New Year, New Room: Tips for arranging furniture in any space

Military Housing furniture

After the first of the year I always get the itch to switch things up with my decor. Money is usually tight after all the holiday spending, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up and have it look amazing! Moving your furniture around is a great way to breathe new life into your home and even better, it’s free! I have arranged my furniture around hundreds of times, in every position imaginable in an attempt to achieve a fresh, new look. Sometimes it can be challenging trying to find the perfect placement for your furniture, especially when living in close or sometimes awkward spaces. With each new PCS there is always the challenge of arranging furniture to make it fit your new layout. Whether you’re moving into a new place or you just want to shake things up, follow some of these guidelines for creating your perfect space.

Furniture placement can set the tone for how you want your home to feel. The biggest compliment I get when people come to my home is that it feels cozy and warm. I mean, who doesn’t want their space to feel warm and inviting?! Arranging furniture is still something I struggle with. I always wonder if there is a better way and the only way to find out is by moving it around. But just remember when you’re looking on Pinterest to get inspiration, what works for one person may not work for another. Most people have different layouts and different furniture.

The first piece of advice I would give, and in my opinion is the most important, is to make sure your space is functional. Maximizing the space you have, whether you have 800 square feet or 3,000, is very important. The key is tricking the eye into thinking there is more space than there actually is. Make sure you consider “traffic” flow. I used to have our dining room table where I now have my office and we were constantly running into it, trying to squeeze around chairs and there was never enough room to play with the dog. If it’s not functional forget it! No matter how good you think it looks! Form follows function.

Create a conversation area. The most common conversation area in your home will most likely be your family/living room space. When deciding on your furniture placement in these rooms, consider creating a space that will be easy to engage in conversation. Whether it’s just you and your husband chillin’ on the couch or you are entertaining friends. Sofas create a more intimate setting because it forces people to sit close to each other and you are also able to fit more people into the space. Chairs help to break up a larger space and you are able control where you want your guests to sit and face.  Here are a few examples of a great setup I found on Pinterest.

To sectional or not to sectional? I get asked this question a lot. We have a sectional and I love it, but I have run into some issues due to our lack of space in our current living room. Sectionals are great because you are able to separate them and break them up according to your spacial needs. A general rule I usually follow when it comes to couch placement is to keep it away from the wall. It’s better if you are able to “float” your furniture because it creates openness in the space.  I have tried arranging my couch in every conceivable, imaginable way. Even breaking it up and using a different piece in another room. But I was never happy with the look or the function. The only way that made sense and was functional for us, was to put it along the wall.   Again, do what you feel is the best for your space and the functionality. Not all the “rules” of furniture placement are going to work for you and your space.

Our living room. As you can see, we are pretty spatially challenged and restricted with what we are able to do because of our large couch.

Military Housing Fort Meade

A little advice for those of you with an open flow/open concept is to anchor your space with an area rug. It helps to establish and define the area and separate it from the other rooms.

Create a focal point in each room. For the living room ours, like many others, is the TV. For some of you it might be a window or fireplace. In the dining room start with your table, in the bedroom it will be your bed. Decide where you want the focus to be and place your furniture around that.

Start with your largest pieces first then follow with your smaller pieces i.e. coffee table and side tables. I know how much my husband hates when I ask him to move furniture. (Maybe because I do it so often!) If your spouse is like mine and you don’t want to hear him whine, or you’re by yourself and don’t want to wait for help, try these furniture sliders. They are a life saver and make it so easy to move furniture without the help of anyone else! I don’t know how I moved anything before these!

Make sure your space has balance. If you have a large space go ahead and get the huge sectional you’ve been eyeing, but keep it balanced with a smaller coffee table and end tables. If you fill the space with all large furniture it will not maximize your space efficiently and it will be boring to the eye. You need balance and dimension. A few guidelines when choosing a coffee table is to make sure it’s about 1/2 the size of your couch. The same goes with a sofa table. It should be about the same height as your sofa, and can be close to the length as well. Go with your gut! Most of the time I can always tell when something just looks “off.” Call a trusted girlfriend to come over for a second opinion or send a photo to your Mom! I do this often! Sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective.

Use what you have! There are times when I wish I could get a new piece of furniture but it’s just not always in the budget. I love shopping my house and moving different pieces of furniture from different rooms. You can also try painting your furniture to give it a new look. I love using chalk paint because it’s easy to work with and you don’t have to do a lot of prep work to the piece. Check your local thrift stores! I’m amazed at some of the pieces I’ve seen on Instagram or Pinterest that people have bought from a second hand store and added a new coat of paint and some new door knobs. The transformation is amazing and inexpensive, plus you have your own custom piece that you couldn’t find in any furniture store. Get creative!

Go for space saving pieces that are multi functional. If you don’t have room for a sofa table but you need somewhere to put lamps for extra lighting try this! Such a great, inexpensive idea!

I love how they used this pinner used Ikea bookshelves for their TV stand and extra storage. Ikea has many different space saving furniture options. I go there often to get ideas and inspiration!

At the end of the day, you are the one who lives in your home. Don’t ever look at a magazine and think your home needs to look just like the picture on the cover. I still catch myself doing this from time to time. Do what makes you the happiest and makes you the most comfortable in your space!

About the Author:
Hi, I’m Kristin. Army wife, midwestern-er, hairstylist, lover of all things decor! I am currently residing in Maryland with my husband and loyal canine companion, Oscar. We have lived here for 8 years, which in Army time is basically forever. I have worked full time as a hairstylist for the past 10 years but spend any and all extra time trying to make our base housing feel like a home! For all the military wives out there, you know, the struggle is real. 

My love for decorating started when we were first stationed in Maryland. Our wedding gift from my parents was to furnish our first home together…Willow Leaf Lane. I was amazed how much a little paint and a million trips to Home Goods could make! (Oh, did I tell you we have 3 Home Goods just in the immediate area?! SCORE!) After a few years in that house we decided to try living in base housing. 6 years later we’re still here! I dream about the day we have our “forever home” and I can do all the modifications I want! But until then, I will work with the white walls I was given.