Design Ideas

4 pro tips for arranging furniture

August 7, 2017

Arranging furniture in a room is all about marrying form and function. If you can have the best of both, without sacrificing either, you create that coveted sense of flow and harmony, designing a space that will bring its inhabitants hours of joy and comfort. 

It's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to deciding what goes where, however. Should the sofa go in the center of the room, or along the wall? Is there enough space for people to walk past side tables? Does this armchair match with that bookshelf? It's tough work. 

grey Grey hardwood floors can create a soothing look in a nautical-inspired home.

Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true tips and rules of thumb that can help guide you as you designate spaces for all your furnishings. Here are four pro tips for arranging furniture:

1. Establish a focal point
Cohesive rooms are oriented toward a single focal point that guides the eye as well as the layout of the space. This single point makes it easier to arrange furniture, since you have something to work off of. So, when figuring out item placement, establish a focal point. Typically, the focal point will be found on the walls, as it draws the eye up. A large painting, a television, a framed large mirror or a curated collection of wall art can all serve as wonderful focal points. Windows are also commonly used for this purpose. Position the sofa in the living room so that it's facing the television, or arrange a chaise lounge so it's looks out toward the bay window, for example. 

2. Think practically 
You can have a room filled with the most plush, beautiful armchairs, sofas and coffee tables, but if you stub your toe or hit your elbow every time you walk through the room, you'll never want to spend any time there. When arranging furniture, think very practically about where each piece will go, and keep traffic patterns in mind. In a living room, the area surrounding the sofa, coffee table and end tables should be free and clear. In the dining room, make sure that there is enough space for people to move around the table and pull their chairs in and out. 

Of course, part of thinking practically when it comes to the home is prioritizing comfort. Carpets placed on hardwood floors provide a soft spot for feet while people sit on the couch and talk or watch television, or while eating at the dining room table or walking from the bedroom to the bathroom. 

3. Consider scale 
The dimensions of the furniture you're using - and the way these dimensions compare to each other - can also affect arrangement. HGTV noted that the scale of the items in the room can affect its atmosphere. For example, filling a room with items of similar scale creates a peaceful, calm ambience, while a mix of different scales can create visual interest, as long as the scales don't clash. 

4. Establish zones if necessary 
In draft, large rooms, or homes with open floor plans, smaller "zones" within rooms can create a more cohesive look and feel while enhancing comfort. For example, in a large combined living room and dining room, you would have a zone for eating at the table and a zone for watching TV and/or having conversation. Carpets can help designate these different areas, as can larger sectionals, bookshelves and entertainment stands that can act as dividers. 

Keep these four tips in mind when arranging furniture in a new home or simply switching up your existing spaces. With these guidelines in mind, you can create aesthetically pleasing and comfortable rooms you're sure to love. 

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