Common Furniture Arranging Mistakes

Round dining table arranged in middle of long and narrow room

The Spruce / Alyssa Vela

Decorating mistakes are easy to make, especially when it comes to arranging furniture. When a room is empty, it can seem overwhelming, and knowing where to put everything doesn't come naturally to everyone. But when you know what not to do, it makes the task seem a whole lot easier. Once you avoid these furniture arranging mistakes, the rest will seem like a snap.

Not Considering Conversation Areas

No one should ever have to shout, lean forward, or crane their necks in order to have a regular conversation. When arranging furniture in your living room, keep in mind that sofas and chairs should face each other to some degree. In large spaces, this can seem difficult, but remember that you can create more than one conversation area in a single room.

Pushing Furniture Against the Walls

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want your room to look bigger, pushing all the furniture up against the walls isn't the way to do it. Doing that doesn't give items any breathing room, and it can make the area in the middle feel cavernous. Pulling the furniture away from the walls will make conversation areas more intimate and create a better sense of balance. Even in a small room, you can give furnishings some space.

Ignoring Practicality

Are you the kind of person who likes to put your feet up on the coffee table? Do you ever eat a meal while sitting in the living room? How about sitting on the couch with a glass of wine or coffee? It's your home, so you should arrange the furniture in such a way that you have easy access to tables so you can put up your feet or put down your drinks.

Decorating Around More Than One Focal Point

Every room should have a focal point because it anchors the space and creates a natural area to put furniture around. Sometimes it occurs naturally in the room, and sometimes you have to create it yourself. The most important thing to remember is that you only want one focal point, otherwise the room can become visually cluttered and confusing to the eye. To create a serene and balanced space, one focal point is the way to go.

White sectional couch and chairs pushed against windowed walls

The Spruce / Alyssa Vela

Ignoring the Importance of Traffic Flow

When you're arranging furniture, you should never forget about how people will get to and around all of it. No one should have to climb or trip over one piece of furniture in order to access another. They should also be able to pass through the room without having to take an awkward, zigzag route. Make sure you've left room for clear walking paths.

Lack of Balance

Putting too much furniture on one side of the room makes everything feel tilted and off-balance. In order to avoid this, distribute everything evenly throughout the space. This doesn't mean that rooms have to be perfectly symmetrical; however, it is important that some balance is achieved. For instance, if you have a sofa on one side of the room, you should balance it with something of equal visual weight on the other. It could be another sofa, a pair of chairs, a dresser or buffet—whatever makes sense in the room.

Blocking Windows

Natural light is important in any room, and usually the more windows, the better. As a general rule, you want to avoid putting things in front of windows as much as possible. When the light is blocked, it makes the room feel smaller, dingier, and more crowded. However, this can be tricky if you have the floor-to-ceiling windows. If you absolutely must place furniture in front of windows, make sure you maximize the remaining natural light through the use of mirrors, reflective surfaces, and a smart lighting plan.

White sectional couch and chairs clocking light from windows

The Spruce / Alyssa Vela

No Activity Zones

A common mistake is not considering different activity zones when arranging furniture. If your household is like most, your living room is used for more than just one thing. It might be where people watch TV, do homework, pay household bills, or work on art projects. Make sure you set things up according to each activity's specific needs so that there's appropriate seating, lighting, and space to reflect the space's versatility.