20 Common Furniture-Arranging Mistakes That Could Be Sabotaging Your Space
Mistake: Out-of-Scale Furniture
The dimensions of your furniture should relate to the size of your room. A huge sectional can easily overwhelm a small living space, while a skinny loveseat might look dwarfish in a room with soaring vaulted ceilings. Scale the furniture size up or down depending on your room constraints to ensure the look is proportional.
Mistake: Using Too Much Furniture
Less is more when it comes to furniture arranging, especially in small spaces. Trying to cram in too many furnishings can quickly overrun a small living room, making it feel crowded and chaotic. Instead, choose a handful of quality, low-profile pieces that will fill the area while leaving plenty of open space in between items.
Mistake: Not Adjusting for Height
When arranging living room furniture, keep in mind that the accent table sizes should correspond to the height of your sofa. Coffee tables, for example, should reach about the same level as the top of the couch cushions. For end tables, base the ideal height on the sofa arms so items on the table are easy to access. This will help you create a balanced furniture arrangement that's convenient for everyday use.
Mistake: Wallflower Furniture
Your room might feel bigger with all the furniture pushed up against the wall, but if you find yourself having to shout across the room to have a conversation, it might be time to rearrange. In this living room, the sofa "floats" in the middle of the room, but it's closer to the fireplace and the chairs, which creates a cozy conversation area. Intentional furniture placement like this can help define how a room is used and function better for your needs.
Mistake: Beds that Partially Block a Window
A bed that peeks over a window frame looks odd from the street and can lead to uneven fabric fading. But what if it's the only available spot for your bed? Make it look better with these furniture arrangement tricks: Hang floor-length curtain panels that fall behind the headboard and block the back of the headboard from the window. Alternatively, install top-down, bottom-up shades, which will allow light to come in but provide a backdrop for the protruding headboard edges. If your style is modern, go with a platform bed with a headboard that's low enough to fit beneath the window trim. You can also install an entire wall of curtains as a fabric backdrop.
Mistake: Eschewing Smaller Furniture
Furniture doesn't have to be oversize to serve a purpose. Large pieces can quickly overtake a space, so don't ignore smaller settees, slimmer console tables, and petite end tables as contenders for your rooms. A bulky sofa can often go only one place in a room, but a smaller version can be flexible enough to fit multiple places, so you have flexibility when planning your furniture arrangement.
Mistake: The Bowling-Alley Effect
Long, narrow rooms present a challenge for furniture arranging. To play up this awkward space to your advantage, divide the room into zones. Arrange the conversation area in one zone, and place a desk along the back of the sofa to create a work zone. A small table and chairs in the area behind the sofa can be used for doing homework or playing games. You can also place two small chairs and a side table along the back of the sofa for a smaller secondary seating area.
Mistake: Poor Rug Placement
A lot of people make mistakes when choosing the right rug for their living room or bedroom. Ideally, all legs of your furniture should be on the area rug. If that isn't possible, aim to have the front legs of the furniture placed on the rug, or consider layering rugs for a modern look.
Mistake: Foregoing Zoning
In large, open rooms, bring order by establishing zones for different activities. Designate a seating arrangement for conversations or TV-watching and a work area with a desk or table for homework, paperwork, and art projects, for example. Set up your space according to your needs, rather than the labels a builder might have assigned. Once you learn how to arrange furniture in ways that are outside of the box, you can open up new opportunities for using the space.
Mistake: Not Considering Space Constraints
Let's face it: Your small living room likely won't grow an extra 50 square feet overnight. The sooner you figure out how to work with what you have, the sooner you'll arrive at a small living room furniture arrangement that works. Take a few tricks from these living rooms to get some ideas for your space.
Mistake: Sticking to Conventions
Adhering to conventional design ideas is usually a good idea, but occasionally a furniture arrangement shake-up is in order. For example, an oblong dining table previously sat squarely in the middle of this room, leaving space for little else. Flipping it sideways and scooting it to the end of the room left space for storage and streamlined traffic flow. Now nestled up against the cushioned bench, this family can enjoy mornings from their new kitchen banquette.
Mistake: Not Emphasizing Convenience
Think about what activities will take place in the room, then determine how to arrange living room furniture to encourage the experiences you want. Having coffee tables and side tables within reach of all seats for drinks puts convenience at the forefront. Sofas and chairs facing each other emphasize conversations, leaving the television in the background.
Mistake: Off-Balance Rooms
Shoving the living room furniture to one side of the room is like a seesaw with only one person. But achieving balance doesn't mean you have to go completely symmetrical. A love seat on one end of an arrangement can be balanced by two chairs on the other end, for example.
Mistake: Wrong Starting Point
A general rule of thumb for arranging your bedroom: Start with the bed placement. It's the most important furniture piece in the space. Watch and see more ways to get your bedroom furniture arrangement right.
Mistake: Ignoring Traffic Flow
In addition to thinking about how furniture pieces relate to one another and the room, you'll want to think about the traffic flow. Consider how people enter, exit, and navigate the room. For living room furniture arrangments, make sure people can easily get in and out of the seating grouping without having to awkwardly tango around a side table, for example. If your room has several entries and exits, plan a clear path between these points, such as between an archway that leads from the kitchen to the living room and patio doors. Think about how to arrange living room furniture to make the most of your space while not getting in the way.
Mistake: Forgetting to Get Situational
Think through how the space needs to operate on a daily basis when arranging furniture. Yes, you might be able to walk between the dresser and the bed, but what happens when you open the drawer to get your clothes out in the morning? Try to plan a small bedroom furniture arrangement so that you can comfortably open drawers and doors without having to step aside.
Mistake: Thinking Single-Function
When arranging and selecting furniture, consider all the activities your living room will see and plan accordingly. If you're short on space, look to versatile furnishings that can be used in a variety of ways. A pair of stools, for example, can be used as extra seating when you're hosting a large group of people or moved around the conversation area to be used as end tables during a cocktail party.
Mistake: Off-Center Light Fixtures
To create a balanced look, arrange your dining room furniture so that it's centered around the room's light fixture or chandelier. If your current light doesn't sit right, hire a professional to relocate your dining room light fixture over the table. For a quicker DIY fix, you can also hang swag a light fixture that has a chain.
Mistake: Exposed Furniture Backs
Nothing makes a room fall flat like a bad first impression. So if the first thing you see when you walk into a room is the ugly or plain back on a piece of furniture, rethink your furniture arrangement. Tuck a chair with a pretty front but a bad back into a corner. Or give reupholstering a go and cover the chair back in an eye-catching patterned fabric.
Mistake: Uninspired View
Your main seating piece should have a focal point, whether it's a window, a fireplace, or an archway/opening into another room. Arranging furniture around a fireplace or a TV are the most popular options. If the only logical place for your sofa faces a blank wall, the remedy is easy: Fill the wall with a bookcase and curate an attractive display of books and accessories, or stage a gallery wall. For extra interest, place a console table below your art arrangement.