Have you ever walked into a room that just felt “off”? A lot of times, that can be attributed to the way the furniture is arranged. A bad furniture arrangement can throw off the whole room. Arranging furniture effectively is one of the most important design decisions you can make for a room because it affects the mood, perceived size, and functionality of it. The right furniture arrangement can mean the difference between having a room that is inviting and comfortable and one that is off-putting and awkward.
At first, it may seem overwhelming to figure out if there isn’t an obvious way to arrange it that accomplishes these things. Some spaces are particularly challenging. That’s where certain tricks come in handy. Here are 5 simple furniture arrangement tips that make it easy for you create a room that looks and feels welcoming.
Furniture Arrangement Tips
1 CHOOSE A FOCAL POINT
A focal point anchors a space and helps to give a starting point for furniture arrangement. They’re like the heart of the room around which everything else revolves. Some rooms have natural focal points, such as a fireplace or view, and sometimes you have to create one. The important thing to note is that a room should only have one focal point, even if there is more than one option. For example, you may love the view out of a large window as well as the fireplace in your space, but only one should be the main focal point around which the furniture is arranged.
2 CONSIDER TRAFFIC FLOW
Are you blocking traffic in and around the room? The paths people take to exit and enter a room and move around it are called traffic patterns. People should be able to easily walk in and out of a room and navigate around it without having pieces of furniture blocking their way. A room with a furniture layout that gets in the way of traffic will look smaller and feel too crowded. It’s important to consider how traffic flows through a room when you are planning your furniture arrangement. Make sure you keep your paths clear and that nothing disrupts the flow of traffic.
3 BALANCE THE PLACEMENT OF FURNITURE
When all the furniture is placed on one side of room and nothing is on the other, it makes a room feel out of balance and uncomfortable. The same goes for a room with all the large or heavy furniture on one side of the room and the smaller, lighter furniture on the other side. It’s like a teeter-totter with both kids on one side – it just doesn’t work.
To give a room balance, evenly distribute furniture throughout the space. It doesn’t need to be symmetrical; one side just needs to have the same visual weight as the other side. For example, a sofa on one side balanced by 2 club chairs and a table on the opposite side.
4 DON’T PUSH ALL THE FURNITURE AGAINST THE WALL
Pushing all your furniture against the walls doesn’t help make a room feel larger or inviting. It can actually have the opposite effect and make a room feel smaller and unwelcoming. This is a common mistake many people make. (I even included it in my post “Are You Making These 5 Decorating Mistakes with Your Furniture?“)
Yes, rooms need breathing space, but not to the point of feeling cavernous. Having everything against the walls leaves an awkward, empty space in the middle of a room. Not only does it look odd, it also makes it difficult to have a conversation. You don’t want to have to shout from one side to the other. Move the furniture away from the walls; when possible, float some pieces in the center. Even in small rooms you can move things away from the walls a little bit. Pulling furniture away can help create intimate conversation areas and give a sense of warmth and coziness to a room.
5 BREAK UP SPACES IN LONG NARROW ROOMS
Do you have a long room that feels like a bowling alley? In long narrow rooms, people will often set up all the furniture at one end and leave the other end empty because they don’t know what to do with it. Or they try to create one long seating arrangement by stretching all the furniture across the length of room. With this arrangement, conversations end up being more of a shouting match as you try to talk across a long room. Neither one of these options makes the best use of the space.
In long rooms, it’s important to break up the space into various zones. Establish designated activity zones and arrange furniture in each area to accommodate the activity. For example, you may want a seating area for watching TV at one end of the room, and at the other end have a table for doing homework or playing games. Set up your room with zones according to your needs.
These simple furniture arrangement tips will help you create a layout that gives your room a nice flow and balanced feel. If you want to learn more about furniture arrangement and other simple ways to improve the look of your space, check out our free decorating course 7 Days to a More Stylish Home!