Author & Blogger

Christine Brun Portrait

Christine Brun is an expert in lifestyle trends, how to live smaller, and interior design topics.

She shares this broad knowledge with you as well as articles about women's issues in her blogs.

Drop Leaf Dining Table

Drop Leaf Dining Table

Drop Leaf Dining Table

There is nothing quite as liberating as the realization that rules are meant to be broken when you are laying out furniture. In the first place, one has to question where certain axioms originate. Who says that you must have a sofa and two matching chairs? Or for that matter who declared that seating is the primary function for a living room? I instruct my clients to think in terms of what their primary needs are and then plan a room accordingly.

While most people might like a comfortable sofa in their living room, if you would prefer a large table and four lounge chairs then that is exactly what you should buy. Alternatively if you are a bachelor with a secret desire for a billiards table in the dining room then go for that instead of a formal dining room ensemble. We are being told by the NAHB (National American Home Builders economics researcher Rose Quint that the average new home size declined in 2009. This signaled the end to an almost 30 year trend of growth in the size of American homes. Because new home starts have been soft in the past few years it may be too early to know if the trend is solidly downward, but this seems to be more likely as the market struggles to find solid footing. As homes shrink how we assign function to available space is paramount. Realize that you have more elasticity when you begin to lose expectations that took hold in other generations.

For example this slender drop leaf table is positioned tight against the kitchen counter eliminating the space generally required for flow around all sides of a table. On a day to day basis this arrangement can economize on floor space and allow another piece of furniture into the area. Perhaps that might be a good reading chair, floor lamp and comfortable ottoman.  You might consider a different shape for your dining room table based on the furniture layout.

In space crunched bedrooms sometimes it becomes necessary to place a bed right in front of windows. There is no reason why this type of arrangement cannot work. Be sure to choose a bed with a headboard so that there is a cozier feel for the people sleeping in the room. Leaning against a window would feel cold, strange and not even look appealing.  But know that the freedom from thinking that placing the bed on the window wall is a negative can make for better use of space. Perhaps by arranging the room in that way it will allow for a longer dresser to be included on another wall or for two matching nightstands to fit on either side of the bed. Introduce a tiny table and chairs in a bay window or in front of a large window as a place for morning coffee or game playing. Consider an under-the-counter washing machine and clothes dryer combo unit in a bathroom as a way to capture an interior laundry room. Or maybe this kind of appliance could live in the kitchen and free up the laundry room to become a mudroom with a much needed computer station for the kids’ homework.

Consult habitat magazines for examples of alternative uses of traditional spaces and pay attention to why the rooms that seem attractive to you work. Is it the scale of the furniture? By scale I mean the relationship between the furniture pieces to the available space. Don’t even think of squeezing a king size bed into a room that only can comfortably fit a queen mattress. The one rule that is important is this: Keep everything in good scale for the space available. You want people to feel comfortable in any room regardless of how you appropriate the space and this is dependent upon ample room around each item of furniture and good room for getting around each piece.

Photo Credit:  Thomas Moser Furniture

Pink Bedroom with Teddy Bears

Pink Bedroom with Teddy Bears

High Rise Apartment

High Rise Apartment