You’re home. You’re bored. So, what comes next? If you’ve already spring-cleaned your junk drawers, given the fridge an overhaul and FaceTimed everyone you know, we recommend looking for inspiration in your home. And since our homes have suddenly turned into a full-time office, dining facility, classroom and everything in between, a little room rearranging might be in order. We asked a few of our favorite local interior design experts to provide us with some do’s and don’ts for freshening up the spaces in which we’re spending all of our time.
In the Bedroom
Your bedroom is your sanctuary, so it’s crucial to feel at peace when you’re in it. A few simple adjustments can have you in an elevated, updated comfort zone.
Do: Make the bed a focal point.
“If the room is conducive to it, make the bed a focal point,” says Ashley Meier of Ashley Meier Interiors. “I love walking into a room and having a bed front and center, ready for its owner to just fall right into it. It’s so welcoming and serene.”
Kathleen Evers, of K Evers Interiors, adds, “Placement of the bed is key when rearranging a room. Be sure that you can see the foot of the bed as you enter — you don’t want to walk into the side of a bed!”
Do: Swap out your bedding.
Designer Mark Simmons, of Mark Simmons Interiors, says, “Since a lot of rooms set themselves up with a ‘bed wall,’ rearranging furniture can be tricky. I would suggest swapping bedding to something lighter and bringing in flowers or greenery for a fresh, spring feel.”
Do: Consider your lighting.
Beth Haley, of Beth Haley Design, reminds us, “Creating layers of lighting, including ambient, task and accent lights, creates warmth in a room and helps it feel complete.”
Do: Freshen up your art.
“Chances are, you have a few framed photographs that are outdated,” says Julie Couch of Julie Couch Interiors. “Take the extra time at home to change those out, move a piece of art that you rarely see to a more prominent place, or even order an inexpensive (but fun!) new piece online. It feels good to have something new to look at.”
Don’t: Angle your bed.
“Don’t put your bed at an angle … ever,” advises Mark Simmons.
Don’t: Forget how important nightstands are.
“[Nightstands] hold books, magazines, lamps, a morning coffee or an evening glass of wine,” Ashley Meier reminds us. “Having at least one drawer or shelf to help stash the everyday items is ideal, but even a small nightstand is wonderful for holding your everyday essentials. And don’t forget that nightstands don’t have to match — a desk can double as a nightstand, and so can many other types of tables. Just make sure everything balances out visually.”
Sara Ray, owner and lead designer of Sara Ray Interiors, adds, “Allow enough room for bedside tables on both sides of the bed, if possible.”
Don’t: Overdo the furniture.
“Don’t place unnecessary furniture in a small bedroom,” Sara Ray tells us. “Allow plenty of space to walk around the bed.”
In the Home Office
For many of us, our home office (or makeshift home office) has become the room in which we now spend the bulk of our days. And with the number of virtual meetings taking place, it’s becoming even more critical to keep our space tidy and conducive to productivity. Here are a few ways to perk up your workspace.
Do: Be thoughtful about your desk placement.
“Position the desk to where you can see out a window or anyone entering the space,” offers Mark Simmons, who also suggests making sure your back is to the wall rather than facing it.
Beth Haley adds, “Position your desk in your home office with a sightline to the outdoors, which can help you feel less isolated and bring a sense of calmness to your workday.”
Do: Make sure the room feels balanced.
“Symmetry is always nice, but sometimes it’s not suited to the layout of your room,” Blair Parkes and Susan Lamb of Parkes and Lamb Interiors explain. “However, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to the balance of furniture placement in your room. For example, if you have a pair of chairs on one side, it’s nice to balance the other side of the room with an armoire or something with some weight. Have fun with it, experiment with your balancing act, and know you can always move it back. It’s just furniture.”
Do: Have plenty of closed storage.
“An organized office leads to more productivity, and often people underestimate how much storage they need in an office,” says Ashley Meier. “I like to have labeled boxes and open-weave baskets within easy reach. When you rearrange, make sure you think about where you are going to have a ‘storage’ zone — is it in a nearby closet, or do you need a bookshelf or wall shelves to accomplish this?”
Do: Make sure important items are easily accessible.
Sara Ray tells us, “Position furniture pieces, and items that are often used, where they can be easily accessed throughout the day.”
Don’t: Block natural light.
“Don’t position your desk where you can’t see out a window,” says Sara Ray.
Ashley Meier adds, “My number one priority with an office is to have great natural light — the more, the better! With all of the activity on iPhones and computers these days, a big dose of natural light is a must in my book. I think it creates a much healthier and more productive workday.”
Don’t: Create more clutter.
Blair Parkes and Susan Lamb remind us, “Remember, less is sometimes more. When rearranging furniture, you may be tempted to bring in an extra chair or accessories. There’s power in pulling back and allowing your existing furniture and accessories to breathe. With as much time as we are spending at home right now, having a space without clutter is a necessity.”
Kathleen Evers adds, “Organize papers and books in baskets or bins to reduce the clutter.”
Julie Couch tells us, “Don’t create clutter by adding items without taking away others. Consider storing a piece that doesn’t have a home once other pieces are in place. For instance, in my own home, I needed to add a desk in our master lounge to create a home office. As a result, that lone coffee table had to go away for now.”
Beth Haley says, “Reducing clutter in your home office can reduce stress and prevent the anxiety felt when you walk by and see a mountain of paperwork needing attention. The key to successfully working from home is creating boundaries, both with your space and your time.”
Don’t: Be afraid to go back to your original layout.
Interior designer April Tomlin offers, “When rearranging furniture, don’t be afraid to move it back to how you originally had it. I can’t count the number of times I have tried to rearrange a room and realized hours later that I liked it better before. If it looks worse after you rearrange, swallow your pride and move it back. In some cases, it’s better to organize and eliminate versus rearrange.”
RELATED: 4 Beautiful In-Home Office Retreats
In the Living Room
Do: Create a reason to go into the living room.
Mark Simmons suggests making sure you and your family gravitate toward the living room space. He says, “Have a game table to work a puzzle, or a hidden television to watch the news.”
Do: Think about traffic flow.
“Living rooms are frequently used spaces,” Ashley Meier reminds us. “Make sure to map out where your big pieces are going to go and leave around three feet of space to walk around furniture and any doors that lead to other spaces.”
“Place furniture pieces so that there is easy access and flow to and from the room,” adds Sara Ray.
Do: Show off your favorite furniture.
“When rearranging furniture, you want to make sure your best pieces are the first thing you see from the angle that you enter the room,” April Tomlin tells us. “For instance, I like the side profile of my sofa, and when you enter my living room, you enter from the side. So, I moved my sofa where I can see a partial side profile of it.
Do: Freely move furniture.
Jessica Jennings, of Jessica Jennings Design, says, “Freely move pieces of furniture and accessories around a room to see if a different layout or point of view is beneficial and functional. Maybe you take a painting from one room and move it to another one in which it is better suited. You may decide a beautiful antique rug you have in your entryway is a bit too small, but when it is moved into a different area, it fills the space perfectly. Sometimes, by simply changing the layout, it can positively change the entire feel of a room. Essentially, it’s like having all new things without having to spend any money.”
Do: Make sure art is appropriately visible.
Beth Haley recommends making sure you “reposition your art when rearranging furniture and consider the angle the art will most likely be viewed from.”
Don’t: Rearrange in a way that makes it hard for conversation.
“Whether you use a room for sitting in front of a fire, watching TV, or even taking in a view of the outdoors, make sure the room has seating arranged in a way that is conducive for conversation,” Ashley Meier tells us.
Don’t: Line furniture around the walls.
“Let some pieces ‘float’ in the space” rather than lining the walls, suggests Sara Ray.
Kathleen Evers agrees, saying, “It’s best to have a nice balance of pieces around the room.”
Don’t: Structure your room according to the fireplace.
“If you have a fireplace, do not feel like you have to arrange furniture around it,” says Mark Simmons. “Sometimes, the fireplace can just become part of the atmosphere, with different seating groups throughout the room.
Don’t: Sacrifice function.
“Don’t move furniture to a point where it becomes uncomfortable or causes a room to no longer function normally,” says Jessica Jennings. “A pair of armchairs may look great along a set of windows, but if the setup obscures a walkway where people would typically be crossing, the negative outweighs the positive. Likewise, if you put a desk and chair in an office, but move the floor lamp or no longer have a source for lighting, the space will no longer be functional and productive — even if it looks great.”
As Jessica so perfectly explains, “By working with what you already have, and keeping in mind what is comfortable as well as functional, it can be fun to rearrange rooms to create spaces that feel new and refreshed. And all with little risk!”
Click HERE for even more design inspiration!