A Sure-Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Many people are not sure if their living room furniture arrangement is “right.”  Today I’m giving you a sure-fire way to figure that out – and it’s so simple!

DSC 5956 547x600 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

 

All you need to do is to take two photographs of your room.   Photo # 1:  Find the architectural focal point of the room, and simply take a photo facing it.  Yesterday I worked with a lovely new client on a new paint color palette for her home, but her living room furniture arrangement was definitely wrong.  She told me that she always struggled with coming up with the right arrangement for the challenging space, even after recently buying all new furnishings.  Here’s a photo facing the focal point – the fireplace:

DSC 5950 600x374 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Living Room Before 

 

Yeah, this is all wrong.  None of the seating in the room address the focal point at all – my client just tried to work around it.  You’ll notice she has one of the most dreaded architectural focal points known to man:  the corner fireplace.  Now, let’s take another photo of the living room facing the focal point AFTER we rearranged the furniture:

DSC 5955 600x399 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

 Furniture Rearranged

 

Please tell me you can feel the difference!  Photo #2:  The other photo you should take of your living room is one from the entry of the room.  This photo will help you see what your guests see when they enter the space and whether or not it’s what you want them to see.

DSC 5952 600x453 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Living Room Before, from Entry 

 

The entry was constricted – you felt a bit squooshed as you moved into this room.  You couldn’t even see the architectural focal point upon entering, because it was obstructed by the large television cabinet.  The sofa and rug faced that cabinet, rather than the architectural focal point.  Now, here’s how the room looks from the entry after things were moved around:

DSC 5962 600x413 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Living Room from Entry 

 

Now you can see the beautiful new sofa, as well as the fireplace.  The sofa table now acts as a media console and the larger piece that previously held the television was moved into the adjoining breakfast room.  Doesn’t this entry view just welcome you into the room?

DSC 5957 600x399 A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Living Room Furniture Arrangement 

 

Of course, we are not done here!  We chose updated wall colors throughout the home to better complement the direction of my client’s newer, fresher furnishings.  The existing main neutral you see here is about the color of peanut butter and is too warm for the cooler furnishings my client finds herself attracted to.  We chose a dozen new coordinating colors to update the 6,000 + square foot home and squeezed in a living room redesign, all in one afternoon.  

 

Are you gonna go take those two photos to see if your furniture arrangement is wrong?

 

If you want to learn how to pick just the right paint colors for your home, get my Color Workshop Video today by clicking here.

pixel A Sure Fire Way to Tell If Your Furniture Arrangement is Wrong

Comments

  1. Great post! I, too, use photographs to help me ‘see’ what is working and what is not. It helps one see the room as a whole, rather than in pieces. The difference in the room above is stunning.

  2. This is really helpful. I see the general challenge as being how to arrange furniture when your focal point and TV are not in alignment. Most would choose the TV to maximize ease of viewing. Focusing on the fireplace makes the room a much more enjoyable place to live, from these photos. I have the same challenge in my house and I want to try taking the photos and seeing how they look. Is there anyplace we can post them for feedback from you and your followers?

  3. Great rearrange! What about for folks who have no architectural focal point (no fireplace, no notta) AND they have an open floor plan filled with windows and doors?
    I know, I’ve just described two of the biggest decorating nightmares – and yes, they are both in the same living room.

  4. Great difference! Much more welcoming. I hope you will post wall color options and the final results.

  5. Rebecca Dimino says:

    Hi Kristie,
    Do you have a video about furniture arrangement for sale?
    regards,
    Rebecca

    • I will very soon, Rebecca! It will be a 2-hour video on how to arrange furniture, which was recorded when I recently conducted a workshop on that very topic here in Nashville. Stay tuned!

  6. I know mine is set up wrong but the room is impossible. It has the dreaded corner fireplace that is huge as well as a set of french doors to the porch and a large open doorway into the dining room, another small door opening, the front door and the stairs. It makes me nuts but I’m going to try this and see if I can figure something out. New furniture would be nice but it’s not happening until the dog dies and the kids move out!

  7. Jeannine says:

    Didn’t she just love it?!
    I hope the client was thrilled. Those pictures were very educational and what a difference you made!

  8. I’d love to read more how the color palette was changed.
    PS Awesome Blog!

  9. Great job :) I think I’ll take two pictures and see what you can come up with! It’s a definite challenge for my living room.

    • Great – post it here!

      • Carolyn says:

        I have a fireplace in a family room but, also, windows to the backyard that pull attention from the fireplace. Furniture arrangement is so difficult for me in this room because of all the doorways and fighting focal points. I haven’t addressed the window treatments yet….I’ve been stuck. I love the house though (new to me). As you can see I also have the dreaded sofa/loveseat combo! I live in Houston, TX and I have yet to use the fireplace. I don’t seem to be able to post the pictures. Can you tell me how, please.

        I have a fireplace in a family room but, also, windows to the backyard that pull attention from the fireplace. Furniture arrangement is so difficult for me in this room because of all the doorways and fighting focal points. I haven’t addressed the window treatments yet….I’ve been stuck. I love the house though (new to me). As you can see I also have the dreaded sofa/loveseat combo!

  10. Nice work!! What a difference ;)

  11. this article is exactly what I needed…will do the pictures….thanks

  12. Thanks so much for this great advice! I’m doing it tonight when I get home. However, I’m not sure that I have an architectural focal point. I have one of those bland, open concept homes with a tiny kitchen, eating area and den all in one. There are corner sliding glass doors where the table is that makes a focal point, but that’s where the table and chairs go. I know my den arrangement isn’t the best, but I’m not sure how to proceed. The only other architectural feature is the cathedral ceiling – not sure how best to arrange for that.

  13. Kristie perfect advice!! There is such a difference!

    2013 Designers Series featuring our friend Scot Meacham Wood!
    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  14. Yes, the arrangement LOOKS better but what about the usefulness of it? I specifically refer to the placement of the TV. From the after picture from entry it doesn’t look like its facing any seating. The couch would be most comfortable but it looks like you’d have to crane your neck to see tv.

    • My client’s husband approved the set-up and says he can see the tv better from the sofa, plus he can get a bigger tv to mount on that wall. You can still see the television from one of the chairs, but not the modified wingback. However, you couldn’t see it from the modified wingback before, anyway!

  15. Mary J. says:

    It looks so much better now. I think that moving the TV to a lower, less bulky table made a significant improvement. Now it doesn’t dominate or compete with the fireplace. I also don’t like TVs to be at a higher level where you have to look up rather than straight ahead to watch it. The other adjustments helped too. I like your point about being aware of the view of the room from the entry way. Your advice is so true and so simple…which is your style of decorating. It just makes sense.

    Thanks for covering this topic.

  16. Lisa Grubb says:

    If you don’t have a fireplace but do have a big (ugly) bow window. Is that now the architectural focal point? I also have two large hitches in the living room. I’m guessing that’s a no-no.

    Love your blog!

  17. Lisa Grubb says:

    * hitches
    Should be hutches.

  18. Mounting a TV too high on a wall or above a fireplace is a big mistake. For comfort, a TV should be mounted or set on a table/console at eye level.

  19. Fantastic post today, really great tips! I am also very curious to see what tactic you’ll be taking to treat all those windows…keep the “afters” coming :)

  20. Stephanie R. says:

    Wow, the new arrangement made a huge difference. It looks so much more comfortable. Makes you want to go right in and sit a spell. I am going to try taking pictures as well. I know what the focal point is in the living room when you walk in the front door. We have a fireplace in the middle of a wall. I think I have the furniture arrange right, but there is always room for improvement. Thanks for an informative article.

  21. Looks awesome! Those corner fireplaces are tough. We have one now and in our last home. In our current home, it took about 3 different arrangements over 6 years to (hopefully) finally get it right.

  22. The first thing I noticed ( or felt) was “calm” associated with after pic. Before pic was busy and chaotic. Great tips, thanks!

  23. Well… the dreaded corner fire place! That was my challenge as well, cause here in Greece most of the fireplaces are like that. You can take a look at the link below of how it looks and if you have any suggestions I’d be more than excited to hear them out!
    http://www.stardust-decorstyle.blogspot.gr/2013/03/living-room-mini-makeover-finally.html
    (first two photos are shot from the entry)

    • I think your Living room looks fabulous! Love the art grouping and how you decorated around the television :) As for the seating arrangement and its relation to the fireplace, you might try shifting the longer sofa to a 90 degree angle (perpendicular) from the fireplace then the shorter sofa facing the fireplace (parallel) so that the 2 sofas form an L shape, but are lined up with the fireplace (rather than the larger sofa being flat against that wall). I hope that makes sense!

  24. MarySue says:

    Thank you for this clear, concise, and do-able advice! I am going to take those two photos, and I am passing your blogpost along for sure! You definitely have a way of making it so simple!

  25. So much better Kristie! You updated the whole room with the furniture moves. You are magic my friend!

  26. This is a great, great tip -the kind of thing a real professional knows but that might not occur to the rest of us. I just took some photos of my living room a few days ago and inadvertently did what you describe in this post. By looking at the pictures, I realized I had some areas of clutter and some lack of focus (ha) on my focal point, and planned to tweak things to make it better. I posted about it here. http://figtreesundays.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/ambitions-the-living-room/

  27. There are a number of ways to approach the problem that will help you to best arrange your living room furniture in the small area. By considering methods of arrangement that put articles of furniture in the middle of the room, you will have far more options for arranging your living room furniture in a welcoming and inviting way. Thanks!

  28. Love your post. I feel enlightened by the logic and simplicity of the changes you made. I’ve been buying and selling houses, renovating and decorating and ‘staging’ houses for years, and maybe I was getting it right some of the time, ( I am a graphic designer by profession) but your suggestions here are going to be my ‘go-to guide’ for decorating from now on.

    Thanks heaps. It’s a pity you can’t be in two continents at once – there are soooo many properties here in Australia that could benefit from your speed staging – Maybe you could franchise the idea!

    Cheers T!

  29. Hi Kristie,

    Wow this post is great! I love the transformation that it made to take those 2 photos and work from there. Its sometimes so easy to over-complicate arranging furniture.

    My current living room has been so problematic. I have 2 small children, so I want to keep it open, but it just feels BLAH. The front door opens into the middle of the room, and then the opposite side of the room is open to the kitchen/dining. I just can’t seem to figure out how to arrange furniture— is there any place to post pictures for some fresh perspective?

  30. Hello, great post and huge difference. We recently got new furniture and struggled with the placement as our new recliners have high backs. Definitely more comfortable but they block things. I have two focal points (fireplace and tv) and the added challenge of three doorways. Two are on either side of the fireplace which lead into the foyer and the other leading into the dining room. Last night, before I read this, I rearranged it three different ways, taking pics from all three entrances. I loved views from one point and not another. Happened with all three arrangements because of the three entrances. I settled on one and we’ll see how it goes. I am not one to keep rearranging once I am happy with an arrangement. Would love to send you photos. I put them on PowerPoint as it is the only way I know how to put pics side by side for comparison as I am technology challenged. Is there an emailI can send it to?

  31. I love this….. Id like to post pics for some feedback sometime! What do you do if your livingroom is long and narrow with a very large picture window and entry door on the one long side and a whole wall fireplace on one of the ends….. the other long side has a half banister (top is open with rails to the kitchen and the other end is open to the wallway, dinning room and kitchen…..
    I might also add that the tv is inthe corner between the wall with the fireplace and the wall with the large picture window and door. I was thinking of getting two wingback chairs to place in front of the picture window?? Thanks

  32. Thank you so much! I knew my living room furniture was totally “wrong”, and it has been driving me crazy for months now. I did exactly what you said and knew immediately what needed to be fixed! My living room looks much bigger and much more inviting. Arranging the furniture to be functional and still look nice with an “open” floor plan (living room, kitchen and dining room), four entrances into the living room, has perplexed me until now. Amazing!

  33. Magnifique article, je pense en discuter ce soir avec mes voisins

  34. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about “arrange your living room furniture”.
    Regards

Trackbacks

  1. [...] How to Arrange Your Living <b>Room</b> Furniture – The Decorologist [...]

Speak Your Mind

*