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Arrange Living Room Furniture

Four Methods:Creating Appealing ArrangementsMaking a Small Room Feel SpaciousMaking a Large Room Feel CozyTesting Arrangements without Buying or Moving Furniture

Whether you are redecorating your living room or designing your first space, arranging your furniture is an important consideration. Follow these instructions to create the atmosphere you desire regardless of the space you have available. The information below should help you select furniture as well, by understanding how various pieces alter a room.

Method 1 of 4: Creating Appealing Arrangements

  1. Arrange Living Room Furniture Step 1.jpg
    Empty the room. Remove all your furniture using a furniture dolly or assistants. This will give you a better idea of the room's shape without the existing arrangement influencing your judgement.
    • If you don't have enough storage space, remove as much as you can, then place the remaining items in unobtrusive corners while you plan.
  2. 2
    For most living rooms, select a few large elements and a few small elements.Unless you consider your living room extra small, extra large, or an unusual shape, follow these guidelines. A few large pieces of furniture should make up most of the furniture by volume. End tables, ottomans, and similar small items should complement these and provide footrests and drink stands, not obstruct passage through the room or turn a pleasing arrangement into a busy mess.
    • For instance, a couch, an armchair, and bookcase can outline the usable space and set the color scheme. Two end tables and a small coffee table then serve useful functions and provide smaller objects for more visual interest without taking attention away from the larger pieces.
    • See the Small Room and Large Room sections for advice on arranging unusually sized spaces. This can also apply if your living room is an odd shape, especially with angled walls that make the space appear too crowded or too spread apart.
  3. Arrange Living Room Furniture Step 2.jpg
    Select a center of attention. Every room benefits from a center of attention, or focal point, which can be any object or area that attracts the eye and gives you something to orient your other furniture around.[1] Without choosing something to draw attention, the overall design can look messy and unplanned, and there may be awkward spaces that make guests uncomfortable.
    • The most common focal points are up against one wall, such as a television, fireplace, or set of large windows. Place seating arrangement along the other three sides of the room, at right angles or angled slightly toward the focal point.
    • If you don't have a focal point, or if you want to encourage more conversation, create a symmetrical arrangement of furniture, with seating on four sides. It is harder to accomplish an appealing design this way, however; consider decorating a bookcase or other tall piece of furniture instead to create visual harmony without distracting guests.
  4. Arrange Living Room Furniture Step 5.jpg
    Leave space between the walls and furniture. If all your sofas are pushed back against a wall, the room can seem cold and unwelcoming. Pull the furniture inward on at least two or three sides to create a more intimate area. Follow the guidelines for distance below, but feel free to adjust these if you prefer smaller or larger spaces.[2]
    • Allow 3 ft (1m) wide spaces where people will be walking. If you have energetic kids or household members who require extra space, increase this to 4 ft (1.2m).
    • If you don't have the space to create walkways on three or four sides of the room, pull the furniture inward just enough place a lamp behind it, either standalone or standing on a narrow table. The light creates the suggestion of additional space.
  5. 5
    Place your furniture for convenient use. Some of this comes down to personal preference, and you can always readjust to match your household's habits. Still, these simple design "rules" are a good place to start:
    • Coffee tables are typically placed 14–18 inches (35–45 cm) from seating. Shorten this distance if your household members have short arms, and lengthen this distance if they have long legs. If you have both types of people in your household, place the seating closer on two opposite ends and further on the third, or vice versa.
    • Designers place side chairs 48–100 inches (120–250 cm) from the sofa as a default. Just make sure there's enough space to walk between them if you don't have sufficient room.
    • Television placement varies greatly with size of room, eyesight of viewers, and personal preference. As a rough guide, begin by placing the seating facing the television three times further from the TV as the height of the screen. For instance, a 15-inch (40 cm) tall screen should be positioned 45 inches (120 cm) from the sofa and then adjusted to suit taste.
  6. 6
    Use symmetry to create restful designs. Symmetrical arrangements feel orderly and calm, and are great for resting the mind or low key activities. To create a room with bilateral symmetry, imagine drawing a line across the exact center of the floor; the furnishings on one side should be the mirror image of the furnishings on the other.
    • The most common symmetrical arrangement: a focal point in the center of one wall, a couch directly facing it on the other side, and two chairs or smaller couches on either side of the couch, facing inward. A coffee table and/or end tables complete the space.
    • You don't need identical furnishings to pull this off. For instance, you can balance an L-shaped couch by placing a low end table on the opposite side of the "L" arm. The overall shape is more important than the exactly matching elements.