Walking into a room, it’s easy to see when the room feels and looks right. You also can tell when it works well for the occupants. That’s because a well-arranged room takes advantage of both the furniture and the room, making the best use of both.
Work to create proportion in your rooms. In a small room, oversized furniture won’t work as well as furniture that’s more modestly sized. The only exception to this is a single large piece, such as a bed in a small bedroom. Oddly, a large individual piece of furniture in a smaller room can sometimes make the room seem larger.
Ensure that the amount of furniture is relative to the size of the room. Edit pieces so that there is room to move about and that there is still some blank space. It’s the empty space that makes a room feel, well, roomy. Work to reduce the number of small pieces and extraneous furniture so the space can be seen as well.
When working to arrange furniture, keep in mind traffic flow through the room. There should be clear “lanes” to get to other areas of the house or the room, such as closets, doors and bathrooms. One of the ways to increase the flow in a room is to pull furniture pieces away from walls and pull them out into the room. When furniture is pushed against a wall, it often only leaves one way in and out of a room, and that can cause traffic wear patterns in flooring and carpeting.
A good guideline is to leave about 30 inches of space around furniture for walkways. This guarantees that your room has good flow and space to move.
The way a room is composed and arranged directly affects the way you interact with it. While sectionals have created a tendency toward the L-shape living room arrangement, think about breaking this arrangement up. Instead, position chairs or a loveseat opposite the sofa.
This conversational arrangement is more comfortable, especially if you entertain or frequently have guests. If you have an L-shape arrangement, save that for the family room, where the whole family can pile on to the sofa, rather than in the living room where guests who are not family may feel awkward or too close for comfort.
Whether the view is a focal point, such as a fireplace or TV entertainment center, always orient furniture to take advantage. Does that mean you should always face the focal point? Common wisdom says yes, however the answer is often no. Rather than facing a fireplace, for example, placing furniture perpendicular to the fireplace creates balance in the room and calls attention to both the fireplace and the furniture.
Also, views are a focal point, hence arrange furniture or beds in bedrooms to take advantage of nice windows with large views.