I am often asked if I can give advice on how to arrange things in someone’s home, especially when they are relocating and wondering if they can take their existing furniture with them. Here are a few of my guidelines:
First of all, measure your existing pieces and make sure they fit through doorways and around corners in halls to get to the desired room. This is a common mistake and often results in “crisis” situation when a piece doesn’t fit through a doorway or down a hall.
Secondly, arrange items based on the desired use of the room. By this, I mean create a purpose for each space. If the goal is to watch TV as a family, then make sure you have a sectional which seats enough people that is facing the television. Any other chairs in the room should be swivels so they can either face the TV or the sofa for conversational purposes. Make sure the cocktail table is properly sized, allowing 18 inches from the edge of the sofa to the table for traffic flow. Any more space and it is too far a reach to put down a drink.
In a larger living room, I like to create different spaces, one for TV viewing, one for settling in with a good book, and one for playing games. If there is a view, it is always nice to have two chairs that face out so you can sit and enjoy a sunrise or sunset. Again, it is ideal if these chairs swivel so they can also be used to engage with the rest of the room.
In a dining area you need to allow three feet from the edge of the table to the wall. This will give enough room to navigate around the table even while guests are seated, so purchase a table accordingly.
Always remember the traffic pattern for entering and exiting a room. You need at least three feet of space to allow for a safe and comfortable egress.
Most of all, have fun. Design should be an experience that you enjoy and that ultimately creates a space that you feel you can be your best self in. One in which you can recharge from the stresses of day.
If you are looking for help form a professional, the Arizona North chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is hosting the annual Interior Designer for Hire program beginning Feb. 1 and running until April 30. This program gives homeowners an opportunity for a one- or two-hour consultation with an interior designer at a reduced rate. — Jennifer Biffer, co-chair of Interior Designer for Hire, member of the Arizona chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers)