Don’t Make These Mistakes When Arranging Your Living Room

updated Nov 17, 2022
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Have you ever felt that a room was just “off” somehow, but you just couldn’t place what it was? Living rooms are arguably the most used spaces in the home and need a good layout that promotes good traffic flow. Furniture spacing and placement is key to comfort and function! Keep these tips in mind when you are moving in or get a sudden urge to rearrange one weekend.

Keep Entryways Clear

Make sure you have a lot of clearance when you first walk into a room. The last way you want to make an entrance is by having to walk into the back of a couch or having to fight through a large plant. This will make the room more welcoming to boot.

Don’t Forget the “3 Foot” Rule

You should have about 3 feet of walking space around the room. This is what you need to be comfortable without knocking into furniture and bumping into walls. Any type of furniture with doors or drawers also needs three feet of space to open properly.

Let Furniture Float

Don’t push all your furniture up against the walls. Pull your sofa (or other seating) out at least 12″ from the wall. That’s right; your couch doesn’t have to be against the wall. It will make the space seem more inviting and cozy instead of creating a big bunch of weird dead space in the middle.

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

Mind the Rugs

If you have an area rug, situate all seating, so the legs are either completely on or completely off of it. Don’t let them wobble. Try not to position the rugs, so edges and corners are in the major walkways. It lessens the chance that people will trip as they walk around.

(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

Watch Out for Lighting

If you have table lamps, make sure that the shades aren’t so large that they risk either poking someone in the eye or getting knocked over. It goes without saying that any electrical and extension cords should be placed so no one is going to trip over them on their way across the room.

What else do you think makes for good traffic flow in living rooms?

Additional Reading:

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

Living Room Geometry: The Basics of a Well-Balanced Room

Re-edited from a post originally 2.15.15-NT