Solutions: Rethink furniture placement

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Location may be rule number one in the field of real estate when it comes to finding the right house, but the same guideline applies to the contents of your home, such as where you decide to place your furniture.

Because our routines evolve over time, due to factors from an expanding family and kids that go from toddlers to teens, to aging pets that lose their eyesight and achy joints that make stairs a challenge, it makes sense to rethink your furniture placement every now and then.

This can be especially helpful if your initial intention was to find a temporary spot for a particular piece that became more permanent than you planned.

Even my daughter recognizes the fact that I have this habit. When we gave our kitchen table and chairs to a friend before finding the right replacement, I decided that another set we already owned would go there for now. Her prediction was that it would still be there in 10 years and she’s probably right. So far, it’s working better than expected, so it remains in place.

When my mother returned to Florida after a temporary stay in Michigan and gave us her furniture, it prompted me to pass on a few dressers to different friends. One freed up a wall in our master bedroom that was quickly filled with my daughter’s old vanity even though it isn’t the best fit for the space.

I’ve been trying to find a piece that’s similar in size and shape to the tall dresser that stood there for so long until I realized I already have the perfect solution.

A small roll-top desk from my late friend and neighbor that I had painted and adorned with new hardware has been sitting in our hallway for years because I didn’t have the right place for it.

When you have the right piece in the wrong location, it fails to function at its full potential until given a new lease on life in another part of the home.

In the master bedroom, this desk will provide the perfect place to stash my bills and other supplies since I don’t have a dedicated home office. Where it stands now, it’s become a catchall for random stuff.

An added benefit of rearranging your furniture is that each piece looks like new when seen in a different setting.

Since one good move often leads to another, I can shift a little table from our lower level to go in the upstairs hallway where the desk once stood. In turn, this frees up some space downstairs for a garden stool that I’d like to move.

I also have an idea for my daughter’s vanity. For now, it can go in a spare room downstairs where it can provide a surface for seasonal items.

This process has me looking at the rest of my furniture with a fresh eye to see what works best for our current situation. When you play around with the placement of your furniture, the possibilities are endless.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at