10 Ways to Tackle a Problem Room…

21 February 2012
Are you defeated by a particular room in your house? Is there a room in your house that is unloved and abandoned? I love the challenge of a problem room! Here are some ways to get your head around that problem room…
  1. Find the centre of gravity of the room by imagining where the largest item of furniture would like to be, for example the main couch in the living room or the bed in the bedroom. Ignore, for the moment, features that make this impossible, like doors or radiators, etc. This is the starting point for solving rooms that may “defeat” you. It may also help you get to grips with an unusually shaped rom.
  2. Having found a home for this main piece, place the furniture so that the pieces “talk” to each another and respond to the existing features in the room. Find more tips on placing furniture here.
  3. In an extremely large room, use the furniture to break the room up into smaller spaces and sub-areas.
  4. Consider if moving the door would improve the layout and “flow” in the room. Doors generally work best in a corner, allowing for a full architrave all the way around. If you are planning on moving the door, re-arrange the furniture as if the door were already moved, to get an idea of the benefit beforehand.
  5. Investigate if re-hinging the door so that it opens in the opposite direction would help. This may help how you “feel” when you enter the room and improve the perception of space.
  6. If the room is echoey and “cold” acoustically, increase the amount of soft textures with cushions, rugs, drapes etc to improve sound absorption. A room with timber or tiled floors and leather seating will be clattery and noisy and need these textures to absorb sound and soften the acoustics.
  7. Evaluate the position of your radiators. Are they are impeding the arrangement of furniture in the way that best suits the room? Get a plumber to cost for re-locating the offending radiator to see if this is cost-effective. Consider upgrading to a more attractive design if it remains a dominant feature in the room.
  8. The colour scheme you choose is crucial in bringing any room together. Where in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to paint the room white/off-white to start with, so that you get a feeling for the room’s full potential.
  9. A room that is physically cold will always be unloved and shunned. Is the radiator adequately sized and located for the size of the room? Is it possible to upgrade the glazing or the window and to improve the insulation in the walls?
  10. Take time just to sit and “be” in the room as you reflect on these points and as you start to make changes and as you slowly grow to love the room again…

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