When it comes to arranging furniture in a living room, most people really don’t think much about balance and that sofas should talk to chairs. Furniture is placed in the room with no thought about making it easy for seated people to have conversation. The two topics covered in this post are balance and grouping furniture.
Balance ..In my 2-27-2011 post titled Interior Decorating is all about Equal Balance I talk about, when you place something on one side of a room, you must counterbalance it with some other elements, that together are about the same height, width, and visual weight on the other side of the room opposite it. Let’s say you have a 90 inch three cushion sofa. To counterbalance it, directly across from / opposite it, you could place another 90 inch sofa, that would be equal balance. You could also counter balance the 90 inch sofa with two club chairs and an end table between them that together measure about 90 running inches. Illustration 1A shows 2 three cushion sofas counterbalancing each other.
Illustration 1B shows a 3 cushion sofa being counterbalanced by 2 club chairs (or other styles of chairs) with an end table and lamp between them.
Illustration 2a takes it a bit further. In 2A you have a “U” shaped arrangement of furniture facing a fireplace. A 3 cushion sofa counterbalances the hearth, and a 3 cushion sofa on the left is counterbalanced by two upholstered chairs with end table placed between them.
Illustration 2B is a compressed version of 2A. In 2B you have the 3 cushion sofa that anchors the grouping (it is the largest piece). The sofa is flanked on both its left and right by upholstered or occasional chairs. Two other chairs, or even upholstered benches or stools are across from it.
In the groupings just shown, notice how the furniture is placed kind of close together and all the different sofas and chairs are facing each other, one way or another. The different arrangements would make it so seated people either faced each other, or were along side each other for easy conversation.
Sofas Talking to Chairs ..To often people place sofas and chairs too far apart, kind of like how you place furniture in a ballroom, everything is around the outside of the space with an empty center. With furniture placed like that, seated people have to talk loud to be heard from one side of the room to the other. In Illustration 3A we are starting to expand on / add more chairs to the first grouping (1A and B, 2A and B) that I started with. In Illustration 3A the two anchor pieces are the 3 cushion sofa and 2 cushion loveseat. Notice how to the right of the sofa, in front of the fireplace are two chairs and an upholstered bench; those pieces counterbalance the loveseat and chair and ottoman opposite them, at the far end of the room. Now look at the 2 cushion loveseat. It is flanked on one side by a round ottoman used for seating, and the ottoman is then counterbalanced by a chair. The different groupings in this space provide adequate seating for just 2 people or many. If a person is sitting on the sofa or loveseat, another person has a place to sit close by on a chair right up next to them. The chair placed right up next to the sofa makes it easy for a Sofa to talk to a chair.
Illustration 3B is an expanded version of illustration 2A. 3B shows 2 three cushion sofas that are anchoring the room, by a fireplace. The sofa opposite the fireplace is being counterbalanced by the fireplace with two chairs by it. The sofa to the left is counterbalanced by the two chairs and end table on the right.
Illustration 4A is an expanded version of illustration 2B. The anchor is the sofa with two upholstered chairs flank it on both the left and right. An upholstered bench which counterbalances the sofa was added next to the coffee table for extra seating.
In Illustration 4B I have left out any kind of sofa or loveseat. Four upholstered chairs are placed in the center of this space in front of a fireplace. This kind of grouping would be perfect in a small living room / parlor off of the main entry hall. The grouping of 4 chairs would also work well as part of multiple seating areas in a large space.
In this post I have tried, with all the different illustrations, to get you to think about making groupings of furniture in a room for good conversation. I hope my illustrations inspired you. Now I want you to go through interior decorating magazines and look at how professional decorators have arranged / grouped sofas and chairs.
Finally before purchasing any furniture for your home (sofas, chair, etc) get the dimensions of the pieces for height, width and depth; the furniture store will provide you with that. Take those measurements (width and depth) and tape newspapers together to make patterns / templates showing the size of the sofa or chairs exact dimensions. Lay the templates on the floor where you are thinking about putting the furniture to see how it fills in the floor space. A sofa or chair that looks average sized in the cavernous furniture show room might look enormous in your house. Also, get measurements so you can see if the furniture you want, fits through doorways, can make it around corners, or can fit in an elevator if you live in a high-rise.
When buying living room furniture, FORGET the LOVESEAT, buy Two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
Arranging furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room 2-5-2014,
It’s Easy to Arrange Furniture in a Square Living Room 11-29-2013,
Arranging furniture around a Fireplace in the corner of a room 9-29-2012,
Pick (Use) four colors when decorating a room 3-7-2011,
Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper patterns 4-13-2012,
The Right Way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011,
The Right Height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011,
Matching the Right shape End Table with a Table Lamp 1-12-2014