The first thing to remember when we set out to decorate or Feng Shui these rooms (or any room for that matter) is to remember what the main purpose of the room is. In this case, the purpose is to provide a space for one or more person to gather to relax, converse, or seek entertainment. These rooms are all types of “Gathering Rooms” which serve as a common area in any home for us to share with family or friends, or when alone, curl up with a good book or a great movie.
So how do we get the most out of these rooms? Well here are some easy tips you can put into place that will make the “Gathering Room” as optimal as it can be.
1. If a Gathering Room has a ceiling that is over ten feet high it is easy to lose the feeling of intimacy in that room. To make a room with a high ceiling feel cozier, make sure to keep the line of sight in the room ten feet or lower. In other words, don’t place objects, artwork, or curtains that pull the eye up over an average ceiling height. Adding artwork or drapes that occupy the spaces above ten feet will make the space seem even taller and will not feel like a space where people want to “hang out”. Cozy furniture, warm area rugs with patterns, and colorful artwork will help keep the eye down in the room and make it feel more intimate.
2. Always choose chairs and seating with arm rests. Seating that lacks arm rests does not feel inviting or comfortable. We like to feel protection on the sides of the furniture next to our bodies, not open spaces.
3. If deciding between a coffee table with sharp corners and a table with rounded edges, choose the rounded corners. Not only will it look better, it will feel better when you bang your leg into it! Better yet, opt for an “ottoman” coffee table that can work as a table, a seat, and a foot rest. Some of them even have a removable lid to store pillows and blankets.
4. Place seating no more than 8 feet apart. When seats are more than 8 feet apart it makes conversation more difficult.
5. Avoid placing furniture directly facing each other. This is called Confrontation Position and does not promote relaxed conversations. Instead either splay the furniture out on a “V”, or open the furniture out to an “L” shape. This way people can still see each other and talk, but won’t feel directly confronted by the other person.
6. Make sure traffic flows easily through the room. If traffic patterns are a problem the room becomes frustrating and will not be a pleasant gathering space.
7. Choose furniture that fits the size of the room!! Over-sized televisions and seating overwhelm a room and can make it feel claustrophobic. If you are not sure about the size of the furniture, take careful measurements of it in the showroom, then come home and lay out newspapers on the floor that would take up the space of the furniture. Furniture always looks smaller in the showroom and can be HUGE when you get it home, so be sure to check out the dimensions carefully before you buy.
8. Provide tables for drinks and food. If you don’t, your carpet, floor, or rug isn’t going to stay nice for very long with drinks and food spilled all over it.
9. Provide good lighting options. Overhead lighting, floor lamps, table lamps, and lighting on a dimmer switch will provide a variety of lighting in a room that will be best for different room functions. Have enough lighting for things like reading, entertaining, and conversation.
10. If you have open shelving in these rooms, be sure not to clutter it up with too much stuff. The more stuff, the messier the room is going to feel.