Family rooms form the social centers of most modern homes. They provide space for parents and kids to get together to watch movies, play games, and catch up after long days at work or at school.
Creating a comfortable environment for these activities requires taking factors like available space and anticipated use into account. This article will offer some insight into how to arrange family room furniture to make the process of designing the perfect space a little easier.
Determine Anticipated Use
Before making any purchases or changes, the head of the household should sit down with their families to discuss how everyone plans to use the room. Most modern families spend some of their time watching TV and movies together, but that doesn’t mean the television should be the focal point of the room.
Families that like to play board games together may want to arrange to seat for everyone around a centralized coffee table. Kids may want to play video games, which will require incorporating comfortable seating that faces the television. Some members of the family may want to use the room to work, read, or just relax.
Determining how everyone will use the room will make it easier to choose home furniture and arrange it accordingly. It’s perfectly fine to incorporate multiple focal points in larger family rooms, but designers need to know that this will be necessary so they can choose the right furniture.
Choose Focal Points
In most family rooms, televisions form the primary focal point. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. It’s perfectly fine to include a TV without arranging the entire room to accommodate it.
Other common focal points include windows, fireplaces, or even artwork. Some homeowners also create more subtle focal points using free-standing furniture such as bookshelves, entertainment centers, and credenzas.
Consider Traffic Flow
Keep the flow of foot traffic in mind when arranging furniture. Make sure all entrances to the room are easily accessible and consider different options for placement of large pieces like couches and entertainment centers.
Each piece of furniture should be easy to access and should be oriented according to the room’s traffic flow. It just wouldn’t make sense to place a couch with its back to all the doorways facing a wall, unless, of course, its sole use will be to watch television or play video games. Even when this is the case, it’s important to leave sufficient space in front of the couch for easy access.
Create a Floor Plan
The best way to accommodate traffic and ensure that there will be enough space is to create a floor plan. This can be done by hand if one or more family members have architectural experience or a flair for drawing, but most people use computer programs.
Note that while floor plans make it easier to make numerical computations, they don’t always accurately portray how the room will feel in real life. To avoid surprise difficulties, keep the following space planning measurements in mind:
- Major Walkways: 36 inches
- Minor Walkways: 24 inches
- Door Clearance: 36 inches
- Space Between Furniture Within Groupings: 14-18 inches
- Space Between Furniture Groupings: 48-96 inches
Designers can also determine the amount of space required between their TVs and seating based on the size of their televisions. Leave three times the size of the TV screen between the closest chair or couch and the entertainment center.
Consider Functional Zones
Plan to use the family room for more than one task or activity? Try incorporating multiple functional zones.
If the room is large enough, designers can arrange one seating area for TV viewing and a second one for casual conversation or family game nights. The same goes for reading nooks and work stations. Incorporating multiple functional zones gives busy families the chance to spend time together even when everyone is engaging in different tasks.
Include Adequate Lighting
Overhead lighting is a must-have for family rooms, but it shouldn’t be the only source of light. Accent lighting and task lighting are both great options for areas of the room that will be used for reading, doing homework, or playing board games.
When planning where to incorporate extra lighting, make sure to take the room’s configuration of power outlets into account. There’s nothing worse than creating and putting together a perfect room plan only to find that family members will be tripping over the extension cords required to accommodate lamps.
Distribute Furniture Evenly
Don’t lump all the sofas, chairs, tables, and bookshelves into one corner of the room and leave the rest of it bare. Instead, distribute furniture groupings evenly across the room. If the room is exceptionally small, this might require choosing pieces that match its scale.
Keep in mind that family members will probably want access to table space to accommodate drinks, snacks, books, and other small items. It’s best to use coffee tables between chairs within furniture groupings and end tables for stand-alone couches. This will help keep the room looking balanced.
Add Some Storage
Since family rooms are typically used for more than one purpose, this leaves tables prone to accumulating clutter. The best way to avoid clutter is to incorporate storage into the family room, itself. Use a combination of cabinets, drawers, and bookshelves for different items but make sure they’re tailored to the room’s size and anticipated use.
For smaller rooms, it’s best to include freestanding storage units. Larger family rooms are better suited to wall-to-wall built-in storage. Either way, it’s wise to purchase an entertainment console that has drawers or shelves for storing media items.
Once they have a basic design in mind, homeowners and their families can get started looking for pieces that will fit the room’s purpose and decor. It’s always best to purchase high-quality furnishings after determining where they will go and how they will be arranged.
Looking for furniture stores in Raleigh NC that sell high-quality chairs, sofas, coffee tables, and more for prices any family can afford? Head to the showroom, visit us online or give us a call at (919) 375-8574 to speak with a friendly and dedicated sales associate to get the search started off on the right foot.