Arranging furniture can be a daunting task. When you’re faced with an empty room, filling it in a way that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing can seem like an overwhelming task. But over the years, interior designers have recognized a number of simple, easy-to-apply principles that work. Just follow these common sense rules and you’ll find that arranging furniture isn’t so scary after all.
WHERE IS THE FOCAL POINT?
Never underestimate the power of a focal point in a room. Sometimes they appear naturally, such as if you have a prominent window or a built-in fireplace mantel, while other times you may need to create them yourself, as with media units and televisions. Whatever your chosen focal point, make a decision and stick with it. You’ll want to arrange furniture around it as much as possible
IMAGINE YOURSELF LIVING IN IT
You will need to do this if you are to have any hope of getting the furniture in the right place. So take a moment to decide where is the spot that you would most like to sit. How many people will need to sit with you or at any one time? What will you be doing in that spot? And from there what will you need to have in the room to enable you to do to those things – books, a tv, a table to rest a drink, a drinks trolley etc.
WHERE DO THE LIGHTS NEED TO BE?
As I said if you are starting from the beginning then there are certain things to bear in mind. Only once you have placed the furniture can you work out where the lights will need to be. If you want to have downlights in a sitting room ceiling then a) they do not need to be in a symmetrical grid and b) try placing a few round the edges of the room, about 30-40cm so they will create an ambient light. Position them in the middle of windows rather than walls.
If you are having a coffee table then you can put another one over that to illuminate the items that will be on it. You don’t need one over the tv – you don’t want to draw attention to it, it’s not pretty. But otherwise, you will need lamps in dark corners, on tables near the seating areas so you need to think about sockets as well as lamp placement. Make a drawing of where the seats will go and add lights accordingly.
KEEP THE FURNITURE AWAY FROM WALLS
Not always possible I know and in the case of my narrow Victorian terrace and the sofa not possible at all. But if your sofa is backed up against the wall then try to give the other piece of furniture room to breathe. In a modern square room just pull the furniture away from the edges a little – perhaps you can bring the sofa forward and put a narrow console table behind it.
It doesn’t have to be a large space – a few inches will do. I Which I hate. In addition that would also create a pointless empty space in the middle of the room which wouldn’t be right for anything. Instead, I have put the desk in the middle with the focal fireplace behind me, a perfectly visible window view to the left and the door in front of me.
THE RULE OF ARM’S LENGTH
It’s not lazy but basically you need to make sure that there is a table within arm’s length of the chairs so people can rest their drinks or books etc. If they have to get up and stretch every time they will either put their drink on the floor – where it risks getting knocked over – or hold it and inevitably drink more, which leads to the previous point and a lot of clearing up to do. Side tables don’t have to be very big but it’s useful to tuck one away at the end of the sofa or beside a chair. I don’t have room at the ends of my sofa – doors and walls being somewhat inconveniently placed but, as I said, the coffee table isn’t far away.