Furniture Layout? It’s All in the Numbers!

Amber Randhawa Homeowner and Homebuyer Tips, Interior Decorating

Have you ever noticed how some rooms just seem to feel more comfortable than others, but you can’t put your finger on why? The answer might be in the math! The spacing and placement of almost everything in your home can be laid out along a number system and voila – your rooms will instantly feel more comfortable and inviting. These tips are especially important if you are working with smaller rooms, as particular placement can also make a room feel larger. Read on for all the specifics on how measurements and proper placement can make your rooms feel just right.

Family Room/Living Room

How should you arrange your living room or family room to make it the ideal space for both spending time with friends and family, and television and home theater viewing? First take into account the placement of your furniture – seating should be placed no more than eight feet apart to facilitate easy conversation and make the space feel intimate during a gathering. If you have a television in your common space, you may wonder what is the ideal distance from the TV to the seating. As it turns out, there’s a math equation for that! The ideal distance from the television to seating is equal to three times the size of the TV screen. So, if you have a 40-inch television, place your sofa 120 inches, or about 10 feet away. How far from your seating should you place your coffee table? Make sure to leave 14 to 18 inches your sofa and the coffee table to allow for comfortable leg space.

If your living area sees a lot of through traffic as people move from room to room, keep that in mind when placing your furniture. You need to allow 30 to 48 inches of open space between walls and furniture to allow people to pass through comfortably, or 24 inches if only occasional traffic will come through the area. And don’t arrange your furniture to hug the walls – float your furniture 3-4 inches from the wall instead. Leaving space in this manner creates an optical illusion that the room is larger than it actually is.


You might think the best way to open up a small bedroom is to shove the bed up against a wall. While this might work for a daybed or kids’ bunk beds, but avoid doing this in rooms with an average-sized bed. You may free up floor space but the result will not be aesthetically appealing. You should always allow at least 24 inches between the side of a bed and the wall, and 36 inches between the bed and any door that opens into the room, such as a closet or entry door.

Dining Room

If you have a relatively small dining room and you’ve already placed your dining table in the center of it, you’re on the right track. You should place your dining table so that there is a minimum of 48 inches from the edge of the nearest wall or large piece of furniture such as a server or china cabinet, to allow for traffic to pass. If traffic will not be passing along one side of the table, 36 inches will suffice. The distance from the table to the dining room entryway should also be approximately 48 inches to allow for each entrance and exit. Dining chair placement matters as well. Chairs should be able to slide up to the table easily, but should not be pushed all the way in. You should strive to leave 24 inches of space between chairs as well, so that people can slide them in and out easily and not knock elbows while eating.

Read on for more of our design tips!