Tricks of the Trade: Furniture Arranging and Interior Design Tips

Get the room you've always wanted with a redesign.

| September/October 2004

  • Arrange your furniture to get the room you've always dreamed of.
    Photo By Barbara Bourne

Professional arranger Deborah Coburn shares these furniture arranging secrets:


• Create a focal point. Identify the room’s architectural focal point. Is it a fireplace? A window with a great view? Or is there a dramatic piece of furniture or art around which to orient the conversation area?

• Place your largest upholstered piece opposite the room’s focal point. The exception to this rule is if the focal point is opposite the entrance. You don’t want to walk into the back of the largest piece of furniture; you want to be drawn into the furniture grouping, both visually and physically. If this is your situation, place the largest piece perpendicular to the focal point.

• Connect other pieces to the largest piece. Place the second largest piece so that it forms an L shape with the first piece. Connect your coffee table to the main sofa, no farther than eighteen inches away. Counterbalance this grouping with a chair or other major piece of furniture, creating an overall U shape. Position side tables next to seating, for lighting and a place to put things down.

• Don’t line up all your furniture along the walls. If possible, bring the furniture in to the room. Angling creates interest, softens corners.

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