What’s the best way for me to arrange furniture in my home? I get asked this question all of the time. Furniture placement can be a struggle for many people, especially today since most new homes are built with an open floor plan concept.
My clients can be overwhelmed with the open space and need help deciding where “rooms” should go. Does the dining table go over here or over there? And it’s not just these newer homes with open floor plans — furniture placement is definitely a challenge in more traditional style homes as well.
When I first start imagining how to set up a room — no matter if it’s an open concept or traditional — I always begin by thinking about setting a table for a dinner party. Setting a table and setting up a room have the same principles.
Start with a purpose. What is the purpose of your space? It is a relaxing space or more formal? Does it cater to children? These are the main factors in setting up your table, because the purpose will set the mood. If you set a casual table, you are more likely to have a relaxing evening. If your table is over the top formal with all of your grandmother’s crystal and china, then your guests might feel more “Downton Abbey.” The same goes for your furniture layout and style. If you have uncomfortable furniture in a TV lounging area, you and your guests won’t enjoy the night’s movies. Ask yourself, “What do I want to feel like in this room?”
Next up find your attention grabber. On a table, it’s some sort of centerpiece. In a room, your attention grabber might be a fireplace, a window view, a favorite large painting, an accent wall or even the TV. Without a focal point, your eye will be going everywhere and have nothing to land on and your furniture plan will lack structure.
Now, define the zones. On your table, you have areas for each person, which include plates, water glasses and silverware, as well as the areas for food, candles, centerpiece and more. In your room, you also have zones, especially in open floor plans — the dining area, the sitting area, the TV area and maybe an office area. Make sure your space is broken up into specific zones and not crowded. Just like at a dinner party, if the table is set poorly and you’re over-crowded, it makes for an uncomfortable time.
Just because Seattle has terrible traffic issues, it doesn’t mean you should have a terrible traffic flow at home. You might not think about traffic flow on your table but it’s very important — you don’t want people reaching across short candles for food and catching their sleeves on fire. Traffic flow is just as important in furniture layouts. Take into consideration how you walk through the space before laying out the furniture. Once the furniture is in the space, remember a sofa does not have to be up against a wall. You can use it in the space to create a “hallway” so that it can help direct the flow of traffic.
Setting up your furniture layout is simple as long as you don’t make it complicated. Less is more, must like at a dinner party where you should always let the star — the meal — shine. A table is set to present the food you will all enjoy. A room is set up to showcase the space. If you set up your room with no thought, it will make the room feel pointless.
I hope these simple tips help you set up the furniture layout in your home. If you have a specific question, feel free to comment below and I will help, or if you are in need of something on a larger scale, feel free to contact me thru my Services page to set up a consultation.