Thursday, August 30, 2012

When in Doubt, Pull it Out!

No peeps.

This is not a post about birth control.

I mean, honestly! I have 3 little boys.

Do you really think I am the best person to teach you about that subject? You do? is my current method...because I am really tired these days.

In a word: abstinence. Works wonders.

Not too good for your marriage...and I don't really recommend it as a long-term solution because sex is a very important part of any marriage...but I must get on with the actual topic of discussion here.

Yes...I digress.

Now....get your minds out of the gutter! Frick!

And get your minds out of that intuitive decorating mind-set that makes many of you want to take your furniture and push it all right up against the walls!

We can do better than this!

Yes. This post is about home decor. Again.

I was recently talking to the father of one of the new players on my oldest son's hockey team at the head coach's annual team BBQ. He asked me what I did for a living and I shared with him that at the moment, I stay at home with my boys and do some writing and blogging.

I went on to tell him that I write a lot about parenting, motherhood, wellness and home decor amongst other things. Somewhere in there, I told him I was certified as a Home Stager.

He told me that I should pay his home a visit as he and his wife have a few rooms in their house that they have no idea what to do with. They are not really sure what the purpose of these rooms should be and while there is some furniture in them, they just kinda sit there, unused. The rooms have an awkward shape and they have no idea where to start with furniture placement.

The first question I asked him is if they had their furniture shoved up against the walls.

All I can say is "wow".
(Please note...this is NOT that hockey parent's room. If it were, I would not embarrass him by publishing it on my blog. 'Cause this is purdy bad peeps!)

He told me they did.

And I figured this would be his answer.

Because it is counter-intuitive - especially when you are not a decor-junkie like I am - to try and maximize any space in your house.

But what good is that when you don't use the room(s)?

Especially in large and/or awkwardly shaped rooms, bringing the furniture away from the walls actually  tends to make a room feel larger. And guess what? It makes the rooms much more functional and cozy.

And by cozy, I mean comfortable - not small (like real-estate agents tend to use the term!).

Let's say you have a room with some funky-ass, angled walls that make defining the shape of the room next to impossible. You see a lot of these types of rooms in newer homes...especially located in the front of the house.

What to do....what to do!????!?

I think you have more pressing issues than furniture placement dude...but hey...I don't discriminate!

Never fear...I am here!

And I don't claim to be a trained interior designer who has all the answers. If I were, I would probably be too busy decorating million-dollar homes instead of sitting here writing on my blog about furniture placement.

But I have learned a few things on my home decor magazine fetish journey. I mean, I don't just peruse these magazines. I don't just read them. I study them dudes! Like foodies devour cookbooks and The Food Network, I do them same with decorating publications and HGTV.

Guilty as charged.
I have a little home decor magazine problem.

And if you are someone who even occasionally looks at a decorating magazine you will know that more often than not, massive homes are showcased. Homes that the average person can't even begin to afford much less decorate. And they have been decorated by very expensive and highly trained interior designers.

Well fine.

Sometimes this pisses me off. It actually used to piss me off way more than it does now.

That's because I have honed my skills. I have trained my eye. I have learned to take what I see and what I read and apply the design and decor principles to my own living quarters. Even though my own spaces could probably fit quite nicely into many of these homes' garages.

So take all of that for what it is worth.

Anyhoo - back to that awkward room.

When in doubt...pull it out!

Even scarier than no birth control?
This scary looking room!

But first...let's figure out what you want that room to be.

Let's make things simple and say you want to make that funky front space a sitting room.

And so you can get a visual, let's say that room is an octagon. Yeah...a frickin' eight-walled space.

Now...imagine a few chairs pushed up against two of those walls, a sofa pushed up into the corner as far as it will go between two of those walls, a fireplace on another and a little coffee table floating in the middle of the room. Or up against the sofa so that people sitting in the chairs can't put their drink down without taking a stroll. Sound cozy and comfortable? Sound functional?

Didn't think so. make things easier, let's bring in a square area rug and dump it on the floor in the centre of the octagon with one of the straight edges parallel to the hearth of the fireplace.  Like an island in a pond (or a stream as Dolly and Kenny would sing), it is just kinda floating there.

Ken and Barbie...errr...I mean...Dolly.

Look walls!

Good...awesome start peeps!

You get a gold star!

Then...pull out that sofa so that the back legs are off the rug and the front legs are on the rug, parallel to one of the other sides of the floating island.

And depending on the size of your this room and your personal taste, take those two chairs away from the walls - you can do it! -  and either place them together, directly across for the sofa (either on a angle or not...whatever makes your boat float - yes we are still going with the island in a pond theme here!) or put them across from each other on either side of the sofa.

You following me?

I actually meant are you understanding me...but you are not following me on Twitter...why the frick not!!???
Click here and do it dude! 

Now sit down in one of the chairs and take a break (after you go follow me on Twitter that is) because there is only so much furniture moving one can do at one time! Have a coffee. Better yet...have a glass of vino.

Can't think of a reason!

I'll wait.



Let's continue, shall we?

Now...take that coffee table and put it back where it the middle of the room. There difference now, is that it is accessible from all of seats in the space! Notice how you can now put that second glass of wine I know you are now drinking on the table without getting off your ass?

Much more comfortable and functional...yes?

Oh and look! Since it is much more fun to drink wine with others, you can now invite a few friends over and they can sit and drink and use the coffee table and not have to yell (or walk) across the room so that you can hear them! How awesome is that!?!?


Because a sitting room is for sitting. That is why they call it a sitting room dudes!

Apparently I am a superhero junkie as well.

If you wanted a workout, I would be helping you decorate a home gym. And that my friends, is for another blog post!

Now I could go on to explain how to jazz up your walls and your coffee table and accessorize with lamps and plants and throw pillows and throws and foot stools and all of the rest of that fun stuff I love...but I won't. Well...not here anyways.

One can only do so much in one blog post peeps.

Instead, I will show you a few photos of rooms that have this "pulled out from the walls" set-up so that you have some visual cues to work from. An image is worth a thousand words after all, and this blog post is getting long!

See how this room becomes a cozy sitting area when anchored by an area rug?
The space around the furniture serves as thruways. The fireplace becomes a true focal point.

Here, the large window has breathing space and a "hallway" is created behind the sofa for easy access to the shelves.

Here, the TV is the focal point. Extra seating and occasional / side tables can be added depending on the size, shape and function of the room.

Here is an example of a very large, awkwardly shaped room. Area rugs are used to define and anchor different seating areas within the one large space.

So there you have it.

Now...go enjoy your new, cozy room.

And remember...don't drink and drive.

Or drink and decorate.



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