Creating A Room


If there is one thing I did not learn in design school, in a book, or online, it is the little details of how to properly configure a room so that it looks amazing, feels amazing, and is user friendly. Here is what I have learned after more than ten years or designing homes. Follow these simple steps (in order) and you will get the best possible room configuration every time.

1.  Sofas and Sectionals – Decide where you want your main seating pieces to be situated (sofas or sectionals). For this room we obviously needed the largest piece to face the television. Keep in mind that not every furniture piece needs to be against a wall. For a sofa I like to stay in the 7′ to 8′ range, and for a loveseat 6′ to 7′.

2. Chairs – Decide how many chairs you might like and find the best location for them. This location looked great, but the chair pair blocked this great full stacking glass door. I felt.

3.  Corners – This family room will work much better with a single chair. A single chair angled in a corner, or a pair of chairs angled on both sides of a fireplace are a great way to make a room feel less formal, and more cozy. It can also help a seating group to feel less “square” and structured.

4. Rugs- This one is easy but often missed. Always, always, always make sure that the front feet of your main seating pieces are on the rug. I usually like the rug to extend about 1/3 to 1/2 way under the sofas. It can extend past the sofa back, but is not necessary. If you have a corner chair, get the legs on the rug if possible, but it is not necessary for a polished looking room. Here are some standard rug sizes, and the rooms they are best suited for-

  • 8×10- Smaller living or family room. Most dining rooms and bedrooms. Great for just a pair of sofas, and maybe one chair.
  • 9×12- Mid sized room, or a large dining room. Most rooms with a larger sectional need a 9×12 to look right. With a 9×12 usually one side of the rug may be longer than it needs to be….that’s OK.
  • 10×14 – Great room. If you have a larger home with a larger family room, or a seating group that may be floating in the middle of a larger space, odds are you will need a 10×14.

5. Tables and accents – Now that the essentials of your room are established, it’s time to fill in the blank space with the right amount of tables, benches or ottomans. Here is my personal Bible of items to check when adding the last layer to a furniture layout.

1. Mix round and square shapes. I always like at least one round table in a space.

2. No empty corners. Use a table, floor lamp, or plant if you have a sad open corner.

3. 18″ clearance. Always leave 18″ minimum between your coffee table and sofa. Also, try not to exceed 24″ so that it is easily accessible. You will see that I have maintained mostly even spacing between each seat and it’s table in front.

4. Ottomans and tables- Instead of using all tables, I like to add a bench seat or ottoman when possible. You will see in this space I added a small bench in front of the fireplace. Perfection.

5. Naked sofa backs – If you have a floating sofa, use a sofa back or narrow console table behind it, it just helps finish off the look.

6. If you have room to squeeze in a cute little table or stand next to a chair…do it.

7. Add lamps to your corner tables and anywhere else they may be needed.

There you have it. By following these steps, we end up with a great looking, well balanced room that looks complete and permanent. Good luck on your next furniture project!

Nate Fischer

Interior Designer, Nate Fischer Interiors