New Room Arrangements
Upon my second visit to the flat, the main living room space was arranged differently to how it was arranged upon my initial visit. Having previously visited the home a few weeks before, the participants had since moved the sofa, so to partition the ‘TV area’ from the kitchen. Originally the TV and Sofa were parallel to the kitchen area. However, they both decided that by rotating the sofa and TV, it created a new separate area in the room.
This, for me and my role as a ethnographer, was particularly interesting as it laid focus to the participant’s desire to partition rooms in accordance with their function and label. For example, they wanted to separate cooking and eating areas from relaxation areas, despite them being in the same physical room.
The apartment isn’t particularly large, but it is more than sufficient for two tenants. However, by rearranging the room, W and P thought that it gave the illusion of more space in the flat – a notion I feel inclined to agree with. Further, the new partition gave each area of the main living space an exclusive function. The kitchen area was well segregated away from the TV/living room area. This was opposed to the more fluid room arrangements that was in place upon my initial visit.
I questioned the participants about these arrangements upon each of my visits. When first asked they claimed to have rearranged the room just to refresh the room, and were simply trialling the rearrangement. However as time went on, it was more obvious that W and P were enjoying the newer arrangement, when asked they repeated they liked having their backs to the kitchen, and that it was more ‘cosy’. Additionally, P told me that he enjoyed being able see the TV from the kitchen, whilst looking over the back of the sofa, something that wasn’t possible before; W agreed with this sentiment. Lastly, I asked them directly if they like the sofa being in the middle of the room as it meant they could more easily partition the room into two smaller rooms, giving each one a label and function. P hesitantly agreed, but stated that they didn’t put that much thought into it initially but it makes a lot more sense now.
I also asked if they would be moving the sofa back to its original place in the summer, as the TV was now blocking the balcony doors. They said they hadn’t thought of it, and W sarcastically told me they’d phone me if they moved the room around again! Although to W and P, this rearrangement was insignificant, I felt it was important in their acclimation to their new apartment.