Designing for Comfort...Figure Out the Perfect Furnishing Plan BEFORE You Shop

Ways to make mountain rooms more comfortable for living.

Think seriously before you set up the furniture in the great room. Select upholstered seating that is inviting, accommodating and comfortable. Always, always, always, measure your room, and draw the furnishings on graph paper before you go shopping. Mistakes are very expensive, especially since most people don’t correct mistakes, and just end up living with them.

Here’s a secret I use that works perfectly in setting up a happy room. When you draw in an 8 foot sofa, imagine it has three people sitting on it. Each lounge chair has one person and a love seat has 2 people. Put a person on each cube, or ottoman, too. Now, arrange your sofas and chairs where you think they work best on graph paper and then ask yourself whether these people can converse comfortably. Try to imagine whether they feel cozy? Can they hear each other? Is this intimate?

Now find a place to put the TV. If you can place a TV so that it can be viewed comfortably and your room still works for groups to congregate and relax together, you have a successful floor plan. Keep rearranging until you find the best furniture plan possible.

This is a room I worked on for a client. Here are only a few of the furniture plans I looked at. These were drawn on Autocad, but graph paper works just as well.
I always play around with a half a dozen floor plans before I make up my mind. Sometimes I end up at the first one that came to mind, but other times I come up with something way better. Regardless, because I've drawn it on paper, I know for sure that the furniture will fit in the room correctly and the room will function well.

This is the final selected floor plan of the room sketched above.

Here are two photos that show how that room eventually turned out. We added a couple of cube ottomans between the sofas and the fireplace that get used for extra seating when the room is full of guests.

Designing for Comfort...Put Your Feet Up...It's the Mountains!

Ways to make mountain rooms more comfortable for living.

Most of my clients place a huge priority on comfort. After all, you don’t come to the mountains with inviting the Junior League to afternoon tea in mind. No, you come here with dogs and kids in tow. You build bunk rooms and fill them up with guests. You make big pancake breakfasts, build fires in the fireplace and have Scrabble tournaments with Mojitos. Ski equipment, dirty hiking boots, wet bathing suits, and dog leashes…these things do not easily pass the white glove test.

How do you juggle all that with the desire to have a beautiful home? Here’s my list of ten things you can do to keep the practicality factor of a mountain home high.

Designing for Comfort...Two: Select Rugged and Easy to Clean Entry Way Floors

Ways to make mountain rooms more comfortable for living.

1) Install durable stone floors into all entry areas. Stone floors are virtually bullet-proof and hide all manner of dirt and mud as well as drip marks from winter snow and ice. A quick regular vacuming and an occasional scrubbing is all they need for maintenance.

Now, lay down a plush deeply colored area rug on top of the stone. Think of this
carpet as something that you will need to replace in 10-15 years and budget accordingly. Its purpose is to pick up much of the dirt and wet that comes in the door and prevent it from getting tracked further into the house. My own entry has a terra-cotta, blue and green colored oriental carpet that has had the snot beaten out of it for the last 12 years. It’s getting a little threadbare, but it still performs its daily threshold guardian responsibilities admirably.

Prestige Mills
Look for a busy patterned carpet like this beauty from Prestige Mills, above.  This will take a beating and look beautiful for many years to come.  The brown background makes it a perfect option for hiding mountain dirt.

If your taste runs to modern there are many wonderful options to choose from like this Feizy beauty, below.  Just be sure to keep the colors rich and deep!

One last thought, if you can install a large covered porch over the exterior of your entry and use stone on the floor area there, you increase the odds of keeping wet, snow and dirt out of the house all the more.

Mountain Dining

I'm dreaming of a dinner table set with a mix and match jumble of Sologne and Rambouillet from Gien. I see antique etched wine glasses, and thick heavy linens embroidered with pheasant feathers. I'm serving up some Silver Palatte beef stroganoff and chocolate fondue for dessert. After all, it's winter in the mountains, we've all been skiing all day and we're ready for a hearty meal, a wonderful wine and some good friends to share it with. Does it go without saying that we'll be lighting a huge roaring fire in the fireplace?

All items available to order through Dragonfly Designs.  Just call  (530) 583-6076 or email

Kris Kringle Comes to Dinner

Charming antique ski figures on this beautiful French dinnerware from Pierre Frey.

Pierre Frey Tyrol


Red and white are always marvelous in a cabin!

Fortunata Festa
For extra pizzaz mix and match solids with pattern (above and below).

Gien Voyage en France

Contemporary and Rustic Make Great Table Mates

If you love contemporary style, let your mountain table setting emphasize simple rustic textures, patterns and colors.

Set a Mountain Table

Don't you just love sitting down to eat fabulous food at a beautiful table? Here are some dishes that will make dining in the mountains into a special occasion.

Spode Woodland (Bear Dinner Plate)

Everybody seems to love bears themes in the mountains. So often bear "decor" turns into resin bear ornaments and crazy life-size chain saw carved bear statues. This is a classy way to bring bear motifs into your mountain home. 

Setting a Mountain Table

Rustic Napkins and Placemats to Coordinate with Spode Woodland
Forest by CE Corey
Bordallo by CE Corey

Lastly, don't forget the flatware.  The genius is in the details!