5 Ways to Create Optimal Furniture Layouts

You don’t have to be an interior designer or have a lot of money to create a nice and comfortable space to come home to. Whether you’re buying new furniture, thrifting, or working with what you have (like me) having a plan for your furniture saves you time and money in the long run. Nick Elam of Zillow shares with us 5 ways to create optimal furniture layouts. 


Source: Zillow

Furniture layouts are more than artistic designs. The placement of furniture indicates the best use of the room. Is the room meant for entertainment, conversation or utility? Furniture, big and small, needs to accommodate homeowners’ lifestyles. Rooms with poor layouts often result in damaged furniture, broken décor pieces and cluttered walkways. Avoid these pitfalls by treating furniture layouts as roadmaps to easily navigate a room.

In general, testing furniture layouts leads to the best overall room design. However, home shoppers visiting open houses don’t have the opportunity to play with their own furniture arrangements; they can only imagine. Kansas City residents shopping for new homes or apartments should keep the following layout tips in mind to effectively imagine design potential.

Find-A-Focal-PointSource: Zillow

1. Define Function

First, think about the room’s purpose. What routines take place in the room? Who uses the space? Which activities occur there? The function of the room dictates the appropriate type of furniture and ideal layout. For some, the kitchen is simply used for meal preparation while others frequently gather in kitchens as families. The latter should consider adding bar stools or seating near the kitchen to promote interaction. Living rooms are sometimes used to watch TV while others serve as sitting rooms. Arrange TV room furniture so all seats face the focal point. Chairs in a sitting room should face each other for ease of intermingling. Design with function in mind.


Source: Zillow

2. Find a Focal Point

Next, approach the room as a large “box.” Measure the area to understand the shape and angles of the room before considering furniture placement. From there, find the focal point of the room by choosing a desired element to serve as the foundation of the design. The focal point can be an ornate mantle and fireplace, a window with a pristine view, an entertainment center or even a bold piece of furniture or artwork. Place furniture to naturally lead eyes toward the focal point.


Source: Zillow

3. Start Big

Begin filling in the “box” by introducing larger pieces of furniture. Consider traffic flow and create a clear entryway into the room when placing couches, chairs, bookcases, beds, dressers and other large pieces of furniture. Test each placement. How does each piece frame the focal point? How do they fit into the function of the room? Position entertainment centers adjacent to beautiful views to minimize distractions and emphasize visual beauty. If the fireplace is the focal point of a room, make sure couches and seating arrangements frame the fireplace. The fireplace should be visible from all angles.


Source: Terren Homes via Zillow Digs

4. Create Balance

Introduce smaller furniture to emphasize room purpose and ground larger pieces to achieve balance. Use skinny tables and shelves to line walkways and establish entry points. Smaller pieces such as coffee tables, end tables and ottomans allude to function by providing necessary surface space. Use smaller chairs to section off rooms and create more seating. Again, it’s important to add elements one-by-one to continue checking whether the focal point and function of the room maintain priorities.


Source: Zillow

5. Guide with Lighting

Provide direction to a room’s layout through lighting. Illuminate entry points and walking paths to direct traffic through the room. Use reading lamps to demonstrate seating areas as places to read or work on projects. Finally, use sconces and accent lighting to emphasize the focal point in a room. Lighting draws onlookers’ attention, solidifying the layout of the room.
Whether starting with an empty room or reorganizing a cluttered room, designing a furniture layout is often intimidating. It’s easy to get confused about placement in an open space. Always make time to reflect on the impact of each addition to the overall function and focal point of a room. Use these tips to create a cohesive, long-lasting layout that works for everyone in the house.

Do you have any other solutions you use to create optimal furniture layouts? Let me know in the comments.


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