Last week I introduced Step 1 of the Redesign Process – Deconstructing the Room. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post you might find it helpful to read it prior to this one. Since you’ll need the series of all 5 steps, however, it would be OK to read them out of sequence but you MUST implement them sequentially in order to easily and successfully complete your room redesign.
Redesign Step 2 – Review Architecture & Determine Focal Point
You now have an empty room – a fresh palette on which to create your new design. So take a good look – a really good look at the room. Now that you can see the bones of the room without the distractions of the furniture, art and accessories, you should see the entire room in a totally different way. Examine the floor, the walls, the doorways or pass-throughs, the lines of the ceiling. Spend some time, get intimate with the space and while examining it ask and answer the following questions:
1. What is the shape of the room?
Look at the floor for your answer and you’ll most likely discover your room is one of five basic shapes (ignore minor variables):
- Rectangle - most common shape, often fulfilling multiple functions
- Square - second most common shape, generally smaller and fulfilling one function
- L- Shape – this shape started with ranch-style homes in the 1950′s, most often a merging of the living and dining rooms.
- Oblong - a long, narrow room suitably nicknamed “bowling alley.” It’s proportions are different than a rectangle and a bowling alley room often serves as a hallway or transition space.
- Odd-Angle - often similar to a rectangle or square room except that one or more of the floor’s corners have been cut off. Your room is an odd-angle if it includes a corner fireplace, steps placed at an angle across the floor, a wall cutting off the corner of the room. Other things cutting off a room corner might be an angled window, an angled counter or pass-through, or built-ins angled across a corner or corners of the room.
2. What is the elevation of the wall/ceiling?
To answer this question look at each wall where it meets the ceiling. Many rooms include multiple wall/ceiling elevations so examine each plane. The five wall/ceiling elevations are:
- Wall with flat ceiling – most common
- Wall with step-up ceiling – common in older homes, additions, landings and lofts
- Wall with cathedral ceiling – more common to houses than apartments
- Wall with pitched ceiling (a.k.a. vaulted) - more common to contemporary houses than apartments
- Wall with combination ceiling
3. Are there any angles and architectural interest points?
Now that you’ve looked at the floor to determine the room shape and looked at the junctions of the wall and ceiling, take in the entire space and notice any interesting angles and architecural features. The most common are:
- Angled ceiling
- Angled floor line or steps
- Angled windows, walls or built-ins
- Angled corner fireplace
4. What is the focal point of the room?
Stand in the middle of the empty room and slowly turn around in place, noticing what you see. What attracts your attention more than any other feature? It might be a large window, a fabulous view, a staircase, a fireplace, built-ins, a window seat, an arch or even a single wall if it is very big and bare.
Some rooms have more than one focal point and you’ll need to determine which is most striking. Some rooms may not include a focal point and you will need to decide where to establish or create one with furnishings. What ever it is, the focal point is the starting point around which you will create your redesigned room.
5. What is the room’s traffic pattern?
Take a look at the location of the room’s exit doors and passage ways. Consider how people most often come into and leave the room. You do not want to block primary traffic paths with furniture and you don’t want traffic walking right through the main conversation area. Don’t worry if traffic weaves a bit in order to avoid the conversation area, weaving can create interest if it provides comfortable passage. Keep the traffic pattern in mind for the next step of the redesign.
The Next Step
Next Friday I’ll introduce Step 3 of the Redesign Process – placing the furniture. Meanwhile, if you’ve got any questions or comments leave them by clicking on the Comment link beneath the ads on this post or send an email to email@example.com. Terrie and I love to hear from you!