5 Steps to Rearranging and Moving Furniture

January 4, 2012

Yesterday, when I should have been getting back into my normal work and life routine, I was instead spending time rearranging my front living room, a.k.a soon to be living room / office.  For the past month, different furniture layouts have been flowing in and out of my head and with the Christmas decor housed away till next year, I couldn’t stand not acting on these ideas any longer.  My main issue with the space is that when we moved in, we already had the furniture.  I love the pieces which were purchased when the hub and I were first married (so I have sentimental attachment too), but the room is difficult to lay out and the furniture never really worked.  Secondly, I also have 4 separate desks around the house (I know, crazy, right?), so my paperwork, computer, etc. is all over the place, and in my new-year-get-organized-mode, I want to have ONE PLACE for everything – I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, right?

So in the midst of my rearranging, I thought I’d share some ideas with you on the best approach to rearranging and moving furniture.  It’s not as easy as it seems, so lets break it down so you can love the space you live in too!

1. Determine the function of the space

There is obviously a reason that you want to rearrange the space (ie: I really want to make my room a dual office / living space), so it’s best to determine that first.  Once you’ve decided how you want to use the space, then think about what works in the room and what doesn’t.  Some pieces of furniture or accessories may have been bugging you from the first moment they were placed in the room, so get rid of em’! Don’t keep things that aren’t functioning as you need them to (ie: a desk, a side table, a chair) or you don’t like.  As the famous Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe always said, “Less is More” – keep what is essential and eliminate the rest.

2. Remove everything from the room

Once you’ve determined the rooms function, clear out the entire space including all the furniture and accessories.  By taking all the pieces out, you are able to see the room as a clean palette.  Your mind won’t be bogged down with the current furniture arrangement, and instead you will be able to think outside the box for a better functioning layout.

3. Make a plan of action

This step can either come before or after moving everything out of the room, but either way a plan of action can help you determine the best layout.  To get started on your plan, measure the length and width of the room, as well as the locations of the windows and doors.  Then draw it on a piece of paper – I use AutoCAD for space planning, but you can simply use a plain piece of paper or graph paper, like the sketch that I created below.

This was idea #1 – relocate the sofa under the window and put my desk in it’s place.  The bookcases would create an “L” in the corner and the armless chair would sit on the shorter wall with a side table next to it and a task lamp.  I like this layout, but I wanted to explore more…

Onto idea #2 – the sofa is back in it’s original spot and the desk is under the window.  The one bookcase remains in it’s original place and the other bookcase sits opposite of it, but would cover the window.  Hmmm…will this work?  I like this layout, but am unsure of the bookcase in front of the window.  Let’s see if it’ll work…

After sketching out some ideas on paper (or as an alternative, writing a list), it’s best to just jump in and get started!  Time to start bringing in the furniture…

4. Execute

Once you’ve determined some ideas, bring the furniture back into the room.  Start with the largest and/or most prominent piece(s), while always keeping in mind the main function of the space.  Take it step by step.  For me, I started with the sofa.  I first moved it under the window, but wasn’t crazy about it there, so then I moved it back to it’s original place and relocated the bookcase instead. And that was the trick.  Once you start to introduce things back into the space, the room will start to click and once it’s just right, you will know.  You’ll have an Ah-Ha moment. Sometimes it’s difficult to find an arrangement that you like and that’s okay!  If the room is not jiving and you’re just not feelin’ it, leave the pieces for a few days.  Live with them and see how you feel – it might grow on you.

This is my room during the process of arranging and rearranging.

Believe me… it was not pretty for quite some time!

And then it finally was all coming together…

In the end, I think the room looks best with the book case covering the window.  I know it’s crazy, but the room has never before layed out so well.  The Mister thought I was crazy when I first mentioned the idea of blocking the window, but he actually was convinced once he saw it.  The room feels so balanced now. I just need to get the desk in place.

5. Accessorize

Once the large pieces are set and you like flow and aesthetic of the overall space, it’s time to add the finishing touches.  Using lamps, books, accessories, and artwork, this is the last and most important step to making a room feel and look complete.  A rooms function is important, but accessorizing makes it whole.

I’m still finishing up my newly arranged living room / office space, but working on transforming the room one step at a time, has really minimized the anxiety of rearranging.  Breaking it down and analyzing all the options has made it much more manageable.


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Comments

  1. I’m struggling with our family room now. We are hoping to replace the ugly hunter green carpet (which by the way shows every spec of dirt known to manking). I’m positive we have too many pieces in the room – dear hubby disagrees. However, I think completely emptying the room will help each of us get focused.

    By the way, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your rug!!! Do you remember where it came from? :)
    Traci S. recently posted..Food bite!

    • Thanks Traci! I definitely recommend removing everything from the room so you can see the space free and clear – it allows you to think of different layouts without being bugged down by the current. My rug is from Target – it’s still available if you want it for yourself ;) xo Jenna

  2. MaryLou Whitney says:

    Jenna,

    The room looks great….you aret truly a genius!! Let’s do lunch again rea; soon.

    XOXO

    MaryLou

  3. Hi Jenna, I’m making my own bedroom curtains and I’m using your wonderful idea, lining the curtains with drop cloth material. My question is should I wash the drop cloth first before I attach it to the curtains, or can I sew it to the curtains and not worry about it? As always I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to your next adventure. :)

    • YAY – so glad to hear you are making your own drop cloth drapes! My thought on washing or not washing ~ if you ain’t wearin’ it, don’t wash it! I didn’t wash my DC before sewing, so I don’t think you have to worry about that. Send me a picture once they’re complete! xo Jenn

  4. Hi Jenna,
    I just had to say that this really jumped out at me: “As the famous Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe always said, “Less is More” – keep what is essential and eliminate the rest.” Right at the beginning of this- I have already learned something! And I do struggle with the “less is more”- so I was anxious to read on and get some inspiration since I have at least 2 rooms in need of rearranging.
    Now I think I will have some direction to move on this! Just needed some reassuring!
    Thanks again~
    Cheri

    • I think in modern day, everyone struggles with the idea of less is more, but it’s helpful to keep the essence of the expression in our minds when trying to determine what should stay and what should go. So glad I inspired you with this post!! xo Jenna

  5. Also, would you mind if I share this link for my Curtain Lady friends (on my FB page) as well?

    Thanks~ Cheri

  6. Ok sharing now- just saw the “share” button on here!

  7. Thanks Jenna for this great advice! I never know where to start, so this should help me save a lot of time. Hope to rearrange our playroom soon.
    Steph @ The Silly Pearl recently posted..Craft Tutorial: Scarf and Hat Organizer

    • Thanks so much Steph! Starting is the hardest part, but once you get going, it all comes together! Thanks for stopping by. xo Jenna

  8. Very nice tips. Sometimes it is really boring to see the a house or office with just the same look all the time. Rearranging furniture can give a house or office a new look and maybe maybe more comfortable impression.

  9. The 5 steps are very helpful for those who are relocating or who want a new look for their rooms.

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