A Simple Swap

When I walk into a room, I have this annoying brain tug that makes me mentally rearrange the furniture in front of me. What, don’t you? You know, kind of like those math geniuses that unscramble numbers in every day life to find patterns I’ll never comprehend (such as office spreadsheets, license plates and the like). It’s actually a habit I can’t kick, although I’d never judge someone and their use of space. It’s just…this thing…I do. Oy.

But there is a silver lining. Easily one of the top head-scratchers we receive from friends and family is furniture placement. Where should it go? Did I do it right? What do you think? Of course we’re more than happy to oblige the inquiries that come our way (going so far as giving friendly web-based advice as well), and we’re obviously flattered that those questions are tossed towards us. And dealing with small spaces in this big city can provide some pretty interesting challenges, so the landing pad of your furnishings can easily make or break the flow of a room.

Take, for example, this recent bedroom flop. When a friend of a friend hired us to help her hang artwork throughout her new apartment, we eagerly packed up the ol’ tool bag. After conquering a few strong frames in the bathroom, we headed towards stop numero dos – the bedroom. Here’s our view from the door:

And here you can see her bed (and her adorable shabby chic nightstand) once you walk into the room and turn to your right (see the door knob?). Much like our own crash pad, the whole space comes in around 9×12 feet. As a result, the current layout resulted in visually cutting the space in two. You walk into the room, you hit the sideways bed, and your options end there.

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Although it wasn’t on the actual handy man “to do” list, we talked about a little bed-to-wall-swap. After a few quick measurements, we decided it made much more sense to rotate the bed to the wall you see upon entering the room, which not only provides a better sense of flow, but is hands down more eye pleasing. After all, isn’t much nicer to see the head of your throne as opposed to, well, the side of it? Entering the room, here’s what you see now:

And of course we can’t forget the original task at hand. With the  new layout, a picture perfect space opened up to display her super sweet art print (from one of our ultimate go to folks as seen here and here), Seattle Show Posters.

In under 30 minutes, we were able to transform her room while injecting a little fun with an on-hand print. At the same time, her punchy pillow and colorful throw are now the stars of the show – and all for the fabulous price of free. Oh, how we love this sort of instant gratification (and all while feeding into my obsessive-furniture-rearranging tendencies).

But what about you? How often do you find yourselves switching up the chair-to-couch ratio in your living rooms? Or maybe you’re constantly going back and forth over a handful of paces when it comes to coffee table placement? The hubs and I are always poking fun at ourselves over our compulsion to nudge pieces a few inches to the left. And then back to the right. And then, well, you get the idea.

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  • Danielle - August 19, 2010 - 8:23 AM

    I have a good friend that really doesn’t visualize things well. I always find myself rearranging her stuff.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - August 19, 2010 - 8:36 AM

    For the first seven years of our relationship, I drove my husband crazy with my compulsion to rearrange. Just recently has he accepted it and learned to try to visualize things differently instead of getting upset by the change. I think it was resolved by my mom’s apology: “I’m sorry. She gets it from me.”ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - August 19, 2010 - 9:08 AM

    I find patterns in numbers, even though I’m not a math genius. Trying to memorize a phone number that ends in 1427, I’ll think “14×2=28, which is one more than 27”. Convoluted, I know, but it works!

    Anyway, I’ve been known to do the same thing- in fact, when my good friend moved into her condo, two of us walked in and immediately started sweetly giving advice (okay, barking orders) to move the couch here and the chair here and the coffee table there. Luckily she’s a good sport.

    And of course, the room you rearranged looks great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 19, 2010 - 10:18 AM

      Ah, Amanda, you’re clever, eh? And I’m glad to know that you ladies all mentally rearrange, too!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann - August 19, 2010 - 11:18 AM

    If you ever feel like taking a trip to Oregon, you’re more than welcome to stay at my house and tell me how I need to rearrange my furniture… I’m pretty sure I need all the help I can get. Or at least, I need someone on my side telling my husband that his ideas for furniture arrangement don’t make sense. Why would you place the couch so it essentially blocks the only entrance to the hall which leads to two bedrooms and the main bathroom? Only he could tell you… (Don’t worry, I talk him out of it, but he keeps trying to move it back.)ReplyCancel

  • Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog - August 19, 2010 - 4:16 PM

    Nice swap! I think that bedrooms are always more inviting when the bed is the focus as you walk in.ReplyCancel

  • RocketGirl - August 19, 2010 - 7:33 PM

    My husband sent me the link to this blog, and I’m in love! (I write a small-space rental blog out of SF.)

    I ALWAYS want to mix up the chi a bit by rearranging furniture, but we have so many built-ins (well, temporary built-ins when it’s a rental) that it makes moving big pieces difficult. We installed a wall’o’Elfa last year and thus made it impossible to ever again move our bed without some major work. (That said, while I prefer seeing my bed when I enter the room, it did share a wall with some enthusiastic neighbors, so the Elfa’s probably better off acting as a sound buffer.)

    But when it comes to couch-moving, alas, I feel like our options are so limited–doorways and windows, argh!–that we’re eternally stuck with it in its current position. Upside is, RocketMan’s got plans to build his own couch that will better fill the space… except, oops, another built-in that will be immovable. Ah, apartments!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 19, 2010 - 8:02 PM

      RocketGirl, so glad you found us! As much as I love, love, love built-ins, I can definitely see where it could be a problem. I’m curious on your blog how to work around it. You got a new reader in us!ReplyCancel

  • Tina B - August 19, 2010 - 8:45 PM

    Hi. My name is Tina. I am a chronic furniture-mover-rearranger. This is my first CFMR meeting. It’s been 3 months and 10 days since I’ve moved any furniture. It’s KILLING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I want so bad to just rearrange something! I’m stuck moving little things like folders, books, knick knacks.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 19, 2010 - 8:56 PM

      Tina, can we be another member of CFMR? Sounds like our kind of anonymous meeting.ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - August 20, 2010 - 10:10 AM

    We mainly switch little things like pillows and other accessories (ok, and sometimes chairs and other furniture), but every once and awhile the guest room just gets completely moved around. And I guess the library has had two or three layouts… Ok, so maybe I have a rearranging problem. Which is odd for someone who doesn’t like change.ReplyCancel

  • chrystie - August 20, 2010 - 11:03 AM

    you have a good little obsession by rearranging furniture in your head. unfortunately i’m not as lucky. i tend to spell words out in my head….weird i know. i can’t see how this is helpful, it’s just an annoying tick.
    the room looks great!! good job, i have a feeling we might get some family and friends asking us to help with things like that soon as well.

    http://www.anchoringgemini.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • RocketGirl - August 20, 2010 - 11:10 AM

    Kim, have you read about wabi-sabi? It’s a Japanese approach to design that’s basically about respecting old things, reusing items, and mixing it up from time to time (which is a terrible explanation, so google it).

    Anyway, one of my favorite suggestions–although one I haven’t been able to use, as we don’t have much storage space for decor–is changing the pictures on the walls according to the seasons. Kind of like pulling out the Christmas decorations, but for a full three months, and then putting the previous artwork into storage for another year. Iffen I ever get a good enough storage space to store our artwork, I am SO going to do that. Such a great way to mix it up a little!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 20, 2010 - 12:05 PM

      RocketGirl, here’s what I found out about wabi-sabi: “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.”[2] “[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”[3] – via Wikipedia, oh, yes.

      I love your idea of switching up the art. For small art, this could be really wonderful! At the same time, some art collections can be very precious and sad to store away. So for simple art, photos, or prints, it could really be a fresh take on the seasons!ReplyCancel

  • Robert - August 23, 2010 - 1:34 AM

    As soon as I have stuff to hang and re-arrange, I’m totally calling you. And I love that piece above the bed.ReplyCancel

  • Living Room Remix | Hernando House - August 24, 2010 - 8:50 PM

    […] this post from Yellow Brick Home, and some thinking I did on our long drive to Ikea that I mentioned […]ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - September 3, 2010 - 4:26 PM

    I love rearranging furniture! I just rearranged my living room actually and I love the new arrangement, it makes my apartment feel so much bigger.

    I have a question for you though — how big is that picture frame above the bed? I’m stuck for art work in my bedroom, I don’t know what’s appropriate nor what I want … I’m so picky.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 3, 2010 - 5:37 PM

      Hi Amanda,

      That print above the bed is 18×24. You can find it here: http://www.seattleshowposters.com/somethingaboutleaving.html. Perhaps that will help with sizing issues? If you’re unsure on what to hang, perhaps you can create a cluster of individually framed prints so that you don’t need to commit to just one thing. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

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