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Rearrange to redesign

You can remodel and redecorate without spending a dime. In this column, I’m going to show you how to make the most of your own possessions and how to use creativity to redesign the major room in your home: the living room.

In May, we looked at “editing” some of your living room home accessories. Now we need to take a look at your living room floorplan to decide whether you need to rearrange the furniture.

First take a hard look at the room itself. Try to imagine it empty and decide whether the space is large or small. By small, think 14 by 14. Anything else would fall into the large category.



We’ll start with the large living room. If you don’t have at least 2 separate conversation areas, your room probably doesn’t feel very comfortable or cozy.

To break down the areas, decide what the room’s focal point should be.




And be realistic – if you love the oil painting on one wall but you and your family watch TV in the room, make the TV the focal point. Function is paramount at this point. You can also have a second focal point, such as a fireplace or view out the windows. Free your mind from the thought that furniture has to “hug the walls.” That is too limiting and makes it impossible to create two areas in one room.

Let’s say your focal point is the television. Place the couch in front of the TV – no farther than 13 feet at the most. You might have a loveseat or club chair that could go at an angle to the couch – forming an L shape. It would be ideal if the loveseat or chair faced the second focal point.

Now go to the other end of the room – or a corner – and create a second area. Two chairs with a small table between them works well; the second area can also be as simple as a comfortable reading chair next to a nice lamp. Or, maybe you have a small game table that would work.

Area rugs (maybe taken from another room in your house?) can help anchor these separate areas.

In a small living room, your options are more limited, but the same principals apply. Consider function, and focal points when placing your furniture.

When you have your furniture in the right places, you will recognize that it is comfortable and functional. If you often eat or drink while watching the television, make sure you have a coffee table or side table to set things down. If you have small children who play in that area, I recommend using a big basket to hold toys, electronic games and whatever else your kids drag in. The quickest clean-up in the world is sweeping all the miscellaneous “stuff” into the basket. Top it with a afghan and no one will know what lies beneath.

Now you’re ready to add the “edited down” accessories back into the room.

If you have rearranged the furniture, you might want to rethink where you place the accessories. Again, ask yourself, “How do I use this room?”

Next time, we’ll talk about the walls. Think color, think personality, and think how things on the wall would fit in with the flow of the room.


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