Just moved into a new house or apartment? Thinking about redecorating your current home? Decorating a room is always exciting, yet a blank canvas can often be daunting. Not only do you have to consider all the design elements — the color and style, whether you want carpet or hardwood, houseplants or no houseplants, warm and cozy or modern minimalism — but you also have to figure out how to pick the best furniture for your room’s size and shape.
Before you think about décor and dimension on a room-by-room basis, there are a few basic things you’ll need to consider.
First, what are you using each room for? This may seem obvious, but it really depends on you and your lifestyle. For example, maybe you’ve got a good sized dining room, but don’t often sit down at a traditional table setting, and would much rather eat on the couch. If that’s the case, you’ll want to decide whether you get a more formal dining table for special occasions, or something more versatile that you can use as a work station and not worry about keeping clean.
On the other hand, if you are a regular couch diner, you may want to allow some extra space in your living room for TV trays or extra end tables to set things down. Maybe a large coffee table makes sense if you’d like to make room for a couple pizzas every now and again.
Now that you’ve thought about what your rooms are going to be used for, you can begin choosing the best furniture for each.
Living Room Furniture
The living room is the heart of the home. It’s where we relax and unwind after a long day. Where we play with our children, watch reality TV and of course, eat takeout. It’s where we settle in on a couch if we’re feeling sick, or catch up with friends over a bottle of wine. While comfort is king in the realm of living rooms, it’s easy to forget that it is the first place where guests get an impression of your home, this makes choosing the right furniture an art of striking the balance between comfort and style.
One thing you’ll need to take into consideration when setting up your living room space is the layout. Is it an open plan that feeds into a kitchen or dining area? Or is it a single room with a few doors?
First, you should determine how you want the room laid out. A few things come into play here. What is the existing layout? And how do you want to orient the space — i.e. do you want it centered around the television, or is it more of a safe haven for reading and visiting with guests?
How to Pick the Right Size Couch for Your Space
First things first. You’ll want to think about the size of your couch. If your living room is large, you have a lot of space to fill. With that in mind, think about your needs. Will there be additional seating, like a smaller love seat or any chairs, in the space? Do you have a coffee table or plan on getting one to go with your new couch? If other furniture is in the mix, you may want to look for a couch with a simple design, or perhaps one with an L-shape that’ll compliment the other pieces by facing inward, setting the stage for lots of good conversation to come.
If you want the sofa to be more of a central part of your setup, consider a rounder shaped piece, or go for a sectional. These options can be easily oriented in front of a television, and offer plenty of seating for guests or larger families.
On the other hand, if you have a smaller living room — you’re definitely going to want to get a smaller couch. No matter what, the couch will end up being the center of attention, as there isn’t as much negative space to draw the eye elsewhere. Pick something with a classic shape and strong design elements, and be sure it complements any existing furniture in the room.
Here are a few more tips for choosing the right sofa:
- Scale — Don’t get a large overstuffed sofa if you’ve got smaller furniture — like Danish modern chairs, or minimalist end tables. Keep the scale in check so all the pieces work together in harmony.
- Consider Spacing Rules — The sofa for example, should be placed about seven feet from the television. The coffee table should be positioned about a foot and a half away from the sofa, and other pieces of furniture should be placed no more than ten feet from the sofa—that way the conversation can flow freely between those on different pieces of furniture, all the while keeping the space cohesive.
- Measure the Planned Couch Area — Found a sofa you love online, or out shopping? Measure before you commit to see if it will actually fit the space you have. Once you’ve determined the dimensions of the object of your affection, map it out on the floor where you plan to place it. Mark the location with tape, so you can walk around and see if there’s enough space to move about freely and whether there’s enough room for the coffee table, chairs, any shelving or whatever else you’d like to have on hand.
Additionally, don’t forget to measure any doorframes your new couch will need to pass through in order to reach its final destination. That goes for entryways, stairwells, hallways elevators and of course, your front door.
When taking on home decoration, sometimes the bedroom can be an afterthought. Where you sleep is often a more private space that doesn’t see as many visitors, but don’t neglect it. We have a few tips that’ll get your bedroom in tiptop order — giving you a much-needed private space to think, read and of course, sleep.
The same general rules apply here as they did with finding the perfect couch for your living room. However, this time, the bed, rather than the couch, will likely be the focal point, unless you have a very large bedroom.
How to Pick the Right Size Bed
Your bed is definitely the most important part of your bedroom, and with that designation comes a whole set of decisions to be made. How much do you like to move around in your sleep, and how many pillows do you need to be comfortable?
Consider the bed size — Here’s a quick look at bed sizes, so you can find one that might work best for you. We’ve included dimensions, so you can measure the space before committing to a mattress size you’re not 100 percent sure about.
- Twin Sized Beds (39” x 75”) — and their bunked up counter parts are best left to the youngest sleepers, though if you’re seriously lacking in room real estate, you may want to give your childhood bed an upgrade. There are longer twin sized beds available as well, in case you need more legroom.
- Full-sized Beds (54” x 75”) — If you’re strapped for space but still want a little more room to spread out when you sleep, a full size bed is a good bet. It might be a bit tight if you’re sharing the space, but it could work depending on your sleep style. Full-sized beds are great for one adult that wants to sleep on their own, offering plenty of space for reading materials, and of course, lots of pillows.
- Queen Sized Beds (60” x 80”) — The most common bed for adults, the queen is great for both singles and couples, and you can get away with putting one in a room that doesn’t have a whole lot of space.
- King Sized Beds (76” x 80” for a Standard King) (72” x 84” for a California King) — If you like to spread out and so does your partner, a king bed is your best bet, particularly if you also have a king sized room to fill.
- If you want a big bed, but don’t really have the room for it, there’s always the Murphy bed. With its old school charm, you can fold it out when bedtime rolls around, and take advantage of the floor space during the day. These beds are geared more toward those with studio apartments, as they may want to clear the space in order to entertain guests or work on a project.
Consider the Bedframe
A huge bedframe will be overwhelming in a small space, while the absence of a bedframe may make a large room feel a little sparse.
- Small Room? Look for something not too bulky. There are many great minimalist frames out there that won’t overwhelm tight quarters, but give your bedroom the right amount of polish. If you’re short on storage space, look for something that lifts the mattress off the ground, so you can add drawers or storage bins underneath to house extra clothes, shoes or bedding, without sacrificing anything in the way of style.
- Large Room? If so, you have more space to play with styles. Try a canopy bed if you’re looking for something whimsical. The curtains keep drafts out while you sleep, and offer a private sanctuary for some alone time.
- Bed Height — Tall bedframes like canopy and four-poster beds will feel overwhelming in a small space, even if they aren’t especially bulky. You’ll also want to consider the height of the bed, and make sure your ceilings aren’t too low to comfortably accommodate your new sleeping arrangement.
Dining Room Furniture
Table, chairs, and you’re done, right? Not necessarily. While the dining table is central to the whole dining room concept, there are a few things to consider when outfitting your meal space. Again, how is the space laid out? Is there a designated room, or a simple enclave for just a couple people? If you’ve got a large dining room, look for something that has a substantial presence.
- Small Dining Room — If you’ve got a smaller space, look for more delicate styles, like a mid-century table with thinner legs and smaller chairs. A round table also works well if you’re lacking in dining space. The round shape helps keep things centered and cozy, rather than claustrophobic.
- Large Dining Room — A large room can handle a large table. Look for something long and rectangular that perhaps has some heft to it. If you’ve still got room once the table and chairs are accounted for, think about adding a complimentary piece like a credenza or a china cabinet in a similar style to the table.
- Area Rugs – A Quick Guide to Outfitting Your Floors the Right Way
Often an afterthought for home decorators, the right area rug can be a major player in crafting the best look for your space. First, address what the purpose of the rug is. Is it a bold design statement, meant to add an element of personal style to the space? Are you trying to cover up a floor you aren’t in love with? Are you trying to unify an eclectic blend of furniture? Getting a rug that fits with all pieces of furniture in a room will bring a more cohesive feeling to a space.
Living Room Rugs
- Large Room — Make your living room feel cozy by adding a rug to the space. A large room can handle a big bold pattern, and the rug itself can be fairly large. Your best bet is to find something all furniture can fit comfortably on, which unifies the room. An area rug will help make things cozy, especially if you’ve got a loft-type space or large, uncovered tile or concrete floors. Additionally, if you’re looking to section off particular areas of a large room, a few different area rugs can help outline the borders you wish to put into place.
- Small Room — If you have a smaller living room, use rugs as more of an accent piece. Try placing the rug underneath the coffee table, or toward the center of the living room, and arrange the furniture around it. This creates a more centered feel and draws the eye around the room. Make sure at least the front legs of all sofas and chairs in the room rest on the rug.
Dining Room Rugs
Adding an area rug to a dining room is a great opportunity to add a bit of warmth. The rules here are straightforward. The table and chairs should all be well within the rug’s borders. The rug should have at least a two foot border extending out from the furniture on all sides. The reason you’ll want to allow for so much space is so your guests can comfortably pull their chairs out and walk around, without catching furniture on the rug, or worse, tripping on it.
Again, size comes into play when picking the right rug for your dining area. The rug should reflect the proportions of the table — i.e. if you have a large rectangular dining table, your rug should also be large and rectangular. It's better if you don’t mix round rugs with angular tables and vice-versa. However, there are exceptions to the rule and it can be a successful pairing. Your area rug should be proportional to your table, so the size and shape of your table will determine the size of the right rug.
One last thing — when selecting your area rug, keep in mind the table and chairs will cover the bulk of it. Look for something that allows you to see its unique texture and pattern even when the furniture is in use.
If your bedroom isn’t carpeted, it can feel a little cold, especially during the winter months. The right area rug can offer a sense of warmth and an additional layer of textural design. Plus, no more cold feet on a winter’s morning.
A couple of thoughts on bedroom rugs:
- The Bedside Rug — Add one on each side if you want to take in the softness when you get in and out of bed. Make sure if you use two rugs, they are either the same pattern, or at the very least the same size. The small rug approach also works if you’d like to add one to the foot of your bed. Of course, rug size depends on bed size, so keep that in mind when making your selection.
- With the Bed on Top — Similar to using a rug underneath your dining room table, try adding one under your bed, leaving a border of a couple feet or so for the pattern to really stand out. This works especially well if the colors complement with the bedding and accessories, like throw pillows and wall art.
How to Choose the Right Size Art for Your Space
Art is deeply personal, and when you hang it on your walls, it makes a statement about you and the style of your home. From a decorating standpoint, the way the art fits in with the furniture and the size of the space is equally important as the content of the art itself.
Consider Both Size and Scale
As with furniture, choosing a piece of art plays heavily into how it scales with both the furniture and the size of the room. To put it simply, you wouldn’t hang a tiny painting on a large, empty wall. On the other hand, a large piece of art can feel imposing if there isn’t enough surrounding wall space to give it some breathing room.
If you don’t want to make a huge commitment with an art purchase, or feel like you may want to eventually move it to a different part of your house, opt for something in the mid-size range, so it’s more versatile. Small pieces work well when clustered together (taking up the space of one larger piece), or arranged in a smaller area where they get their chance to shine. One important note, when hanging artwork over a sofa, is to position the bottom of the piece 6” to 8” above the top of the sofa In general, artwork should be hung at eye level, don’t let your pieces float up into the sky.
If you do want to take that plunge and commit to a big piece of art, here’s a few things you should know:
- Pick Which Walls to Highlight — Don’t cover every inch of your home with artwork. You’ll want to give it enough space to breathe, and really stand out.
- It Doesn’t Need to Hang— If you’re lacking in large wall space, try leaning artwork against the mantle, on top of a dresser or a credenza. Be creative. If you go with the “leaning method” you’re better off going with a medium-sized piece, that stands its ground, but won’t be toppled over. It’s all about balance.
- Mimic the Size of the Wall — Long vertical wall? Go with a long vertical piece of art. Filling the space by allowing the wall dimensions to inform your choice will make the space feel larger.
- Fill the Wall — Taking advantage of the space you have can make a room feel more contemporary, making a bold statement. So long as the piece of art has enough space to allow a border (i.e. it’s not touching the ground or the ceiling), go for it.
Don’t Overlook Comfort and Personal Style
Last, but not least. Don’t sacrifice comfort to comply with the rules of design. If you’re outfitting a small bedroom for a couple, a twin or even full-sized bed isn’t going to cut it. If you’re a larger person, a small couch may be uncomfortable. Your comfort needs should always come first — it’s your house, and there’s nothing worse than being locked into a new set of furniture that just doesn’t feel like you.
Looking for Design Services? Call Davids Furniture & Interiors
If you need help developing your personal style, or just finding the right pieces to make your home feel like yours, give Davids Furniture & Interiors a call. Our consultation services cover all the bases, from furniture size and style right down to all the small details that make your home feel like home.
Come into one of our stores for a complimentary design consultation, or if you need a bit more TLC, we’ll help you find the right design package for you.
Shop New Furniture
Whether you’ve got a tiny apartment that requires some creative decorating solutions, or a multi-bedroom home that houses your growing family, at Davids Furniture & Interiors we’ve got all kinds of options for you. We’ll help you find a bed for your small bedroom that’s still adult-sized, or find that right couch that works just as well for a cozy movie night, as it does watching the big game with a small crowd. Shop online, or stop by one of our three locations.