The Right Furniture for Large and Small Spaces

Feb 12, 2019  By Thomasville

Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, magazines…there are countless places to get design inspiration. But you live in the real world, not the virtual one, where great design is all about finding the best way to meet the needs of your actual family and home. Choices for family furniture and arrangement need to address each room’s light, traffic flow, function, and shape. But the main driver is likely to be a room’s size.

Scale is key. “Large” and “small” aren’t “good” and “bad” when it comes to rooms or furniture. What determines the right family furniture for a room of any size is the scale, making sure the height, depth, weight, and lines are in proportion to the room around them. A room of any size will be uncomfortable if the furnishings are out of scale.

Address dimension. There’s more to a room’s size than its square footage. You and your furniture both live in three dimensions, not two. For both large and small rooms, the ceiling height will affect what kind of family furniture works best. In a tall room, the goal is to bring the volume into human scale with taller pieces and wall décor that connects the upper space to the furnishings. When the ceiling is low, a cohesive top line for your seating pieces will ensure a restful, inviting space.

Avoid clutter. Large numbers of small pieces create visual clutter, no matter the size of the room. But in small rooms this is a particular problem. Small-scale family furniture might seem like the perfect solution for a small room, but the more pieces you have, the more crowded the room will seem. Opt instead for clean-lined but substantial pieces, and fewer of them, and your small room will feel open and comfortable.

Notice bulk. In a large room, you want furniture that’s scaled up in all dimensions. Choose a weighty dining table or a substantial sofa with a deep back and wide arms. If your design style favors more slender, modern pieces, make sure they’re tall and wide. In a small room, eliminate excess bulk in the backs and arms to maximize function while minimizing the footprint.

Furnish for people. Family furniture is for the family more than the room. However big or small the room, you need every person in it to be comfortable, so the human scale is the most important one to address. In small rooms, allow space for people to move comfortably rather than try to squeeze in one more seating spot. In large ones, build outward from a comfortably sized conversation group, rather than inward from the walls. You might need to float the group, and create other functional areas to give purpose to the space.

Consider efficiency. Notice the way you use a sofa. How many people does it seat, really? If you’re choosing family furniture for a small room, a long sofa might not be the best solution. A sectional often does a better job of seating more than two people, or a pair of smaller sofas arranged at an angle or across from each other. In a large room, consider whether a conversation group might be more comfortable with chairs that let you customize the shape of the group.

Whether your room is large or small, family furniture is about the family. With the right pieces, your family can be comfortable in any size room.

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