3 Common Furniture Arrangement Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Jan 09, 2018  By Thomasville

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with your room, the problem may be a simple matter of furniture arrangement. These three mistakes are common, and if any of them apply to you, the fixes are surprisingly easy:

The problem: Furniture against the wall.

If your furniture arrangement has all your pieces with their backs against the wall, the result feels like a waiting room, rather than a place for people to gather. The vast empty space between seating pieces makes interaction and conversation awkward, and the space feels soulless and uninviting. As humans, we naturally form ourselves in comfortable groups to interact, so when we’re confronted with a space that defies what feels natural, we avoid it.

The fix: Arrange from the center outward.

Start with the gathering point—an architectural feature such as a fireplace or TV wall, a central table, an ottoman, a rug—and build the furniture arrangement outward from it. Then study the remaining empty space and decide how to use it. It might call for a console table against an awkwardly distant wall, or a floor lamp or plant to fill a corner. Or you might leave it as is, perhaps to accommodate traffic flow, or perhaps because the breathing room just feels right. If the room is very large or long, divide it into zones, with multiple conversation areas, or maybe one zone for watching TV and another for reading.

The problem: Furniture arrangement based on expectation, rather than function.

How do you use a space, really? Does the dining table, running railroad-style down the center of the dining room, really fit the way you live? Or is it uncomfortably formal, or worse, does it create unused space when other needs are going unmet? Just because somebody attached “dining room” to the floor plan doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. The same goes for oversized or oddly configured rooms, or even for pieces of furniture. A dining table or writing desk might have lots of other uses than the name suggests.

The fix: Figure out function to figure out furniture arrangement.

When you walk out of the kitchen with a plate, where would you like to go? Create a proper place for eating right there. How big of a bedside surface would you like? Look for furniture that size, not just for pieces labeled “bedside tables.” The solution might be that writing desk, or a small dresser, or a re-purposed step stool. Perhaps your dining room would be more useful as a study or a play room, or your family room would be a more functional gathering space with a hobby or homework corner.

The problem: No focal point.

A room can seem rootless and jumbled if there isn’t a clear focal point serving as the anchor. Architecture is often the source of the problem, giving you doors and windows that force the furniture arrangement in a less-than-ideal way. So you place the bed on the only wall that’s large enough, or arrange the seating with its back to the traffic or its face to a blank wall.

The fix: Create a focal point.

Most rooms, quite frankly, lack an ideal architectural focal point—a grand fireplace, a stunning view, a timber-frame ceiling with a grand central chandelier. In that case, your furniture arrangement will help you create one. If your furniture has to face a blank wall, fill it with styled bookshelves or feature an eye-catching piece of art. Or pounce on the trend for bold-colored sofas and anchor your room with the statement furniture piece.

So take a critical look around your home and make sure your furniture arrangement fits the people, the use, and the eye. When you get it right, your home is a better place to live.

What do you think?

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