I get this question a lot-
Catrina, can you help me with my living room? It just doesn’t feel right and I can’t put my finger on it.
There are a few things that I always check first, and that is the basics.
The basics aren’t super exciting and might be a little boring but they’re foundational to good design.
Let’s go over these basic rules.
Now I know nobody likes to hear about someone else’s rules for their house, but remember, rules can be followed OR broken and that choice, especially in your own home, is entirely up to you!
But before we break them, we gotta know what they are, right?
1. Make sure your rug is the correct size.
The rug should be big enough for the front legs of all your furniture to rest on it at least 6-8 inches. The rug should also be wider than your anchor piece of furniture by at least 6 inches on each side. This helps the room, the rug and the furniture feel connected and put together. For most homes, an 8×10, 9×12 or a 10×13 is sufficient.
2. Observe the 8-foot conversation arc.
How close or far apart should my furniture be and does it depend on the size of the room?
For the correct spacing, the back of the seat of one piece of furniture should be approximately 8′ or less than the back of the seat of piece of furniture across from it. This makes for good conversation that you don’t have to raise you voice for or feel like you need to scoot to the edge of your couch to be able to hear the person you’re talking to.
This is true for a large room also. If you’re thinking that this furniture arrangement will feel small in a large room, remember that you can have more than one grouping in a room. My living room is a long rectangle, I have two seating areas and a entry area in between. You can also add in other bits like a sofa table, a bookcase or armoire, or real/faux trees, etc. to fill out the space if you feel like you need to.
3. Pull the furniture away from the wall.
I’m not sure why we tend to push everything up against the wall but furniture looks best when it is at least 4-6 inches away from the wall. It actually makes the room feel larger with a bit of space behind the furniture. It also helps with the conversation arc, if the furniture is spread too far apart it feels disconnected.
4. The 18 inch rule.
The coffee table, by and large seems to be either too close or too far from the couch (or other anchor piece of furniture). Too close and it’s tough to walk between the couch and the table. Too far away and it becomes an island and loses it’s purpose. The correct spacing is 18 inches from edge of table to front of couch. You should be able to lean forward and place your beverage/ keys/ phone etc. on the table without having to scoot forward or get up.
The 18 inch rule also applies to other furniture pieces. Any where you want a walkway you want to have a minimum of an 18 inch clearance.
Those are some basic furniture arranging tips to get you started on the right track. Again, I demonstrated all of these rules on a Facebook live, going into a lot more detail for my visual learners. Check it out and give yourself a little advantage over your friends and family when it comes to arranging your living room furniture!
As always, feel free to send me your questions, I would be happy to help in any way I can.
Blessings on your home,