company discounts on more than 250 well-known brands such as Wayfair, Crate and Barrel, and Jonathan Adler. Many projects incorporate one-of-a-kind goods.. For those who need less help, the company offers service starting at $75 an hour.
Decorist: Based in San Francisco, with a roster of approximately 400 interior designers, the firm handles design projects online only. After filling out a questionnaire, clients pick from three packages: the Classic Design Service for $299 per room with the industry’s most ambitious up-and-coming designers; the Elite Design Service for $599 per room with a locally established designer with regional press; or the Celebrity Design Service for $1,299 per room with a nationally recognized “A-list” interior designer. What a home owner gets: two “mood boards,” the chance to chat via instant message with the designer, a final room design board and floor plan, and a detailed shopping list. Decorist’s free concierge purchasing team members handle shopping and delivery.
Homepolish: Based in New York, this firm works with freelance designers, architects, and general contractors who use the partnership to increase their exposure to new clientele and gain access to its proprietary technology and tools to run their businesses more efficiently. the company started in 2012, it has grown to a network of 1,000 professionals nationally who take on not just residential but also commercial and hospitality projects. The company also has an in-house staff of 70. Designers visit clients’ spaces but can also work by video if they live far away. Prices begin at $140 an hour with a minimum of 10 hours required; hourly rates go up to more than $300 an hour. The company touts its extensive list of trade and retail vendors, and other services such as construction management. Homepolish team members make money by time spent rather than from commissions on client purchases.
Modsy: They offer service online nationwide through video and telephone calls with four design packages available: basic for $69 per room with purchases delivered in eight to 10 days; classic for $89 per room and delivery in six to eight days; premium for $199 per room and delivery of goods in four to seven days; and multiroom at $399 for up to three rooms and delivery in four to seven days. For an extra $15, home owners can have any item they already own digitally inserted into their plan to see how it will look; a substitute but similar item can be inserted for free. Plans or renderings highlight purchases with a white dot, which, when clicked, details the product information. Designers try to give clients choices in each layout, such as a sectional or sofa or different paint palettes.
Kim N. Bregman
Lic. Real Estate Broker
EBA, CEBA, ABR, REALTOR, MBA
Palm Beach and Broward Counties
Lic. Real Estate Broker
EBA, CEBA, ABR, REALTOR, MBA
Palm Beach and Broward Counties
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