By BatSheva Vaknin
The easiest and most inexpensive way to invigorate the design of your living room is to rearrange the furniture items you already own. Furniture placement can be a daunting task, no matter how big or small the room. If you are someone who always figured furniture placement would be better left to professional interior designers, fret no more. These tips will help you embrace the task of balancing your sofa with your coffee table or armchair, and allow you to create peace and harmony amongst all your furniture.
Location, location, location
A room must be balanced. Specifically, the furniture in every room should be placed in a way that is pleasing to the eye and easy to maneuver around. If all the heavy furniture pieces like sofas, armchairs, entertainment centers and bookshelves are loaded on one side of the room, a room can feel like a sinking ship.
On the other hand, if you spread your furniture around the room haphazardly, a room can feel cluttered even when it is relatively empty. Think about the size of your living room in relation to the amount of furniture you have.
You can anchor the room by situating a large entertainment center against one wall, and then arrange all seating comfortably around that anchor. Or, anchor your sofa against a wall, add a small side table or a coffee table in front for convenience, and voilá! Your room is balanced.
Using your sofa as an anchor, or as the focal point for your living room can be an effective furniture placement tool. However, modular sofas, or sofas with many components, can be too heavy an anchor, tipping the balance of the room with its bulkiness. A creative solution to this problem can be found in breaking up the pieces of the sofa.
Place the largest sofa piece against the longest wall of the room, then the smaller sections on the opposite side. If you have the smaller sections of the modular sofa face the long sofa at an angle, you will avoid that boring, boxy look that comes with having all furniture pieces pressed with their backs straight against a wall.
A fresh alternative to placing your sofa against the longest wall is to bring the sofa out, away from the wall. If you prefer this look and feel for your sofa placement, allow at least two and a half to three feet between the sofa and the wall for comfortable walking space. Less space is needed between chairs and a sofa, but always keep in mind walking patterns.
Go with the Flow
Imagine how you and your guests will maneuver in your living room with all the furniture in its proper place. For example, if there are two doors, you may want to place sofas and chairs in a manner that will allow passersby to walk behind or around the seating arrangement instead of through it.
If there is only one door to the room, don’t block the flow with a large coffee table right in the way of the sofa. Make sure you allow easy access directly to the sofa and chairs from the door, allowing for some space around the seating area as well.
Larger living rooms can be designed so that they function effectively as two areas. For example, have one social, entertainment center seating arrangement in one section, and a quieter study arrangement in another. Tall side tables can be placed behind a sofa with decorative vases and pictures on top, as long as there is still walking space behind the couch.
When deciding on how to arrange your living room furniture, listen to your instincts. Wait to decorate the walls for a few days or even a week once you have decided on where you are going to put each piece of furniture, to give yourself a chance to get used to the new placement. Live in the space for a bit, and assess how you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, you can always move it, and use these tips to help you bring your living room back into balance.
About the author:
A Yale graduate, BatSheva Vaknin writes plays, screenplays, and articles on topics ranging from finding the world’s greatest pizza to decorating a child’s room. She has just completed her first novel.
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