Book or resource on furniture arrangement 101

GWloloDecember 20, 2012

Is there a book or a web resource that can help me get educated on furniture arrangements? More on the actual functional layout than the aesthetics. I am looking for general guidelines like:

- bedside side table should be immediately next to the bed and X height in relation to the bed
- Coffee table/ ottoman should be X inches from the couch
- How to size the rug for different areas. Should the rug be under the legs of the couch in the living room arrangement or not.
- How to understand traffic flow and sample furniture groupings for living room, other conversation groupings, dining and bedroom.
- What are the must have furniture pieces.. (if asked a similar appliance question kitchens, you would say cookting surface, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator)
- Ergonomics of how people move, sit and socialize and how furniture setup can facilitate that.

We will be moving into our rebuilt home in 2013 and I want to think about this upfront so that we don't end up making bad furniture buys or setting up the furniture wrong.

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The way furniture is arranged usually goes hand-in-hand with how you live in your home. An example, if you read in bed, you may want a table rather than a nightstand, as a table could be higher making it easier in getting to a lamp to turn it on/off.

Furniture pieces no longer have to be for a specific purpose.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:59PM
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This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I saw these three blog posts on Pinterest, and they had a lot of useful information for me. Hope you may find them helpful too.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:26PM
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I would look at a book like INTERIOR DESIGN by John Pile. It has some good basic principles.

There are actually entire texts on ergonomics and "correct" heights and such for things but they are far too specific for most purposes (and out of date somewhat because people are taller and fatter than they were even a few decades ago.)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Anatomy for Interior Designers by Julius Panero.

Measured dimensions of everything in an interior from how high is a stack of folded bras to how much clearance is needed to execute a dramatic exit in a huff.

Slightly old-fashioned and MCM-oriented (it was first published more than 50 years ago), but clear and easy to use and the working dimensions have stood the test of time. Wicked funny line drawings, as well.

If not still in print, I'm sure it's still avail used, or in a library.

Another more thoughful approach is A Pattern for Living by Christopher Alexander, which describes in clear detail what kinds of spacing makes all the elements of rooms and buildings work (and on a larger scale landscapes and communities, as well). It's little more challenging to get into, but of all the books I loan to friends it's the one I have the hardest time getting back, since people don't want to let it go! It used to be quite pricey ($50+ back in the day) but is much cheaper now. I recommend you try a library copy, first, to see if it works for you. No pretty pics, though, only rough sketches.

With these two, one offering concrete real-world data and the other offering a theoretic framework for human-centric space planning, you should have it all.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 6:29AM
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I would go to your local library. They have many books on home decoration, crafts, fabrics and furniture. I did that and found many ideas I could use in my housr.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Gee, Pal, that can't be true. I'm shorter and fatter than I was decades ago. ;

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Thank you all! I have requested all the books from our local library. The only book I could not locate was a pattern for living by Christopher Alexander. You guys are so fabulous!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Excellent recommendations.

You might also consider Interior Design Illustrated by Francis Ching. The book itself is an education - all hand printed and illustrated by Ching, who is a master of disciplined line drawing and clear visual communication.

Here's a Barnes & Noble page of his books, if you want to take a look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ching's illustrated books

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Try getting the A Pattern for Living book through inter-library loan. It's not rare and should be easy to get. You can use to find out which library has it nearest your own.

It really is worth the trouble of getting.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 6:04PM
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