how to arrange furniture in a small space

Space planning is always the #1 challenge in a teeny-tiny room like the one Lisa Mende and I tackled in the Ronald McDonald House!

Kravet Paris DeskOur very first selection was Kravet Furniture’s Paris Desk in Dark Bronze lacquer.  The Paris Desk is beautiful from all angles … which meant Lisa and I could now float the furniture.

RMHLI Office Interior BeforeIn the “Before” photos, you can see that both the bulky desk and the filing cabinet were jammed against opposite walls.   By floating the desk in the center of the room, everything felt much airier — like there was now room to breathe (Tip #1)!

Ballard Designs Parsons Chair with CastersFloating the furniture won’t always be the answer to space planning in every small room.  If this were a sitting room, for example, we probably would have taken advantage of every corner to create additional seating.  In this small office, however, we only needed primary seating for one person — and we didn’t want that person to feel wedged into place.  The slipcovered Parsons Chair with Casters by Ballard Designs makes it easy to maneuver around the desk.  Plus, the armless style (Tip #2) is less imposing in the room.

Steves & Sons Primed White Interior Door SlabFloating the desk also meant that a person sitting at the desk is able to face the office door (Tip #3).  It’s awfully disconcerting to be “snuck up upon” … which is exactly what could happen if the desk faced the wall.  Lisa and I replaced the existing solid door with a glass door, which made the room feel much more open.  From a functional perspective, it also gives a parent the ability to maintain privacy and watch their children at play in the seating area across the hallway.

OKL Kate Brass Ottoman Hair on Hide Turquoise Nailhead Taylor Burke HomeAnd if an additional person needs to pull up a seat?  Two gorgeous Kate Brass Ottomans from Taylor Burke Home are easily accessible … yet tuck neatly under the desk or modular shelving unit when not in use (Tip #4).  Talk about a whole lot of style in a small package!

Lisa Mende Traci Zeller Home Office ShelvingLast but not least, Lisa and I installed a modular shelving system from The Container Store.  Our horizontal space was — quite obviously — very limited … so that meant we needed to think UP (Tip #4)!  Even without particularly high ceilings, you’d be amazed how much shelving you can install and storage you can create.  Because there’s little need for permanent storage in this space, Lisa and I chose to use three shelves.

elfaBoardOfficeB_xIf you look closely, you’ll notice that the bottom shelf is deeper than the top two shelves.  That way, it could accommodate the printer and also be used as an extra desktop in the future.  Or maybe one of the kids wants to color while Mom or Dad works!  The utility board keeps office supplies close at hand without taking up valuable countertop space (Tip #5).

How is your home office arranged?

Product photos via Kravet, Ballard Designs, Home Depot, One Kings Lane, and The Container Store.  Lisa and I are incredibly grateful for generous donations by Kravet, Ballard Designs and Taylor Burke Home.     

friday’s find: it’s an adorable flush mount light fixture!

Soooo many flush mount fixtures  – in other words, a fixture that sits close to the ceiling — are soooo ugly.  In homes with modest ceiling heights, however, a flush mount can be the best option.  Do not even get me started on the dreaded b–b light.   Who on earth ever thought that was a good idea?  Because — once you’ve heard a fixture described as such — it’s impossible to “unsee” it.  Which is why I never, ever, under any circumstances, click on any of those Kim Kardashian articles on Facebook.  

Pottery Barn Kids Scalloped White Metal FlushmountWhen I stumbled across this adorable flush mount light fixture, however, I knew I had to shout it to the rooftops.  Of course, there are some beautiful flush mount fixtures at the upper range of the price spectrum.  Remember that Alexa calls herself the Queen of the Flush Mount?  She totally is, because her flush mount fixtures are fabulous.  At $119, though, the bang for the proverbial buck on the scalloped flush mount fixture is impressive!  Heck, at that price, what about having this fixture lacquered in a fun color?  I’m drooling just thinking about it.  And trying to figure out exactly how I can work this into a design scheme ASAP.

What color would you choose?

Product photo via Pottery Barn Kids.

traci zeller