An empty room can be an intimidating empty space that you will tediously work on through trial and error to make it the perfect room, and even then it might feel off. Or, an empty room can be a thrilling blank canvas that you will passionately turn into an effortlessly natural living space. So, how can you ensure that filling a room with furniture is not a nightmare? Before even placing the first piece, ask yourself these five questions concerning each room, and you'll be on your way to a room that looks as though it were designed by a pro!
1. What is the function of the room? Knowing exactly what you intend to use the room for will limit the possibilities of the furniture you can put in it, and save you a ton of time. The room's function will also determine how many people will be using it, thus dictating how much seating you will need, as well. Remember there is a big difference between the amount of people who will use a living room, which is a formal parlor, versus a family room, which is where families and friends gather for chatting and entertainment.
2. What is the room's focal point? A focal point is essential in any room because it anchors the rest of the furniture to a central point that draws everyone's attention. This point can be a piece of art, a family photo collage, a television, or even a breathtaking view. Whatever you choose for a focal point, this is what you will arrange your furniture around and is a good place to start with spacing.
3. Which is the largest piece of furniture? The largest piece of furniture should be placed in a room first. This is typically a bed, a sofa, a sectional or a table. This piece should also face the focal point with the rest of the furniture pieces filling in the areas around it. A good rule of thumb for placing chairs around a sofa is to make sure they are never more than eight feet from the next seat to better facilitate discussion. Also, if you have the space, floating furniture is ALWAYS encouraged.
4. Is the room casual or formal? Determining whether a room will be formal or casual will also tell you if you can arrange the furniture symmetrically or asymmetrically. Formal rooms need to be streamlined and have order, so typically their design should be symmetrical. On the other hand, if the room is to be casual, asymmetry works because it creates a relaxed and comfortable air.
5. What is the flow of traffic in the room? The final question to consider when arranging furniture is how people will be moving through the room. Note where the doors and entryways to the room are located because you never want people walking through seating arrangements or between the seating and the focal point.
Now you know that asking the right questions before putting any furniture into room can save you time and headaches. But, remember that an important part of staging any room is measuring out the dimensions of the room and the furniture to ensure that everything will fit. After you answer the five questions above, draw up a room plan and you'll be far more ready to arrange the room than you ever expected!