5 Rules for Arranging Your Living Room

living roomWhen faced with a blank canvas of a living room, it can be tempting to throw all your furniture up against the walls and call it a day. Don’t miss out on having a great room.

Here are some basic tips for arranging one that’s both functional and attractive.

1. Find a focal point.

A fireplace? A TV? An awesome view? Whatever the best feature of your room is, make sure you’re aware of it before you start planning your layout. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean all your furniture should face directly at it, though. It’s important to make sure your layout still allows for conversation and socialization.

2. Pay attention to proportions.

If your living room is on the smaller side, a large sectional is just going to make the space feel cramped. Similarly, expect to run into the opposite problem if your room is large and your furniture is too dainty. And size isn’t just a factor in relation to the room—you also want to make sure that your various pieces are balanced. Coffee tables, for instance, should be around ½ to 2/3 the size of your couch.

3. Place your biggest piece first.

When it is time to start moving furniture in, always remember to start with your largest piece first. This allows you to judge best what will and what won’t fit. If you’re not quite willing to make that jump, though, try getting a feel for the dimensions by using paper cut outs.

4. Pull your seating away from the walls.

Unless your room is exceptionally small, try to avoid pushing all your couches and end tables up against the walls. This can actually end up wasting space in the middle of the room, and it can make conversation difficult. So long as you allow 30 to 36 inches of space between pieces (and between pieces and walls), you should have plenty of room for traffic.

5. Don’t forget flat surfaces.

Tables—side or otherwise—provide a visual contrast to the softer surfaces of couches and chairs. They’re also pretty practical, when it comes to drinks and food. Keep coffee tables about 14 to 18 inches from the couch. Side tables should be about the height of the chair or couch arm, and sofa tables should be no taller than the back of the couch.