Furniture Arranging Tips from a Pro

Helpful Hints

By Sunshine Menefee
Staff Writer 

 

Arranging the furniture in your home can be a daunting task. It has to be functional, but interesting while making all the pieces fit. Interior designers are trained have various tricks to get it just right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a creative solution. I’m going to share with you my best hints to help you make the most of your living space.

1. Function

Living rooms serve many purposes. It’s where you host guests, have family time, and just relax at the end of a long day. Take a good look at the type of activities going on in your space. A great design considers all these factors and provides a space for everyone. If you entertain a lot, smaller seating areas are perfect. Position chairs within about 8 feet of each other and angled together to keep conversations intimate. But if you only rarely entertain, you can get by without a separate conversation area.

2. Size

No matter how you arrange it, your living room won’t suddenly grow in size. In fact, the wrong arrangement could make the space feel smaller. When shopping for pieces, you have to know how big the space is where the piece will sit. If the sofa takes up the entire wall and leaves no room for tables, you will run into problems. Consider downsizing to a loveseat.

3. Focal Point

What is the most important feature in your room? The cozy fireplace? A stunning view? Whatever it is, show it off. Create natural seating arrangements that highlight the rooms’ best feature.  Not every piece of furniture has to arranged around the focal point, but don’t block the view by sticking a sofa in front of it.

If placement dictates that the first thing you see when you walk into the room is a sofa against a wall, place a large piece of artwork or group of pictures above it to add interest to the space. Sometimes the focal point is in the corner, a corner fireplace for example. Placing all the furniture on the diagonal may be the solution.

4. Large Pieces

An overstuffed sofa is not mandatory in every living room. Large pieces quickly overpower a space. Think smaller. Cozy up to the idea that a loveseat might be the answer. Older homes require furniture of a different scale and many modern pieces are simply too large to fit appropriately. If the sofa is your main chilling space, select a loveseat that is super comfy. Use footstools to prop your feet up and spread out and then flank it with a pair of end tables to hold drinks.

5. Traffic

Never forget about the traffic. It’s pretty annoying to a couch potato if the only way to pass through a room is around the coffee table and in front of the tv. Placing all the furniture against the walls usually creates poor flow through a room.

People should be able to enter and leave the area without dancing around furniture. If there are two entries into the room, keep a clear path of at least 3’ wide and as straight as possible through the room. Don’t have them winding in and out of conversation areas.

6. Map it out

Arranging furniture on paper is always easier than pushing a sofa around the room. Measure your living room, complete with windows, doors, and features. Draw it out on grid paper using 1 square to represent 1 foot. It doesn’t have to be pretty to be functional. Next, draw your furniture and cut them out. Laying everything out on paper will allow you too see traffic patterns and seating arrangements that you couldn’t see standing on the ground.

If pen and paper aren’t your thing, there are several furniture planners online that are free to use. Keep in mind that they typically have simple shapes and generic furniture so if you have a complex space, it might not work for you. Pottery Barn has a good tool as well as Room Styler, which lets you customize it a bit more.

 

Take a look at these examples to get a better idea of how furniture arrangements affect traffic flow.

An example of poor furniture arranging. The traffic cuts across the tv. The loveseat blocks the fireplace There is no single person seating. The rug is too small.

An example of poor furniture arranging. The traffic cuts across the tv. The loveseat blocks the fireplace There is no single person seating. The rug is too small.

 

A better floor plan. The tv area is separated with a large rug, coffee tables and side chair. The fireplace area is defined with a rug and smaller chairs thats do not block the view.

A better floor plan. The tv area is separated with a large rug, coffee tables and side chair. The fireplace area is defined with a rug and smaller chairs that do not block the view.

Have fun with your living room and try different arrangements. Every situation is unique and you will find one that fits your home and lifestyle. By following these few tips, you’re sure to create a welcoming and comfy room for you family.

 

 

 

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