Too Much Time on Your Hands? Try Rearranging the Furniture

To figure out the best use of your space, try moving things around. You may not know what works best until you see it for yourself.

If you regularly watch television and play video games together as a family, a sectional sofa and coffee table across from an entertainment console may be more appropriate than symmetrical club chairs framing the fireplace — even if you prefer a formal living room.

If you have an open floor plan where one room flows into the next, make sure to coordinate colors and materials to keep it cohesive. And consider using furniture to delineate spaces. The back of a sofa, for example, makes a great room divider, and rugs can help define zones within a room.

Start with the biggest piece of furniture — most likely the sofa — and decide where it looks best. Then bring in the smaller pieces.

One common arrangement is to place the sofa facing the TV or fireplace, flanked by side tables, with armchairs on either side, at a right angle or rotated slightly toward the sofa. Another popular layout is to arrange two sofas (or a sofa and a pair of club chairs) facing each other, with the focal point at one end.

How much seating do you need? “The rule of thumb is to have as many seats as you have at the dining table,” said Leta Austin Foster, an interior designer in Palm Beach, Fla.

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