top of page

That's Old News

What's black & white and read all over? A newspaper.

That's an oldie, but goodie and reading the printed version of a newspaper fits in the same category these days. I don't subscribe to any print these days, but when I have a furniture layout project in the works I am not ashamed to stop and raid a recycling bin to get my hands on some. Thank goodness some of my neighbors still get the WSJ or Boston Globe delivered. As a last resort I will reluctantly pay $4.50 for the Sunday paper.

Why newspaper? It is the perfect thing to make furniture templates out of when determining if that new furniture you are considering will fit in your space. It's cheap. It's oversized. There are multiple pages (you most likely will have to tape several pieces together). It's recyclable. A win-win for all involved.

Whether you shop online or in-store, know the dimensions of your room and the spaces you are trying to fill before you start shopping. If you are shopping in-store everything looks like it will fit in your space because you are seeing it in a huge showroom with super high ceilings. Online the dimensions are just numbers without any visual reference. And NEVER complete your purchase until you have gone through the newspaper exercise. Yes, it's a pain to move out the old stuff to play around with newspaper templates on the floor, but I guarantee you will be happy you did. Most importantly, it's cheaper than buying furniture that doesn't fit.

In staging and redesign I see a lot of homes with furniture that is too big or there is too much of it for the space. Here are some common scenarios:

  • You finally have a proper dining room. You feel so grown up so you buy the entire dining room ensemble: table with 2 leaves, 8 chairs, hutch and sideboard. Doesn't fit.

  • You buy the "whole shebang" for the family room and it's such a great deal - the overstuffed super comfy extra long sofa you can stretch out on and watch the game, the matching overstuffed loveseat for her, the matching chair, two end tables and giant coffee table to hold the delicious gluttonous game day spread. Doesn't fit.

  • The master bedroom set has so many great matching pieces and why not, you deserve them all. Let's splurge! Doesn't fit.

  • Your daughter is ready for a big girl bedroom so you buy it all: double bed, dresser, bedside table, bookshelf and desk with the hutch. You want to give her everything, but her room isn't big enough to hold everything. Doesn't fit.

On the flip side, what you got is too small:

  • The console table you got for the TV is tiny. The TV is longer than the table! Doesn't fit.

  • The end table you got is so small you can barely fit you a drink on it after you put the lamp on it. Doesn't fit.

  • The rug is too small for the space. You thought 5'x7' was bigger than it is. Doesn't fit. Read my blog post Underfoot.

  • The wall is much longer than you thought and what you bought looks ridiculous just sitting there all by itself. Doesn't fit.

Other uses for old newspaper... starting a fire, training your puppy, drop cloth for painting and playing with Silly Putty.

bottom of page