Arranging Furniture

It’s the most inexpensive budget decorating makeover there is, topping painting by a landslide since it doesn’t cost a penny!  Rearrange your furniture for a new look and to make the room work not only for style, but for function.


One of the elements of interior decorating that many people tend to leave out is function.  We tend to focus on the style and the look.  If the room doesn’t function, than why bother with the style?

If you have a kitchen with an eat in table in the middle of the room, tripping you up with every meal prep – you’ve lost the function.  If you have a family room that’s too formal and stiff, that goes against the function of a comfortable gathering place.  So for each room, before you rearrange furniture, or fill it with furniture, define the function of the room.

Start out Big

Place the largest piece of furniture in the room first.  This is usually going to be the piece that defines the room, the bed in the bedroom or the sofa in the family room.  It’s usually going to be placed facing a focal point, a fireplace, a television set, etc.  In some cases it will be the focal point, such as the bed in the bedroom.  In that case, make sure it’s seen as soon as you enter the room.

Work Your Way Down

Place other furniture in relation to your main piece, such as a pair of chairs to create a conversation grouping by the couch. In the dining room, obviously the chairs go around the table, but other furniture, such as sideboards or china cabinets need to be considered for the ease of entering and exiting the room, pulling out chairs and placing serving dishes.

  • Vary furniture heights to add interest to the room:
  • Too many straight lines can be boring, a round or curvy piece can break up the look;
  • Too many hard furniture pieces can look uncomfortable, consider a plush, upholstered piece to add to the mix;
  • Surfaces count too – too many shiny, lacquered pieces can be too many attention-getters in the room;
  • Too many pieces of furniture in chrome or steel can look cold, consider some wood pieces to warm it up.  Even contemporary can take a splash of light toned wood or even an ebony for drama.

Accent furniture is the last to go in and should do just that - accent furniture and add color and decoration, with a bit of function for multi-tasking.  An ottoman that can double as seating that has storage capabilities is a handy piece for living rooms.

Walk Through

Now that the furniture is arranged, take a break and try it out.  Make sure all the pieces can be used comfortably:

  • Is there plenty of room to get past the couch to the pair of chairs? 
  • Is there enough seating? 
  • Can everyone access a table to place their drink?
  • Can everyone see the television or fireplace?
  • For the bedroom – is the bed accessible from both sides easily? 

Taking a practical approach to arranging furniture is the first step, but mix in the style and form, and you get to the professionally decorated room level.