How to Best Arrange Your Designer Furniture Into Your Home

Furnishing a living room is as important as organizing your wardrobe – it’s a matter of deciding what goes well with most things, what feels best and what you might use every day.

As with clothing, basics come first. When choosing the main furniture pieces (ie. chairs, sofas, coffee and side tables), the classics are always the best. Start with a proportioned sofa (as versatile as a favorite black sweater). Throw in a comfortable armchair or leather chair (similar to a well-made suit). Once you’ve got these in place, you can begin to dress up your living room with furnishings that add personality and interest.

It’s important when you choose furniture that you keep the size and shape of the space in mind. Oversized furniture in a tiny room can be overpowering and can easily affect traffic flow, while furniture that is too small may create an environment where the space, rather than the people in it, dominates the room. It’s important to create balance by selecting the right pieces to fit the size, shape and scale of your room.

Furniture that is dissimilar can be linked well by grouping them in the same area, or by relating them to a common line, such as along a wall or next to a rug. You can also arrange your furniture according to the backdrop (ie. a large painting). It’s a good idea to think of furniture grouping as islands. They should be able to cater to different purposes, such as watching TV, socializing, reading a book or playing with the children.

Wabi Sabi, Shabby Chic, and Design Psychology: Home Interior Design Styles

Wabi Sabi, an ancient Chinese philosophy adapted by the Japanese and practiced by many Westerners today, presents an alternative way of living more than a way of decorating your home. However, you can adapt your interior and landscape design using Wabi Sabi principles for happiness.

“Wabi Sabi” (pronounced “wah-bee sah-bee”) was formalized as the Zen Buddhism tea ceremony evolved. Zen Buddhism originated in India, traveled through China in the 6th Century, and to Japan in the 12th century. The ancient wisdom of Wabi Sabi practitioners helps today’s busy home makers with interesting interior design ideas. Wabi Sabi interior design followers learn to relax, take time appreciate the beauty and simplicity of natural design, and to know that their home doesn’t need perfection to bring joy, which compares to our research findings in residential Design Psychology.

Before you relate Wabi Sabi to Shabby Chic style, understand that the Wabi Sabi way of life starts with simplicity, whereas Shabby Chic interiors often fill spaces with a lot of interesting finds, which can end up with too much to care for and eye clutter, according to Design Psychology principles. This lesson of too much design detail, which stops the eye and makes you feel overwhelmed, became apparent to us when we moved from our expansive Victorian home into a smaller house and had to choose the more important furnishings from the treasures discovered over ten years of collecting, both in antique and thrift stores.

If you want to makeover your home for joyous living, consider Wabi Sabi restraints along with Design Psychology principles:

Simplify your life and home design. When you choose the best from your treasures, keep those accessories that support positive memories, regardless of monetary value.

Take pleasure from natural beauty. Choose design details with colors, patterns, and textures similar to those found in nature, which feel harmonious to people because they connect us to the earth.

Appreciate your home and furnishings, no matter how imperfect. When you love your home, this love shines throughout and makes it easier for you to clean and maintain. Your positive attitude brings you encouragement to find beauty all around, inspiring fresh ideas for home makeover projects.

Wabi Sabi beliefs include the principles of incomplete and impermanent designs, which parallel the Design Psychology principle that your home needs to grow and change, to support your changing lifestyle and emotional needs.

In contrast to Wabi Sabi’s use of modest and humble furnishings, Design Psychology appreciates the inherent beauty in all things. Enjoy the fruits of your hard work and don’t feel guilty when mixing the humble with quality showpieces. I love my Italian Millifiore glass lamps sitting next to my Mexican Rose rock.

Like any good design theory, Wabi Sabi finds beauty in the unconventional. Your originality in design makes your home unique. Design Psychology practice avoids the use of furniture “groups” and prefers unique, individual pieces offering comfort. If you were tempted by a furniture set, such as matching sofa, love seat, and the three matching tables, don’t worry; just know that additional pieces don’t need to match perfectly and that blending styles and finishes makes unconventional, unique spaces.

Design Psychology supports fearless home makeovers, bold with colors to lend emotional support yet restrained, without overly-filled rooms, to provide backgrounds for people and harmonious living.

Similar to the Wabi Sabi tea ceremony, practice daily rituals in your home. Create a home to celebrate life, one full of tranquility and beauty. Choose your home interior design style to best support your happiness.

Copyright © 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author’s information with live links only.)

Designing the Home Office

So, you have decided to work from home and turn a spare room into your office. When designing your office space, consider which room you are going to use and whether it is to be shared with other family members as a study, or be used as a guest bedroom.

If it is to be shared or remain as a bedroom, careful consideration needs to be given as to how you are going to separate and keep safe your documents and other business paperwork. Also, if you have clients or other visitors, think about how you will accommodate them, as you still need to make a good impression and appear professional. When considering having your office at home, remember that quiet surroundings are very important. If you have a young family, think about how you will work during school holidays or other times when they are at home. It is also a good idea, if possible, to have your office away from the kitchen and the bathroom, as both rooms can be busy and noisy. This would be especially important when you have clients visiting your office, or when making telephone calls.

Once you have chosen the room, you now need to decide upon the layout. At this stage it would be prudent to measure the available space, making notes of all aspects of the room. Drawing your layout on graph paper is one way of producing a fairly accurate impression as to where you would place furniture and electrical equipment. Do take a note of where the power points are as this will have a significant bearing on where you put electronic equipment without having power leads and cables all over the place. Don’t forget the position of the window or windows as this affects the amount of light the room gets, so buy some blinds or curtains if the room gets very bright (especially important if you use computers a lot). Choose muted décor, it doesn’t have to be boring but loud colours are distracting and your office should present an air of calm and professionalism. Careful planning at this stage is vital because you are going to be spending your working days here. Get it right and you will enjoy your office, but get it wrong and you will be miserable.

Your final task is to furnish and equip your office. Refer to your drawings and choose furniture carefully. Don’t overstuff your office with furniture and equipment as it will just look cluttered and cramped. Also, you will be less inclined to want to be there if it is uninviting. Ensure there is enough storage and shelving though, you don’t want your desk space cluttered with stuff that should be stowed away. If you have space, houseplants give a nice touch but remember to look after them as nothing looks worse than dead or dying plants.

This is your chance to design the office of your dreams, so go ahead and make your workspace an inviting and comfortable place where you actually want to be, the effort will truly be worth it in the end.