Arranging your Living Room Furniture

Arranging your living room like you're a home decorator doesn't necessarily take years of experience - just creativity, a few basic tips to maximize space and an eye for detail.

If you are hopelessly lost when thinking beyond shoving your furniture against a wall, or if you've recently bought a six-foot sofa for an eight-foot room, you need help! Here are some easy tips for arranging your living room furniture in ways that make the most of your space:

  1. Measure your room. Draw it to scale on graph paper which you can find at your local discount store. Use a 1/4 in. equal 1 ft. scale. If you can't figure out how to draw out scale, ask your know-it-all teenage son!
  2. Mark anything on your room drawing that will affect the arrangement of the room. Outlets, telephone, cable, light switches, windows, doors that open in, the space between windows, and the height of the window sills are all things that should be measured and noted.
  3. This is the fun part! Make scale paper cutouts of your furniture (just like cutting out paper dolls!) Use the cutouts to arrange and rearrange the furniture in your room until you are satisfied with the result.
  4. Select a focal point of the room. If you have a fireplace, it will nearly always be the focal point. If you have large bookcases, you might make those your focal point or you may choose a sofa with a special painting hung above it. Orient the remaining furniture and the lighting to highlight the focal point.
  1. Think about your guests when you arrange the room. The room should promote conversation. Set up cozy areas with a couple of chairs or a loveseat. Ideally, there should be 4-10 ft. between your sofa or loveseat and chairs so that the space doesn't seem cramped. If you move the pieces too far apart, conversation will be difficult.

Other points to remember: leave 14 to 18 inches between the coffee table and the sofa for comfortable leg room (Err on the side of more space!). And make sure you have the traffic lane at least 3 ft. wide to move from one area of the room to another.

Arranging your room on paper allows you to experiment with new looks, new combinations, and new ideas before you move the furniture itself. Not only when you come up with the perfect arrangement for your room, but you'll also save a visit to the chiropractor for your husband or furniture-moving friends!

By Pamela Cole Harris

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