When a Room Feels “Off”: 4 Possible Culprits and How to Fix Them

published Mar 23, 2014
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(Image credit: Jill Slater)

Sometimes, a room just doesn’t quite feel right, but it’s hard to put your finger on the exact reason why. The most beautiful rooms are often perfectly balanced compositions of a number of different elements, and you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that when one of those elements isn’t quite right, a room might feel a bit “off.” Here are four possible reasons why one of your rooms might not feel good when you’re in it, and how you can quickly fix it.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

An inefficient furniture layout
Sometimes furniture gets placed in certain locations when you first move in and just doesn’t ever get changed until you move. But a sofa or chair’s first landing place isn’t always the best spot for it.

How to fix — If your room just doesn’t feel awesome, look at how your furniture is arranged, but answer these few questions first: What’s the focal point of the room (or what do you want it to be), what room limitation are you trying to overcome and how do you actually use the space? If you wanted your focal point to be a gorgeous fireplace but your seating has migrated to circle around a TV, you could stand a rearrangement.

This post from the January Cure has great furniture laying out ideas and starting points. And of course, how you actually use the space could have a big impact on the way it’s arranged; if you find yourself not using parts of your room or always moving chairs around when guests arrive, you might need to reevaluate where things go.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

Not enough visual height creating a bottom-heavy room
Too many elements too low in a space make a room feel squatty and unpleasant.

How to fix — Well check out this post to start. We outline the ways in which you can spread that fabulous home decor upwards, making a space seem fuller, more sophisticated and even sometimes taller. As you might imagine, it involves incorporating design elements — from curtains to art — higher than you might have thought to move the eye upward and visually spread out the design.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

You don’t have anything meaningful that you love in there
If you’ve rushed to fill a space as quickly as you can to make it feel finished sooner, you might not realize that it could feel strangely impersonal. It might look lovely, but it might not feel as good to you as it could. Do you have to throw everything way that you bought? Of course not.

How to fix — Going forward, just be on the lookout for things that have good stories and that have meaning to you. And consider these four ways to bring in more meaningful art.

Not enough natural light
You probably can’t knock out a wall to add another window if your home is lacking in natural light (though if that is an option, go for it!). But a lack of natural light in a space makes a huge impact on a room not feeling “right.”

How to fix — So what do you do if you’re working with what you’ve got? You maximize the light you do have. This post has five great ideas. A free thing you can do is cleaning windows to let more of the light you do have in.

Does one of your rooms feel “off” to you? Do you know what the culprit is? Share your design dilemma in the comments below and we can do a follow up post!