Living room furniture consists of a few basic elements.
Seating is needed, so couches, sofas and chairs are essential.
Snacks and drinks are consumed, so people need somewhere to place cups, mugs and plates.
If you plan to do any reading, sewing or other hobbies then good lighting is essential. The best way of achieving this might be with table lamps, or floor lights where you can direct the light onto the subject matter.
You may want to watch television, and if you don't wall mount the TV you'll need somewhere to place it.
If you listen to music you'll need somewhere to put the equipment.
Computers might be in use, and they'll require a table and chair.
Make a plan of your room
Arranging your living room furniture needs planning. Get a pen and paper and draw a plan of your room.
Cut out pieces of paper to represent your living room furniture (to scale) and experiment with them in different positions on your plan. (Or you can do this on your computer if you know how to use a simple drawing program.)
Be sure to arrange the furniture around your focal point. For example, if your focal point is a fireplace, you could have two sofas facing one another at right angles to the fireplace. Then try placing a couple of chairs facing towards the fireplace but offset from the main group.
Base your furniture on people's needs
When you come to decide where you should place your living room furniture, think first about the positioning of sofas and chairs.
Ask yourself how you can arrange the seating so that people will feel relaxed and comfortable.
This means folks need clear access to the furniture to sit on it. Make sure they can walk straight to the sofas and chairs without bumping into things.
It's also a good idea to have suitable furniture such as coffee tables to hand.
Reupholster your furniture!
Do you have some sofas or chairs which have seen better days? Are you reluctant to get rid of them? Are they still comfortable?
New furniture can be expensive. So why not give your old furniture a new lease of life by having it reupholstered?
You can find local experts who can do this for you. You select the fabric, and they'll reupholster your furniture. As long as the basic frames are in good order, you'll end up with furniture as good as new.
Or why not do it yourself? There's a great eBook which takes you through all you need to know. Take a look at how it can help you to save money. (Link opens in a new window.)
It helps to think in terms of groups
Sometimes a chair may need to be on its own in a corner, but usually sofas and chairs should form groups.
If you have half a dozen people sitting down, does your seating aid conversation or hinder it? Does one person end up sitting sideways to the main group?
The furniture on its own may look wonderful in the room, but remember that the furniture is there for the benefit of people, not the other way round.
Once you have good seating arrangements, you can go ahead and plan some occasional furniture.
You need to have adequate table surfaces for drinks, books and table lamps.
You can use many different types of tables - coffee tables, end tables, even upholstered ottomans. (If you want a softer effect, make a floor-length tablecloth to cover a table. These are particularly effective on round tables, which can be made of inexpensive wood such as MDF.)
Ideas for arranging your furniture
When you're arranging furniture, remember the following points.
- Always leave enough space around furniture for people to move freely.
- Don't place all your seating against the walls or your room will look like an institution.
- Keep furniture clear of windows and doors.
- If you want to encourage conversation, don't place chairs and sofas too far away from one another.
- Whatever you do, don't clutter the room by trying to force too much furniture into it.
- If you have a large room or a long room, you could try placing your furniture so you have two distinct areas. One area could be for conversations or listening to music, while another area could be for watching TV or playing card or board games.
Here's an online product which allows you to plan for your home. If you like using your computer for solving furniture placement, you'll love this.
You'll find more information on arranging living room furniture on this page.