27 No-Fail Tricks for Arranging Furniture in Every Room

neutral living room white fireplace
Photo: Erin Kunkel

Arranging furniture can be a daunting design decision, but the layout is crucial to a room's comfort and function. These common scenarios will teach you the basics of furniture arranging so you can maximize every space. Learn how to arrange furniture in living rooms, bedrooms, dining areas, and more with these tricks.

01 of 27

How to Arrange Furniture

white a frame living room
Edmund Barr

No matter if your rooms are big or small, having the right furniture arrangement will make them more enjoyable. Check out our layout examples, plus tricks for living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. Knowing how to arrange furniture can help you navigate how a room will be used.

02 of 27

Furniture Arrangement with a Focal Point

layered red rugs in living room sitting area near fireplace
David Tsay

If you're not sure how to arrange furniture in a living room, orient seating so it takes advantage of whatever view your room has to offer, whether that's a TV or a bank of windows. To create your own focal point, hang a large piece of art on a wall or create a vignette of favorite objects on a console or bookshelf. If you can't decide between arranging the furniture around the fireplace or the TV, choose both and mount the TV above the fireplace.

03 of 27

Family Room Furniture Arrangements with Storage

Living room with white shelving and TV
David Tsay

Family rooms are often storage hubs, so a good furniture arrangement makes room for cabinets, drop zones, and drawers. Consider freestanding pieces in a smaller room and wall-to-wall built-ins in a larger room. Make sure to include some storage near the TV for media items.

04 of 27

Symmetrical Living Room Furniture Arrangement

living room arrangement illustration
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

When arranging living room furniture, be sure to leave room for traffic and an entry drop spot. For a symmetrical layout, position key seating pieces near the fireplace and arrange them facing each other. Use end tables as landing spaces on both ends of the sofa. Pair chairs to balance the visual weight of the sofa and to maximize seating. The living room furniture arrangement provides plenty of space for visiting guests but still feels cozy when it's only you and your family.

05 of 27

Floating Furniture Arrangement

multiple seating areas illustration
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

If you have no free walls and a centered fireplace, float seating in the center of a room. Face chairs and the sofa toward each other to encourage conversation. Anchor the furniture grouping with a rug and a large coffee table. Frame the space with additional seating and cabinets for storage, positioned around the perimeter of the room. Arranging furniture around a fireplace, especially in the winter, makes your living room feel inviting and cozy.

06 of 27

Living Room Furniture Arrangement for Conversation

living room furniture fireplace stairs
Adam Albright

A furniture arrangement that encourages conversation is ideal for rooms where you frequently entertain or relax with friends and family. For face-to-face chats, place seating no more than 8 feet apart. In a large living room, use furniture to create comfortable islands. Face two sofas in the center of a room, and place a group of chairs and side tables at one end to create a separate conversation area.

07 of 27

Furniture Arrangements for Small Living Rooms

Arranging any furniture is challenging, but it can be even harder to learn how to arrange living room furniture in a small space. Whether your living room is boxy or long and narrow, these small-space furniture arranging tricks work especially well in tight quarters. Watch and see how you can create a practical and comfortable small living room furniture arrangement.

08 of 27

Dimensions for Living Room Furniture Arrangements

Living area brick fireplace
Edmund Barr

One of the secrets to learning how to arrange furniture is making sure you leave enough space between pieces. Allow 30 inches between furniture that you need to be able to walk around, and maintain 14 to 18 inches between a coffee table and sofa so drinks are within reaching distance. This rule still applies when planning a large living room furniture arrangement, because if a piece of furniture is too far away, it might look like it's floating in the room without purpose.

09 of 27

Furniture Arranging Ideas for Accent Tables

living room sliding doors
John Bessler

The key to a good furniture arrangement is in details like side tables and coffee tables. Consider your room size and furniture arrangement when choosing the right coffee table. Use round pedestal tables as side tables between chairs and sofas. The curves of round tables make them easier to navigate around. When space is tight, use nesting tables for flexible use when needed.

10 of 27

How to Arrange Living Room Furniture Around Lighting

Eclectic style abstract living room
Ryann Ford

A key factor in the overall mood of your room, lighting plays a big part when planning how to arrange living room furniture. Windows let in ample natural light, while chandeliers, sconces, and lamps keep the room bright at night. Arrange living room furniture near light sources to allow ample brightness for reading, conversation, and more. Improve lighting by installing in-floor electrical outlets to service floating furniture arrangements.

11 of 27

Furniture Arranging Ideas for Irregular Rooms

living room floor plan
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

In an irregular room with one wide traffic lane, consider using the perimeter of the room for a computer desk and storage console. Choose chairs with casters so they're easy to move. Float the furniture to focus on the fireplace and the television. Ensure that the living room furniture is arranged near both the corner fireplace and television.

12 of 27

TV Room Furniture Arrangements

neutral living room white fireplace
Erin Kunkel

When deciding how to arrange living room furniture with a TV, prioritize comfort and accessibility. Place the television so the screen faces away from the sunlight. The viewing distance for a standard TV is 8 to 12 feet, and the best viewing angle is not more than 30 degrees. For traffic flow, create paths that flow behind viewers and not between them and the screen.

13 of 27

Bedroom Furniture Arranging Tips

bedroom metal post bed
Laura Moss

When planning a furniture arrangement for the bedroom, consider the size of your bed. Allow at least 2 feet on either side to allow for space to make the bed. Avoid placing the bed within 3 feet of the door; otherwise, the bed becomes a roadblock.

14 of 27

Furniture Arranging Ideas for Beds

bedroom butterfly portrait pillows
Joyelle West

It's possible to use a larger bed when arranging a small bedroom if you don't need a lot of storage furniture. Beyond the bed's placement, you should also consider the visual weight of your headboard. If the bed is slightly large for the room, opt for a visually lighter headboard, such as one that features metal scrollwork. A solid headboard consumes more visual space, and taller, heavier headboards work best in bigger bedrooms or bedrooms with tall ceilings.

15 of 27

Comfortable Bedroom Furniture Arrangement

bedroom fur rug blue bedspread
Edmund Barr

To arrange a small bedroom with big furniture, you'll have to share a little. For an extra cozy space, place a bench at the foot of the bed or a small-scale armchair in a corner for bedroom seating. Consider placing a chair next to a bedside table, which can be shared by the chair and bed. If there isn't room next to the nightstand, pair the chair with a small garden stool, which will serve as a small table without occupying much space.

16 of 27

Bedroom Furniture Arrangement with Windows

master bedroom layout illustration
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

When arranging bedroom furniture in a long and narrow space, face the bed toward the window to make the most of the view. Include a desk or dressing table, chair, and mirror opposite the doorway. Place a bench or a pair of stools at the end of the bed for seating. Flank the bed with nightstands or nestle the bed into a built-in storage unit that includes two cabinet towers and a cabinet that bridges the head of the bed to create an alcove.

17 of 27

Square Bedroom Furniture Arrangement Ideas

symmetrical bedroom layout
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

Determine how to arrange bedroom furniture to get the most of your personal space. In a square bedroom, designate the bed as the focal point so the room feels grounded. Stretch storage up the wall with a freestanding armoire. Pair matching small-scale dressers to use as nightstands. Position the bed on an oversize rug that extends at least 2 feet on either side and at the foot of the bed.

18 of 27

Creative Bedroom Furniture Arranging Ideas

bedroom gold violet colors
Robert Brinson

Don't be afraid to give your bed a slightly unusual placement, such as in front of a window, if it will help you maximize space. Every space is a little bit different, so it's important to play around with arranging bedroom furniture until you find the optimal layout. In this small bedroom, two stools sit at the foot of the bed instead of a large bench, which would take up too much space in the traffic flow.

19 of 27

Small Bedroom Furniture Arrangement

nightstand black white bedroom
David A Land

In a small bedroom, use fewer furniture pieces of a slightly larger scale to maximize floor space. Opt for tall pieces, such as an armoire, that add volume in a smaller footprint. A small bedroom furniture arrangement should be planned with the essentials in mind first, and then add extras, such as a bench or desk, as they fit.

20 of 27

How to Arrange Dining Room Furniture

dining room with wooden table
Kim Cornelison

Consider how you use your dining room, such as for family-style meals or buffet-style serving, to determine the ideal furniture arrangement. Make furniture choices that support your needs, and place furniture in a room-appropriate layout. If, for example, you prefer buffet-style serving, a dining room furniture arrangement with plenty of walking space in-between the chairs and the buffet table is necessary.

21 of 27

Furniture Arranging Ideas for Dining Tables

dining room table
Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography LLC

Circular tables with pedestal bases let diners easily see everyone at the table and are suitable for tight dining spaces or square rooms. Rectangular tables limit seating, but they work well in rectangular dining rooms and come in a variety of lengths and widths. Oval tables with added leaves also work well in rectangular dining rooms and offer flexibility by adapting to small gatherings or large.

22 of 27

Furniture Arranging Ideas for Rectangular Dining Room

dining room layout illustration
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

In a rectangular dining space with no free walls, mix furniture pieces like chairs, benches, and settees for an eclectic look. For the best dining room furniture arrangement, duplicate the room shape with the shape of the table to maximize seating. For example, a rectangular table with the same proportions as the dining room will make the most of the space. Include storage, such as cabinets or bookcases, on the perimeter. Define the dining space with a rug that contrasts with the flooring.

23 of 27

Large Dining Room Furniture Arrangement

dining room floor plan illustration
Illustration by Ann Mackey Weiss

In an oversized dining space, opt for a table that preserves open space for other uses. For example, don't buy a huge table with seating for 20 when you'll only ever need seating for 12. Add storage that will accommodate all the activities that take place in the room. When choosing chairs, select models that can also easily be brought up to the table for extra dining seating. Anchor the secondary seating areas with lamps and occasional tables. A good living room/dining room combo furniture arrangement looks natural and allows for meals and entertainment to coexist seamlessly.

24 of 27

Dining Room Furniture Arranging Tips

dining room wood table
John Bessler

For an optimal dining room furniture arrangement, be sure to allow a minimum of 36 inches from the table to the wall on all sides. Position the table so traffic flows smoothly around it and chairs have plenty of space to slide out. If space allows, you can even slip a sofa along a wall in your dining room for more casual conversation post-dinner.

25 of 27

Measurements for Dining Room Furniture Arranging

wood dining table black chairs
David Tsay

When determining how many chairs you can fit around your table, allow for a width of 20 to 24 inches and a depth of 15 inches per place setting. You should also plan to leave at least 6 inches between chairs. This furniture arranging tip will keep guests comfortable and not too close.

26 of 27

Functional Dining Room Furniture Arrangement

dining room sliding barn door
Greg Scheidemann

Make the most of your dining room furniture arrangement with a wall of shelves that can provide multi-purpose storage. Store essentials for the dining room's alternative uses, such as office supplies, games, and crafts, or dining extras such as china, linens, and barware. If you don't want the contents of the cubbies showing, string a curtain across the front of the shelving system or install a sliding barn door.

27 of 27

Dining Room Furniture Arranging with Light Fixtures

dining table white rattan stools
Kim Cornelison

Choose and place lighting that adapts to the room's functions. For example, hang the chandelier with extra cord length so it can be adjusted for homework or dining. Use dimmer switches, lamps, and sconces to set the mood for the occasion.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles