10 Common Space-Planning Mistakes to Avoid
Whether you’re creating a furniture plan for your rental apartment or a home you’ve built from the ground up, your furniture plan will be one of the most important elements of your interior design. Some people have a natural instinct for it, but for others, creating a furniture plan requires a bit more strategy and forethought. Read on for a few furniture-planning tips and get it sorted before moving day.
Moving into a new space is exhilarating. Your mind is brimming with all of the possibilities, and you may be eager to re-create some of the stunning spaces you’ve seen on Pinterest—or MyDomaine! But before you get ahead of yourself, think about your lifestyle. You may have visions of your two beautiful children sitting prim and proper in the dining room on weeknights, awaiting a home-cooked meal. But do you want to be with them while you cook? Then perhaps putting a table in your kitchen or a couple of stools at your island is a wise idea. Do you have a bad back? Then perhaps putting that stiff Louis XVI chair in your TV room isn’t so smart—put it on display in a hallway and opt for something more comfortable where you lounge.
Some people don’t entertain, and that’s perfectly fine. But if you do, consider how your communal spaces will serve guests. Is there enough seating? Are there enough surfaces to place drinks? How does it look as is? If it’s not suitable for a crowd, can you easily make adjustments, like bringing in some folding chairs? Or will you need to do a major rearrangement or having people sitting on the floor? If you’re a frequent entertainer, make sure your space is always party ready.
Safety should be a consideration in every home, but especially so if you share your home with children, pets, or the elderly. If you have a newborn, and the only available floor space to put a pack-and-play is right in front of your fireplace, consider shuffling some seating around or swapping in a smaller coffee table. If you have an exposed staircase and slippery floors, prevent slipping with a heavy oriental rug, and bring in a blockade to slow young children and anyone else who might lose their footing.
If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful view in any room in the house, do what you can to face your seating toward the window. It would be a shame to have that master bed of yours aimed anywhere other than the night sky and the morning sunset.
If you’ve considered all of the above, you may be thinking something along the lines of The perfect thing for my family is a small Lucite coffee table for the living room and round dining table for the kitchen. Before you get your heart set on some new furniture that you’ll have to purchase to make your dream furniture plan come true, consider this: Can you afford it? For most of us, cost is a major consideration of every interior design, and you shouldn’t only reconsider high price tags but also new purchases, as well.
If you share your home with anyone but a four-legged friend, ask for input before you commit to a furniture plan. You may discover that your wife can’t stand low nightstands or that your boyfriend didn’t work in her home office once last year. Or perhaps your teenage son, who has trouble sleeping, is awoken daily by his glaring windows and would prefer his bed to face the other direction. Just have a conversation.
Bedrooms and bathrooms are private spaces—libraries, too. When you’re arranging your furniture, consider if the placement of your furniture could impact the privacy of your family and guests. Don’t place a chair facing the hallway, if the powder room is right there. Don’t put a set of armchairs outside of the home office, where your partner takes professional calls.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating your furniture plan is guessing. Measure everything. Don’t order a set of matching nightstands for a room with twin beds on a whim—you may discover that there’s only room for one dresser.
In addition to measuring the dimensions of your furniture, you should ensure that there’s enough space to provide for traffic flow and that no furniture is placed in a way that creates an awkward barrier to traffic flow. Leave several feet of space between furniture pieces and between furniture and walls or other barriers, and again, measure, don’t eyeball.
Eclectic spaces reign supreme in today’s decorating world. Just because the house you grew up in had two head dining chairs and four on each side doesn’t mean yours has to. Why not put a picnic table and benches in the dining room instead? Or bring in a round table so everyone can see each other? Don’t presume any layout is the right layout for your family.
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