Furniture Arrangement #1: Form Follows Function

What's wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong with this picture?


People can be so baffled about how to arrange their furniture that they often just give up and line the furniture along the walls.

Though the area now looks like a waiting room, one hopes that it’s at least more spacious looking, if not particularly functional.
This fanciful notion is also known as Room Planning/Fail.

Take heart. An attractive furniture arrangement combining functionality with comfort isn’t out of reach. Good home design has its own logic. A “start from the beginning” approach will pay off.

Your furniture has to do something besides just sit there.  It should have a functional purpose besides the obvious.

Otherwise, without an end result in mind, you’re not accomplishing much besides storage.

Form actually does follows function in this case.  What is the purpose for the area and what would you need for both efficiency and comfort?

Think it through. Let’s say you would love a place to curl up with a good book. A largish upholstered chair is a comfort basic for good reason. Add an ottoman if you are more the “lounge” than “curl” type. Next, a good reading lamp is essential to avoid eyestrain. Standing floor lamps are great for task lighting, without taking up space if you don’t have much. Or consider a lamp on a table. You’ll want at least a small table anyway, for a place to set your drink or anything else you’ll be using while you sit.

Furniture arrangement decoded: This is a classic solution for comfort and convenience.

You have bigger fish to fry. Your living room is often the most important room in the house because of its frequent use and multi-functions. Use the same “think it through” principle as detailed above.  Think first about how the room is to be used. Then think through what’s needed to support those activities.

Create conversation areas worth talking about. Start with the biggest piece, probably the sofa.  Have two chairs flanking or opposing and a coffee table in the middle close enough for everyone to set drinks or food.  A sofa and a love seat at right angles and a chair or two opposite can work as well. Small tables as end pieces can be added.

The primary objective is to create a good looking seating area that allows for comfortable conversation without having to raise your voice or twist to make eye contact.

Keeping the sofa and chairs within eight feet of each other is a good measure.   Allow 14” to 18” between the coffee table and the front of the sofa for easier access. Always have some sort of flat surface handy for this purpose.

Drinks set on floors have a way of becoming future messes to mop up.

A word to the bruised.  Be mindful of any sharp corners on tables in areas people are likely to pass close by and move them from harm’s way. Better yet, use tables with rounded edges or round tables in these areas.

Consider the light fixtures next. Most people tend to under-light their homes by only having a few sources with too high wattage. For the best effect as well as comfort, you want fixtures that will provide good overall lighting, AND lighting that best enhances the types of activities you’ll be doing in that area. Sconces, table lamps and standing floor lamps are all good options.

Think of using the lights in pairs. Why pairs? Because a few pairs in a room help to “ground” the overall scheme. Too many “one-offs” will have your home looking like a clearance sale.

Balance and cohesion are keys to creating your fabulous castle.

Next Time: Furniture Arrangement  #2: Make A Plan

Related Posts

(Furniture Arrangement Three Part Series)

Furniture Arrangement  #2: Make A Plan

Furniture Arrangement #3: How Does This Look?

Article Photo: Jack Lindholm – Decoding Decor Portfolio

Large Article Photo: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interior_design

The original version of this post was published on Hamptons.com. It’s presented here as a foundation for further discussion.
Questions?  Cindy@DecodingDecor.com