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Rules for Arranging Your Furniture

Getting your home to look good is hard. There are so many decisions to make, and you have a million choices of what to do with your furniture. While most of it is ultimately up to your particular preferences and taste, there are some simple rules for arranging your furniture that make things a lot better and easier.

Get to know the layout

  • Make sure it fits: This is the one rule that you can’t break. Measure every part of the room to know just how much space you have. If it literally cannot fit in the room or space you want to use, there’s nothing you can do. It’s just physics. Physics has no patience for your personal taste.
  • Find a focal point in the room: If the room has a large window, a fireplace, or any other obvious spot to build things around, it’s clear what you need to do. Even if it’s not obvious, picking a particular point to build the room around will help to make the particular placement of furniture much easier.

Keep practicality in mind

  • Make sure everything has a purpose: While you want things to look good, you also have to use the furniture for something. Just looking good can be a reason to have something, but if it starts to get in the way or causes problems, it’s probably not worth keeping.
  • Don’t block views or traffic lanes: It may take some time to know specifically where these are, but you don’t want furniture getting in the way. Make sure that you’re able to walk from one room to another without difficulty and that a piece of furniture isn’t blocking your view of the next room.
  • Have a table within range of all seats: This is necessary, if only so that everyone has a place to set their drink. You don’t want guests awkwardly holding things because they have nowhere to set it down, do you?
  • Arrange seating to make conversation easy: When people are visiting, you want to be able to talk to them. Setting things up so that everyone is facing each other and can easily hold a conversation is key, so make sure that all seats either are already facing each other or can easily be moved to do so.

The little things

  • Pay a lot of attention to lighting: It’s easy to relegate lighting to an afterthought, but it’s one of the most important parts of making a room look good. Make sure you have options - a table lamp, floor lamp, and overhead light in each room is good for giving you flexibility in how to light the room. Any natural light is also going to be a big help.
  • Area rugs help a lot: They make the floor look more interesting, help protect hardwood floors, and act to frame your furniture choices. Area rugs are an obviously good idea.
  • Use wall decorations: Some blank walls are good, but you don’t want them to be completely bare. Artwork can help add personality, or mirrors can make the room feel more open.
  • Keep the room balanced: You don’t want the room to be lopsided. While perfect balance is impossible, keeping one side from having too much will keep the room looking much better.
  • Keep space between the walls and furniture: You’d think you want things up against the wall, but that actually makes it feel more cramped. A few inches between furniture and the wall makes it feel like you have room to spare and makes it much easier to clean behind them.

When to break the rules

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment: The feeling of having finished a room can be intoxicating. You’re done arranging things, so just leave them as it is. But you don’t have to just leave things where you put them first - moving them around can change the feeling of a room. If it’s worse, you can always put it back. Try breaking one of these rules, and see if you like it more that way.
  • The rules apply less to your personal spaces: Your space is your own. If it works for you personally, throw all the rules out. Keep that window closed all the time and build the room around the wall where you put your desk. Whatever helps you feel most at home in your own space is the best thing to do there. If these rules make you cringe, that’s what your space is for.

With these simple rules in place, go forth and explore. Arranging your furniture should be fun, and these rules should help you guide it.

Categories: Renters

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About the Author

Rebecca Green is a content editor and writer for RentPath. She enjoys interior design, dogs and can tell you where to find the best pizza in Brooklyn. You can see some of her other published work on Apartment Guide and rent.com