You need to consider each of the following points to create a well-balanced, functional space:
Focal point – This is the area to which your eye is drawn when entering a room. It will typically be a defining feature like a large window with a view, a fireplace, statement furniture, artwork or a feature wall. Once you determine the room’s focal point, the next step is to start arranging furniture around it. You can dramatically change the look and feel of existing furniture by rearranging it to accentuate the focal point and moving it out from walls to create a more intimate seating area.
Function – Decide how the room will be used and how many people you need to seat comfortably. When you’re arranging furniture in an open plan kitchen/living/dining room, use it to define different zones or “rooms” for dining, relaxing and socialising. Determine the most practical layout to suit the size and shape of the room, then position larger items such as the dining table and sofa first. Create a conversation zone by grouping chairs and/or another sofa, then add a large rug and coffee table to anchor and balance the setting.
Traffic flow – When you’re planning the layout, leave enough space for people to walk between your furniture and the walls so they go around a setting, not through it, to get to other rooms or outside areas. Create clear access to exterior doors to allow for a seamless indoor-outdoor flow to adjacent outdoor decks or the garden.
Balance – A room where most of the furniture is squeezed into one area looks unbalanced, so draw an imaginary line through the room and balance the furniture placed in each half.
Visual weight – The visual weight of furniture can affect how balanced a room looks. It refers to how much weight an object appears to have, not how much it actually weighs, and is determined by the size, shape, colour and texture. A larger, darker, patterned item will be heavier and more dominant in a room than a light, neutral coloured piece of furniture, so you need to repeat other dark colours in the space to ensure that it will look balanced.
Scale – refers to the size of an object in relation to the human body or to the room itself. Older homes with a high stud or a front entrance with a two-level void both require larger items of furniture and artwork to fill and balance the extra volume of space.
Proportion – refers to the size of an object relative to other objects in a room. It is an important consideration when selecting furniture, artwork, and accessories such as coffee tables, side tables and lamps. If something in a room doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t the correct scale or proportion for the space. The same design principle also applies to the proportion of colours, patterns and textures required to create a well-balanced, harmonious room.