How to Arrange Furniture: 10 Essential Tips for Beginners

furniture in a living room

When it comes to the interior design of your home, there are many things to take into consideration. From focal points and accent walls to the principles of feng shui, it can be overwhelming to translate your personal style to functional spaces. Deciding how to arrange furniture with a layout in mind is the first step to creating a cohesive environment that reflects your personal tastes.

The guide below on how to arrange furniture includes layout ideas for a variety of rooms and spaces. Whether you’re looking to rearrange your furniture for a quick refresh or a way to showcase a new statement piece, keeping these essential tips in mind will help you set the tone for the perfect living space. Read on to learn more about furniture arrangement and proper room layout.

How to Arrange Furniture: Layout Ideas

Furniture arrangement will depend on the size, design, and the natural lighting of any room. Read on for more specific furniture arrangement ideas, including living room and bedroom layout ideas.

Living Room Layout Ideas

how to arrange furniture long and narrow

  • Keep walkable space between furniture pieces.
  • Create room at the entryway with a long bench that will also serve as a drop-off spot for purses, shoes, etc.
  • Set up seating around the fireplace or another focal point of the room so it’s visually balanced.

how to arrange furniture large living room

  • In a large living room with lots of windows, arrange furniture front and center.
  • Seating arrangements should face each other, no more than 8 feet apart, encouraging conversation.
  • Anchor the seating with a large area rug.
  • Tuck extra seating and storage around the outskirts of the living room close to the walls.

how to arrange furniture small living room

  • For small living rooms, add visual height to the design by incorporating taller pieces.
  • Offset coffee tables and centerpieces to open up room in the walkway.
  • Pair shelving units tucked into either side of the mantle for extra storage.
  • Decorate with mirrors to make the space appear larger.

Bedroom Layout Ideas

how to arrange furniture window facing bedroom

  • Place the bed facing the window as far from the door as possible.
  • A large area rug will make the space feel cozy and add an extra design element.
  • Include a desk or vintage dressing table and mirror directly across from the doorway.
  • Nightstands the same height as your bed and on either side will balance the room.
  • Place a bench at the end of the bed for extra seating.

how to arrange furniture in a square room

  • The bed should be the focal point of a square layout anchored with an area rug.
  • A tall, long storage piece like an armoire will add height to the room.
  • Less furniture will help to maximize the space, so play around until you discover an optimal layout.

how to arrange furniture small room

  • Place the bed along the room’s largest wall.
  • Add a dresser directly across from the bed. This is a great place for your media center.
  • Use small freestanding furniture like a stool for extra seating in a small room.
  • Don’t forget to consider the location of wall outlets in the room—this will impact your furniture arrangement.
  • Prioritize functionality.

Now that you have recommended furniture arrangements for specific types of rooms, take a look at a few important tips to incorporate as you’re designing.

How to Arrange Furniture: 10 Rules

Use the following rules for how to arrange furniture to create spaces that are just as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing.

how to arrange furniture 01
Take measurements

Measure the room, making note of the length and width of the space from wall to wall. It’s important to know the size of the space you are working with in order to pick appropriately-sized pieces. Having a scaled floor plan, even if it’s hand drawn, will assure you won’t select furniture that’s too large for the space and that the relationship of the items in the room are balanced. Use the floor plan to sketch in certain furniture items and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s much easier to make changes on paper rather than to move heavy furniture around multiple times once it’s in place.

how to arrange furniture 02
Pick a focal point

Is there a certain decorative art piece or an element of the room that you’d like to highlight in the space you’re designing like a window, mantle, media center, or fireplace? Once you’ve decided what the focus of the space is, you can arrange the furniture around it. Make note of practical things that might affect your furniture placement, including viewing distance and conversation areas.

how to arrange furniture 03
Create conversation areas

This is especially important for living and family rooms, where the way you arrange your furniture will decide how you’ll live in it. Orient the seating to face the focal point of the room. Sofas and chairs should face each other and be no more than 8 feet apart. Avoid pushing your furniture up against the walls if you can, as this tends to make spaces feel more cramped. Keep in mind that your guests should be able to make conversation without shouting. If you’re working to design a large room, create multiple conversation areas. Balance is also an important part of arranging your furniture. For example, if you add a sofa to one area of the room, balance out the seating with two chairs across from it. This not only makes the room more visually appealing, but also more practical.

Arrange tables and storage cabinets so they are accessible

After you’ve decided on the focal point and set up the seating area, place the tables and storage cabinets. While you’re arranging these pieces, keep in mind what they’re used for. Side tables and coffee tables should be at arm’s reach so that they can easily be used, and ensure that anything with cabinets and drawers is given enough space to open fully without hitting into other pieces in the room.

how to arrange furniture 05
Think about visual balance

When it comes to any type of interior design, balance is an important aspect. Size and placement of certain pieces will be the most important part of achieving a uniform layout. Avoid clustering all of the large furniture pieces together and be sure to vary shapes, sizes, and textures of furniture in the room to keep it balanced.

how to arrange furniture 06
Consider traffic flow

You’ll want to ensure that the space you design is as functional as it is impressive. Allow at least 30 inches between furniture pieces so that guests can easily move around them. In smaller spaces, consider nesting tables or furniture that fold up to create extra space while not in use. Regardless of the room you are designing, there should be a clear walking path from one side to the other.

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Choose your area rug wisely

An area rug is great for anchoring your furniture and adding some extra texture to a space. It’s important that you select a rug that is the right size so that it doesn’t throw off the scale of your furniture. As a rule of thumb, your rug should be centered around the seating arrangement with the front legs of large furniture pieces sitting on top of it. If you’re looking for more detailed tips, take a peek at 8 Rug Placement Tips for the Perfect Space.

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Use the right sized wall art

Art can tie a room together in bold and exciting ways. One trick to make any room seem larger is to use the right size wall art for the space. Any artwork that is hung should be approximately two thirds the length of the largest furniture piece. If the piece you want to hang isn’t large enough, you can create a gallery wall or consider framing the piece of art with matting so it appears larger.

how to arrange furniture 09
Add lighting elements

Make sure that your space has lighting with both practical and aesthetic value. While windows will make for a great source of natural light, using a mix of both overhead, floor and table lamps will assure a well-lit room. Spot lighting is also a great way to emphasize fine art pieces like sculptures, antiques, or decorative arts you are interested in highlighting.

how to arrange furniture 10
Incorporate your personal style

This is the last rule, but likely the most important. No matter what space you are designing, make a point to incorporate your personal style. Before you start out, specify the look you want to achieve. Whether you’re working with a creative professional or arranging the space on your own, being sure of what you want will only make it easier to achieve. If you’re not exactly sure if you prefer your space to nod to mid-century modern or embody a bohemian style, browse our guide to interior design terms to get a better feel of what you like. Be your own curator of design, taste, and style.

Once you have the basic furniture arrangement set up, it’s time to elevate your interior style with decorative art and one-of-a-kind collectibles. Whether you’re looking to achieve a farmhouse style or something more mid-century modern, you can do so with only a few pieces that work together to complement any space.

Find the complete guide on how to arrange furniture below. Download, share or save for a later project.

how to arrange furniture