10 Fundamental Rules for Good Furniture Layouts

This week’s project theme in the Quarantine DIY Home Projects comes at zero cost! So what are you waiting for? Rearranging your furniture can make a room look and feel brand new, even though you haven’t spend a penny. And let’s face it, freshening up a room right now will give us a welcome break from staring at the same four walls. So check out these 10 rules for creating good furniture layouts, whether you have an expansive room or a small apartment.

Assess How You’ll Use The Space

The first most important rule is to assess how you’ll use the space. At the end of the day it’s your home, and you have to live in it. So if you use your living room to watch TV, there’s no point in arranging two sofas opposite each other and perpendicular to the TV! So sit down with your family and discuss how you do, or want to use the space before you start moving any furniture.

Good furniture layout and traffic flow in a large open plan room

Traffic Flow

The next most important thing to consider is traffic flow. Traffic flow through a room can drastically dictate the furniture layout. You may have a walkway that flows right through where you’d ideally like to place that large bulky sofa, so you either have to work around it, or move the door!

Assuming you don’t want the expense and hassle of moving the doors in your room, there are ways to navigate an awkward flow. The basic rule is, always try to allow at least 3 feet around furniture, and try not to place objects in the way of a traffic flow.

Always allow at least 3 feet around furniture

Focal Point

Next you should decide what the focal point of the room will be, and try to arrange furniture around it. It might be something obvious like a fireplace, or a view through a large picture window. If you don’t have an obvious focal point though, you can add one with a large mirror or piece of artwork.

Good furniture layouts in an open plan room with defined areas

Furniture Layouts for Open-Plan Living

If you have an open-plan living area, think of it as separate rooms still. For example, you could position a sectional sofa in the middle of the room, where the back of the sofa creates a distinct visual “living room”. Rugs are another good option for clearly defining individual spaces within an open-plan room. Try to make them large enough, so that all the furniture sits on them though.

Don’t Squeeze Furniture Up Against Walls

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I’ve seen so many times, people squeezing furniture up against walls on the perimeter of the room. This might be the easiest layout, but it’s definitely not the best. Try leaving even a 12″ gap between furniture and the walls to create the illusion of more space.

Scale and Balance

When rearranging furniture layouts, think about scale and balance. If you have a massive bed or sofa, don’t place tiny end tables next to them. Try swapping them for larger tables you might have elsewhere in the house.

When it comes to balance, think about size but also color and patterns. A good tip is to repeat the colors throughout the room to tie it together better and make the design more cohesive. So if you have a blue armchair on one side of the room, and a cream sofa on the other, try adding a blue cushion to the sofa to balance it out.

Conversation area - good furniture layouts

Create a Conversation Area

Arranging furniture layouts to promote conversation is a good thing, especially in these days of being ‘always on’ with technology. But back to my first point, don’t arrange your sofas opposite each other if you know you love a good Netflix binge each night! You can create smaller conversation spaces with armchairs positioned next to each other with a small table in between. Make sure they’re not more than 8ft apart though, otherwise you’ll be shouting to your partner!

Optimal TV Position

And although we probably all love the idea of going technology-free, we probably all have a large screen TV somewhere in the house. So what is the best position for it? There are a few basic rules when it comes to positioning the TV. Your seating should be roughly 8-12 feet away, and the angle of the TV should be no more than 30 degrees. Also, try not to position it opposite or next to a bright light source, unless you have suitable shades.

Good bedroom furniture layout

The Bedroom

Rearranging your bedroom furniture can definitely make your room feel new again. There are a few different layout options for your bed position, and it really comes down to personal preference. I always like to position a bed away from a window wall, ideally looking out onto a view. So when you wake up in the morning, and pull back the curtains, you can can take in the beautiful view. However I’ve seen a lot of people positioning the bed over a window, even in a large room. This layout option definitely isn’t for me, as I feel it would darken the room, and make it difficult to close the curtains, but if you’ve found it different I’d love to hear about it! The general rules for bedroom layouts though are – 2 feet around either side of the bed, and not within 3 feet of the door ideally.

You should leave 2 feet either side of the bed

The Dining Room

And finally a great tip to maximize the space in your dining room, is to reflect the shape of the room in your dining table. I.e. if you have a rectangular room, opt for a rectangular dining table. If you have a square room, or small room, a circular table is a good option. Make sure that you leave about 3 feet around the table, and 6″ between each chair. Each place setting should have around 20-24″ of space.

So what are you waiting for? Start rearranging your rooms! But first, a good tip that will save you any unnecessary heavy lifting, is to use a floor planner tool like Planner 5D. By measuring your room dimensions and translating that to a floor plan on screen first, you can drop in your furniture and size it to the exact dimensions to see if it will fit. You can then see it in 3D to see if you’ll like it first. I use this tool for every room I design now, and it has been a great way to create great furniture layouts before ever moving a chair.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post. If you liked this, consider subscribing to emails to stay up to date with the latest blog posts. I promise I won’t spam you – I don’t have the time to! 🙂

Thanks for reading,


Weekend Bedroom Makeover Checklist

Just in time for the weekend is this bedroom makeover checklist that you can achieve in less than a couple of days. Bedrooms are often the overlooked room in our houses, and yet they’re probably where we spend the most time. According to a research article pulled together by Dreams (a British bed retailer) we spend an average of 33 years in bed! So maybe we need to start paying more attention to how our bedroom looks.

The average person spends about 26 years sleeping in their life which equates to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours. Surprisingly, we also spend 7 years trying to get to sleep. That’s 33 years or 12,045 days spent in bed!

Restful bedroom

1. Declutter!

The first and easiest step to creating a restful bedroom space is to tidy up! Get those wet towels off the bed, the day old clothes off the floor, and unpack that suitcase that’s been sat there for weeks – I know we all do it! Clearing away the clutter is free and can make a big impact not only to the overall look of the space, but to your mental health as well. According to Psychology Today “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed.” And being that bedrooms are a space for rest and relaxation, having a clutter-free space will aid a restful night’s sleep.

Messy bedroom

2. Make Sure You Have Storage

If you really can’t part with your clutter, then at least hide it away. A basket like this from Amazon is a stylish way to hide unused pillows and blankets, or those day old clothes that you really can’t be bothered to hang up. Wall shelves are another great option for moving the clutter off the floor. But be careful not to simply move the clutter, if it looks unsightly hide it in storage boxes on the shelves. Lidded storage boxes are great for hiding clutter and come in a variety of sizes and materials.

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3. Fresh Paint

The next thing you should do is to think about changing the paint color, or at least painting a fresh coat of paint. Paint can get worn and scuffed over time, so a fresh coat of paint will quickly and dramatically freshen up your bedroom. You can easily achieve this in a weekend, or if this is too daunting then just paint one feature wall behind the bed in a contrasting color. You’ll be amazed at how quickly and cheaply you can transform your room. Check out this blog post on how to Paint an Easy Feature Wall.

Painted feature wall in bedroom

4. Add Blackout Curtains or Blinds

Adding blackout curtains or blinds can aid a restful night’s sleep, and are commonly used in hotels to block out unwanted traffic noise and light. There are different degrees of light filtering, Blindster does a great job of explaining the difference “Blackout shades use a fabric that blocks 100% of all incoming light, while “room darkening” usually refers to almost any shade that uses a fabric that blocks between 95% and 99% of the light that enters your room. Anything that blocks less than 95% of the light is usually referred to as light filtering.” If you find 100% light blocking blinds disorientating (speaking from experience!) then try room darkening or light filtering options instead.

Blackout blinds

5. Create a Hotel Style Bed

Hotels know a thing or two about creating a restful night sleep, from the luxury mattress to the perfectly laundered white sheets with hospital corners. Now i’m not saying to go out and spend thousands on a brand new mattress this weekend, (although if you want to, don’t let me stop you!), but you can make your bed feel more luxurious with a few simple tweaks. Firstly, go out and buy fresh white bed linen. Have you ever seen a hotel with anything other than white sheets? Hotels tend to use percale bed linen for its easy care, wrinkle free appearance that can withstand frequent cleaning. Swapping out your sheets can really add instant impact to the way your bedroom feels.

Then there’s how you make it. This is an important step in making your bed feel like you’re in a 5 star hotel and only costs a bit of extra time. This video from HGTV shows how easy it is to do.

6. Swap Out Pillows / Cushions

Then there’s the ‘Great Pillow Debate’ – how many is too many? If you’re on my husband’s side, then he’d probably say “none”, if however you’re on my side, then “at least two” is where I’m at. I’m talking about decorative throw pillows, and not the kind you rest your head on. With the one or two white pillows you each need for your head, layer on top of that at least two decorative pillows to add color and interest to your bedroom. The great thing is, you can easily change them out to quickly change the style of your bedroom. Try changing them with the seasons, lighter colors and textures like linen for the summer, and cozier knitted or fur pillows for winter.

7. New Nightstands / Bedside Tables

If your room allows it, it’s always a good option to have two bedside tables around a double bed, with two lamps. You don’t need to go out and spend hundreds on a new set, you can try to pick something up second hand and upcycle it with paint and new knobs. Or try low cost retailers like IKEA, who have some great options from $10-$150 / £9-£129.

When choosing nightstands it’s important to consider a couple of things. Make sure it’s the right height for your bed. You want it to be around the same height as the top of your mattress, slightly above or slightly below is also fine, so you’re not reaching way down or up for things on them.

And then there’s scale. You want the nightstands to be in proportion with your bed. Don’t choose tiny tables if you have a California King sized bed. And if you want to create a more luxurious look, then opt for wider nightstands.

Bed with nightstands

8. Add a Rug

If you don’t already have one, try adding a rug underneath your bed. It’s a good way to bring in a new color, texture or pattern to your bedroom. You could go bold and add a brightly colored or loud pattern to your bedroom with the rug. Or you could make your bedroom feel more cozy by adding a shag rug or sheepskin. In terms of scale, you want the rug to be slightly wider than your bed, and position it so that you can see the end of it too.

Bed with rug

9. New Artwork

Another easy way to quickly update your bedroom is to add or change out the artwork. Again, you can bring in some color to the design, or pattern, or even texture. It doesn’t have to be a painting, it can be a more sculptural piece. One idea that looks great, is to hang an array of different size baskets on the wall like these ones from Pottery Barn. For a cheaper alternative, try finding baskets from your local thrift store or charity shop.

Basket wall art Pottery Barn
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

10. Add Some Greenery

We’ve all heard that plants are good for us, not only do they look great, but they also reduce the carbon dioxide and dust levels in our homes. An article from Bob Vila goes on to say that certain types of plants can actually help you sleep better, so are perfect for your bedroom. Choose from these 8 plants for a more restful night’s sleep:

  • Lavender – reduces blood pressure and heart rate
  • Jasmine – improves the quality of your sleep and increases your chances of waking up with a better attitude and less anxiety
  • Peace Lily – reduce the microbe count in your home’s air, which can relieve allergy symptoms
  • Aloe Vera – promotes better air quality
  • Valerian – helps you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer
  • English Ivy – can drastically reduce airborne mold
  • Gerbera Daisies – at night they emit oxygen and absorb toxins and carbon dioxide
  • Rosemary – reduces anxiety and stress
Aloe vera plant

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Thanks for reading! Until next time.


The 10 Best Outdoor Rugs on Amazon Under $100

One thing I think is a must to create a truly cozy outdoor living room, is a rug. Outdoor rugs bring the inside out better than anything else. They make the patio start to feel more like your cozy living room, and a space you want to relax. Plus they’re cheaper than you think! Here’s my round-up of the 10 best outdoor rugs on Amazon for under $100.

I think this is probably my favorite, the Fab Habitat Reversible Rug Miramar – Gray. It’s $94 for the 5′ x 8′. It’s made of 100% recycled plastic, it’s mold and mildew resistant, and UV resistant against fading.

Another rug from Fab Habitat the Cairo – Natural & Black is another great choice. With the same specification as the Miramar it’s available in 4′ x 6′ for only $54.

For a more traditional or French Country look, the Nicole Miller Ayana rug from Home Dynamix is a great choice. Available in grey / blue or grey / black the 5’2″ x 7’2″ is $68.

For a more classic or coastal look, the Safavieh Courtyard Collection rug is available in multiple different colors and sizes. I like this color combo in a classic navy / beige to add a touch of coastal sophistication to your yard. The 5′ 3″ x 7′ 7″ is a decent size for just $100.

For a more modern rug this New York rug by Beverly Rug in blue / white is a bargain at just $80 for a large 7’10” x 10′. I love the red stripes at the edge to make it stand out from the crowd and add more interest.

For a natural look that would look great with a tropical or Boho style patio, this weather resistant jute look rug is a great choice from nuLOOM. You can get the Lefebvre Braided rug in a 3′ x 5′ oval in natural tan for just $44. It’s also available in multiple size / shape combinations and color ways.

This brightly colored Boho style rug would look great paired with brightly colored pillows and furniture for a true Boho chic look. The Safavieh Courtyard Collection rug is pictured here in light grey / fuchsia, but is also available in 6 other color ways. At $92 for the 5’3″ x 7’7″ this rug is a great choice to brighten up your yard.

This bright aqua rug by Fab Habitat is another great option that will make your backyard pop. The Brooklyn rug in teal is $94 for the 5′ x 8′. It’s also available in blue and a five different sizes.

To add warmth and coziness this rug by Unique Loom in burgundy would be a great choice for a modern Southwestern style patio. Th is design is only available in 4′ x 6′ and one color way, but at only $33 it’s a bargain.

For a classic yet modern style, you can’t beat this black and white stripe rug by DII. The 4′ x 6′ is a reasonable $40, it’s also available in navy or grey. This is the rug that I purchased for our patio and can’t wait to see it! Stay tuned for the grand reveal.

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I hope you enjoyed this list of my favorite outdoor rugs for under $100. Thanks for reading!


You might also like:

Using Color and Texture to Bring The Inside Out

5 Styling Secrets For A Boho Outdoor Space

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