Interior Designing Space Management

Re-arranging the layout of a room is a good way of exploring its possibilities. A large-scale plan drawing on graph paper with scaled cut-outs to represent the furniture shows immediately if the door will open fully when the sofa is against a certain wall, or whether a cabinet will mask an electrical socket. Keep a colour board with your plan as a record of samples of furnishings you have or intend to buy. Take these with you when you shop so that you can establish whether a piece of furniture will fit or whether a certain fabric is right for your room.

The way furniture is used and arranged today differs dramatically from what was customary two or three hundred years ago. But whilst the twentieth century has invented its own designs, such as the coffee table and the kitchen unit, it can also draw on a wealth of traditional styles. Adaptations of many furniture and fabric designs of the past are now being re-created or re- interpreted for today's market. Furnishings from anyone of these periods will evoke a very distinctive style.

So, too, will contemporary designs with their sinuous lines fashioned in wrought-iron and sleek glass that playoff one texture or medium against another?

Although furniture arrangement is now fairly informal (a notable exception is the dining room), convention still dictates that most of the furniture is placed against the walls, even when rooms are large. Yet seating can make a strong impact when placed centrally in a room, with an occasional table decorated with one or two favorite possessions to form a focal point. More usual focal points include the fireplace, which can be filled with green plants or flowers out of season; paintings grouped on a wall; or the window, especially if this has a striking view.

Decorative pieces of furniture also make effective features and have a practical use too. A chest placed between facing sofas or at the foot of a bed can serve as an occasional table and storage unit while a chaise longue provides extra seating as well as looking decorative. Freestanding wardrobes, perhaps hand painted with stencils or given a paint finish, can make a decorative contribution to a bed- room as well as storing clothes, and a console table can double as a serving table in a dining room.