Interior designers and architects avoid such exhausting scenarios by sketching out their plans in advance. Magnetic furniture arrangers – such as the one created by the Board Space-Planning Systems and sold by Libby Langdon Solutions ($109, Libbylangdon.com) – help ordinary folks skip the heavy lifting, too.
A little like Colorforms for very mature children, Langdon’s Furniture Arranger set comes with a magnetic dry-erase white board, a pen, a ruler and more than 250 furniture-shaped magnets. The 8-inch-by-11-inch grid-lined workspace offers 1,344 square feet (each quarter-inch is equivalent to one foot) in which to arrange magnets representing various objects, from rectangular dining tables to sofas and sectionals.
After creating a setup on the magnetic panel, you can photocopy or scan your work for future reference. Homeowners with existing builder’s plans or blueprints can use the Arranger in a different way: by placing a design drawn in the same scale on the panel and adding magnets on top.
For testing purposes, I re-created a tiny version of my living room and discovered that the Furniture Arranger that seems to have everything is actually missing something: futon-shaped magnets.
Drawing on a whiteboard and moving around tiny televisions is surprisingly cathartic. Though I’m typically resistant to major furniture changes, I found myself wondering: “What would happen if I repositioned my bookcase across from the futon, rather than next it?” It was a revelation: Yes, there is actually a situation in which moving a 6-foot-tall hardwood structure can be enjoyable.