The right furniture arrangement makes your living space comfy, cozy, and oh-so conducive to have a great conversation. No matter if your rooms are big or small; the right furniture arrangement will make them more enjoyable. Yet we know properly arranging furniture can sometimes be a hell of a task.
Using our in-depth knowledge and a lot of research, we have decided to share with you one of the best and most complete Furniture arrangement guides ever.
#1 Assess The Available Space
The first step in arranging a space is determining its size. Use a tape measure to get the dimensions of a room. Or, a quick tip: Measure your foot and then walk heel to toe across the room. This is an easy way to estimate the basic size. Then, check the dimensions of the hallways, stairs and door widths leading to the space. This is the eternal challenge for a homeowner, being sure the entrance and egress of the room are large enough for potential purchases.
#2 Ensure Every Area Has A Seamless Entry & Exit Point
Make sure you have a lot of clearance when you first walk into a room. The last way you want to make an entrance is by having to walk into the back of couch, or having to fight through a large plant.
No one wants to feel like they have to perform acrobatics by somehow managing to wriggle through your door while simultaneously avoiding a chunky chair or console table. Ensuring there’s a seamless entry point will make the room more welcoming.
#3 Choose a Focal Point
Never underestimate the power of a focal point. Sometimes they appear naturally as windows or built-in mantels, while other times you create them yourself, as with media units and televisions.
Whatever your focal point is, make a decision and stick with it. You’ll want to arrange furniture around it as much as possible.
#4 Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls
This has been said so many times that it shouldn’t come as a surprise: except in the smallest of rooms (with anticipation of dance parties), there’s no need to push all your furniture up against the walls.
The size of the room will dictate how far you can pull your furniture away from the walls, but even in a small space you’ll want to give pieces a little breathing room by allowing a few inches between the backs of furniture pieces and the walls.
Despite popular belief, this little bit of space can actually make rooms feel bigger. Of course if you have a larger space feel free to arrange furniture in such a way that conversation areas are created in the middle of the room, leaving several feet between the walls and the furniture.
Even giving a sofa 12 inches of breathing room can create the illusion of a larger, airier space.
#5 Create Conversation Areas
People should naturally be able to talk to each other without having to crane their necks or shout across the room. You want the sofas and chairs to face each other (not necessarily straight on, but close), and they should be close enough that you can have a natural conversation with the person seated across from you without having to raise your voice.
If the room is too large, create multiple conversation areas. In an open-plan space, you can use your furniture arrangement to create cozy “rooms” and designate areas for specific use.
A rug under a group of chairs makes a conversation zone, an eye-catching chandelier over a table makes a dining area, and simply turning a sofa with its back to the rest of the room says “this is a living room.”
#6 Find Balance When Arranging Furniture
Balance is always important in decorating, and when it comes to arranging furniture and determining where to put items in your living room you’ll want to consider both size and placement of the various pieces.
Don’t group all the large or small pieces in one area, or to one side of the room. This will make the space feel uneven. Also make sure there’s variety in the shapes. If you’ve got straight-lined seating, consider a round coffee table – or vice versa.
Visually counteract a large piece of furniture with two smaller ones or a tall floor lamp with a hanging pendant. Get color and pattern in on the balance game and you’ll be feeling Zen in no time.
Whether you’re into symmetry in design or not, balance is important in any space.
#7 Function Over Form
The most important factor when arranging any room is to understand and have the layout reflect, how the space will be used.
For example two sofas facing each other is pleasantly symmetrical but, if your primary activity when sitting on said sofa is watching the TV, not ideal. Think about what you’d like to do in the space, what needs to be within arm’s reach, and how much room you’ll need.
#8 Consider Traffic Flow
One of the most important things to consider when arranging furniture in any room is the traffic flow. People should not be tripping over furniture, or each other, to pass through the room.
Make sure there are a couple of feet (give or take a few inches) between the coffee table and sofa and between chairs. Create a clear path so people can walk from one end of the room to the other without difficulty.
#9 Use the Right Size Rug
Area rugs belong under the furniture – all the furniture if you can manage it. Exposing some flooring around the edges of the room is fine, but when using an area rug you want to make sure it’s big enough that all the furniture in a seating arrangement can sit on it.
Situate all seating so the legs are either completely on or completely off of it. Don’t let them wobble. Try not to position the rugs so edges and corners are in the major walkways. It lessens the chance that people will trip as they walk around.
At the very least you want the front legs of large pieces to sit on the rug (the backs can be on the floor if necessary).
#10 Get a Big Coffee Table
When it comes to coffee tables, more often than not, bigger is better. A large coffee table in the middle of a seating area is great for both aesthetics and function.
It acts like an anchor for the room and it leaves plenty of space for people to put down drinks or to display favored accessories. It’s also easier to access from all the seats around it. That said; make sure to leave enough room between seating and the coffee table for people to pass through (about 18″).
And if you can’t find a suitable large coffee table, two smaller tables or other coffee table alternative can be a good substitute.
#11 Every Seat Gets A Buddy
Every seat should have easy access to either a side table or a coffee table. There’s something oddly lonely about a cozy armchair or loveseat just hanging out by itself.
Wherever you have somewhere comfortable to sit, make sure there’s also a surface on which to rest a cup of tea, a light to read by, or at the very least a buddy chair, so two people can sit and chat together.
#12 Put Tables at Arm’s Length
People shouldn’t have to get up out of their seats to put their drink down. When it comes to table height, side tables should be approximately the same height as the chair arms they’re next to (if that’s not possible, lower is better). When it comes to coffee tables, the height should be the same height as chair/sofa seats or lower.
#13 Let There Be Light
Lighting is one of the most important elements of any room and it’s often not properly thought out. Always use a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps, and table lamps (and sconces if you can).
A floor lamp looks great at the end of a sofa or behind an accent chair. Table lamps look lovely on side tables, shelves, and even mantels however make the shades of the table lamps are not too large as they risk either poking someone in the eye, or getting knocked over.
Also, it goes without saying that any electrical and extension cords should be placed so no one is going to trip over them on their way across the room.
Regardless, for proper balance in every room – lighting needs to be placed at different levels thus should be used liberally all through.
#14 Use the Right Size Artwork
Things that are hung on the wall, whether it’s art, mirrors, or sculptural objects, need to be placed in relation to the furniture. Don’t hang a tiny photo over the back of your sofa.
Use either a large piece that is approximately two thirds the length of the sofa, or use a grouping of pieces. If you’re absolutely determined to use a particular piece of art and it’s too small, put it in a larger frame with a large matte around it. (For every problem there is a solution!).
#15 Loosen Up (& Remember it’s Your Home)
You can read as many “commandments” as you like, but remember: nobody has to live in your home but you. Every rule can be broken with some creativity and every home can be beautiful and welcoming with a little care.
Experiment with your layout; who knows what might happen? Thank Equinox Furniture Later!
- Apartment Therapy
- The Spruce