Where you place your furniture in a room will instantly set the tone for how you’ll live in that room. Here are seven must-know tips for arranging spaces.
1. Get Out the Tape Measure. The first step in arranging a space is determining its size. Use a tape measure, or measure your foot then walk heel to toe across the room to estimate the basic size. Then check the dimensions of the hallways, stairs and door widths leading to the space to ensure the entrance and egress of the room are large enough for potential purchases.
2. Mix Furnishings of Various Sizes. To add visual interest to a room, use a variety of furniture with different characteristics. For a serene area, keep the furnishing volumes in a room similar. For an energetic space, use various volumes such as a large sectional with small armchairs and side tables.
3. Use Scales Pieces to Create Balance. The size of pieces relative to one another and the size of the space is their scale. Similarly scales pieces are serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates a harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the differing physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout a room.
4. Form a Healthy Relationship. The relationship of items to one another to form a pleasing whole is called balance, which comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical. To obtain an asymmetrical imbalance, place two candles of slightly different sizes next to one another. Symmetry gives a restful feeling, while asymmetry is used to add visual motion and excitement.
5. Use an Artist’s Perspective. Look at your space as a painter looks at a work of art. Use visual tricks to create the appearance of depth in a space. One trick is “triangulation”, which in interior design is the placement of two end tables on either side of a sofa with a painting above the sofa. It is lower on the corners with the apex of the view just above the midcenter at the top of the painting.
6. Create Depth in Artwork. Another trick a painter used is the creation of depth in artwork. Stand at the threshold of your room. Place a chair in the foreground closest to you. The cocktail table will provide a midground and the sofa with the wall behind it will serve as the background. A window in the scene will give you your vanishing point. Or, the vanishing point can be within a work of art placed above the sofa.
7. Think Gestalt. All furniture arrangements have gestalt or form. A long, narrow living space can be split in two by creating zones of function. One half might be the sofa, functional for conversation, and the other half is for a dining set. We tend to feel more comfortable in square furniture arrangements vs. rectangular.