Furniture placement can be a game changer!
Arranging furniture can be daunting and overwhelming to many people. Especially when you’re looking at an empty room saying to yourself, “what do I do now?” However, have no fear, you’ll find that arranging furniture isn’t so scary after all and can be quite fun due to so many options.
- First things first, choose a Focal Point. This may be a piece of décor, art, furniture an heirloom, etc. Sometimes it can be a favorite style, theme or feeling you want when entering a room and what would be the focal point with that in mind, such as, a window, fireplace or a fancy/fun chair or sofa. Whatever it may be, decide to decide and stick with it through out by arranging your furniture around or designing around that piece. Don’t push your furniture up against the walls if you don’t have to. The size of the room will dictate this factor. Standard furniture placement if it must be along a wall is 4-6 inches away at minimum.
- If you are able, create conversation areas. You want people in the space to be able to interact without yelling or cranking their necks. You want the furniture placement to enforce interaction and for people to face each other. It can be at angles, straight on or parallel. If your room is too large, which in some homes it can be, make several conversation areas or purpose areas. (reading, TV, games and socializing, etc.)
- Balance is always important in decorating and designing/floor planning your furniture. Proportion is key: size of the room in comparison to the size of the pieces being arranged. You don’t want the space to feel crowded or suffocating. Also think of the room, from any angle, no matter the shape, like a teeter-totter. What do I mean by that? As far as size of the pieces, color, pattern, heaviness of the pieces and décor surrounding the pieces, how do they weight out? Does the room “feel” balanced or is it heavy on one side or another? The short answer is: don’t put everything in one area. Break up your furniture and décor pieces by color, shape and size. This will keep the flow and variety in the room so that your eye bounces around the room, but is not overwhelmed.
- One of the most important things to consider when arranging furniture in any room is traffic flow. Heavy traffic patterns, clearance is 36 inches and low traffic areas such as a coffee table and a sofa the clearance is 18 inches minimum. These design clearances in furniture placement provide ample waking room or knee and leg room.
- Area rugs are tucked under the furniture, if not, only the front legs of the furniture is appropriate as well. I was once told that an area rug, even if you have carpet in the space, is like artwork on the floor, just the same as a painting on a painted wall.
- When it comes to a coffee table, more often than you think, the bigger it is, the better it is. A coffee table is great for décor pieces and for function, such as games, drinks, magazines and conversation pieces. It is an anchor for the room and will create its own conversation area. If you cannot find a large enough coffee table, it’s okay to be creative and put some smaller tables together to create the allusion of an inviting gathering space.
- Put tables at an arm’s length. Every seat should have easy access to either a side table or coffee table. People shouldn’t have to get up out of their seats to put their drink down. When it comes to table height, side tables should be approximately the same height as the chair arms they’re next to (if that’s not possible, lower is better). When it comes to coffee tables, the height should be the same height as chair/sofa seats or lower.
- Lighting is an extremely important element of any room and it is often not done correctly for function or design reasons. People sometimes think that if you have one type of lighting or the other that, that is all you need in a room. Not true. Always use a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps (and sconces if you can). A floor lamp looks great at the end of a sofa or behind an accent chair. Table lamps look cozy and decorative on side tables, shelves, and even mantels. Lighting needs to be placed at different levels in order to be properly balanced so use it generously throughout your room.
- Art on the wall, whether it’s art, mirrors, or sculptural objects, need to be placed in relation to the furniture. For example; you wouldn’t want to hang a tiny photo over the back of your sofa. Use either a large piece that is approximately two thirds the length of the sofa, or use a grouping of pieces. If you have a particular piece of art that is too small, put it in a larger frame with a large matte around it. It can still work, right!
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