The Zen Of Rearranging Furniture

Fresh gardenias are the perfect finishing touch | Jane Esaki photo

Fresh gardenias are the perfect finishing touch | Jane Esaki photo

I love my living room! That’s what I said excitedly three years ago, anyway.

At that time, I had arranged all of the furniture at a diagonal in the square room. The diagonal concept seemed at its peak in interior decorating, much like placing tiles at a diagonal, as opposed to parallel with the walls, which supposedly would make the room seem more active, fluid and trendy. Perhaps that reflected my attitude at the time.

But I feel like I am a different person now. So what should I do?

Easy — just move around the three basic pieces: the bulky La-Z-Boy loveseat, the worn leather club chair and the folding bamboo director’s chair.

Before I even begin the legwork, I already envision myself cuddled on the sofa, skimming through House Beautiful with a cup of tea next to a bowl of fragrant white gardenias from my Kapaa garden on the coffee table, and basking in my newly inspired living space by evening.

I decide to arrange the three pieces in a boxy pattern, parallel to and mostly against two walls. Now what? I keep looking at the setup, but no matter how much I try to make excuses for it, the feng shui just doesn’t feel right. Something tells me the problem is in the positioning of the rug.

What? But everything is on it! If only I could simply pull out the bulky sisal rug from under all the pieces in one swift motion like a magician whips out the tablecloth from under the tableware.

I possess no such talents, so I clumsily drag everything off the rug — everything includes 10 major pieces plus accessories and plants. There’s no room for the 32-inch TV set and I evict it, relegating it to the adjacent room by justifying its improved proximity to the modem for Netflixing. The TV’s absence is no loss. In fact, it’s amazing how the tranquility brought on by its removal is as palpable as the moment after a mother and her screaming child turn the corner away from Fun Factory in Kukui Grove mall.

Perspiring, I center the rug against the main window, drag the sofa back onto the rug and center that as well. For a second, I plop myself on the sofa, realizing that I have only just begun. I know where I’ll put the club and director’s chairs, but the end tables, coffee table and stools all stare at me with their different solidness, sizes, shapes, heights, textures, styles and colors. In unison, they scream, asking to be placed in just the right space. The plants and accessories chime in.

What did I get myself into now?

Two whole days later — no thanks to any sorcerer — the furniture, accessories and plants are finally content, and they all look like one big, happy family.

For the final touch, I pick a handful of the freshest gardenias and place them in a bowl on the coffee table.

Voila! I step back and admire the room, glad that I took on the challenge to change. Nothing wrong with the previous arrangement, but I like what I see now: order, balance and tranquility.

Again, with equal fervor, I say: I love my living room!