Do you have an awkward space in your home? Irregular shaped rooms, sloped ceilings, alcoves and empty corners can all make a room tricky to furnish, so here’s a roundup of our best tips to help you get the most out of your space, whatever size and shape it is.
Figure Out the Room Rituals
Like any room, the first thing to figure out is what you intend to do in the space – what energy level should the room embody, and what rituals it needs to support most often. And then figure out where to anchor that activity. Generally, we talk about the sofa, the dining table and the bed as the 3 real anchors of a home. For a sofa, it’s generally for entertaining or for watching TV, so keep that in mind, because if it’s for TV, then you also have to plan out the TV.
Arrange Furniture Around the Main Anchor
Once you’ve figured out where the anchor position is – and especially in an odd shaped room it is not necessarily against a wall! – then you build out from there. From the sofa, you then add coffee tables, side tables, armchairs and media unit if needed. After a dining table it’s the sideboard or console etc. One trick when rooms are oddly shaped, is to create a zone by laying down a large rug. We have a range of Persian rugs which are always timeless. The rug pulls together the sofa and other chairs, and can float in a room.
Maximize Space with Fewer but Better Things
We always say the best way to maximise space is to have fewer things, but better things. In a living room, just a simple setup – one sofa, one coffee table, and a chandelier – but make each one epic. The simplicity creates a sense of space. We are often told that our pieces are too large for small spaces, but actually a few large pieces, when correctly positioned, can make a place feel larger than if the same space had many small pieces.
Sectional or modular sofas are great, because they are very flexible, and utilise corners very well. We’ve just launched a range of modular sofas in slightly shallower depths, so that you can get the same comfort in a smaller footprint.
Another trick is to use large mirrors like our Rex floor mirror – we call them room transformers. Either on a wall, or floor standing, they can be used to box off awkward corners, and can completely change the way energy floats around the room.
And of course storage – put things away. I’ve always loved the romance of old trunks, and we make some beautifully crafted trunks like the Stonyhurst collection which can be customised into dozens of different finishes to suit any space. We’ve expanded our range into a wide variety of different sizes, and added drawers to make them a perfect place to put away unnecessary clutter. We also make ottomans and coffee tables such as the Shabby coffee table with built in storage to hide your remotes etc. Visually simplifying your space also creates space!
These days a lot of new homes come with built-in storage. But many older homes don’t have that. There are pros and cons either way – sometimes built-ins obscure the original form of a room, so instead you can use freestanding storage solutions – armoires, chests of drawers and sideboards; we even have a range of freestanding kitchen cupboards and larders. But in the right context, built-in wardrobes, bookshelves and the like can help. The only problem is, if you move you can’t take them with you.
Mix Natural Materials
It’s not so much about which is the right or wrong colour palette for awkward spaces – there are a lot of different tastes, what’s more important is the authenticity of materials. Natural materials tend to have a richness that I like, and lend themselves to being mixed in a wide variety of combinations. Vintage leathers, stone, marble, and timber develop a beautiful and timeless patina.
Go with the Awkward Corners
Use mirrors or drapes, or just a single statement piece of furniture. Even a piece of quirky artwork.
To help you create your perfect space, Timothy Oulton offers a complimentary Room Planning service at selected galleries, including a home visit from our experts. Contact your nearest gallery for more info.