DESIGN 101: FURNITURE LAYOUTS - BEDROOMS!

This month, Design 101  is all about furniture layouts!  Last week we talked about master bedroom layouts.  We’re making our way around your home, offering you tips and tricks to furnish each space.  Next on our list is kid's rooms and guest bedrooms:

Bedroom Layouts: Kids and Guest Rooms

Guest_Bedroom

Guest_Bedroom

Photos from Pinterest

Step One: Find a Focal Point

Like in the master bedroom, the main piece of furniture in any of your other bedrooms is the bed.  Therefore, it is the natural focal point.  Additional furniture will be placed around the bed, so you want to ensure you place the bed, or beds, in a location that works.  For tips on finding additional focal points in kid's rooms and guest bedrooms, refer to our guides for finding the focal point in master bedrooms.

Room_And_Board

Room_And_Board

Furniture available at Room & Board

Step Two: Refer to your Furniture List

Each week we have discussed making a list of essential items for each room of your home.  In your secondary bedrooms, essential items could be things like beds, dressers, end tables, and accessories (rugs) or accents (art and lighting).  You may also want to add a reading chair or desk. Remember that if you own pieces that aren’t essential for the bedrooms, it could be that they work in another part of your home.

Guest_Room

Guest_Room

Furniture available at Room & Board

Step Three: Arrange Furniture, Art, and Accessories

  1. Start by placing beds.  You will want at least 24″ on either side of a bed, between it and any walls,  for space to walk around.  This also allows you to make the bed easily!  Also allow for 36″ between your bed and any doors. Twin beds should be spaced at least 20" apart.  Cribs should be kept away from windows and window shade cords.  If you are using bunk beds, you'll want to ensure they have sturdy ladders, handrails, and safety rails.
  2. If you are tight on space, try a bed without a foot-board.  This will make the room seem larger.  For guest bedrooms, you could also try a space-saving daybed or sofa bed that will sit against a wall.
  3. The easiest way to increase your square footage is to add a mirror to the room.  Mirrors reflect light, making rooms feel more open and spacious.
  4. Reading chairs are particularly nice in kid's rooms and guest bedrooms.  In kid's rooms, they give  your children a place to curl up and enjoy a nice book.  In guest rooms, they can provide a relaxing area for down time.
  5. If you have space, placing a desk in a guest room is a nice benefit.  It allows guests to catch up on emails, the news, or go the old fashioned route of writing a postcard.
  6. If you have young children, consider flexible furniture.  There are a lot of options out there for cribs that can be turned into larger beds, or changing tables that can later become dressers.  When choosing a crib, there are federal safety standards to adhere too.  Slats, spindles, and corner posts should be spaced no more than 2 3/8" apart.  Also, you will want to look at furniture that can't be tipped over.  Especially if you have climbers!  Fastening large pieces of furniture to the wall can provide an additional safety precaution.
  7. You can maximize storage by placing bedside tables as big as your space will allow.  We find shelves and drawers offer helpful storage.  We like to place bedside tables that are the same height, or slightly lower, than the top of the mattress.
  8. You should leave a clearance of 36″ in front of closets, dressers, and armoires so that you can open doors and drawers
  9. Think about whether or not you want a rug in the space.  Rugs will help reduce noise in your bedroom.  In kid's rooms, or if you have elderly or disabled guests, you will want to avoid small area rugs that could slip easily.  If you would like to place an area rug, we suggest placing a larger scaled rug under the bed area.  That way it provides something soft to step out of bed onto, but avoids ruining any weekends by having your guests lose their footing!
  10. Consider additional lighting in your room.  Do you want to give your kids or guests the ability to read in bed?  In November, we discussed various types of lighting that could enhance bedrooms.
  11. While thinking about how to light your room, also consider how to block light.  We typically install some kind of blackout window treatment in bedrooms to block light in the morning and provide privacy at night.  In October, we devoted the entire month to window treatments.  In kid's rooms, you will want to ensure you eliminate any dangling cords on window treatments as these can be choking hazards.

Happy Sleeping.

RB.

Next Up: We kick off a new month of Design 101 all about Budgets!

READERS: Do you have a room that is impossible to furnish?  Let us know and we might feature you next month and give you free advice.

DESIGN 101: FURNITURE LAYOUTS - MASTER BEDROOM!

This month, Design 101 is all about furniture layouts!  Last week we talked about dining room layouts.  We’re making our way around your home, offering you tips and tricks to furnish each space.  Next on our list is the Master Bedroom:

Master Bedroom Furniture Layout

Katie_Ridder

Katie_Ridder

Images courtesy of Katie Ridder

Step One: Find a Focal Point

  1. The main piece of furniture in your bedroom is the bed, so naturally it becomes the focal point.  Additional furniture will be placed around the bed, so you'll want to ensure you install your bed in a location that works.
  2. Traditionally, a bed will be placed centered on the wall opposite the main door to the room.  Take a step back and look around your room.  Does centering your bed on the wall opposite the door make sense?  If not, is there another wall that makes more sense?
  3. What if there is a window on what should be the bed wall?  Typically, a bed won't be placed in front of a window if the window will be opened and closed on a regular basis as it's difficult to reach over your bed to access the window.  That said, we have broken this rule.  Check out the room we designed for the VIA Show House where we used the window as a headboard.
  4. Do you have a nice view from your bedroom?  If so, you will want to take advantage of it by placing furniture around the window.  There's nothing like waking up in a beach side hotel and seeing the ocean first thing in the morning!
Mitchell_Gold

Mitchell_Gold

All furniture available from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Step Two: Refer to your Furniture List

The other week we talked about making a list of essential items for each room of your home.  In your master bedroom, essential items could be things like a bed, dresser, end tables, and accessories (rugs) or accents (art and lighting). Remember that if you own pieces that aren’t essential for the master bedroom, it could be that they work in another part of your home.

Try to keep your master bedroom simple so that it feels restful and comfortable.  If you have furniture that is cluttering your room, consider moving it to a closet to free up floor space.

Bedroom_Plan

Bedroom_Plan

Step Three: Arrange Furniture, Art, and Accessories

  1. Start by placing your bed.  You will want at least 24" on either side of it, between the bed and any walls,  for space to walk around.  This also allows you to make your bed easily! Also  allow for 36" between your bed and any doors.
  2. If you are tight on space, consider eliminating a foot-board on your bed.  This will help make your room seem larger.
  3. The easiest way to increase your square footage is to add a mirror to the room.  Mirrors reflect light, making rooms feel more open and spacious.
  4. If you have a large bedroom, consider dividing it into separate spaces.  You could create a cozy sleeping space in the bed area and set aside the other half of the room for a seating area for reading, relaxing, or watching TV.  Like your very own hotel suite!
  5. If you don't have space for a seating area, consider adding at least one comfortable chair. Chairs provide a great place to put on your shoes, or to relax on a sick day.
  6. You can maximize storage by placing bedside tables as big as your space will allow.  We find shelves and drawers offer helpful storage.  We like to place bedside tables that are the same height, or slightly lower, than the top of the mattress.  This offers a nice visual continuity and makes smacking the alarm clock easy!
  7. You should leave a clearance of 36" in front of closets, dressers, and armoires so that you can open doors and drawers.
  8. Think about whether or not you want a rug in the space.  Rugs will help reduce noise in your bedroom.
  9. Consider additional lighting in your room.  Do you read in bed?  In November, we discussed various types of lighting that could enhance your bedroom.
  10. While thinking about how to light your room, also consider how to block light.  We typically install some kind of blackout window treatment in bedrooms to block light in the morning and provide privacy at night.  In October, we devoted the entire month to window treatments.
Small Bar

Small Bar

Happy Planning.

RB.

Next Up: Kid’s Bedrooms and Guest Bedrooms. Stay in the know by signing up for our newsletter!

READERS: Do you have a room that is impossible to furnish?  Let us know and we might feature you next month and give you free advice.

DESIGN 101: FURNITURE LAYOUTS - DINING ROOM!

This month, Design 101 is all about furniture layouts!  Last week we talked about living room and family room furniture layouts.  We’re making our way around your home, offering you tips and tricks to furnish each space.  Next on our list is the Dining Room:  

Dining Room Furniture Layouts

Jayson_Home

Jayson_Home

Furniture and accessories from Jayson Home

Step One: Refer to your Furniture List

The other week we talked about making a list of essential items for each room of your home.  In your dining room, essential items could be things like a dining table, seating, side furniture (hutch or buffet), and accessories (rugs) or accents (art and lighting).  Remember that if you own pieces that aren’t essential for the dining room, it could be that they work in another part of your home.

Dining_Room

Dining_Room

Image courtesy of My Favorite and Best

Step Two: Place Arrange Furniture, Art, and Accessories

  1. Start by placing your dining table.  Your table should be centered on your chandelier or ceiling pendant, if you have one.   Seems easy enough, right?   Well, not necessarily.  If you have a light fixture that is placed dead center in the room, and you center your table on it, you may be forced to squeeze in your china cabinet so that it infringes on the area needed to walk around your dining table.  If you find yourself with this dilemma, try moving your chandelier so that you can place your table in a position to offer adequate walking space around the table.
  2. Consider the size of your room.  You will want to maintain at least a 36” clear area around the table for guests to sit comfortably.  This allows for a chair depth of 20”, plus 16” to pull the chair back from the table.
  3. You will want space between your table and any walls or other pieces of furniture so that guests can easily walk around the room.  If you plan to serve your guests, ideally you will want between 42-46” between the dining table and all walls.
  4. When determining what size dining table you need, consider how many guests you’ll want to seat at once.  Typically, 24” per person will allow guests to sit comfortably without knocking elbows.  But you can always give a little more space for heated debates with lots of gesturing!  CHEAT SHEETS.
  5. Consider breaking rules 3, 4, and 5.  Sometimes.  If you’re concerned about finding a table that is small enough to work everyday, but large enough to seat a family dinner, you could use a smaller table on a regular basis and add leaves when needed for larger groups.  Squeezing in for a dinner party can be fun!
  6. Make sure you leave room to open doors, drawers, and cabinets.
  7. Consider additional lighting in your room.  In November, we discussed various types of lighting that could enhance the dining experience.
  8. Think about whether or not you want a rug in the space. A rug should be large enough that your dining chairs can be moved in and out without catching the edge of the rug.

Happy Planning.

RB.

Next Up: Furniture Layouts for Bedrooms. Stay in the know by signing up for our newsletter!

READERS: Do you have a room that is impossible to furnish?  Let us know and we might feature you next month and give you free advice

DESIGN 101: FURNITURE LAYOUTS - LIVING ROOM AND FAMILY ROOM!

This month, Design 101 is all about furniture layouts!  Last week we talked about the basics of measuring your space and making furniture plans.    Now we're getting to the fun part: furniture layouts for each room in your home!  Starting with your Living Room and Family Room:

Living Room & Family Room Furniture Layouts

Chesneys

Chesneys

Fireplace from Chesney's

Step One: Find a Focal Point

Finding the focal point of your room is an important step, especially in a living room or family room, as it will give you something to plan the room around.  Once you determine the focal point, you can begin to place furniture, art, and accessories surrounding it.  Below are tips to help you find the focal point of your room:

  1. The focal point may come naturally if you step back and take a look around the room. It's typically the first thing you notice when you look at a room.
  2. Perhaps your room has some unique architectural feature such as a fireplace, a picture window, or a built-in that houses your TV.
  3. If your room doesn't seem to have any architectural features that could be the focal point, as mentioned above, think about something you could add to the room to act as the focal point such as a special piece of furniture or a piece of art.
  4. Remember that the furniture will be arranged around the focal point, so make sure it is something that you enjoy looking at.
Pottery_Barn

Pottery_Barn

Furniture from Pottery Barn

Step Two: Refer to your Furniture List

Last week we talked about making a list of essential items for each room of your home.  In your living room and family room, essential items could be things like seating (sofa, love seat, chairs), side furniture (coffee tables, side chairs, bookcases),  and accessories (TV, sound system, rugs) or accents (books, art, lighting).  Remember that if you own pieces that aren't essential for the living room or family room, it could be that they work in another part of your home.

Living_Room_Layouts

Living_Room_Layouts

Step Three: Arrange Furniture, Art, and Accessories

Now the fun begins!  Whether you plan to use your room for relaxing, lounging in front of the TV, or for entertaining, the furniture arrangement will set the tone for how you'll live in the space.  Below are tips on tackling your furniture placement:

  1. Think about the focal point of the room.  Start by orienting large pieces of furniture (such as your sofa, lounge chairs, and coffee table) around the focal point.  Then fill in the space with secondary pieces (such as side tables, lighting, and side chairs).
  2. If you have a large room, consider dividing it with furniture.  That way, you can make the room seem more intimate by creating smaller conversational groupings.  Just remember to leave a path around the furniture so you can walk around with ease.
  3. When creating conversational groupings, the primary seats (such as lounge chairs or sofas) should face each other.   There should be some kind of table, such as a coffee table, between seats as it creates natural spacing for conversation.  This also comes in handy for putting drinks down!  For additional seating, you can add chairs to the side of the main grouping or to other areas of the room.  We prefer chairs that can easily be moved around so that you can increase the size of the conversation area when needed.
  4. For a twist on the traditional, consider placing furniture on the diagonal.  Start by placing your sofa and coffee table to see if this works in your room.
  5. If the focal point is your TV, consider a sectional.  Sectionals come with many different features such as chaises, ottomans, and corner seats, offering flexibility to sit, kick up your feet, or lay down.  They can also create a natural "L" shape that is good for group conversation.
  6. Whether your furniture layout is broken into conversational groupings, on the diagonal, or something more typical, you can anchor the space with an area rug.  Typically we align rugs with the architecture of the room, or align them with the fireplace wall.  That said, we have broken this rule many times, so go with what feels right.
  7. When placing furniture, keep scale and balance in the back of your mind.  While you can incorporate an eclectic mix into your space by using furniture that varies in size or style, you want to make sure there is an underlying language in the room.  Scale is created by using furniture pieces that relate in size to one another.  If your furniture is similar in scale, it creates a sense of calmness and serenity.  Balance is created by using furniture pieces that are symmetrical to one another.  If your furniture is balanced, it creates a sense of order in the room.  Balance can be achieved by using pairs, such as matching sofas or side tables.  We also like to place table lamps at the same height if they're flanking a sofa or pair of lounge chairs.
  8. Furniture pieces in conversational groupings should have 16 - 20" in front of them (especially coffee tables!) so that you can easily pass through the seating area.  For the areas of the room that will be main pathways, we like to leave at least 36" to comfortably walk around without banging into anything.
  9. Don't forget doors, windows, and drawers!  You'll want to make sure these things are kept accessible.
  10. If you're placing furniture against a wall, we recommend allowing 2" of space between the wall and the back of the piece of furniture.  Give pieces some breathing room!
  11. Consider the lighting of your room.  We like to offer a light source for as many of the seats as possible.  Floor lamps and table lamps work great in living rooms and family rooms.  You could also add lighting to the room to enhance your focal point.   In November, we talked about ways to light your living room and dining room.  Check out our post for more lighting help.
Small Bar

Small Bar

Happy Planning.

RB.

Next Up: Furniture Layouts for Dining Rooms. Stay in the know by signing up for our newsletter!

READERS: Do you have a room that is impossible to furnish?  Let us know and we might feature you next month and give you free advice.

DESIGN 101: FURNITURE PLACEMENT - THE BASICS

Happy New Year! We're excited to kick off a new year of Design 101 with a topic we get a lot of questions about - furniture placement!  It can be a challenge to figure out how to fit furniture into your home in a way that is both functional and appealing.  We have walked into a lot of homes where our clients have said, "something just isn't right".   If you find  yourself saying the same thing, you're not alone!  This month we'll give you tips and tricks to use furniture in a way that makes sense.

Although it may not be the most fun aspect of redesigning your space, figuring out the basics of furniture placement is an essential step!  Later this month we'll discuss furniture layout ideas for every room of your home.  But first, you'll need to understand your space!  Below are easy to follow steps to help you get started.

Clutter

Clutter

Step One: Clean

One of your new year's resolutions must have been to organize, right? Lets get started! It's always easier to plan a space when you have an empty canvas to work with.  If that's impossible, at least try to remove anything you no longer need or use.  Getting rid of clutter can help you look at your space with a new perspective.  Especially if you're going to start moving around heavy pieces of furniture like your sofa or dining room table!

Measure

Measure

Step Two: Measure your Room

As industry professionals we have software that allows us to interpret the dimensions of your space.  But that can be expensive for those of you who are DIY types!  If you're software savvy, there are also websites that will help you measure your space and drop in furniture ideas.  But we often prefer to do it the good old fashioned way - with a measuring tape and some graph paper!  Follow these simple steps to measure your room:

  1. With a measuring tape, measure each wall of your room, the windows, and the doors.  Take not of whether the doors open in or out.
  2. Living_room
  3. Draw the room on graph paper.  Each 1/4 inch square should equal 1 foot. This will create your floor plan.

Step Three: Furniture List

Whether you're using your existing furniture or buying new furniture, you'll need to decide on the essential pieces for each room.  For example, a living room is completed by using seating (sofa, love seat, chairs) with side furniture (coffee tables, side tables, shelving units).  Perhaps you also have additional accessories for your living room (TV, sound system) or accents (art, books, lighting).  Also think about the flooring - do you have a rug in mind?

If you own pieces that don't fit within the essential list of furniture for each room, keep them on a side list for now.  Ultimately, if they don't work in the room you are planning now, they might work in another part of your home!

Furniture

Furniture

Step Four: Measure and Arrange Furniture

Before making purchases or placing anything, you want to make sure pieces will fit in a way that makes sense.

  1. Measure your furniture.  On a separate piece of graph paper, make a template for each piece of furniture using the same 1/4" = 1'-0" ratio.
  2. Rearrange the furniture templates on the floor plan to see what you like best!
  3. If you want to take additional precaution before ordering or placing furniture, or if the idea of drawing a floor plan overwhelms you, fear not!  You can mark each piece of furniture in your actual space with masking tape or painters tape to get an idea of how the furniture placement will work.  In lieu of tape, you can also lay down newspaper to mark out where each piece will go. Trust us, even the experts do this!

Additional Tips:

If you want to go the extra mile with your floor plan, you could cut small pieces of your furniture fabric and glue them to each furniture template.  This will help give you a sense of how the room will come together aesthetically.  If you don't have fabric snippets available, markers will do!

Basics copy

Basics copy

READERS: Do you have a furniture layout dilemma in your home?  A room that is shaped in a way that makes it impossible to furnish?  Let us know and we might feature you next month by giving you free design advice!

Happy Measuring.

RB.

Up Next Week in Design 101: Living Room and Family Room Furniture Layouts! Stay Tuned!