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"Great furniture arrangement centers around a focal point."

Understanding basic furniture arrangement techniques will help you develop a living space that is both pleasing and functional.

Chair and Table

There are several things to consider as you approach furniture arrangement. They are...

• Focal point

• Traffic pattern

• Available space

Questions about furniture layout often involve the living room or family room. Ideally, you should orient your furniture around a specific focal point in the room.

A focal point is a dramatic or distinctive feature that is a point of visual interest. Examples of focal point might include a fireplace or entertainment center. It might be as simple as a large, well placed window, or a work of art hung over a nicely appointed console table. How about a dramatic photo collection mounted on the wall in a geometric pattern? Any of these could be a focal point. If you don’t have an existing feature around which to center the room, create one.

Furniture Arrangement

Consider next traffic pattern through the room. Are there doorways on either side of the room? Do people pass through the room to get to another room?

If at all possible, group the conversation area around the focal point in a way that does not require the main traffic through the room to interrupt the conversation area. Sometime this won’t be possible, but it should generally be the goal.

Consider the size of the room when purchasing furniture so that the scale of the furniture is appropriate for the room. This may also make it easier to create a functional furniture arrangement.

Try to avoid simply lining the walls of your room with furniture unless you have no choice because of space limitations. In larger rooms this leaves too much empty space in the middle of the room while also making conversation more difficult.

Attempt to create more functional conversation areas by grouping your furniture in “L” or “U” shapes around the focal points.

Consider angling some furniture items or even the entire scheme. This can create more visual interest than having everything parallel to the walls. Again, your existing space and traffic flow will help you determine the feasibility of arranging furniture this way.

Experiment with your furniture layout. Different configurations can result in a significantly different look for the room. If you're having trouble conceptualizing things, you may want to check out this online room planner (Note: Link opens a new window). I've found that playing around with this simple tool helps establish a sense of how things will fit within a space before physically attempting it. You can even customize the room dimension in the application to more closely mirror your own circumstances.

Ultimately, experimenting a bit may be the most useful way to find the furniture arrangement that is most pleasing and functional for you.

Return from Furniture Arrangement back to Interior Space Planning page.

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