How to Get Your Furniture Arrangement Right

Like a blank page or canvas, an empty room can be either an opportunity or a challenge. With so many ways to fill it, how do you know where to start? I’ve taken some of the basic rules of furniture arrangement and distilled them into 10 simple tips. They’ll help you work with your interior designer to determine where to put things, where not to put things, and how to prioritize the choices you make.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Nicole Peter Studio

Basic Rules of Furniture Arrangement

Think About How the Room Will Function
Consider how the room is used and how many people will use it. That will dictate the type of furnishings you’ll need and the amount of seating required.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Hendel Homes

Decide on a Focal Point
Identify the room’s focal point — a fireplace, view, television — and orient the furniture accordingly. If you plan to watch television in the room, the ideal distance between the set and the seating is three times the size of the screen (measured diagonally). Therefore, if you’ve got a 40-inch set, your chair should be 120 inches away.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Studio H Design Group

Start With Priority Pieces
Place the largest pieces of furniture first, such as the sofa in the living room or the bed in the bedroom. In most cases, this piece should face the room’s focal point. Chairs should be no more than 8 feet apart to facilitate conversation. Unless your room is especially small, avoid pushing all the furniture against the walls.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Manlove and Company Interiors

Consider Symmetry
Symmetrical arrangements work best for formal rooms. Asymmetrical arrangements make a room feel more casual.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Create a Traffic Flow
Think about the flow of traffic through the room — generally the path between doorways. Don’t block that path with any large pieces of furniture if you can avoid it. Allow 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

Try to direct traffic around a seating group, not through the middle of it. If traffic cuts through the middle of the room, consider creating two small seating areas instead of one large one.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Moose Tuchus LLC

Aim for Variety
Vary the size of furniture pieces throughout the room, so your eyes move up and down as you scan the space. Balance a large or tall item by placing another piece of similar height across the room from it (or use it to replicate the scale). Avoid putting two tall pieces next to each other.

nest + company

Build in Contrast
Combine straight and curved lines for contrast. If the furniture is modern and linear, throw in a round table for contrast. If the furniture is curvy, mix in an angular piece. Similarly, pair solids with voids: Combine a leggy chair with a solid side table, and a solid chair with a leggy table.

basic rules of furniture arrangement


Design for Ease of Use
Place a table within easy reach of every seat, being sure to combine pieces of similar scale, and make sure every reading chair has an accompanying lamp. Coffee tables should be located 14 to 18 inches from a sofa to provide sufficient legroom.

John McClain Design

Allow for Circulation
In a dining room, make sure there are at least 48 inches between each edge of the table and the nearest wall or piece of furniture. If traffic doesn’t pass behind the chairs on one side of the table, 36 inches should suffice.

In bedrooms, allow at least 24 inches between the side of the bed and a wall, and at least 36 inches between the bed and a swinging door.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Do Your Planning
Give your back a break. Before you move any furniture, test your design on paper. Measure the room’s dimensions, noting the location of windows, doors, heat registers, and electrical outlets, then draw up a floor plan on graph paper using cutouts to represent the furnishings. Or, better yet, use a digital room planner to draw the space and test various furniture configurations. It’s less work and a lot more fun.

basic rules of furniture arrangement

Crosby and Company

Tell us: What furniture arrangement challenges have you faced in your home?

Article written by Fred Alpert, Houzz Contributor. Fred has written about architecture and design for many Web sites and magazines, including Houzz, Metropolitan Home, House Beautiful, and Style 1900.

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10 Paint Colors Ready to Take Over in 2024

Every year we track and profile the various Color of the Year selections made by major paint brands. Usually, there’s little consensus on what the hip hue for the new year will be. But every so often there’s a bit of agreement. And this is one of those times.

Clearly, blue is about to have a big year in 2024. Six out of the 10 companies featured in this article chose a shade of blue for their 2024 Color of the Year selections. The remaining colors run the gamut from dark and moody to warm and welcoming.

2024 Color of the Year

Let’s take a closer look at the paint colors you’re about to see a lot more of.

2024 Color of the Year

1. Upward by Sherwin-Williams

Taking inspiration from the sky above, Sherwin-Williams has selected this breezy, tranquil light blue as its selection for 2024 Color of the Year. Upward has a touch of gray in it, which makes it a sophisticated alternative to a more pastel baby blue.

This is an excellent blue paint if you’re looking to add color but want to keep your space light and bright. For instance, while dark navy blues have been popular recently for kitchen cabinets, this lighter shade might be a better option if your kitchen is on the smaller side or lacks abundant natural light. I can also see this color working well as a blue option for a porch ceiling.
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2024 Color of the Year

2. Thermal by C2

Here’s another pretty, soft blue, this one a touch darker than the previous pick. As you can see, it works really well on kitchen cabinetry. It infuses color into the space but remains soft and tranquil.

I could also see this working well in a bathroom, whether on the walls or for cabinetry. Or consider using it as an accent color on just the ceiling. It’s a trick that can visually enlarge and open up a room, especially if it has low ceilings, as the color mimics the sky on a clear, sunny day.

2024 Color of the Year

3.  Renew Blue by Valspar

Valspar’s selection is one of my favorites here. Watery blues are my go-to hues when I want to inject vibrant color into a home. It has a tropical “on vacation” vibe that plays well with warm or cool neutrals.

This brings up an important point: While you might enjoy checking out all of the Color of the Year announcements, you shouldn’t feel as though it’s a call to redecorate using these colors. Rather, if you see something here that you like, you can look forward to that color being featured more prominently in decorative materials and housewares in the coming year, should you want to add the hue to your home.

How to Mix Colors and Make It Work

2024 Color of the Year

4.  Bay Blue by Minwax

Here’s a darker watery blue option that’s actually a wood stain. And the great thing about a wood stain, versus paint, is that it allows the beautiful grain and texture of the wood to show through while adding a fun, vibrant color.

2024 Color of the Year

5. Skipping Stones by Dunn-Edwards

This medium blue shade reminds me of summer afternoons spent at the pool. It’s a cool blue, so it’s a great color choice for those residing in hotter climates. It can bring a soothing, cooling vibe to a bathroom, bedroom, or sunroom.

2024 Color of the Year

Dunn-Edwards’ Skipping Stones would also make a terrific front door color for those residing in any climate. As shown here, it injects a lovely dash of color into this otherwise all-white exterior.

I recently specified a similar hue for a homeowner’s interior doors and it really dressed up the indoor spaces nicely.

2024 Color of the Year

6. Blue Nova by Benjamin Moore

The chilliest of the blue selections, Blue Nova is a medium-dark shade with purple undertones. Similar to Skipping Stones, I think this color works best if you need to visually cool off a space.

I’d use this color a bit more sparingly since it’s rather dark. But it would be lovely for a front door or as an accent in a bedroom or bathroom.

2024 Color of the Year

7. Limitless by PPG and Glidden

For those looking to infuse their homes with warmer hues, PPG and Glidden’s selection of Limitless might be more to your liking. This soft champagne hue works well as a backdrop to darker wood tones, as well as warm metallics.

Sunny shades such as Limitless can be called upon to help lighten and brighten a space, so if you have a dark, cramped room in the house that needs an infusion of luminous warmth, this could be the hue for you.

8.  Persimmon by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

While warmer shades might be in the minority here, this one really stands out to me for its soft yet spicy quality. Persimmon is a lightened shade of earthy terra cotta, shown here on a kitchen island.

It’s an appetizing hue that lends itself well for use in a kitchen, dining room, or other spaces in your home where you regularly gather for meals and conversation with family and friends.

9. Cracked Pepper by Behr

I’m a longtime fan of Cracked Pepper. It’s a neutral dark gray that sits on the color spectrum just a tiny hair from black. In fact, I like to use it in place of pure black, as the latter can often appear too harsh or intense in and on a home.

Cracked Pepper is a true neutral in that it has neither warm nor cool undertones, so it can work well as an accent or trim color along with any other color or colors.

2024 Color of the Year

10.  Ironside by Dutch Boy

Dutch Boy also went for a deep and moody hue, this one a dark olive green with ashy brown undertones. This is a shade I’m seeing more and more of lately, typically used on cabinetry and millwork. It gives a cozy, intimate vibe to a space, making it a great choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.

Your turn: What do you think of the 2024 Color of the Year selections? Which would you pick?

Houzz Article by Jennifer Ott:   San Francisco-based architectural color specialist and design writer. Jennifer’s work has been featured in many print and online publications. Her recently published book, “1000 Ideas for Color Schemes,” is a beautifully illustrated and easy-to-navigate guide that takes the guesswork out of selecting the perfect color palette for your home or special event. For more information on Jennifer Ott Design, visit


Premier Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Tri-Lite Builders will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or emailing [email protected] to discuss your remodeling project. We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsmen are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

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