Back to the basics: form & layouts

In my last blog, I introduced the value of function and purpose in a room. However, there are many other elements which work hand in hand with function to create a space that is effective and desirable.

The second aspect of design I would like to talk about is form. Form is not just one thing, it’s a mixture of elements within a room that work together to create the physical feel of the room. Let’s start where we left off though, with furniture. Obviously you want your furniture to be functional for the purpose of the room and the users, but sometimes size and shape can be neglected when you find that perfect sale. Always remember: form follows function

Form represents shape and the space that the shape takes up. When picking furniture for a room you want to make sure the furniture will fit comfortably for the activities that will take place in said room. For example, when choosing a dining set make sure to measure the space first. Don’t guess, it never ends well! You want the dining table to be large enough to sit everyone in your family, but with enough room to move around the table comfortably when everyone is sitting at it. The standard space required behind a chair that is tucked into the table is a minimum of 36”. That usually means that when the chair is being used, there is still approximately 2’ to walk behind it.

Form helps to create the feel in the room; it’s a combination of space and balance. You want to create an environment that feels stable and appealing to the eye. When balancing furniture, you can choose big pieces on one side of the room that reflect pieces the same size on the other side, or you can buy smaller pieces for the other side that together create the illusion of balance. Essentially, you don’t want one side of the room to look complete and the other side to be empty, or worse – just a big clutter of furniture that makes you feel enclosed and disorganized.

Form is also important when choosing the shape of the piece. Style (which we will address in our next blog) and form work together to create the flair in the room. Think hard about what kind of style you want (traditional, contemporary, rustic, elegant, chic, retro, etc.) and then choose furniture and accents that reflect that style with their shape. A contemporary chair would be low-profiled, sleek and have square corners. A chic chair would be curvy and eccentric. Make sure to measure the space before proceeding to buy any pieces to make sure that they will fit comfortably in the space for the intentions that they need to be used for.

To be fair, there are no rules. A combination of furniture and space that one family finds successful might be a total disaster for the next. You have to find your own comfortable living arrangement. Yet sometimes moving the furniture around or pretending a piece that you want to buy for the room is there can be counterproductive. I suggest either trying our Virtual Transformations for a quick simple solution, or cutting out pieces of paper the measure the size and shape of your furniture (feet to cm) and laying them out on a piece of graph paper that measures the size of the room. That way, you can see how your layout will fit without the physical stress or committing to a piece of furniture. Then make sure to draw out the flow of movement that will take place in the room from one door to another or from major pieces of furniture and appliances.

And remember: planning is key. You don’t want to have to repeat yourself just because you didn’t really plan it out correctly the first time. So take a breath, make some coffee and really think about what you want to achieve for your room.

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