The 7 Room Layout Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

You begin with an empty room, then you fill it with your belongings. Does the end result welcome and delight you, or does something seem not quite right? You may own an enviable house and lovely furnishings, but the whole thing can be undermined by awkward arranging. If your living spaces aren’t all they could be, perhaps you’re committing one of these common furniture faux pas. Read on, and mend your ways!

  1. Everything in Its Place

    1/8
    Rustic dining room

    Zillow Digs home in New Canaan. CT

    You begin with an empty room, then you fill it with your belongings. Does the end result welcome and delight you, or does something seem not quite right? You may own an enviable house and lovely furnishings, but the whole thing can be undermined by awkward arranging. If your living spaces aren’t all they could be, perhaps you’re committing one of these common furniture faux pas. Read on, and mend your ways!

  2. Putting Backs Against the Wall

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    Furniture away from the walls

    Zillow Digs home in Champaign, IL

    Don’t turn your sofas and chairs into wallflowers at the dance. Coax furniture away from walls toward the center of the sitting area, even just a few inches, and you’ll banish that stilted feeling, creating a sense of generous space and intimacy.


    Related: The 9 Rules for Rugs that Everyone Should Know

  3. Neglecting Secondary Lighting

    3/8
    Living room lighting

    Design by Clifton Interiors

    If you’re relying solely on overhead fixtures, you’re dooming family and friends to a harsh lighting limbo in the evenings—forced to sit either in the dark or under less-than-flattering lights. Instead, outfit each sitting area with standing or table lamps. They’ll add focus to your arrangement and facilitate several options for mood lighting. Plus, their pools of warm light will designate nooks for reading and other tasks.


    Related: 9 Lampshades You Can Make Before Lights Out

  4. Creating an Obstacle Course

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    No obstacle courses

    Zillow Digs home in Emerald Hills, CA

    Avoid those indoor roadblocks caused by positioning a piece of furniture directly in the flow of foot traffic. Think carefully about how people walk through each space, and then place furnishings so they don’t force your guests to navigate sharp turns.


    Related: Own Your Open Floor Plan with 8 Smart Design Tricks

  5. Overstuffing

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    Modern living room

    Design by Clean Design; photography by Donna Dotan Photography

    Don’t let your home suffer from furniture-store syndrome. If Grandma’s pair of wing chairs is making your den look crowded, you might consider using them elsewhere rather than straining to squeeze every stick of furniture into that space. Edit your rooms, and you’ll truly be able to appreciate the beauty of each piece.


    Related: Buy or DIY—8 Instant Seating Ideas for a Full House

  6. Losing Your Balance

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    Furniture balance in living room

    Design by Mosaik Design & Remodeling; photography by Lincoln Barbour Photography

    When a homeowner falls in love with a slender little night table and sets it alongside a tall, heavy wooden bed, that’s letting scale get out of whack. Keep it all in balance by grouping items of similar scale together—moving that skinny table next to a leggy seat and floor lamp, perhaps—and your rooms will look more polished.


    Related: 8 Unique Ways to Build Your Own Table

  7. Opting for Cool Over Comfortable

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    Comfortable kitchen table

    Zillow Digs home in Clinton, WA

    Yes, that set of super-sleek metal dining chairs offers loads of style, but you’ll still be sad when your dinner party breaks up before you’ve served dessert. Treat your guests—and yourself—right by choosing furnishings that offer both a fabulous look and a comfy perch. After all, you want to feel like you can sit and stay a while. Similarly, don’t let your living room get so minimalist chic that there’s nowhere to kick up your feet or put down a glass.


    Related: Reinvent Your Furniture with 9 Colorful DIYs

  8. Being Square

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    Furniture that is not squared

    Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

    When every piece is perfectly aligned on a grid, a home can feel stiff and overly formal. To break out of the boxiness, place armchairs so they face the sofa at a 45-degree angle, or try shifting your dining table to a diagonal. Slanted lines keep the eye moving and add a sense of openness to a space.


    Related: Beyond IKEA—10 Other Places to Get Affordable Furniture

  9. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!