Space Planning Secrets: 5 Ways to Love Your Living Room Layout

When you move into a new place, it’s one of the first decisions you have to make. How does your furniture fit in the living room, and how should you orient the room? Experimenting with layout yields interesting, yet practical, rooms that work on multiple levels.

1. BALANCE
Think how strange it would look to have all the furniture on one side of the room, and a huge expansive blank space on the other side. Divide the room in sections and make sure the furniture is distributed equally across all areas.

2. FUNCTION
Your living room might be as pretty as can be, but if you can’t find a spot to put your water glass, or have to crane your neck to spot the television (and you’re a die-hard watcher of Orange is the New Black), then your furniture isn’t working for you. Ask yourself, is it doing everything you need it to? Do I have an unimpeded view of Uzo Aduba?

3. SYMMETRY
Mirroring furniture on either side of an imaginary axis (whether that’s a fireplace or a sofa) is a nice ways to make your eyeballs happy. It feels nice, and always an easy approach to laying out your furniture, even when furniture doesn't perfectly match.

4. TRAFFIC FLOW
If you have to walk almost 360 degrees around the sofa in order to make it to the kitchen, your furniture placement isn't working. Create natural paths around the room that take you every where you want to go. At the same time, resist the urge to push everything up against the wall and in the corners. It just creates weird dead space in the middle of the room, and doesn't feel very cozy.

5. FOCAL POINT
If you have a framed Burt Reynolds poster you are in love with, and want to acknowledge at every turn, make sure your furniture is oriented to pay homage to that cherished feature. When you sit, is your back to it, or is front and center like you want it to be?

Any secrets you've learned that you'd like to share?

(Image credits: Marcia Prentice; Lindsey Kay Averill; Theresa Gonzalez; Patrick J. Hamilton)