Before placing any furniture, it is recommended you take the time to draw some floor plans to ensure effective space planning.
This can be done by using a furniture template on the same scale as your base floor plan. Then sketch the various furniture items in pencil onto the floor plan.
If an arrangement doesn’t work, it can easily be erased and reconfigured. By doing this in advance, you can ultimately save time.
When planning the furniture placement, it’s important to create a visual balance with a mix of symmetrical and asymmetrical furniture placements.
Symmetrical balance is achieved by placing identical objects on either side of a central axis, such as a fireplace or a window.
Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, involves using objects of varying sizes and shapes to create balance and harmony. For example, you might place a large sofa on one side of the room and balance it out with smaller chairs on the other side.
(Learn more about ‘Balance’ in our Principles of Interior Decorating article)
To arrange furniture in a visually pleasing way, follow the “layering” process below. By following the layering process and systematically placing furniture with a drawn floor plan in mind, arranging furniture becomes much easier.
This helps to create a cohesive look and ensures each piece of furniture is properly anchored to the room.
Place the Area Rug First
When placing the area rug, consider the size and shape of the rug in relation to the size of the room.
You will also need to consider the size and shape of the furniture you plan to place on it.
The rug should be large enough to comfortably fit all the furniture while leaving space around the edges for the flooring to show.
When placing the rug, ensure it is centered in the room. There needs to be an equal amount of space between the rug and the walls on all sides.
(If the room has an irregular shape, such as a bay window or alcove, adjust the position of the rug accordingly.)
Once the rug is in place, it’s a good idea to use rug pads to prevent it from slipping or shifting. Rug pads also help to protect the flooring underneath and extend the life of the rug.
Place the Case Good Furniture Items
To keep the room balanced, large furniture pieces should be evenly distributed within the space.
Leave enough room around each piece to create a comfortable flow of traffic and ensure the room doesn’t feel cluttered.
Consider the visual weight of each piece and how it balances with the other elements in the room.
As mentioned earlier, it will save time if you have planned where to position the large pieces of furniture on a floor plan first.
When placing the hard case furniture items, it’s important to consider the function of the room and the flow of traffic.
For example, in a living room, you might place an entertainment center or sofa against the longest wall to create a focal point.
In a bedroom, you might place the bed against a wall with enough space to walk around each side.
Place the Upholstered Furniture Items
After placing the hard case furniture items, the next step in arranging furniture is to bring in the upholstered furniture items.
Start by bringing in the largest upholstered items first.
Try not to make the mistake of lining up the furniture around the perimeter of the room. Use the center of the room as well. Having a lot of open floor space can make a room feel empty.
Consider moving the sofa away from the wall and towards the center of the room to create a conversation area. Ideally, a very large room should have a second seating area.
Decorators Tip: In most cases, the largest upholstered item will face the focal point of the room. For example, in a family room, the large sofa will likely face the television. While in a living room, the sofa may face the fireplace.
An oversized upholstered ottoman can also be used as a seating area. Alternatively, a coffee table, when decorated, can add interest to a room.
In a bedroom, it’s best to place an item at the end of the bed. This can be an upholstered bench or a small chest, to anchor the bed and add dimension to the room. Another option is to place a small area rug, either on its own or under the bench, at the end of the bed.
Place Smaller Furniture Items
After arranging the large furniture and upholstered pieces, the next step is to bring in smaller furniture items like end tables.
In a living room, a coffee table can be centered in front of a sofa. An end table can be placed at the end of a sofa and an occasional table placed between two chairs.
When placing tables, keep in mind end tables do not have to match each other or other tables in the room. In fact, unique tables can add variety and make the room much more interesting when they complement other furniture in the room.
If you have a second seating area, you can make it interesting by placing a games table in between a couple of chairs.
It is also important to consider the functionality of the room when placing tables. If your client plans to eat, drink, or entertain in that room, make sure there is a place for this. If not, another table should be placed accordingly. By doing so, you can ensure the space is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Place the Lamps
The final step to arranging furniture is to bring in and strategically position any floor lamps or table lamps.
To effectively place lamps throughout the room, you need to consider the activities that will be taking place in the room.
For example, if there is an area for reading, a task lamp should be placed in that specific area.
If there is an area of the room that lacks general lighting, it would be best to add a floor lamp to that area.