Monday, May 26, 2008
How to (Re)Arrange a Room
I used to move the furniture in our house all the time; The scenario - husband walks in the front door after working midnight shift, falls over the sofa which was moved while he was at work - that wasn't uncommon at our house. I've gotten older, and the furniture doesn't get moved around nearly so much. Extra energy is spent on more important stuff, like meeting a girlfriend for coffee, or reading a book or knitting or shoving mud under my fingernails while digging in my flowerbeds.

Sometimes, though, a room just needs to be redone, and I have finally learned the perfect way to (re)arrange a room, and want to share it with you.

#1 Don't touch the furniture! Start with a pad of graph paper. Mine is 8 1/2 x 11, because I can see it better.

#2 Measure the entire room you're considering rearranging, including doors and windows, and make note of where outlets, TV cables and phone jacks are. Use a metal tape - they're more accurate than the floppy kind.

#3 Draw the room out on graph paper. I use two squares to equal one foot so the overall drawing is bigger, thus easier to see. Make note on the drawing of doors, windows and outlets. This version does not need to be neat, just get it down on paper.

#4 Measure all the furniture you'll be putting in the room, and make note of it on the graph paper. How long, how wide, how tall (so you don't forget and plan on putting the TV armoire right in front of the biggest window).

#5 Draw out each piece of furniture, again using two squares for each foot. This drawing is my final, neat version of the room and all the stuff to go into it.

#6 Cut out all the furniture, and then have fun. I know this sounds completely OCD but trust me, it's a lot easier to move big bookcases or a heavy TV armoire on paper, try several scenarios, then when you finally get it right, you know exactly where each piece of furniture will go.

that's all the furniture, on the right, waiting to be arranged

#7 I did just this process with my home office this past week. We moved an armoire and TV to the downstairs rec room, and the space that was left empty looked strange. Standing in the family room all I could see was a big safe. Not only was it unattractive, I thought it was dangerous to our toddler grandson who visits often. I did all the measuring, graphed it out, cut it out, then put the 'pieces of furniture' in an envelope in about 30 minutes. Then I phoned my girlfriend, Carol and headed to the nearest coffee shop. Over lattes she helped me rearrange the furniture in my home office, on paper. We tried about six different scenarios before we settled on one. Moving the two big bookcases on paper was a lot more fun than trying to drag them around the room. Here's what we decided would work best:

I actually traced the furniture onto the graph paper because I should have taken tape with me, to tack down the furniture pieces. After six versions, I didn't want to get home and forget where everything went.

Here's what it looked like before:

The first thing you saw when you looked in was two messy, packed bookshelves.

The killer safe, sitting on a wobbly table, just waiting to crush grandson Landon. Not a very attractive first view of the office either. The safe is now in the basement, out of reach, and the table is sitting by the curb waiting for a home.

Here's the mostly finished product:

That can of paint is waiting for me to fill any nail holes, and I need to rehang the clock and sign over my desk.

When you first look in the office, you don't see this first bookcase, so I filled it with the messier items I can't live without. The one you see right away is a bit more attractive, with photos, etc. nicely arranged on the shelves.

I really can't do much about the dog prison kennel and bed. Dublin isn't old enough to trust leaving him out, and since it's not really his fault he't not four and calm, I gave him a window view. Elway's bed is right next to him, to keep him company because puppies get lonely. Neither of these lovely items show from the family room door.

I've used this method with long living rooms that need more than one seating area, master bedrooms that have a king size bed and not much wall space, and recently used it to rearrange my sewing room. When my daughter, Leslie moved into their rental townhouse the living room looked impossible to figure out. It was long and a bit narrow, with a patio door in the middle of the back wall. Once it was on graph paper we were able to figure it out pretty easily, and she's left it that way for a year because it works so well, and looks great. Well worth it, and much easier on your back too! If you have a man, say a husband or brother or brother-in-law who has agreed to help you actually move the heavy pieces, he's going to love this system. I promise, this works! You just shove the furniture to the already decided spot and it fits and works perfectly. All the auditioning of furniture is done ahead of time, before the muscle shows up.

You can even file away the furniture pieces in a little envelope, staple them to the graph paper that has the room drawn out and if you ever want to rearrange it again, it'll be a snap. This may well be a bit too OCD for some of you, but I love it, and so does my husband who is the main moving man.


  posted at 8:00 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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