Comfort isn't just about a room full of plush furniture (though this doesn't hurt). It's about how the room is outfitted with furniture and decor so that the size and position of each piece creates an inviting and livable space.
Despite the subjective nature of the feeling of comfort, the way to achieve it is downright scientific, with measurements and guidelines that help create an atmosphere and setting that's, well, comfortable.
The Perfect Fit
Furniture size is the key to comfort. The most important thing to remember is to keep everything to scale so that furniture proportions complement, not overwhelm, the size of the room they're filling.
Typically, you want to give each person 30 to 32 inches of sitting space on a sofa. In smaller rooms, opt for sofas that fall between 60 and 76 inches long to fit two people or three close friends comfortably. In larger rooms, you can up the ante with sofas that are as long as 108 inches.
Pay attention to depth in your seating as well. The average person can sit comfortably in a chair that's 37 to 39 inches deep, which is perfect for smaller homes.
Furniture is for seating; art on your walls is for viewing—and both should easily stimulate conversation. A common mistake is to hang wall decor closer to the ceiling than eye-level. Another placement no-no is to put your sofa too close to the coffee table and far away from side chairs and a light source.
The typical great room setup with a sofa, coffee table and two flanking chairs makes for a convivial space. For a sofa and chair that share the same end table, leave 10 to 15 inches between the sofa's corner and the edge of the chair. If you expect traffic to flow between the two, allow for 20 inches.
Wall art and sconces should typically be hung around 67 to 72 inches off the floor. You want to be able to see paintings at eye level or just above. Sconces work best at this height, too, so the light emanating is at people level.
Sufficient lighting is essential to creating a comfortable space, yet it's often overlooked in the decorating process. Use these guidelines to light up your space:
- Seating arrangements always should include one or two lamps. A good rule to remember is that each available seat should have a corresponding light source.
- Every room should have overall, ambient light with a dimmer switch if possible.
- Dining rooms need overhead lighting—you want to be able to see what you're eating. Chandeliers or pendant lights centered over the table are strong options.
- Sconces are great for supplementary lighting. Place them on a wall flanking a gorgeous mirror, above fireplaces or in darker corners.
These tips are, of course, just guidelines to help you with overall logistical comfort. The idea is to take into account your personal preferences and apply them to the general guidelines so your log home is a comfortable haven.
Read the full story in the April 2005 issue of Log Home Living.
Photo by Brad Simmons