x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

House Doctor: Decide how furniture will be arranged

After sorting out a decorative style and the proper scale, it's time to decide where to put the furniture.

Based on the size and the way I wanted to use my lounge and dining areas, I developed a simple and straightforward furniture plan that allowed for flexible seating and a variety of furniture types, which also provides more visual interest.

Because I have a small, one-bedroom apartment, I need a reasonably sized, comfortable sofa that is an appropriate style and scale for my design concept. It will also need to accommodate an overnight guest. I don't, however, need a convertible sofa, so I will fortunately have many more choices. With only one, large window at the end of my apartment, I placed the sofa along the adjacent wall, opening the view to the garden.

Visually, I like the idea of matching side-by-side chairs in front of the window facing into the room, with a larger-scale lounge chair anchoring the opposite side of the seating area that borders the dining room. Inspired by the chairs and sofas I researched, I've decided the lounge furniture will be low to open views across the room. Positioning the sofa to face the television will provide a cosy place to lounge while watching a movie.

Because the living space is one open room, I can easily find a rug to place under this furniture grouping to visually define the lounge area. It is important to select a rug after the furniture is chosen. Then, the rug can be correctly sized and the colours related to the furniture. Understanding the furniture layout will narrow options to rugs in which the pattern is exposed and not obscured under a sofa, chair or table.

For the dining area, I experimented with a few different table sizes and shapes, finally deciding that a 135cm diameter table will fit in the designated space and comfortably accommodate six people. Although I had planned for the dining area to be from one wall to the other, one side actually functions as a walkway, and a rectangular table would block the passage. A square table is too limiting because it seats only four people. The round table (with a centre base) could seat anywhere from two to six people quite comfortably. I am confident I will find six interesting dining chairs, sized so I can keep two in my storage room or use them for additional seating in the lounge area, thereby leaving the small dining area uncluttered.

I have designated two walls of the dining area as "art walls" and added a small display cabinet to store small art objects and serving pieces. I placed the cabinet on the wall of the dining room that functions as the pathway, so it visually anchors the room without being obtrusive.

Robert Reid is a professor of architecture, art and design at the American University of Sharjah. House Doctor can be read every week in House & Home.