It can seem like an overwhelming task to fill an empty room in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. However, over time, interior designers have learned a few straightforward, straightforward principles that are effective.
You’ll discover that setting up furniture isn’t so intimidating after all if you just adhere to these common sense guidelines.
1. Decide on a focal point
Never underestimate the influence that a focal point can have on a room. They can be created intentionally, as with TV stands and televisions, or they can come naturally, like if you have a large window or a built-in fireplace mantel.
Decide on a focal point and stay with it, whatever it may be and place furniture as close as possible to it.
2. Pull furniture away from your walls
The size of the room will determine how far you can pull your furniture away from the walls, but even in a small room, you should leave a few inches between the backs of furniture pieces and the walls to give the pieces some breathing room. Contrary to popular belief, this little bit of room can actually give the illusion that a room is larger.
Naturally, if you have a larger room, feel free to arrange the furniture so that conversation areas are in the middle of the space, leaving a few feet between the furniture and the walls.
3. Make conversational spaces
Ideally, people should be able to communicate naturally without straining their necks or shouting across the room. Place the couches and chairs close enough to one another so that people can talk without raising their voices, but not necessarily facing each other directly.
Create multiple conversation areas if the space is too large.
4. When arranging furniture, seek balance
When arranging furniture and other items in your living room, balance is especially crucial for décor. A room can feel lopsided and a little unsettling if all the large or small pieces are grouped in one spot or on one side of the space, so take into account the size and placement of the various pieces.
Make sure the shapes are varied as well; if your seating is straight, for instance, think about a round coffee table.
5. Consider Traffic Flow
Traffic flow is one of the most crucial factors to take into account when placing furniture in any room. People shouldn’t trip over each other or the furniture when moving through a room. Separate the chairs from the sofa and coffee table by at least a few feet (plus or minus a few inches).
Make a path that is clear so that people can easily move from one end of the room to the other.
6. Use rugs that are the right size
Area rugs should be placed underneath all of the furniture, if possible. It’s acceptable to expose some flooring at the room’s edges, but if you use an area rug, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate all the furniture in a seating arrangement.
Large pieces should at the very least have their front legs resting on the rug (the backs can be on the floor, if necessary).
7. Choose a big coffee table
Larger is usually preferable when it comes to coffee tables. A big coffee table in the middle of a seating area serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. It serves as the room’s focal point and it provides lots of room for people to set their drinks down or for you to display your favorite accessories.
A large table is also easier to reach from the chairs surrounding it. Having said that, make sure to leave enough space for people to pass through between the seating and the coffee table (about 18 inches).
Additionally, two smaller tables or another type of coffee table alternative can work well as a stand-in if a suitable large coffee table is not available.
8. Place tables at arm’s length
Every seat should be able to reach a side or coffee table easily. Avoid seating arrangements that require people to get up from their seats to place or retrieve drinks.
In relation to table height:
- – Whenever possible, side or end tables should be at the same height as the nearest chair arms.
- – The height of a coffee table should match the height of a chair or sofa.
9. Pay attention to lighting
Lighting is often overlooked as a crucial component of any room. Use a variety of overhead, floor, and table lamps and sconces when possible.
A floor lamp works well when it’s placed behind an accent chair or at the end of a sofa. Table lamps are beautiful and functional when placed on mantels, side tables or shelves.
Use different types of fixtures liberally throughout your room as balanced lighting requires placing lights at various levels.
10. Use artwork that is the right size
Whether they are pieces of art, mirrors, or sculptural objects, things that hang on walls need to be positioned thoughtfully and in proportion to the furniture.
Instead of hanging a tiny photo over the back of your sofa, for instance, use a large piece that is roughly two-thirds its length or a collection of pieces.
If you must use a piece of art that is too small, enclose it in a larger frame and a larger matte so it can stand out when placed next to a large piece of furniture.
Combining it all
If your plan involves purchasing new items, it is best to plan ahead when it comes to furniture and accessory arrangement. To draft your ideal floor plan, use either a traditional piece of graph paper or an online floor planner. It’s the only sure way to know if things will work out the way you want them to.