Why You Should Rearrange Your Furniture
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When decorating any room in your home, think first about rearranging furniture before you buy something new as the change you are seeking could be as easy as removing something from the room.
When a room begins to look stale, cluttered, or simply is just not looking right to your eye or working for your family’s needs, get over the idea that the only solution is to spend money to get the function or new look you want for the space.
I made a small “use-what-I-have” change in my living room this past summer when I rearranged the cofee table, sofa and recliners by switching their placement in the room so when we had a better view of the lake.
My living room is small space with a large sliding glass door taking up one full wall and a fireplace wall on another. The other two walls are only half the length of the room with an open concept to the kitchen and foyer. The room’s layout doesn’t give me a lot of furniture arranging options.
At the time I knew the switch was only going to be temporary, as when winter came I would need to put the furniture back to their original positions so we could use the fireplace.
What surprised me though was when I was doing it I found the coffee table wasn’t needed anymore in the room. It looked good, but had no function other than a place for decorative accessories.
I made the coffee table in the photo above from 2 x 4’s and an old dresser mirror about 8 years ago. I love it, but it does take up a lot of space in the room.
But the main reason that I decided to remove the table from the room was that over time I found that guests staying with us would do one or two things with the coffee table.
One was to use the coffee table as a place to put their feet up to relax. More often they would move the table away from the sofa so they could pull one of the two square large pom-pom trimmed ottomans I have in the room to place their feet on when they sat on the sofa.
I realized that we didn’t even need to have a coffee table anymore. At the same time though, it was a bit scary to not want the standard living room arrangement of the coffee table/sofa combination in the room. What would people think? No coffee table… a decorating no no.
Then I had to take a second to tell myself that just because it has always been done in decorating, didn’t mean I had to have a coffee table in front of the sofa to have an inviting and functioning space. :-)
We don’t have be limited by what someone else says is appropriate. Just because it has always been done, doesn’t mean you have to do it.
So bye-bye coffee table. Hello more floor space, less clutter and a better functioning room!
Furniture Rearranging Tips
So the moral of this post is that maybe when your room is not looking or working the way you want, before you go out and buy something new, rearrange what you have to change the look or mood of the space by keeping the following points in mind.
Focus on What Works For Your Life & Home
One of the biggest mistakes people make, including me when decorating their home is to spend too much time looking at what everyone else is doing, and not taking enough time trying to find out what is most important to them or the function of their room or space.
If you want to create a beautiful home that enhances your enjoyment and wellbeing every day, try to focus on changes to the room that will have the greatest impact for you and the space.
I like my less cluttered stand-in little round stool when needed for a coffee table to hold a drink when we have company, I can simply move the stool I have by the white sideboard under the TV in between the two ottomans.
I also have a side table on one side of the sofa to hold smaller items that may be needed when seated.
The pom-pom trimmed ottomans are workhorses in decor and get used all the time as they are easy to move anywhere in the room without blocking a view of the lake on the other side of the room.
If I wanted I could even add an area rug under the seating area.
Go Against Tradition
I remember seeing not once, but at a few decorator showhouse tours I have been to where the living or family room didn’t even have a sofa.
Instead were four club style armchairs placed in the middle of the room with a large round table in the middle to create a conversation area with overhead lighting and a TV mounted on the wall. This type of furniture layout creates one combined focal point in the room.
A console style table was against one wall to hold a lamp and a few accessories. Another wall had full wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves.
Or consider using two sofas across from each other if your family members like to stretch out when in the room if the main function of the space is for relaxing and television watching.
When arranging furniture in the middle of the room it is nice if there is an electrical outlet in the middle of the room on the floor so there are no table lamp cords running across the open floor. But don’t not having one stop you from considering a different furniture arrangement.
In my previous living room, my husband added a floor outlet in the center of the our living room. It was easier to do than it sounds and my furniture arranging options went from one to a few overnight.
For a bedroom, platform beds are quite popular and come in many styles. If you are a less is more kind of decorator, consider placing the bed in the center of the room with no headboard.
Scary as it sounds, it can be quite soothing and restful. The other bedroom furniture you have like a dresser can be moved to a foyer to take on the role of an entryway console table.
Try to rethink each piece of furniture in all your rooms to figure out where it can be better used.
Try a New Furniture Arrangement
Thinking about arranging furniture in different ways is free to do. I don’t think we do it enough when we want to see a change in a space.
Once you have decided you want to make a change, stand back and assess what you have to work with in the room. Use your creativity to come up with new arrangements. Know that you can take items away as well as add something to make the space look and function better.
Your vision for a change should scare you slightly. It should move you out of your comfort zone and stretch you to think beyond what has always been done or feels safe.
Do it because it is right for how your family lives in the room, not because a interior designer’s playbook guidelines says you have to arrange furniture in a traditional manner.
If you have any heavy items to move enlist a family member for some help with the heavy lifting or purchase furniture sliders. Having these make moving large pieces of furniture easy.
To use them you place them under the furniture base or legs to make sliding the furniture pieces easy.
Live With the Change For a Few Days
Try new furniture arrangements using what you already have first to see if a change you made works better.
Bring items in from other rooms, take the time to experiment. You never will know unless you try and like I mentioned above, it costs you nothing put some time and a little effort.
If change for your space is removing an item or piece of furniture from a room, live with it for a few days and really live in the space to see if it functions as you want.
If you feel it is missing something or if you need to make more changes for the space to perform better – do it and then after buy what the rooms needs.
Let the room evolve to find it’s true potential.
Give a New Purpose to a Room
Once you become more confident with rearranging the furniture in a room, take the rearranging concept up a notch and change the function of the rooms in your home around.
For instance, a grown and out of the house child’s bedroom can be turned into a fitness room for you.
Do you love clothes and always wished you had a larger closet? Consider using an entire extra bedroom as your closet space with a center island of drawers and hanging rods, drawers and shelves on the walls.
Do you like to craft and have no use for a formal dining room, turn it into a crafts room.
The only thing that may be stopping you from truly making your house custom for you and your family’s needs is not taking the time to assess each space and piece of furniture and considering… “What if I did____?”
Similar Square Ottomans I Found Online
Readers have asked me many times where I bought my two square rattan ottomans. They were from Sears over 25 years ago. I have made many slipcovers for them over the years to cover the dark purple removable cushions that they came with. I have searched for them, but have never found any. Here are a few similar ones that I have found.
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Hi there! Your home is beautiful and thanks you for the reminder that it’s important to rearrange your living space! I was inspired by your design eye. I would love to invite you to link up your post at Whimsy Home Wednesdays to inspire others and have a chance to be featured
Thanks for the invite Meredith. I will link up. Enjoy your weekend.
I totally agree with your views on making your house work for you! Those 2 ottomans look like they were always meant to be there. You could use a tray to set on top of the ottomans if you needed to use them more like a table from time to time. Excellent photos to go with your suggestions, as always. I think this post by you is timely and doable! Thank you.
Hi Sue – thanks :-) My older daughter who lives in California texted me after seeing the post that the room looks so much more spacious without the coffee table.
I love this post. It is so true. I am a huge proponent in making your home function for you and using it any way that works. We have had so many different transitions in our home over the years. I love that it can change as our needs change. Thanks for the reminder!
We’ve been married for almost 50 years, and haven’t had a coffee table for the last 45, since having children. Never really seemed to miss it. It was usually just used as a foot stool or it was a shin buster. Having a small house helped, I think, as there was only so much room.
Love that look!!
We have a large ottoman that has a tray to one side for drinks, a candle and coasters. You can still put your feet up…..there’s room. Or move the tray to the center so that multiple people can put their feet up. Works great for us 😊
Once again your post not only brought great ideas and great sunshine in your living room and eating area. Wish I had a lake view. We finally have a bright sunny day here in chilly Minnesota.
Hubby and I are starting to shop for a right size home. I have a few internal pics of a development we really like where I can see the space with furniture. I already have started looking at using a few furniture pieces in other areas. Your suggestions were timely.
I love your space. Love my home too where we have brought our sons home from the hospital and lived in 35 years. I am however getting excited although sad at times to the idea of one level living. We will probably have a lower level that won’t be used much unless my boys are in town.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Since this blog was about coffee tables initially, I could really use some help.
My son bought a starter house (small for those who don’t know) and the room according to everyone who sees it agrees that it’s difficult to decorate. It’s 13′ wide and 27′ long and an open plan.
My question is: What shape should go in front of a 7′ sofa being using in a horizontal position in such a narrow and somewhat long room, i.e., rectangular (room is rectangle), round, square or oval. He’s looking to me for help. Thx
Hi Paula – How exciting for your son to buy his first home. My younger daughter bought hers a year ago. :-). Since the room is narrow, a rectangular or oval shaped table would look the best. He can also get two identical small cube style tables and place them side by side. When he needs extra seating, they can be used to sit on and easily moved around the small room where needed. When he is not entertaining, the cubes can go back side by side and serve as a coffee table. Have fun helping him decorate his new home.
Moving furniture around is really fun! I love the change in your room with no coffee table. Who’d have thought?
Thanks Bettsi :-)
I always love your creative and sometimes courageous design ideas. But most of all I love your simple, relaxed and inviting style. I have a small L-shaped living room in a 1950’s built cape cod style home. On full wall has a fireplace place and built ins, another wall a large bay window, leaving me one short wall for a sofa. I’m in the market for a new one and find them all to be so big and bulky. I’m curious as to the length of yours, as it doesn’t look that big in the photos. Thanks and keep up the good work!
Hi Thanks for the nice compliment. :-). My sofa is the PB Comfort Roll Arm Slipcovered Sofa from Pottery Barn. It is 92″ long. The sofa also comes in other lengths. You can see it here: https://bit.ly/3j9TqJZ
It’s really nice to sit around the fireplace and have fun, I want to have such a fireplace built, I hope it will be what I want
This really speaks to me. My mom would come home from work when I was a young teen to find the living room completely rearranged. It’s in my DNA for sure.
Hi Debbie – I agree it is on our DNA and a fun pastime to come up with new arrangements. I remember you even mentioning once that you do the same with your landscaping – moving things around to make it look better. XO
Cant waut to see it finished.
I love rearranging my rooms especially in the spring.
Love this Diane! I tend to rearrange furniture on a whim! Happy Easter! laura in Colorado.
Looking forward to seeing your living room. I’m sure it will look nice. Really enjoyed the vegan cucumber salad. Yum!
Sounds a little like “If you give a mouse a cookie”…looking forward to seeing your vision
So exciting Diane! (And I also move furniture by myself when the spirit leads ha!) Can’t wait to see your vision come to life.
It will be fun to see the new room and what you do with your fireplace 💜. Can’t wait!!
Can’t wait to see what you’re up to! I’ve wanted to paint my fireplace brick for two years but can’t make myself pull the trigger, knowing there’s no turning back.
I like your “decorating marathon”—good name for it! I really giggled about you rearranging furniture while awaiting your husband…in our house whenever my hubby says he’ll be with me in just a few minutes, I’m almost always finished with the project before he gets there😉. I’m really looking forward to seeing your new fireplace finish—I’ve forgotten, why did you take down all that faux stone you put up?
Hi MerriJo – Sorry for the delay in replying to your question about why we took down the AirStone fireplace. I did mention the reason in a previous post, but it came down to local building code. We used the wrong backer board and the mantel needed to be 6 inches higher. I had been wanting to change things up in the living room and when the fireplace guy told us this, I was like – let’s just remove it. The way it was constructed didn’t effect the brick wall so the wall is intact. Removing the stone surround makes the room look much larger. For the summer I am going to leave the wall pretty minimal. But am on a search to find something interesting to add to the wall.
Looking forward to the fireplace makeover. My red brick fireplace with some different tints on the brick is ready for something more modern….in the way of paint. I had my husband remove the corbels which made for a high mantel, and I will have to apply some kind of plaster to fill in part of the holes that were left. Then I’m planning to either tint or paint the bricks, or perhaps a smeared plaster look. At any rate, I can’t wait to see what you do to yours!
Diane! I can’t wait!!
Wow! You have really got the ‘bug’. This is so fun, I’m looking forward to each step of your marathon!
I am really looking forward to seeing your living room. I always love the things you do. Happy day to you.
That’s funny, I almost rearranged my living room furniture last week, I got the itch to make a change. Can’t wait to see it. Have a lovely Easter & hope your grand daughter is doing well.
How exciting! Can’t wait to see what you’re doing! Our living room is small too. One blank wall, one wall with a fireplace, one wall with sliders to the deck, and one opening into the kitchen. I also feel constrained with how to rearrange things. Looking for your inspiration!