Updated: May 13, 2022
Arranging furniture can be a difficult task, especially when you are faced with an empty room. Filling it in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical can seem like a daunting challenge.
Follow our 10 simple tips and you will find that arranging furniture is not that scary after all!
Tip #1 - Choose a Focal Point
Never underestimate the power of a focal point in a room. Sometimes they appear naturally, such as if you have a built-in fireplace mantel or a prominent window, while other times you may need to create them yourself. Whatever your chosen centrepiece, make a decision and stick with it. You will want to arrange your furniture and your wall art around it as much as possible.
Tip #2 - Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls
The size of the room will dictate how far you can pull your furniture away from the walls, however, even in a small space you will want to give pieces a little breathing room by allowing a few inches between the backs of furniture pieces and the walls. This little bit of space can actually make rooms feel bigger. If you have a larger space, 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.
Tip #3 - Create Conversation Areas
Every good conversation starts with good listening. We should naturally be able to talk to each other without having to crane our necks or shout across the room. Position your sofas and chairs to face each other (not necessarily straight on, but close) and so they are close enough that you can converse without raising your voice. If the room is too large, create multiple conversation areas.
Tip #4 - Find Balance When Arranging Furniture
Balance is always important in decorating. Consider both placement and size of the various pieces, making sure not to group all the small or large pieces in one area or to one side of the room, which can make space feel unbalanced and a little unsettling. Also, do not forget to make sure there is variety in the shapes. If you have got straight-lined seating, always consider mixing it with a round coffee table.
Tip #5 - Consider Traffic Flow
Traffic flow is one of the most crucial things to consider when arranging furniture in any room. You should not be tripping over furniture or other people to pass through the room. Make sure there are a couple of feet between the sofa and coffee table and between chairs. Create a clear path so you can walk from one end of the room to the other without difficulty.
Tip #6 - Use the Right-Size Rugs
Area rugs belong under your furniture. Exposing some flooring around the edges of the room is fine, but when using an area rug, make sure it’s big enough that all the furniture in your seating arrangement can rest on it. 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).
Tip #7 - Get a Big Coffee Table
When it comes to coffee tables bigger is better. A large coffee table in the middle of a seating area is great for both function and aesthetics. It acts as an anchor for the room and it leaves plenty of space for people to put down drinks or for you to display your favourite home accessories. A large table also offers easier access from the seats around it. If you can’t find a perfect large coffee table, two smaller tables can be a good substitute.
Tip #8 - Put Tables at Arm’s Length
Every seat should have easy access to either a side table or coffee table. Avoid layouts that force people to move from their seats in order to set down or retrieve drinks. Side or end tables should be approximately the same height as the nearby chair arms (if that is not possible, lower is better). For coffee tables, the height should be the same height as chair/sofa seats, or again lower.
Tip #9 - Let There Be Light
Having the correct lighting is essential for creating the right atmosphere in your home. Always use a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps. Table lamps look lovely on side tables, shelves, and even mantels. A floor lamp looks great at the end of a sofa or behind an accent chair. Lighting needs to be placed at different levels in order to be properly balanced, so use a variety of fixtures liberally throughout your room.
Tip #10 - Use the Right-Size Artwork
Whether it’s mirrors, artwork or sculptural objects, things that are hung on the wall need to be placed strategically and in proportion to the furniture. Don’t hang a tiny photo over the back of your sofa! Instead, use either a grouping of pieces or a large piece that is approximately two-thirds the length of the sofa. If you’re absolutely determined to use a particular piece of art that is too small, put it in a larger frame with a large matte around it so it can hold its own when positioned near a large furniture piece.