Furniture size and placement can throw off the balance of a room

May 31 2011

Since the sofa is the main piece of furniture in most living rooms, it's placement can determine the balance of the whole space.
Since the sofa is the main piece of furniture in most living rooms, it's placement can determine the balance of the whole space.
Trying to make a cavernous space seem cozy or creating more openness in tight quarters often comes down to the same thing - selecting the right furniture arrangement for a room.

"Proper furniture placement and balance may at first seem a complicated task, but all it really takes is common sense and learning to look at your rooms in a new way," interior designer Lauri Ward told iVillage.com.

Ward, the author of Use What You Have Decorating, said a good starting point is evaluating the furniture placement in a living room. Many homeowners assume the best location for a sofa is against the longest wall to create an instant focal point, but Ward considers that move one of the biggest design errors that home decorators make.

Isolating the couch along a wall won't necessarily give the illusion of more space and it tends to remove guests to one side of a room and eliminate what could be a comfortable conversation area.

Instead, Ward suggests considering the traffic flow of the room and how the doorways are situated. "If there are two doors, consider having the traffic pattern move behind the seating, not through it, from one door to another," she told the website. "If there is only a single doorway, it's best to have easy access directly to the seating, as long as you leave enough room around the sides and behind it."

Sofas that must be placed against a wall should be configured into an arrangement with other seating, perhaps by separating a sectional couch. If homeowners have enough space to take the sofa away from the wall, they should leave enough room for walking space behind it. Less space is needed between the sofa and adjacent chairs.

Ward emphasizes that the size of furniture and where it is placed in a room can throw off the balance of the whole space. "If all of the big pieces are crowded to one side of the room, it will be off-balance horizontally," she said. "If much of the furniture is either too bottom-heavy or too top-heavy, a room will be off-balance vertically."

Another way to achieve balance is to offset major pieces of furniture with a striking window treatment that incorporates the colors, patterns and coordinated fabrics of the room's furnishings. Roman shades make elegant window coverings that give a timeless quality to any décor.
 
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