5 Tips for Arranging Your Living Room Furniture


Decor is about more than just buying a few items in a particular style and sticking them in a room. It's about creating a room that shows off your design acumen and taste, while being comfortable enough to actually live in.

Knowing how to arrange your furniture, lighting and accessories is the best way to make sure your room is beautiful and livable at the same time. We've covered lighting pretty extensively, so now we're focusing on furniture arrangement. We will cover accessorizing in our next series.

The living room is often one of the first rooms that the aspiring Art Deco or Mid-century Modern aficionado chooses to transform, which is why we're starting with this room. 

1 - Measure twice

It's an old builders' and carpenters' saying: measure twice, cut once. In a nutshell, making 100% sure of your measurements means you won't have problems with sizing later. So before you go out and buy your furniture, measure the room well.

Also, get the measurements of any pieces of furniture you want to buy beforehand, so you can make sure they will fit. 

Top tip: Don't forget, it's not just about making sure everything fits, it's also about making sure there's room to move easily.

2 - Draw it out

Once you have your room's measurements, take a piece of paper or your tablet (or your CAD software if you're that way inclined) and draw out a scale model of the room. Using the measurements of the furniture you got, plan their placement and try a few variations on positions.

Italian Mid-Century Modern Fur Upholstered Bench, circa 1960

Wide enough for comfort, but only half the depth of a similarly wide club chair, this Italian Mid-Century Modern Fur Upholstered Bench is an ideal space-saving extra seat.

Top tip: Get measurements on at least two different furniture sets. This way, if one just doesn't work, you don't have to start all over.

3 - Explore your options

When choosing the furniture for your living room, don't just look at one option. You may have fallen in love with that lovely, plush matching pair of Club chairs, but realistically have room for one sofa instead.

Of course, you might think the sofa is the perfect piece and discover it will disappear in your larger-than-you-thought living room, meaning you need to fill up loads of empty space.

Top tip: Not everything has to match. If you have extra space to fill, find something that complements your existing furniture, but adds a different dimension to the decor.

Italian Midcentury upholstered Club Chairs, circa 1960

This pair of Italian Midcentury upholstered Club Chairs add style and fit into any size living room, as both the main feature and as additional seating.

4 - Make room

I touched on this in point 1, but it bears expanding on. No matter how beautiful and comfortable your furniture is, you don't want to have to climb over it or do the sideways shuffle to get past it every time you need the bathroom.

When you're planning the space, take a full room of people into consideration. If each seat or sofa has someone sitting on it, will the room still feel comfortable, or will it feel cramped?

Top tip: While you have the measuring tape out, measure yourself - how long is your stride? How wide a space do you need to move?

5 - Serving a purpose

Whether you live in a spacious mansion or a two-bedroom walk-up, pointless furniture just clutters the room. Make sure everything in the room has a purpose. Will that set of nested tables get used regularly for guests to put their drinks on? Is that ottoman really going to be used as a footrest or seat?

French Art Deco Macassar Sunburst Coffee Table

At 33.5 inches, this French Art Deco Macassar Sunburst coffee table is large enough for purpose, without crowding a room.

This goes both ways, too. Do you have a coffee table where it's needed, or is your cup relegated to the floor because you chose that extra bench instead of the table?

Top tip: Imagine the room's everyday use as well as when you have several guests. This will help you decide what furniture is essential, what's occasional and what's better left back at the store.

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  • Matthew Pillet
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