Placing furniture

When we were little my sister and I used to both take a room in my parents house (the dining and living room) and pretend to be housewives. I was Anthea, Gem was Sandra (who knows where those names came from,  the Generation Game I think) we would invite each other round for coffee,(really juice) plump cushions, tidy up, move stuff  and role-play away! In our naive childlike little world we were I guess coming to grips with furniture placement, layout, scale and so on. Of course we didn’t know or have any understanding of how to balance a room, what we did have though was a love of making each of these rooms our little home for the afternoon for our coffee mornings.

When it comes to placing furniture  you can draw a floor plan, sketch the room on paper, cut out of paper scaled pieces of furniture and so on. To hell with all of that I say I simply cannot be bothered. Put me in a room,  leave me for a while and I will happily potter away until I’ve got the perfect sense of balance and harmony going on. Its way more fun in my mind than mapping it all out making sure there is x amount of space for traffic lanes, the coffee table is so many centimetres from the sofa, the chairs are so many centimetres from the sofa – ugg cannot stand it. Yes it’s important to have a basic knowledge but really it’s such an old fashioned way of decorating and too formulaic. Follow you heart, try not to shove any sofa’s or chairs against a wall, forget traffic lanes – in my house you can’t even walk in a straight line from one point to another you have to weave (formally trained interior designers will be passing out by now).

Style stems from the heart not a textbook. On that happy note that’s me done – the kids (Mungo and Maud are off to the vets again, one’s got an ear infection the other a skin problem)

This is what I mean – shove a flag on a wall,  mismatch bedside tables, layer the  bed with a hotch potch of textiles, rumple it all up a tad and way hay you’ve nailed it.

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17 thoughts on “Placing furniture

  1. Pingback: Placing furniture | Shelterholic Now

  2. Love reading this. Cannot tell you how frustrating it is using the conventional method and thinking, coffee table is too close to the sofa, needs to be so many cms away, how about a traffic lane!! Refreshing! It was also a pleasure to meet you last month at Anthropologie :-) x

  3. love the idea of weaving! i studied interior architecture many moons ago at chelsea and i remember how my tutor always encouraged ‘a journey’ through a building.

    anthea and sandra, lol! x

  4. Hi Abigail – thank you for that post. So true – decorating your home should come from the heart…not the textbook. I too have incorrect amounts of space between my sofas and coffee tables and forget traffic flow! But it all works – my family and friends love it as I do. I have an eclectic home – and it suits me to a tee. That’s the important thing.

    I am enjoying your blog so much. I am across the pond and I wish I could come to your Masterclass – your style seems so akin to mine. I do have to visit an old friend of mine in England one of these days…hope to get to meet you some day. I’m a trained decorative artist and I also do some interior design and home staging for my clients. I can see where you take an artistic approach to design (as I do).

    Keep up the terrific blog posts!


  5. Hi Abigail,

    Encouraged by this, I just moved my sofa to divide my room into two (I have a small studio, bed + living space in the same room). Immediately it felt so so much better. I now feel like I have a separate living room, with the sofa, the bookshelf next to it, and the (soon-to-be-mine) dreamy chair forming their own nook. It’s snug, it’s cosy, and I love it. Now I just need to find some sort of table to place there. I hate hate hate trad stiff coffee tables, am thinking that maybe if I could find something that is not a coffee table (inspired by your drum…) that’d be fab.

    Now I just have to decide what colour to paint my small hallway (visible to both my living room and kitchen/dining area, which are both at present light grey). I am contemplating either london clay, charleston grey, or some sort of red, like radicchio (don’t know if this is a good one, though). What do you think? (I know it is hard to say, not having seen the place). Or should I go with wallpaper?

    Thanks again for the constant inspiration. I know this is such a cliché, but your blog feels like a breath of fresh air amid all the beige out there.

    P.S. I saw Sibella Court’s Nomad in the store the other day. What do you think of her approach to interiors? Just interested, sorry if this is a stupid question. And sorry for the lengthy comment.

    • Its a little tough having not seen but my instinct says to go for a different hue than grey seeing as your other two rooms are grey. Personally I would plum for London Clay its an impossibly hard colour to describe plus it looks nothing like the swatch on the F&B website. Its warm its brownish its got to pink undertones to do its one of those sorts of colours that wraps you up- I love it have it in my bathroom. Am not sure how much light you have in your hallway but as always with dark colours you will need a few more than otherwise. Must get Sibella’s new book keep forgetting its out. In terms of her style I totally respect, my style is just a little more glam I would say and not quite so rustic. Like it though and good luck

  6. Thanks Abigail, and yes I understand totally that it is difficult. The room is right between my other two rooms, very visible to them. It does get natural light from both directions, but there is only the chandelier for light (no other outlets). And as the other two rooms are so light, I am a bit worried it will “stick out” too much in a dark colour… Maybe I should jsut stick to a neutral, like, sigh, Elephant’s breath (oh so boring). Or a light wallpaper.

      • Hmm… Heart says go dark, head says do not, it will stick out too much. That’s just my fear. But you’re right. Following the heart is so much better :) Thanks again, and have a lovely fall. Would def come to your workshop, if I lived in the UK

  7. Hi abigail,
    Your blog is such an inspiration to me. Every morning at 5:30 am, I visit your blog before going to work. When having a not so good day, I think about your beautiful designs and encouraging words and I start to feel better about the possibility of having a home I love. Ordered your book and can wait to get it. I wish you will visit chicago or have your masterclass global. I can only dream.

    • Thank you for your very kind words. Am hoping it will certainly include Chicago used to live in Detroit so it was a main city and visited it a zillion times, love Chicago x

  8. Pingback: Leftovers | Japanese Trash

  9. Hi, not related to the blog at all, but could you possibly tell me where I could get a leather chair (for a desk) like the one featured in “A Girls Guide to Decorating” – the one on a single chrone stand (featured in front of the exposed brick wall). I have searched EVERYWHERE! – many thanks xx

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