4 Surprising Mental Benefits of Rearranging Your Furniture, According to Experts

published Nov 11, 2021
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Sometimes, it’s important to look at things from different points of view — and that includes your furniture. Rearranging one or more rooms in your home may feel like completing a life-sized jigsaw puzzle, but the endeavor can empower you to actively problem solve and assess the pieces in your home like no other. What may seem like a chore can breathe new life into your space

I can speak to this firsthand: Over the past year, I’ve reconfigured my bedroom furniture three times, or whenever I felt stagnant and in need of a change. When I moved back into my childhood home, redesigning my bedroom and rearranging the furniture gave me a sense of purpose and hope in a time when I felt like I had little control over my life.

This gratifying exercise opened my eyes to design possibilities and how my bedroom setup could serve my everyday needs. And it turns out, I’m not alone — nor am I imagining the benefits of mixing up my furniture placement. Here are four reasons why it’s beneficial and satisfying to rearrange your furniture, according to psychologists and an interior designer. 

Rearranging your furniture can help solidify your sense of safety.

“Your home either supports your lifestyle or depletes it,” Kerrie Kelly, the past-chair of the American Society of Interior Designers, told Apartment Therapy. “Today, it’s more important than ever to create a space that provides a respite as well as a recharge.” Rearranging your furniture offers an ample opportunity to reset a room so that it better supports your desired lifestyle. 

Meanwhile, the activity itself helps you establish and maintain a sense of safety for a number of reasons. Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist, said the action of rearranging your furniture feeds into a person’s instinct to use the environment as protection. “When we shift our furniture, it can allow us to consider where we place items to ensure we have vision over our landscape, which feels safer and more secure,” Chambers explained. 

Dr. Nicole Villegas, a resilience coach and doctor of occupational therapy, said the task also offers people the ability to control their environments. “You are in decision-making power” when you’re rearranging your space, they shared, “and practicing this can signal your nervous system to feel safer and more relaxed.” 

It can spark your creativity.

The laborious task of moving furniture serves as a way to flex your creative muscles, too. You can tap into your imagination to simply make better use of a room, or even bring your Pinterest-board fantasies to life. 

Either way, Kelly advises implementing “the edit,” which determines what you need to use the space effectively. “This can include but is not limited to clearing the clutter, incorporating natural light, bringing in fresh air and organic elements, defining private spaces, repurposing or reupholstering furnishings and storage solutions,” Kelly shared.

If you’re pleased with the result, you may see your items and space in a new, more positive light. This can foster gratitude, which builds hope and reduces stress; as well as activate your brain’s reward center, which produces feelings of pleasure, according to Dr. Villegas. “The practice of re-designing, problem-solving, and completing the concrete task can kickstart your creativity if you are feeling stuck in other areas of your life,” they also noted.

The process physically helps you ground yourself.

After I spent three-plus hours rearranging my furniture, I experienced profound satisfaction because I completed such a strenuous task all by myself and immediately benefited from my hard work. I pushed my bed to the other side of my room. I took out the drawers from my dresser and carried the dresser over to its new location. Now, the light can grace my face in the morning, and I can watch the sunset from bed. 

And it can help you embrace change.

According to Dr. Villegas, rearranging furniture allows people to attain alignment between their internal growth and external environment, and functions as a practice of embracing impermanence, too. “Awareness of impermanence can help balance our mental wellness and challenge rumination and either/or thinking,” they explained. “Noticing the possibility of change can help with feelings of helplessness… furniture can be moved, the seasons come and go, your design style evolves, and it’s possible to move with the waves of it.” 

While Chambers shares this sentiment, he advised that small changes can go a long way, especially if you find the process of rearranging your space overwhelming. It can also serve as a practice to help you welcome change and take circumstances into your own hands, especially when you’re feeling stuck.