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Room Layout Rules


Create a Focus
Decide which part of the room you want to make a focal point.
Decide which part of the room you want to make a focal point.
©iStockphoto.com/KoKimk

Once you've defined the area you have to work with, it's time to delineate the space, create interest and enhance functionality. Here's how:

  • Create a focal point. In some rooms, this is easy. The flat screen television in a family room, the fireplace in the living room and the great view from a dining area are effective focal points that help delimit a space. Pointing or positioning furnishings to take advantage of these elements is an intuitive approach to room layout. In more challenging rooms, wall art, shelving or functional pieces, like desks, can be focal points.
  • Define the space. Once you have a focal point, create a grouping or groupings that take advantage of that focus and make it easy for people to get to together, talk and be comfortable nearby. To take an arrangement of chairs and tables to the next design level, anchor them to the space with an area rug, shelving, task lighting or a wall art grouping. In a large room, this is particularly effective and creates islands of interest that make a room cozier and more fun to use.
  • Use what you have to work with. In defining the space to use for your groupings, the natural architectural elements in the room can be a big help. The location of windows, built-ins, bump-outs and even fixtures, like wall lighting, can be useful in constructing conversation, work and relaxation areas. Sometimes a problem element in a room, like a short wall or an oddly angled one, can help you craft an inspired layout that's creative and wholly unique.

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