1. Imagine it empty. Imagine your room without any furniture in it — the walls and floors completely blank. This may be easier said than done, but it’s worth a try. Pay close attention to which areas seem improved without your stuff in them — this is a good clue that something in that area needs to go.
Since we’re not discussing how to do a complete room makeover here (an ideabook for another day), try to stay focused on what you can realistically accomplish before the holidays. Removing items is always easier (on the budget, at least) than buying something new, so see what you can do to refresh your room simply by taking away what’s bothering you. Even moving a piece to another room could work — if you don’t miss it, sell it or give it away.
2. Find your focal point. In a living room with a mantel, that is often the natural focal point. But you might have something else you want to draw attention to, like a gorgeous painting, a statement-making sofa or a beautiful view. Once you have determined your room’s focal point, remove anything on or around it that detracts from it: Is the mantel cluttered with decor? Are there so many throw pillows on your sofa that you can’t see the beautiful nailhead trim?
3. Consider the flow. Some rooms are simply easier to arrange furniture in than others. If you’ve been having trouble getting the furniture in the right spot, try stepping back and snapping a few quick pictures from the doorway. Is there a major piece of furniture blocking your view into the room, or is there an easy and obvious way to enter and flow through the space?
Sketch out a few furniture arrangement ideas on paper before doing any heavy lifting — your muscles will thank you.
4. Get inspired. Is your room still missing that special something? Dip into yourideabooks and find a few pictures that really make your heart sing. But don’t stop there — notice what attracts you about the images. Some things (high ceilings, enormous windows), you won’t be able to have. But there may be something else that calls to you — a particular style of chair, a cool tray, a color, a pattern — that you could bring into your space. Track it down if you can!
6. Create some symmetry. The human eye loves symmetry. If your living room is feeling less than harmonious, it’s possible it needs more symmetry. Try adding a pair of matching lamps, art hung in identical frames or a pair of throw pillows on the sofa.
- Place the coffee table 15 to 18 inches from the sofa.
- Side tables should be close enough to armchairs that you can easily set down a drink.
- Keep about 3 feet of space between furniture where people need to walk through.
- Position seats no more than 10 feet away from one another (for example, measure from the sofa across the coffee table to an armchair on the other side) for good conversation.