Ever buy a piece of furniture only to realize after you bought it, and put it together, that it’s just too freaken’ big for the space?
Or maybe you’ve arranged your furniture and something just feels off, but you can’t put your finger on it.
In this weeks episode of Dream Homies TV I answer a member of my Facebook groups question about furniture placement. I give you three furniture placement tips, and because I’m feeling super generous I’ve added an extra five tips in this post!
1. Measure your space.
They say size matters. I say they’re damn right it does. If you buy furniture that’s just a bit too big, it won’t fit; if you buy something too small, it’ll look silly. You don’t want your space to look silly do you? I didn’t think so. So, do yourself a favour and measure your space and be really diligent when you do. Measure everything; I mean everything – the length and height of your walls, the placement and size of the door and windows, and architectural elements.
2. Determine how you want to use your space.
If you’ve just moved into your home, make sure you give yourself at least two months to get to know your space. I get it, you wanna jump in and do it all now, I’ve soooo been there.
When we bought our house, I had visions of having friends over in the basement for games night, we’d pull out our Norden table and rock out a game of Catan (great board game btw).
Guess how many times that happened.
If you guessed none. Than you’d be right.
Guess how many times I’ve wished we bought a cabinet for additional storage instead of that useless table.
If you guessed 793 times. Than you’d be wrong, because it was obviously 796 times.
Seriously, get to know your space. Understand who will be using the space and what functions will take place. Once you can confidently answer the questions below, you can start thinking about how and where to arrange your furniture.
- What are the traffic patterns like?
- How do I use this room?
- How do I want to use this room?
- Which rooms do I use most?
- What tasks am I doing in my rooms?
- What tasks do I want to be doing in my rooms?
3. Create a floor plan.
This is one of those things most homeowners just don’t do. But it’s so crucial; it sets the stage for how you’ll use the space! So take the 30 to 60 minutes it takes to draw the floor plan to-scale, include all windows and doors and any architectural elements.
You can use graph paper where one box equals one foot. So if your room is 9 feet long, than nine boxes represents that wall.
But who wants to use graph paper? I recommend using an online program like Room Sketcher. It’s pretty easy to use, and your first few projects are free!
Once you’ve created your floor plan, you can drag furniture from their catalogue and play with different configurations for your room. This allows you to get a feel for the size of furniture the space will allow. Don’t forget to include lamps, plants and area rugs and be sure to consider the traffic patterns.
This is the most important step to minimize the risk of buying something that is too large or too small. When you drag the furniture into the room, you can click on its “properties” and change the height, depth and width to be the exact size you need in the space. Then you know exactly what size furniture to look for!
4. Establish a focal point.
Every room needs a focal point, once you establish what your rooms focal point is you’ll want to arrange furniture around it so that it’s easily enjoyed by those in the room (aka the friends and family you’ll invite over when you’re ready to show off your house).
A focal point can be something architectural in the room like a fireplace or window, or you can create one with art or furniture (such as a bookcase). Seating is best set up facing a focal point as opposed to being the focal point.
5. Be sure to include furniture of various heights.
When you’re selecting furniture, you want to consider the height of each piece you select. Adding various heights will ensure you create visual interest in the room. In other words, you’ll ensure you’re not designing a room that feels boring! I normally aim to include at least one or two pieces of furniture that add height to the space.
6. Consider scale and proportion.
Proportion and scale are dependent on size and the relationships between objects. When selecting furniture, consider the height, depth and width of each piece you select. If your room feels off, it could be that the furniture you’ve selected it’s the right scale for your room or for the furniture it’s placed with.
7. Strike the right balance.
Balance is achieved when careful consideration is given to the placement of objects within a space. To achieve balance, evenly distribute furniture throughout the room. Always try to balance a wall with the wall across from it. For example, if there is a large fireplace on one wall, you might consider a large shelf on the opposite wall to create a balance.
Once you’ve created a floor plan that feels right, examine if for balance. The Balance Test is a method to help when checking for balance in the room. Start by breaking the room into four equal quadrants, then examine for furniture balance by ensuring that each quadrant has a similar ratio of furniture to empty space. If it feels off, add or remove furniture until the balance works.
8. Give your your furniture some breathing room.
It’s important to acknowledge that just because something fits, doesn’t mean it’s the right size. If you can, move your couch a few inches away from the wall to create some breathing room and make a space seem larger. If you can’t pull it away from the wall because of space restrictions, move chairs or side tables a few inches out to open up the room. If you’re working with a big room, feel free to put the couch in the centre facing a set of windows or a fireplace to break the room into two separate spaces.
So there you have it, eight tips to help when arranging furniture! I’d love to know where you’ve struggled most when it comes to arranging your furniture. My biggest struggle in my own home has always been giving myself time to get to know my space. I’m an eager beaver like that, I want it all done NOW! It just goes to show, even decorators can struggle when it comes to their own space.
Photography by Heidi Lau