Living room arrangement is often overlooked because it can be difficult to organize. As such, many people throw furniture into the middle of their living areas without considering how they want their space to look . This post covers the fundamentals (and hacks designers use) that go into arranging an inviting living room space.
There are 3 essential considerations in organizing a living room. Foremost: the flow. A good layout is important so you and others can move around easily. It also connects various elements in the room to generate a wholesome aesthetic. Second, functionality. How you like to use the room affects how you arrange furniture in the space allocated. Third, the focal point in the room that draws attention, which sets the stage of introducing the home.
Read on to find out 13 tips to apply these components in depth:
- Plan ahead
- Push vs pull
- Shape shifter
- Create symmetry
- Putting it together
- Zone it
- Conversational lounge
- Feature point
- Start big
- Flexible accents
- Area rugs
- Stay lit
- Right sizing
1. Plan ahead
”If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Benjamin Franklin. Trust me, you don’t want to shift furniture around without planning ahead. Icing your back the next day is no fun! Use a free online floor planner or simple graph paper for sketching out your desired layout and ideas.
2. Push vs pull
Contrary to popular practice, pushing furniture against the walls is not an ideal way of maximizing space. This makes your living room feel cramped and highlights an awkward middle ground. The best (and counterintuitive) way around this problem is by pulling pieces towards a central area. This creates a more open room. Even in a small space, give a little buffer by allowing a few inches between the backs of furnishings and the walls. The recommended ratio is 3 feet for high traffic areas (ie walking space between sofa and other living area) and 2 feet for low traffic areas (ie space between sofa and coffee table).
3. Shape shifter
The shape of arrangement in your home can determine the demeanor and function for each space. For boxier rooms, stage diagonal furniture to push the room out and give extra dimension. An L-shaped sofa grouping is perfect for those who want to create a cozy atmosphere. For rooms with odd shapes, go with the flow by highlighting architectural features with built in storage, or use mirrors to enhance the space.
4. Create symmetry
A symmetrical room can give your living space an order that is congruent and appealing. For identical sofas or chairs, arrange them opposite each other. And if you’re short on matching pieces? Mix and match dissimilar features on opposite sides of the room to create a parallel effect. It’s akin to making music – experiment with different sounds and tones until they sound like an orchestrated piece!
5. Putting it together
When arranging your living room, balance is the key. Vary the size, shape and placement of furnishings throughout the room to avoid an uneven look. For example, instead of grouping big vs small items in separate areas, place them side by side together. To keep things interesting, try contrasting shapes like rounded edges (ie curvy coffee table) with straight lines or angles(ie rectangular sofa).
6. Zone it
More homes have open concept designs. This is exceptionally so for smaller apartments where many functions take place in the same space. Furniture arrangement is a great way to create different activity zones for conversation, lounging and dining. Face furniture towards each other to form clusters or buy a furniture set. For example, grouping furniture together in one area creates a dining zone while forming another cluster of chairs for casual activities around the fireplace or TV.
7. The conversational lounge
If your living room is large enough, separate areas for conversation and lounging. This creates different focal points and multiple conversation areas, especially for those with big families or frequent visits from friends. Facilitate conversation by pulling the seating closer and place them adjacent or diagonal to each other. Consider sectional sofas as they offer maneuverability and flexible configurations. Don’t forget a coffee table in the middle or small stand by the sides for easy access to drinks and snacks!
In smaller living rooms where activities center in an area, use a collection of petite furniture such as chairs, stools or bean bags, rather than bulkier and rigid sofas. Scaling down helps to open up space. It is also an opportunity to mix and match accents which infuse personality to the space.
8. Feature point
Every living room has a focal point, a pièce de résistance. This could be the fireplace, feature wall, windows or the TV. It sets the foundational design of the room and activities in it. Orientate furnishings around the main feature point to draw attention to the feature. Bonus tip: If your focal point is the window, furnishings should be flush or below the window sill, never above.
9. Start big
Begin by placing the largest furniture (ie sofa) around the most prominent feature in the room (ie feature wall, fireplace). From there add accent pieces such as a coffee table, ottoman or plants. By starting with a statement piece, it helps anchor the room and free up space for other components. It is also easier to move smaller elements around than having to heave bulkier items about.
10. Flexible accents
Use multipurpose accent pieces, such as ottomans, love seats or stools, to increase the flexibility to fit the need or occasion. For example, if there is more seating required or stools doubling up as side tables for drinks. They can also act as extra storage space whilst impressing your mates with its fancy design.
11. Area rug
Area rugs are one of the most underrated pieces of furnishings. Not only does it withstand a whole lot of use, it serves to comfort and add beauty to the room. Area rugs also serve to unify a space and visually pull pieces together. As a general rule, the rug should contain all the pieces of furniture on top. If the rug isn’t big enough, at least the front legs of the main pieces should be on top.
12. Stay lit
Lighting is an instant way to make or break the coziness of your room. More often than not, the light in our rooms is not distributed evenly. For a room to be illuminated effectively at different levels, supplement natural light with ambient (i.e. overhead ceiling lights, chandeliers, sconces) and task lighting (i.e. floor/ table lamps).
13. Right sizing
Have you wondered how some rooms look so effortlessly beautiful? The secret lies in nature and the Fibonacci sequence – the golden ratio of thirds or 60/40. Every room should have a good balance of colors, textures and patterns. This applies to the dimensions of furnishings and how they are arranged.
- Furniture to room: Furniture should take up 60 percent of the room as a whole. More than 60 percent will make the room look over populated, whilst less than 60% leaves it incomplete. Less than 60 percent and your room will feel sparse and incomplete.
- Furniture to accent: The same ratio applies, where the main piece such as the sofa should take up 60% of floor space. The accent coffee table should be 40% the size of the sofa.
- Decorative: Keep the rule consistent with decorative elements such as cushions, plants, and art work. For example, cushions should take up 40% of the sofa space and leave 60% for seating.
There are a lot of different considerations that go into arranging your living room, but we have you covered in this post – from flow to focal point and even golden ratio rules. If you want more information on any home décor or organization topics, let us know here!
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