I moved my bed recently. This change may seem small, but it had a major impact. I’d assumed the bed should be placed where it could have maximum space around it. The head was against the wall to my right when I walked in the bedroom, so when I entered my room, I was walking into the side of the bed. Only small nightstands would fit beside it, and the aesthetics were off-balance. The room lacked perspective and warmth.
Now the head of the bed is on the wall opposite the door. It extends into the middle of the room, becoming the clear focal point when you enter. Suddenly, the room’s purpose is clear. Why have all that empty space in the room? I wasn’t entertaining guests there. This is where I wake up from a restful sleep, and it becomes my retreat at the end of the day. Of course the bed is the centerpiece! I gave up the empty space that had been at the foot of the bed for a more balanced, purposeful layout, adding more functional and pleasing nightstands plus a proper headboard. Entering my bedroom, I am now met by a flow that invites me to rest, sleep, and rejuvenate.
What seemed a simple act transformed my most personal space into one that provided what I truly needed. To achieve this essential sense of flow, I considered how the function of the space intersected with the fit of all the separate pieces. The function of my bedroom—sleeping and retreating—was more fully realized by adjusting the furniture, so each component better contributed to the whole.
Shop the Look
Look at each room in your home and identify the visual cue when you walk in. If your living room is all about lounging and getting cozy, you might make a plush sectional your centerpiece. If you collect art books, an oversized coffee table, or one with two tiers, provides ample space to display them. Counter stools in the kitchen invite people to gather and participate. This concept carries through to your whole house, too: Form and function come together when you identify the way each room and area can be both visually appealing and useful.
When recalling that simply moving my bed achieved the focal point and visual harmony I was seeking, I recognized this to be achieving the flow. The point of attention became clear. Flow is less about conventional floor plans (two chairs, a coffee table, and a sofa) and more about discovering a room’s intention. How do you cultivate a sense of well-being and flow in your home? By identifying the purpose, a natural layout will present itself. If there is an overarching story for a home, there’s also a narrative for each room. These are the questions to ask yourself to define your room’s purpose:
What am I working with?
Start with the realities of your home. Note the highlights, such as a working fireplace, and the challenges, like an odd-shaped nook. From there, you can quickly and clearly assess the layout plan that puts your home’s best features on display while minimizing any flaws.
What’s most important to me?
I like entertaining, so that drives many of my choices in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and outdoors. If your home doubles as an office, you may want multiple spaces where you can land with your laptop to spread out for a project. With children, open play areas seem to take over. These key influencers set your priorities.
What’s the purpose here?
Walk from room to room and imagine yourself using the space optimally. Ask, "What do I do here? What would make it better?" If you love to practice yoga and meditate, create an attractive corner with your yoga mat and candles. If you are an avid reader or writer or painter, let your interest or craft be integral to your design.
Shop the Look
TIP: Keep room measurements stored in your phone. I stumbled upon a great dresser when out to brunch with friends, and having these on hand made my purchase decision easy.
Reprinted from How to Make a House a Home. Copyright © 2020 by Ariel Kaye. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Babeth Lafon. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.
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