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Easy steps to furniture arrangement

You've bought or rented a new home and now you want to arrange the furniture. While it may come natural to some, not everyone has the talent for knowing what goes where. There are a few basic steps to arranging furniture, so grab a tape measure, notepad and pencil and let's take it step-by-step...


Measure up

Before you start piling all your furniture into the room, use a tape measure to determine the width and length of the room. Transfer these dimensions onto a rough sketch.

If you want to take it to the next level, use graph paper and be precise with your measurements. Once you have mapped out the floor space you can measure up all your furniture and cut out the shapes to place them on the layout. I like this idea, as it allows you to move furniture around without any heavy lifting !

It's very important to measure door and hallways before you start carting furniture around. Make sure that larger pieces will fit through doors and can be carried down passages to specific rooms.

Mix it up

While a floor layout diagram is perfect for seeing how everything fits into a room, you also need to look at the height of larger pieces, as these will most definitely be interesting features in a room, or a focal point. Larger objects add visual interest to a room but watch out that they don't take all the attention.

Place large objects so that the flow of the room is not interrupted. If you're not sure, have a friend walk into the room and give their impression of what catches their eye and why.

Create balance

Similarly sized pieces create a harmonius look when placed together in a room setting. A low sectional sofa balances nicely with a low ottoman or coffee table and a low side table and the entire grouping as a whole is well balanced. Put in a high coffee table and the balance may appear out of balance.





Symmetry in arrangement

While a group of items of similar height create a pleasing balance, there is another aspect to balance; symmetry. Symmetry is the act of placing objects to create a mirror image, as you would when placing a table lamp at either end of a sofa, or two chairs at either end of a table.

Using symmetry to place objects within a setting is easy on the eye and comfortable to live with. The items used in a symmetrical design don't have to be the same, but they should be approximately the same height or similar in form and shape.

The bedroom below is the good example of a symmetrical room design. The bed is the central point and on either side of this the placement of furniture and accessories creates a mirror image.

Modern design likes to throw a bit of chaos into design by adding asymmetrical elements into a space. Instead of balancing an arrangement, asymmetry is less contrived, more casual and requires a lot of thought as arrangements should avoid repetition.

The most common use of asymmetry is to use three objects instead of two, or to start with a symmetrical arrangement and then add something else to the mix. In the image below the fireplace is a central feature which is flanked by two similar consoles, but that's where the symmetry in this arrangement ends.

A more casual arrangement is created by adding accessories that take this arrangement from being a mirror image - a contrived and carefully placed setting - to one that is more comfortable.

Artist's canvas

When arranging furniture and accessories in a room, stand back and view the space as you would view a piece of art. Look at it from all angles; how it looks as you enter the room and from different angles. Sometimes a bit of tweaking here and there can make all the difference.

Conversation pieces

Every room in a home is designed in consideration with its use. For example, a living room is designed to allow for conversation or for comfortably watching movies or TV, while a dining room is arranged for dining and entertaining.

When arranging furniture, take into consideration all elements for use of the space and allow for this in the layout. A dining room should not only allow plenty of space for dining, but also space to be able to pull out chairs or walk around the seating area.

In a living room you can set furniture for easy conversation or relaxing in front of the TV or, in a large room you can allow for both.

There are other elements of furniture arrangement in interior design, but if you focus on the basic steps above and make adjustments where necessary, your living spaces will be well laid out.