My friend Hanna is re- doing her family room. Right now it looks something like this:
Hanna has great taste, and it is a perfectly fine looking room. Her room has too much negative space, and lacks some really good balance. I'd like to change the furniture arrangement to look more like this:
Remember all you need is three feet for your traffic path. Your room should really be about being in it, not about being easy to get into. I feel like Hanna's room before was nice and open to the eating area and to the kitchen, but it is a space of its own. Create an environment. Create a conversation area. Create an atmosphere in each room.
So- where do you begin? I start with a floorplan. Now Coleen can know what size of sectional to shop for. She knows that it is a left arm facing sectional. She can go crazy on Labor Day weekend and take advantage of all of the good sales. I like keeping my large sofas and sectionals pretty neutral, bringing my color in, in other places. Find a good off white or gray. Find one that is comfortable and the right size. For her room that will be about 11 x 8 feet.
Finish furnishing the place with a chair... What to look for here is one that is both comfortable for you and also has a good straight back that will look nice in this setting where I have it against the wall. Some chairs are really meant to be out in the room, with sharply angeled backs, etc. Stay away from those. (the sectional and chair are from Macy's)
Now for some tables.... I added a coffee table:
and an end table...and a corner table:
Notice the variety in texture and materials. Nothing matches. Perfect! Get a corner table that is approximately the same diameter as the depth of the sectional. Not too small, not too large. This is a 38" round corner table. That is a very comfortable and common depth for a lot of sectionals. If you go looking in the "end table" section of furniture stores you are going to find a lot of tables that are 24 inches and smaller. That is ok for the table out in the room, but his one needs to fill the corner. Scale, scale scale! (the three tables are from one of my wholesale sources)
Now look at the floorplan again, notice the two squares? I added a couple of poufs.
These versatile little guys act as extra seating for little guys, or a place to put your feet. The one above is from West Elm.
Add some more color and pattern with a great area rug. (8 x 10) The simple stripe below is also from West Elm:
There are three walls in the room. One is clearly filled with the fireplace and built-ins. One is filled with windows, and the third is big and open.
Add more pattern with some window panels. (also West Elm):
Now for your large wall. I would fill the space with a terrific wall collage:
You can keep it neutral, or use some of the green, gray and orange. Collages are great because they can be whatever shape and size you need them to be. They are also a great way to show your personality, and make your home your own.
Now for your lighting.
Add a floor lamp next to the chair, a table lamp on the small table, and along with about three house plants, add an accent lamp on the round corner table. Put a plant in the corner by the fireplace, and add an uplight. Put track lighting up for your wall collage, and if I remember right, you already had overhead lighting. Put the accent lamp and uplighting on a timer, to be enjoyed every evening without thought.
(lamps from uttermost, track lighting from Pottery Barn)
Notice something about the lighting? No coordinating "series" used. Different shades, different colors, different metals. Nothing matches. Perfect!
See how it all comes together:
Frequently I find when people go from inadequately furnished rooms to perfectly furnished rooms, they think it is "too much furniture". It's like if you don't eat cookies enough you think they are too rich. It's just not true. Always shop with your floorplan grid, make sure your purchases are the right size, or it really could be "too much," but after you live with the end result you will feel so much better in the room. You will have created a more intimate environment. The balance in the room translates to a balance inside you. You can always move the furniture if you want to wrestle.
We should all eat a few more cookies while we're at it!