How to Arrange Furniture in a Rectangular Home


Rectangular homes are often filled with rooms that have long, narrow spaces. Arranging your furniture so that it is both aesthetically pleasing and functional is not a complicated process. You must first consider how the room will be used. For instance, if a dining room serves as an office space most of the time and you only clear it out for dinner parties, then functionality is a must in this room. Other guidelines include how many people will use the room at one time and what you like and dislike about the furniture placement now.

  • Look at the entire room and decide what the focal point is -- the area where you want eyes to flow to when a person enters the room. Often, the focal point of a living room area is a fireplace, entertainment center that holds a TV or a window with a view. In bedrooms, the focal point is typically the bed or an ornate headboard.

  • Position the focal point along a short wall of the long, narrow room. If the fireplace is built-in on a long wall and it is your focal point, place the furniture so that it creates an attractive U-shape around the fireplace. This creates the look of a separate seating area.

  • Place the largest piece of furniture along the short wall of the space opposite the focal point. Remember that you do not have to position furniture within a few inches of the wall, especially if the focal point is many feet away from the opposite wall. If this is the case, leave 3 or 4 feet behind the sofa to create another walkway. For bedrooms, place the bed along the short wall opposite attractive artwork or a tall piece of furniture.

  • Set other furnishings around the focal point in a U-shape. You can choose to have them directly facing the focal point or angled toward it.

  • Create separate sitting areas if the room is very long or is a rectangle shape. For instance, an upholstered chair with a small, round table beside it creates a reading area or a place to enjoy your morning coffee in a bedroom. In a long, narrow living room area, you can set up a small table and chairs for family members to play games or work on puzzles together. Another idea is to place occasional chairs opposite each other with a coffee table in between. This creates a space for children or teen's to entertain their friends, yet gives a feeling of intimacy and privacy to the area.

  • Anchor each separate sitting area with a rug to make it seem more like a separate space.

  • Place table or floor lamps in each furniture grouping in a triangular or three-point shape. This allows the light to filter throughout the entire space.

Tips & Warnings

  • Large traffic areas need a pathway that is approximately 3 to 4 feet wide. Other areas of the room need a pathway that is at least 2 1/2 to 3 feet in width to be able to move comfortably throughout the room.
  • Add artificial trees or tall plants in areas of the space to add interest and depth to the room.
  • Do not place furniture in areas that are awkward to move around or walk through. This makes the rectangular-shaped home seem cramped or cluttered.

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