Episode 011: Furniture Arranging 101

Listen to the podcast version here.
Before: can you spot the problems with the layout in this room?

7 common problems that your furniture might be posing in your room

In my real life, I’m a real estate staging consultant and professional organizer. I go through people’s homes (prior to listing them for sale) and I give them recommendations on how to make the biggest impact in their home on potential buyers.

Aside from clutter, the biggest issues we tackle in people’s homes revolve around furniture layout. 

When working in someone’s home, I could spot these common issues and help them move around the furniture and reduce pieces in order to open in up or cozy it up.

They thought I was magical… but I was just practising guidelines for space planning and traffic flow.

If you have tried putting your furniture different ways and it hasn’t worked out for you, this will help you come up with solutions to make it work better. 

Here are 7 common issues I’ve seen in people’s homes and some very simple tips to remedy them:

1. The furniture is all pushed to the walls and there is a large open area in the center of the room.

This is great if the main function of your space is a play area, but consider tightening up your arrangement and floating it away from the walls. This is one of the biggest arranging solutions that blows people’s minds. 

2. The focal point is ignored.

Does the furniture in your space highlight a focal point in the room? If it doesn’t, it might just feel “off” to you when you are in it. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong focal point in a room, work with it, it allows a single place for your eye to be drawn to… which is calmer than your eyes darting around all over the place, like a pinball.

3. The furniture doesn’t have a function (or they aren’t functioning as they should)

This includes the chair that is covered in laundry hehehe All kidding aside, my friend, do you have a chair that is in your room that no one sits in (or worse, no one is allowed to sit in because it’s unsafe somehow). Are there furniture pieces that you have in your room that have no purpose? Is there a bench that never gets used because it’s always covered with things? Or is there a bench that never gets used because it doesn’t actually need to be in the room?

4. Traffic flow isn’t considered

This could mean that you are having to walk through the conversation area and people have to stand up to let you through (like what happens at a movie theatre… that’s no fun…amiright?). The traffic flow is in front of the tv (I make a better door than I do a window…it is handy to get the fam-damilies attention though!)

A traffic pattern will start at the rooms entry and go the second entry in a room. If the room has only one entry, the traffic flow goes in and out of that door. If you start with figuring out the traffic flow in your room, it will help you arrange your furniture.

5. Your exits are blocked or difficult to get to

See the above point. Traffic flow is very important to a room. If your bed is blocking a natural flow in your room, it might feel like a detour to get around it to go to your bathroom. Grab some grid paper and draw it out… or grab some muscles and move the furniture around.

6. You don’t have a defined conversation area

I like to group seating arrangements in several different ways  (galley, u-shaped, l-shaped, and square) with the purpose for having conversations and getting cozy. You can even further define the grouping by adding an area rug that the furniture sits on.

7. You have to make “goat trails”

You have so much furniture (or it’s so large), that you feel like you are walking a very narrow path through them (goat trails). This could mean you have too much furniture in the room, consider the purpose of your room and then remove excess furniture as required. You’ll find it’s easier to breathe with less furniture.

After: the two chairs are highlighting the main focal point in the room and the path the traffic flow makes sense. I even created a secondary space where she could do her crafts and sewing (on the right)

And there you have it, common issues with furniture arranging and some simple ways to solve them. If you want to discuss more join our group on facebook Decorating for Minimalists 

If you are needing support decluttering… I got you! Calm Your Home Course includes a bonus of minimizing games that will help your family get on board, because not every family is filled with minimalists.

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