How to Use Empty Space in Arranging Furniture

Measurements to Create Flow in Your Floor Plan

Use empty space to create flow
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Arranging furniture is mostly about using empty space around your furniture to create a flow in your floor plan. You want people to move around comfortably without bumping into furniture, and sit down comfortably without grazing their knees or feeling hemmed in.

Placing furniture pieces too close together makes using them uncomfortable. The guidelines below are just simple rules. Feel free to change measurements depending on the space available to you. These are the absolute minimum measurements that you can use. For bigger, taller users, you may want to add more inches in between.

Living Room

A simple rule for furniture placement for the living room is not to fill it up completely. Too much furniture crammed into too little space can end up creating a room you'd rather not inhabit because it will seem stuffy. It will be difficult to navigate the space.

You need to provide enough space for an efficient flow of traffic and let your space breathe visually. This creates a sense of well-being and relaxation.

  • Traffic Lane: 3 feet or more
  • Foot room between sofa or chair and edge of coffee table: 1 1/2 feet
  • Floor space in front of chair or sofa for feet and legs: 1 1/2 feet to 2 1/2 feet

Dining Room

To enjoy your dining room to the fullest, make sure you leave enough space around the table so that people can get in and out of their chairs comfortably, and the person who is serving can move around the table without trouble.

Space for occupied chairs from edge of table to back of chair:

  • 1 1/2 feet to 2 feet
  • Space to get into chairs: 2 1/2 feet to 3 feet
  • Traffic path around table and occupied chairs for serving: 1 1/2 feet to 2 feet
  • If you’re using armchairs, remember to add 2 inches to the measurements.


In a bedroom, place furniture so that you don’t stub your toes should you need to get up in the middle of the night. You should also be able to move around comfortably to make the bed and be able to access any chests or dressers comfortably while being able to open any drawers without trouble.

  • Space for making bed: 1 1/2 feet
  • Space between twin beds: 1 1/2 feet to 2 1/2 feet
  • Space in front of chest of drawers: 3 feet
  • Getting into or out of bed: 2 1/2 feet

Around the House

Leave enough space around the doorways or the room may look very unwelcoming and crowded. You will always want to leave a small transitioning area uncluttered by any furniture when moving from one area of the home to another. You shouldn't run into any furniture even when walking into an unlit space.

  • Space from doorway to first object: 3 feet
  • Space around main entrance: 4 feet