Wednesday, 8 April 2015

FURNITURE LAYOUT FOR THE NEW EXTENSION

For months I have been putting this daunting task off. Builders finally told me that they need a furniture layout showing the location of plug sockets, radiators and lighting. I really left it last minute (as usual) but managed to make all the important decisions in the end.

Here's the thing. Our new extension will be a long but quite a narrow room. It will be one multifunctional room. We will be using it as a second sitting room (especially during the summer), as well as a large entertaining space together with our kitchen and the dining room. We have removed the double doors between the extension and dining room so that it will feel more open-plan and that more light will fall into the dining room through the velux window.

Initially, I was considering having a play room for our daughter but decided I wanted a second sitting room more. Also, our daughter doesn't play alone and follows us where ever we go and I just don't see myself spending a lot of time in a kids playroom. I'd rather sit on my comfortable sofa even if it means I need to clean up the toys by the end of the day. I guess it's all down to personal preference!

Luckily, the new room  is south east facing which means we get plenty of sunshine during the day. Our primary sitting room is more of a TV room, where as this room will be more a socialising space. And, there won't be a TV in this room (although my husband did try to introduce the idea)! I am hoping all 3 rooms will form a great living space with an open-plan feel. I also want to bring our garden into the sitting room by having big windows and double doors. I think it's incredibly handy that the sitting room and kitchen face the garden because it's a good way to keep an eye on my daughter whilst cooking. You can probably tell I am starting to get very excited about our new room :) At some point, I'd also love to have a decking outside which will make the room flow nicely into the garden. In fact, it will be our project for next year!

Anyway, it has been tricky deciding what furniture I want to have in this room. When space is limited, you need to be more creative and most importantly prioritise what is important to you. The best part is that my husband has left all the decorating to me so I have free hands! I think he knows my style by now and is confident that I will pick something modern that will complement the rest of the house.

My 'Must Haves'
  • fabric sofa (ideally 3-seater)
  • a chair or a lounger/rocker
  • side table or stacking tables
  • floor lamp (or 2)
  • storage space for toys

I will definitely need to make some compromises. A large sofa means less storage space but it will be better for entertaining. A good size 3 seater is what I have in mind but I do need to measure everything to make sure it fits and doesn't overpower the room. I have been looking at light grey sofas for a change and plan to keep the decor light and fresh. The room gets so much sun that strong colours would fade eventually which also means that leather is out of the question. Ikea and Dwell are my favourites at the moment but I won't order the sofa until the room is painted.

I'd also like to have a chair/lounger in the corner next to the window but I think it's wise to order the sofa first to see how much space I've got left. I love the white leather rocker from Dwell but it might be too big. I also like this Blu Dot Hot Mesh Chair from Heal's, especially in black.

There's definitely not enough room for a coffee table which is fine because I actually prefer side/stacking tables which are so easy to move around. I've seen some very stylish industrial style side tables and bar carts on wheels which would be ideal but perhaps not very toddler friendly. I'd also like some storage space to hide all the clutter but I will only do this if there is extra space (which is not looking too good right now). I think a chevron laundry basket would hide toys quickly and still look stylish in the corner. Something like this could work.

Rug or no rug? I'd love have an area rug in the room but I need to wait and see how much space I've got left. It might not be practical and could look funny in a narrow room. Perhaps I will just have a smaller statement rug near the double doors. I really don't know but it's certainly not something I need to decide right now.

Our long walls are also perfect for wall shelving which I am hoping to install at some stage. By the way, I find wall shelving fantastic when there are kids in the house. It's so handy to hide items so that children cannot reach them. It's much safer for them too obviously. In fact, I think wall shelving and safety gates are the only baby proofing we have done in this house to date! I also love gallery walls. I am definitely planning to have a gallery wall in this room. I already have two gallery walls in the house but as far as I am concerned you can never have too many!

It's really difficult to envision what the room will look like so I have been using FloorPlanner to help me to make some important decisions. It's free (for the first project) and pretty easy to use. The 3D images are very good if you are moving into a new house or just want to reorganise your current room. The furniture choice is a little limited (especially the colours) but you definitely get the idea. It was especially helpful when I was trying to pick the spot for our radiator. I decided to go for a statement radiator and it took me quite some time to decide where it will go. It's a great tool and I would use it again for other rooms in the house.

Here's few samples I was playing around with.





The 2D pictures are not the most helpful but the 3D version is just as good as the one we received from our kitchen designer. It was especially useful seeing the room from outside through the windows and the double doors. I could have drawn the entire house but I simply didn't have the time. Sketch Up is another free software that is easy and fun to use. There are so many online tutorials available that it's incredibly easy for a novice to start drawing. If you are planning a new kitchen or even a bigger project, I would strongly advice getting a professional to do the 3D plans or learn yourself how to do it. It definitely helped me with the furniture layout and I am pretty confident it will be just how I wanted. Luckily, I don't have to wait very long to find out!
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