Rearrange the furniture for a whole new perspective

Joan Fieldstone

September 24, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior DesignGeneral Remodeling

I was itching for a change. Travel is out of the question on my current budget. Even re-decorating is a stretch this month. So I did the next best thing: I rearranged the furniture.

A good interior designer is the first one to tell you to work with what you already have if you like it well enough. I love my Crate and Barrel contemporary espresso brown platform bed, open-end tower bookcases and glass-topped nightstand/filing cabinet that I bought for a studio apartment I lived in a few years ago. They fit well in my current bedroom. I still love their style.

But when I moved them into my present home, I was pressed for time. The house closing was delayed a week, and I was starting a four-month online class the day after. The furniture went into the bedroom in a hurry in the most logical arrangement I could come up with in the heat of the moment. There were too many other concerns, such as having central A/C installed; it was the beginning of summer.

Time stood still in my bedroom for three years while I focused on other projects, like creating a lively environment for entertaining guests downstairs. The bedroom was relegated to "just a place to sleep" -- and for a while, to write. Now that I've moved my writing to my home office in the second bedroom, I want my bedroom to be the place I relax after spending 10 or more hours a day down the hall working.

The furniture probably would have stayed where it was for a while longer, but as I said, I was itching for a change, and once the ceiling fan was installed, I had a really good excuse for finally moving the bedroom furniture. Being OCD, I was distracted by the bed not being centered under the ceiling fan.

Figuring out what goes where

If you want to plan out your furniture move with a computer program (some programs are available for free online) or plain, old-fashioned paper and pencil, you can. But I worked it out in my head. Just be sure to use a measuring tape instead of guessing what fits where.

First, with my BFF's help, I moved the bed. It's the one thing that can't really go anyplace else without interfering with valuable wall space, other than over a few feet from where it is now. Its placement left four other spaces in which to put furniture, and too little space to comfortably put anything on the wall under the six-foot wide window. There was just enough room to put the nightstand/filing cabinet, about 30" wide, between the bedside and the window wall, which jogs out to form a niche corner by the head of the bed. It's also perfect for the cabinet's depth.

On the other side of the room, across from the nightstand and where a desk used to sit, there is wall real estate between the window wall and the walk-in closet door. I put the two tower bookcases together to form one big bookcase and stacked my books, instead of shelving them with the spines standing vertically. I can fit a lot more on them that way.

I am planning to move my desk, which I have kept in my room for personal work like paying bills, into a niche in the adjacent hallway where the builder installed two cabinets side-by-side that I don't need. That's another project that will involve demo, electrical and probably repairing or replacing sheetrock, depending on what's behind them. So for now, the desk stays in my room, but it's as close to the hall as it can get without being out there where I want it -- it's moving in the right direction.

Finally, I moved my meditation space out of my office and into the bedroom on the other side of the head of the bed. There is now enough room between the bed and the vanity area to roll out my yoga mat and stretch in the morning or evening.

Getting unstuck with a physical change in perspective

It's amazing how shifting things around just a little bit can give you an entirely new perspective. The lighting in every part of the room becomes different. Your thought process shifts. Moving around and physically changing direction is actually a very effective technique that life coaches use to help clients literally see a problem from a fresh angle and get unstuck.

Now I am beginning to envision what colors and what type of permanent window treatment I really want in the room. A water theme is emerging -- maybe a wall dedicated to a display of Venetian images. Can't travel, but it's funny how well this works.

old door
"Venice Blue Door (7248139900)" by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

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