Winning Placements: How to arrange your furniture like a professional interior decorator

January 18, 2011

There are a number of mistakes made when arranging furniture. One of the most common is to place all the furniture against the walls. This article will show you how to avoid making mistakes when you arrange your furniture. Tips on space planning, scale, proportion and placement will help you when arranging furniture like a professional.

Furniture arrangement is all about space planning. It is important to take your time and really consider the space you have to work with. An easy way to do this is by creating furniture arrangement drawings. Start by measuring the room in which you want to change the furniture arrangement layout. As you measure the room, record the measurements and double check each measurement.

When you have all the measurements, draw the room to scale on some graph paper. Then measure each piece of furniture in the room. Draw each piece of furniture onto another piece of graph paper in the same scale. Then cut out each piece of furniture. This will give you furniture templates to work with.

You are now ready to play around with furniture arrangement on the room floor plan. This is a great way to work out what will fit into the room and where to place each item. It can also save you backache and other injuries. You can play around on paper until you have established a functional furniture arrangement arrangement.

Tip: When selecting new furniture, get all the dimensions of the proposed piece. Then go home and play around with your floor plan to see if the item will fit into the room before you buy the item.

There are fundamental things to consider when arranging furniture. For example, consider where you walk. Allow a minimum of 80cm (32 inches) for thoroughfare. Check and recheck each measurement as you do this. Make sure to leave enough space between the coffee table and a chair/sofa to allow for space for the legs.

Tip: Keep the tape measure handy and check measurements on the floor

Consider the natural flow of traffic across the room. Check out the flow from doorway to doorway, between exits and entrances, to windows and power points and switches. Employ good universal design practice by making it easy to get to power points and switches. Try to arrange the furniture so that it is easy to get from one doorway to another without bumping into a piece of furniture. Take care not to create an obstacle course.

Other common mistakes with living room furniture arrangement: placing a large sofa diagonally across the corner of a room this can take up too much space. A chair would be a better option in this instance.  Another common mistake is to have too many pieces of furniture in one room. The contents of a room work well together when their sizes and proportions are similar. Large rooms usually suit large pieces of furniture and large patterns, while small rooms usually look better with small patterns and small pieces of furniture.

Tip: Always keep in mind the function of the room. What is the most common activity in the room?

Winning placements: how to arrange your furniture like a professional interior decorator

A large piece of furniture can work in a small room and create a dramatic focus. This will depend on the function of the room – what you use the room for. A small room with very few items could look very interesting with a large feature piece of furniture. Small scale furniture can make a room appear even larger. However, if there are few small piece of furniture in a large room they can appear lost. It’s not easy to explain furniture arrangement without illustrations. If you would like to see some examples just visit the Creative Buzz blog. I will place some images to give you an idea of what I mean.

The shapes and lines of the furniture you use are important. Rounded shapes tend to suggest fun and/or softness, playfulness. Square shapes and straight lines suggest formality and/or simplicity. Horizontal lines can create a sensation of rest and repose. Vertical lines tend to create a sensation of stability, formality and permanence. Oblique or diagonal lines can create sensations of movement activity.

To make a room interesting, there needs to be a focal point or dominant feature. This is the place to which your eye is immediately drawn when you enter a room. This could be a fireplace, painting, special piece of furniture, colored feature wall, art object or even the view. Furniture should be arranged to take advantage of the focal point. If the view from the window is the focal point, do not place a sofa across the window.

If a room is very large, you can break the space up by arranging furniture in a room in groups: a conversation area around the fireplace using sofas and chairs, for example. Or create a reading area with a chair, footstool, and table with a lamp and small bookcase. Maybe even a play area for children with a rug, small chairs and basket of toys. The options are endless.

Furniture can also be used to created contrast in a room. The contrast can be created by using light and dark, or smooth and rough items: on a hard smooth leather sofa place soft fluffy cushions, for example. A light-colored cushion could be placed on a dark-colored sofa.

To make a room stimulating, create a sense of rhythm by adding movement in color, pattern, line and shape. This can be done easily with accessories. A red floor rug, red cushions, red vases and some art work with the red repeated is one of the many ways in which you can do this. You will also want to create a sense of harmony. Harmony is achieved when a room or home works/hangs together well with all of the colors, patterns, textures and styles relating to each other.

You can arrange your furniture to create a professional designer look by following the suggestions in this article and using our innovative furniture arrangement and Interior decorating moodboard editor. The most important thing is to take your time, play before your buy or move any furniture and aim to create winning placements.

Author: Rosena MacFadzean

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