By Ariana Speyer

Published on February 27, 2014

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Photography by MAARTEN DE BOER

Photographer Deborah Jaffe had the enviable problem of too much furniture—but she had no clue which pieces were right for the living room in her new L.A. home. domino stylist Allison Tick shows her the power of simple rearranging to create a winning setup, in three trial-and-error steps.

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Photography by DE BOER MAARTEN

The Issues:
• My view, my fireplace and my TV all face different directions.
• I bought a floral statement sofa— what on earth will go with it?
• I want to combine Asian, mod and a David Hicks vibe in a noncrazy way.
• There are two tricky nooks that feel like dead space.

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Photography by unknown
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Photography by DEBORAH JAFFE

Good…“ A cozy conversation area, but now I can’t watch TV.”

Pros:
• Can take in the view from the sofa.
• The daybed leaves the view unobstructed.
• The console table and upholstered chair help define the nooks.
• My photographs get prime real estate in the nooks and above

Cons:
• The placement of the daybed is annoying because you can’t lean back against anything.
• The carpet feels too small.
• The two wooden Chinese tables make the room feel cluttered.
• Who’s going to walk in the dead.

Go ahead—rearrange!
Although Deborah was moving into a new home, she faced the same challenge we all do, even in places we’ve lived in for years: how to arrange furniture in a room to best fit our needs. As many decorators can attest, furniture arranging is an evolutionary process, subject to new ideas, even the occasional whim. It may not be perfect the first time, but even “mistakes” lead to good ideas you might not have considered. And nothing need be permanent; if, after living with something for a few weeks, it doesn’t feel right, try another way. Best of all, this approach means you don’t have to shop every time you crave a change—you might not have to go further than moving the sofa. Usually, a decorator works with a plan on paper first, but you can also just drag things around to see what looks good. Start by surveying your building blocks: rugs, lighting, coffee tables and chairs. Consider which pieces make sense with the proportions of your room and with one another. Then play around until the eureka moment strikes.

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Photography by unknown
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Photography by DEBORAH JAFFE

Better…“ Great for movie nights, but I lose my amazing view.”

Pros:
• The daybed gives the nook a purpose: napping!
• The Saarinen table looks calmer than the Chinese tables.
• Bertoia chairs don’t block the view of the TV or impede the flow of traffic.
• The sheepskin rug softens the stark modernism of the tulip table and wire chairs.
• A blue candelabra adds a needed shot of color in front of the dark wall.

Cons:
• The airy chairs don’t hold their own with the wallpaper and the couch, so the room feels lopsided.
• The table is a little small for the rug.
• There’s not enough comfy seating space behind the sofa?

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Photography by MEINERS JONATHAN

Deborah finally feels at home with  this setup.

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Photography by unknown
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Photography by DEBORAH JAFFE

Best…“I can enjoy the TV, the fireplace, the view—and talk to everyone!”

Pros:
• The purple chairs, which might have seemed risky with the sofa, work because of their equal intensity.
• The chairs also have the proper heft to provide symmetry with the sofa.
• The white console under the TV, the Bertoia chair in the nook and the Saarinen table give the eye a break from all the pattern and color.
• The daybed has been retired (the room was overloaded with upholstered pieces).
• The white shag works because it’s framed nicely by the chairs and sofa (the brown rug would have created a muddy jumble with the new chairs).
• Now showcasing artwork nicely, the nooks aren’t forced to be functional.