1. Decide on your focal Point(s)
What will be the most interesting thing in this room – the T.V., the fireplace, the view, a grand piano? Most of the seating should face in that direction. So, this also means not every seat in the house has to face the T.V.
You may have more than one focal point in the room. Try to create seating spaces that can enjoy at least one. Swivel chairs are a great way to allow the room-user to take advantage of several focal points.
2. Consider Traffic Patterns & Flow
Keep your main walkways in the room at least 3’ wide. The path can narrow as you move through the room to no less than 18” to comfortably move between furniture; although, cocktail tables can be as close as 14” to a sofa.
3. Create Your Furniture Arrangement
When creating your furniture arrangement, try to work against the general shape of the room.
- If the room is more long & rectangular, create a more square arrangement, or maybe even 2 smaller sitting areas, to prevent the whole room from looking like a bowling alley (with all the furniture against the walls). Using square shapes – like a square cocktail table or square rug - will help widen the room.
- If the room is more of a big, open square, try to create more coziness by bringing the furniture into a more rectangular arrangement. You can fill space along the walls with bookcases, a cozy reading nook, or simply a focal wall featuring framed art.
- Keep each piece in the furniture grouping within a 10’ radius for ease of conversation and an overall feeling of comfort. If pieces are outside of that range, the room can start looking and feeling cold and unwelcoming.
4. Check for Balance
Balance is an overall feeling of equilibrium in a space.
It was once explained to me that you should imagine all the furniture in the room as if it were on a platform floating on water. Would one side of the platform sink? If so, that side of the room is heavier and needs to be balanced out. Here are a few quick ways to do that:
- Of course, choose larger scaled furniture – bigger pieces to balance out the heavier side of the room
- Select bolder colors of fabric & finish or bolder patterns – they have more visual weight
- Move 2 or more smaller pieces of furniture closer together to create a larger unit – kind of like the “teeter totter” effect – bringing objects closer to the center makes them visually heavier, while spreading them out to the edges makes them lighter. Make sense?
- Place something with more visual weight behind the lighter side of the room – a tall book case, an over-scaled piece of art, a tall tree, or opulent window treatments on the windows.
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