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Tricky space 3: Small space, no entryway
The solution: Don't bother trying to squeeze a teensy table behind the door. It will only bug you, and it won't be big enough to hold much. Instead, look for the first available open wall and place a larger desk or storage piece there, letting it do double duty as an entertainment center or workspace.
If there is literally nowhere to put a table, try using a few small, sleek wall-mounted pieces instead. A few hooks for keys, coats and bags and a floating shelf or sorter for mail are all you really need to manage the essentials.
Tricky space 4: Eat-in kitchen with too many doors and openings
The solution: In places where a square or rectangular table would stick out like a sore thumb, go round instead. Curved shapes generally fit better into awkward spaces, softening the hard edges in a room. Try to pull your round table near a wall, even if it's only as small a section of wall as in the room shown here; it looks more natural than placing the table dead-center.
Tricky space 5: Living room with multiple doors and windows
The solution: If your living room has an element (door, window, fireplace, radiator) that prevents you from placing furniture near the walls, try pulling the arrangement toward the center of the room instead. Use the symmetry of a matching pair of sofas to counteract the chaos of the entries and exits, and add a cozy area rug to anchor the conversation area.
Get guidelines on using area rugs
Tricky space 9: Small living room
The solution: It's a bit counterintuitive, but too many itty-bitty pieces can make a room feel cluttered and cramped. Strike a balance by choosing pieces that look substantial but have sleek lines (no rolled arms!). Substituting an upholstered ottoman for the usual coffee table is an easy way to sneak in extra seating, and a pair of petite armchairs can fit in the space of a single overstuffed version. Finally, be sure to place lighting all the way into the back corners of a space — nothing shrinks a room faster than poor lighting.
Tricky space 11: High ceilings, big open space
The solution: Accent pieces with height (such as the arc lamp featured here) will visually fill the vertical space. Supersize rooms can handle larger-scale furniture, so don't be afraid to go big. A massive dining table made from a natural wood slab with an eye-catching pendant light hung over it would make a dramatic focal point for the room. Create a comfy seating area in another spot by using two facing sofas pulled perpendicular to a wall, and finish the arrangement with a big rug (or even two rugs layered together) to add softness.
What is the most challenging space you've ever lived in, and how did you cope? Leave a comment and fill us in!
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