Have you ever visited a friend’s flat only to get taken aback by the awkward furniture arrangement? Or is it your own place that feels somewhat cramped or anonymous and bare?
Then, maybe, you should consider rearranging your furnishings to optimise space, enhance functionality and bring up that homely feel your place has been lacking.
But where to start?
And what should you keep in mind when you get things moving?
1. Find the right balance
We have to clear up one thing here. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean symmetry. So don’t get the tape measure out to calculate distances and jot down the exact space measurement between the wall and the sofa in inches. Instead, place feature pieces in such a way that they naturally correspond to each other.
Just picture your two comfy armchairs, positioned strategically askew in the two corners of the narrow side of your living room, separated by an ellipse coffee table. Or you could move your settee closer to the fireplace and get off the conventional path of “gluing” all your furniture to the wall. This way, you will immediately achieve a cosier feel, a floating look and better functionality.
After all, who wants to relax in a sitting area that resembles a dentist’s waiting room?
Avoid grouping together ill-matched furniture, such as wooden chairs, positioned opposite a futon bed, for instance. Promote conversation by creating intimate seating areas, so verbal exchange between people is comfortably audible.
2. Embrace the concept of zoning
The idea works for large open-space rooms, which can accommodate more than just the essentials. Experiment and create several designated areas for different activities.
So, you could concoct a compact home office next to the TV-watching zone by using the sofa as a convenient partition. Another idea is to set up a separate dining area in your living room instead of having lap meals in front of the TV. The options for utilising your large living space are vast, so be adventurous and try out different scenarios like a bar perhaps, based on your lifestyle and family needs.
Ensure that you begin your interior rearrangement by determining the right starting point. It’s simply much easier to find a good spot for the large furniture first and float around the smaller pieces to form separate activity zones.
3. Work with the space you have
So, your flat is on the small side?
Then, considering space limitations is a key to achieving comfort and good function, without compromising aesthetics. This means that you need to reevaluate your interior design taste and style. Do you really need all these overly decorative features in a small room? In other words, simplicity and essentiality are the leading concepts that you should follow, in order to accomplish a clean and functional look for your room.
For instance, you can say goodbye to floor lamps that take up space and install a few wall-mounted light fixtures. You can also consider replacing the two small coffee tables with one if you reconfigure the seating arrangement.
Think out of the box and swap rooms if you need to. You don’t have to feel constrained by convention and do exactly what “it says on the label”. So, why not move your narrow living room into the large master bedroom? After all, you fall asleep every night without fail. So, is your bedroom size that important?
4. Are you forgetting functionality?
Do you always risk bumping your head in the bottom bookshelf every time you want to get up from the sofa? Or how many times you ask visitors to mind the step when they move their chairs to leave the dinner table?
Ensure that furniture is arranged in a way that is functional and comfortable to use.
Use space in a smart fashion and place the furniture to fit every situation. This means that you shouldn’t have to ask your guests to move when you need to reach for the napkins in the kitchen drawer.
5. Discover multi-function
Multifunctional pieces of furniture or interior features can make daily life a breeze. Scrap the heavy ironing board and de-wrinkle your laundry on the breakfast bar table, once the kids have gone to school. These are rather rare but if you own an antique cabinet with a fall down door, you can use it as a coffee table if you place a couple of armchairs on each side of the unit.
Another great option is using flat pack furniture. Ready-to-assembled units offer a wide range of customisable solutions, more popular as hacks. “An experienced flat pack assembler could offer tens of solutions for hacking a simple unit like a wardrobe, bunk bed, kitchen set and etc.” - Dmtro Kara / Ikea flat pack assembler (London)
You don’t have to improvise by repurposing your furniture. The market is inundated with clever multifunctional furniture designs that can suit your individual needs.
6. What’s wrong with small sized furniture?
Nothing! Smaller pieces have versatility and offer more functional and flexible interior design solutions. For example, a large oversized bookcase can fit on one wall only, whereas two or three smaller units can be positioned differently to create more space and improve style.
“Also, small-size furniture naturally sets off comfort and functionality in smaller rooms, which is a great way to improve the overall look and feel of a property, especially prior a sale. So, if you are restricted with space and you want the best deal, try to eschew large and bulky furniture pieces.” - M. Whitman / Accelerate Homes (UK)
Play with focal points! You don’t necessarily need a wall-size mirror in a small living room when you can cleverly reflect the room with two smaller ones.
7. Show that you care about traffic
Rooms with multiple entries should be furnished with traffic flow in mind. Avoid placing a large piece or a seating grouping where they may obstruct free movement. Leave enough space between the sofa and the coffee table, so people can pass through without knocking a glass or stepping on someone’s foot.
Takeaway: Make sure that traffic flows naturally throughout the room. People should also navigate in between rooms in a smooth and unobstructed manner. If zigzagging is the only way, something’s wrong with your furniture arrangement.
8. Comfort is a key
Who would be happy to endure an entire movie on an uncomfortable settee?
Add some cushions to your main seating furniture to ensure comfort and pleasant relaxation. Also, think convenience by avoiding furniture arrangements of awkwardly positioned pieces. There is nothing more unthoughtful than making people stretch, lean or get up every time they need to reach for their drink.
Style and design do not have to be at the expense of comfort. If people get a neck pain every time they watch a programme on your TV, then it is likely that the set has not been installed at the right height.
9. Consider room shape
Venture with angles when arranging furniture in spacious square rooms. Placing large pieces diagonally achieves a floating feel and helps direct the eye towards other focal points in the room. But if your living room is long and narrow, stay away from positioning furniture askew. This way, you will prevent the room from looking cluttered and overly furnished. Instead, ensure simplicity by utilising space through existing features.
For instance, place a narrow bookcase next to the protruding corner to keep things aligned. Or furnish the small alcove with a wall light and move the floor lamp to a different room.
Long rooms that fall on the dysfunctional side can be easily split into two rooms. Whether you use a physical partition like a screen divider, such as a bookcase or you showcase their different roles through the type of furniture you fit in each section, you can have two well-functioning zones that suit a specific activity or pastime.
10. Think inspired view
Reconsider your furniture arrangement if the result is a bare, ugly or blocked view. If you are not an art lover, install a large mirror on the blank white wall. Hide the slightly ripped and unaesthetically looking back of your sofa by moving the piece, so the back faces the wall.
Open up the room by moving furniture, which partially blocks the window. Allow more natural light in the room and enjoy the view. And furniture backs don’t look great from the outside, either!
You may be used to the way things are at home but a visitor will notice everything that is “off” with the room. So, ensure to make that first impression!
11. It’s all in the small detail
Accentuate specific features by placing them in view, whether it is a pretty vase, a modern sculpture or a colourful fruit bowl. Also, you may not have noticed that two of the dining chairs are not placed on the rug but your guest may well do. Or why not align properly the slightly tilted painting on the wall, so you can emphasise its artistic quality?
Detail matters. It’s simple as that!
12. Good lighting is your friend
Lighting is important in every interior design project. If planned carefully, it can expand a room or change its ambience.You can also use lighting to complement your furniture arrangement or bring out a specific focal point in the room. With the right positioning of light fixtures and lamps, you can enhance your interior and achieve a particular look and style.
You don’t necessarily have to follow the existing light fittings when you rearrange your furniture. For instance, you can easily resort to professional assistance, in order to move off-centre light fixtures. By relocating the light over the table, you will be able to light up your dining area without having to fit the furniture grouping in an ill-suited place.
Always consider the scale and proportion of your furniture pieces, as well as the room’s size and shape. This will help you arrange your furniture in the most comfortable, functional and aesthetic way that fits your personal style and matches your preferences.
The key is to experiment and try out different ideas. So, don’t be afraid and go for it!
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