From family gatherings to game nights, the living room is a social hub. The proper placement of the room’s furniture goes a long way toward making the space feel welcoming. There is nothing worse than a living room, where people have to lean against the walls as if they were trying to grow, as my grandmother would say.
Instead, place seating together so everyone can sit close and converse comfortably.
Where you position the grouping depends on the natural focal point of the space. In some rooms, it could be architectural, like a set of windows. A very popular focal point in a lot of living rooms these days is a large flat screen television. Once you determine this feature, you should orient the seating toward it. These features now have the attracting qualities the walls used to have. Let the furniture gravitate there.
How to arrange the living room furniture is up to you and your particular pieces. Most of us have either a sectional or a couch, a loveseat and an armchair, which we can position and reposition as often as we like. When trying out each new arrangement, make sure to allow enough space between furniture corners so people can get through freely in search of a comfy spot. While sitting on any furniture in the living room one should be able to reach a drink rest, even if it is just an ottoman or a stack of books.
The most basic and functional furniture arrangement is to place the sofa across from the focal point, with all other pieces angled to face the same direction. This allows everyone a good look at the television or painting. When entertaining, you can round the grouping into a conversational circle by adding large floor pillows, poufs, or ottomans that face the couch.
For spaces with multiple doorways, draw an imaginary line that angles through the room from opening to opening, creating a straight trail between furniture pieces. This dynamic arrangement of furniture keeps the focal point in mind but also directs people through the space. Blocking the corners of the room like this can be helpful when you have children’s toys or hobby supplies you would like to hide.
Around the corner
When a sectional sofa is your primary seating, you might be tempted to push it into the corner of the room and call it a day. This can feel a bit confining, especially to those people seated on the deepest cushions. As long as the space can accommodate it, place sectionals away from the wall to let light and air flow around it. You can place a brightening lamp or slender console table at the back with family photos or accent pieces, and put any other seating in position to see people seated at both ends of the ‘L’.
A traditional and popular furniture arrangement is the face to face stance. Two couches (or a couch and pair of chairs) sit directly across from one another, with the focal point at one end. Positioning the seating this way facilitates conversation because no one has a direct view of the focal point. It’s useful when activities such as reading, working on a laptop, or listening to music are just as important as watching television.
Get out the tape
The first step in arranging any space is to determine its size. Use a tape measure to get the dimension of the room. Then check the dimension of the doors, stairs and hallways widths, leading to the space. The usual challenge for a homeowner is being sure the entrance and egress (way out) of the room is enough for potential purchases.
Mix furnishings of various sizes
Every object has a height, depth and width. To add visual interest to any space, incorporate a variety of furniture with different characteristics. For example, if you are going for a serene, unchallenging area for rest and recovery, keep the furnishing volume in the room similar.
Use scaled pieces to create balance
The size of pieces relative to one another and the size of the space is their scale. Similarly scaled pieces are more serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the differing physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout a room. When furnishings are out of scale, you will notice that it just will not feel comfortable or right.
Form a healthy relationship
The relationship of items to one another to form a pleasing whole is called balance. There are two forms of balance; symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetry is having 2 of the exact same thing. Asymmetry refers to an imbalance, such as two candles of slightly different sizes next to each other. Symmetry is very restful, while asymmetry is used to add visual motion and excitement.
All furniture arrangements have a certain totality or form about it. Large rectangular spaces can be dividing the “form” of the space into another form. A long, narrow living space, for instance, can be split into two, by creating zones of function. One half is for the sectional, or the function of conversing, and the other half is for a dining set, or the function of dining. This helps you take the bite out of large rectangular rooms by dividing them into squares according to their function. Humans tend to feel more comfortable and less formal in square furniture arrangements versus rectangular ones.
Arrange your living room furniture in a way that creates a comfortable and welcoming environment and makes the most of your space. Where you place your furniture in a room will instantly set the tone for how you will live in that room.
Have fun arranging and enjoy.