Living Room Living Room Decorating & DIY Our House

The Furniture Arrangement That Changes Everything

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Sometimes I get so stuck on an idea that I can’t see past it. I can’t think “outside the box”, because my brain is so stuck on that one, initial idea.

Example? My furniture arrangement in my living room. Here’s how I had it just the other day when I showed y’all my living room progress.

Living room makoever phase 1 - 20% complete

And if this is your first time seeing it, please keep in mind that this room is only about 20% complete.  🙂  I still need to make an upholstered ottoman, reupholster the sofa, make draperies, refinish/restore the antique bureau, and select or make some artwork and accessories for the room.  It’s far from complete at this point.

But back to the furniture arrangement…

The idea that has been stuck in my brain for so long now is that I wanted to build a separating wall between the living room and the entryway — nothing too closed in, but something really open that just gives definition between the two spaces.

So my brain latched on to that idea and couldn’t see anything else. In my mind, since there would be a wall there eventually, my sofa either had to go against the wall where the chairs currently are (tried that, and it looked way off balance), or it had to go against the window. Those were my only two options.

And then Sheila over at Beyond The Portico left a comment and suggested a completely different furniture arrangement — one that my stuck-in-the-box brain hadn’t even considered as an option. As soon as I read her suggestion, I got up and started moving furniture, and it was perfect!!! Here’s how it looks now.  (Sorry for the dark pics.  I took all of them late at night.)

New living room furniture arrangement

Y’all, this furniture arrangement changes everything!!! Matt just laughs at me now, because ever since I switched things around, I just LOVE my living room, and I’ve voiced my love for my living room about a thousand times.

As per Sheila’s suggestion, I plan on getting (or making) a sofa table to go behind the sofa (a.k.a., the floral monstrosity) to give even more definition between the living room and the entryway.

New living room furniture arrangement 3

But I still have a very wide entryway, so there’s plenty of room for a sofa table.

I really can’t even believe how much of a difference a furniture arrangement can make.

New living room furniture arrangement 1

In fact, I love it so much that I’ve decided that not only do I no longer want to put up a separating wall between the living room and the entryway, but I also no longer want to switch out the tall windows for smaller ones, or add built-ins along that wall.  Although I still might add a fireplace at some point down the line, because it would look beautiful between the two chairs.

Also with this arrangement:

  • Everyone in the living room can enjoy the big front window.  No one has to sit with their back against it.
  • My big window has been “freed up”.  No large piece of furniture in front of it, so that means that my draperies will make more of a statement rather than being suffocated by a big sofa.
  • I have plenty of room for both of my end tables now.  (I just need to put the other one together now.)
  • And there’s plenty of room on each side of the sofa for Matt’s wheelchair to get past so that he can join the conversation when people are over.

And speaking of Matt, since I no longer feel the need to put up walls, the wide openness of the house will be much easier for him to maneuver around.

What a difference a furniture arrangement makes!  So let my “can’t see outside of the box” mental block be a lesson to you.  If you have a room that you like, but you feel like something is “off,” it might be the furniture arrangement.  Or if you have a room that you feel needs a whole lotta work (like lots of built-ins, additional walls, etc.), you might just need a different furniture arrangement.

Before I rearranged the furniture, I enjoyed looking at this room, and dreaming of what it would look like when it was finished.  Ever since I rearranged this room, I love being in this room and actually using it.  What a difference!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Natalie Ramirez
    November 22, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Kristi It looks amazing!!! It looks much more “you”. The other was was nice, but this changes the way everything looks!!! Plus, now we get to see more of your snobby drapes! (This is a good thing, because I imagine they will be fanastic!). Seems much more cozy as well. I really do love it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary C.
    November 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Love it! I get stuck, too. Love the idea for a sofa table as well. Will make a more welcoming “boundary” between living room and entrance than just the back of a sofa.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    It looks great, Kristi! What a good idea Sheila had 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I like this arrangement much better? It wouldn’t work in my room because of the chairs not being able to watch TV, but I love the way it looks!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      November 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

      A t.v. would definitely change things. We’re not going to have a t.v. in this room. In fact, we haven’t actually watched t.v. (or had cable) in 3.5 years. The only t.v. in our house is a 32-inch that is in Matt’s room for his video games. 🙂 We watch all of our shows on our computer via Netflix or Amazon. Makes me wonder what we’ll do when we remodel the sunroom and turn it into a family room. I’ll almost feel like I have to put a t.v. in there (because isn’t that what family rooms are for?!). 😀 I guess I’ll have to start watching t.v. again at that point. Ha!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Brainwaves are a good thing…like this idea better as well…before looked like what every one would out of the box

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    This is so much better. And I liked the before too. Can’t wait to see it with the snobby drapes and recovered sofa.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Love it! I think it looks a lot larger too!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa Garber
    November 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I love floating a sofa like tis. My one concern has always been lighting: what to do with lamp cords. In one house I was VERY fortunate that a previous owner had installed outlets in the wood floor, so I could have lamps on my antique desk-as-sofa-table behind the sofa. For space’ sake, in that house, I did not use my end tables.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

    The room looks great and with the new arrangement the room looks larger.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Your new arrangement is fab! I love that it gives you more space to move around, but also makes it so you don’t have to do the extra wall or change your windows. Your future plan for a fireplace between the 2 chairs will be beautiful. I’m so excited to see this room coming together!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Wow….love the new arrangement. Isn’t it funny how changing furniture makes that much of a difference. I just did the same in my kitchen moving the table a different way. My husband and I were like we should have had it this way when we moved in 6 years ago. LOL

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher
    November 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Ms. SpoolTeacher lived in a 20X20 apartment for 20 years! She must have re-arranged it 1500 times. It clears the “cobwebs” of the mind and is like therapy. Also clear here is how much we need each other and objective input now and again. She happens to love your “Monstrosity”, but she loves old worn out things. Looks fabby Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Awesome! It looks great. I love your posts and can’t wait to see the finished project. I love how you are showing your progress in stages. We live in a society of “I want it NOW” mentality. Your example helps us to accept the reality that things take time. Keep it up!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michelle Robertson
    November 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I love the big windows! I couln’t understand why you would want to change them. More natural light is a food thing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michelle Robertson
    November 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Sorry…a good thing not a food thing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Oh I love this arrangement so much more! I agree with you, I think the beautiful fabric for the drapes will make such a bigger statement now, can’t wait to see more!

    On a total side note: What types of video games does Matt play? I’m a gamer myself, was just curious if he played MMOs or mostly offline games 🙂 Or, feel free to tell me to mind my own business! =)

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      November 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      He mostly plays offline — in fact, exclusively offline. His favorites are the role playing games on the XBox, like Fable. He also loves Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six. Right now he’s really into Diablo 3 on the XBox 360. But he likes pretty much anything from retro games to anything modern. His dream is to turn his room into a sort of video game “museum”, so to speak, with every gaming system from Atari to PlayStation 4, and everything in between. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG
    November 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

    It looks great – isn’t it funny how a new set of eyes with a new perspective can be just what you need – can’t wait to see that sofa table!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I agree looks great, I would go with something like this, just to make your room uniqe. Fireplace I mean. Something like this but with say a stone border and of course not as long…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Karen Benisch
    November 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I love the new furniture arrangement. I was wondering if you are putting any thing else on the walls. There seems to be something missing on the wall! And no I dont mean a TV. Not sure what but there seems to me to be something missing. Maybe I dont know what I am talking about.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    This arrangement is really nice. It will be very conducive to conversation when you have guests over and everyone can see your beautiful yard. Any ideas for a sofa table?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    November 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    What a difference a day makes. Kristi, I didn’t want to say anything negative before, but I felt your living room looked like a box before. You have opened up that box. You will probably want to build your sofa table, because commercial sofa tables might be too deep for your area. I’m using a vintage/antique ladies writing desk as a sofa table behind my floating sofa. And I conquered the problem of no outlet for my art lamp on the sofa table by using a long extension cord that I lay flat underneath the rug. I love your new arrangement and am sure you and any guests will enjoy it very much. I would suggest not covering up that floral monstrosity until you hang your new drapes. It doesn’t look bad since it’s currently the only floral in the room. Thank you for using one old piece in the room. While your chairs are so beautiful, that chest is really the focus of the room. It, too, needs an art lamp. Use flea market and antique store lamps. They are extremely easy to rewire if needed. Remember that lamps are the jewels of the room. Put low wattage fluorescent bulbs in them and turn them on all day every day. You’ll be surprised at the warmth and coziness it will bring in and do not use matching lamps unless it’s on the to your room, and no lamps unless it on the matching end tables, each lamp should be it’s own work of art. Yes, you can have a lamp on each end table and still have an art lamp on the chest. I have six beautiful lamps in my living room and turn all of them on. It is the thing people enjoy most and remember most about my living room. You have created a perfect place for a Christmas tree. And I’m with you 100%, no tv in the living room EVER. I can’t wait for you to have a visitor to ooh and ahh over your creation like we do.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Genelle McDaniel
      November 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      And that corner where the chair rail ends abruptly? I would have framed out that corner as if it were part of a door facing even though it’s not. I would use framing to have a division between the two paint finishes, instead of the chair rail. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking us on this journey with you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Oh, wow! The difference is night and day! It looks amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    The room does look bigger. I’m a fan of rearranging furniture, and I usually do it late at night. The real test for me is how I feel about it the following morning. It can give a whole new perspective. I agree the couch needs a sofa table… it’s that little bit of ‘extra’ that makes a room. And as previously mentioned, you can have an outlet added in the floor for a lamp cord or run it carefully under the rug. Because of your placement, a lamp on the sofa table will help light the space behind. Nice job, Kristi !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I am SO glad that someone had the fortitude to speak up and suggest a different arrangement. You’re right, sometimes we can become so bonded to an idea that we can’t see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes. This new arrangement is so inviting, as well as being a much better use and aesthetic of the space. Good job! ~:)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    What a really great idea! It seems a lot more open and I really like big windows so it’s nice that they’re staying now. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Beth Langhans
    November 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Looks great! Thank God you called the couch the floral monstrosity…I thought you might have lost your decorating mind! lol

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      November 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Haha! Well, I’ll never claim to be completely sane, but that floral monstrosity will be getting a makeover, and hopefully sooner than later. It’s a Thomasville sofa that I found in a consignment store for $100, and I love the shape (especially the arms), but yes…that floral fabric has to GO. 🙂 I’ll probably opt for a solid neutral color to really show off the curvy arms and let me draperies and dark blue velvety tufted ottoman be the stars of the show.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Totally amazing! Before, my eyes were struggling to follow around the room with the heights of the chairs, the windows, and back down to the “floral monstrosity”. But now- putting the chairs in front of the windows helps my eyes flow around easier instead of “jiggity jaggity” flow about. It’s so weird- you can’t figure out what bothered you until AFTER you move it. It looks awesome! Furniture arranging should be classified as a science!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kaye M.
    November 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Amazing…Really amazing. I can’t wait to get home from work and move my furniture around!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Oh my goodness! It is beautiful! I would love to curl up in one of those chairs and sit by the fire and gaze out the big window (once the fireplace is added of course! jsyk, I don’t plan on burning down your house lol). You have to make a sofa table though! It’s more you that way or least what I’ve come to expect from you. I’ve seen some great things made from plans found at ana white’s site

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    SO happy you love your living room now, Kristi! I’m like you, sometimes I get an idea in my head right off the bat, and can’t for the life of me think of any other alternative. Hate it when that happens!! Nice you got that little push to think outside of “your” box. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tina @ Living Life Wright
    November 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Love the new living room furniture arrangement! It looks great! Can’t wait to see the finished room after you put up your new curtains and upholster the couch … I know it will be fabulous.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I have one more idea for a furniture floor plan. Did you try putting the sofa on the two window wall? The sofa seems heavy floating out in the middle of the room. Basically flipping the sofa and the two chairs. Then move the dresser to the big empty wall and do a gallery of framed pictures above it. I would place end tables next to it and just one table between the two chairs. Perhaps a round drum table.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marie White
    November 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm


    It looks great, I can’t wait to see the couch covered and the new window treatment when your fabric comes in.


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I love the new seating arrangement….it flows beautifully and shows off all of the great architectural features like you said.

    And I can completely relate to a furniture arrangement changing everything. 🙂 I’m so happy Sheila left you that suggestion.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    This is super funny because I am having the same problem with my nursery room furniture arrangement! I JUST blogged about my dilemma two days ago! Maybe you have time to hop on over and give me some advice? =]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Oh my gosh you are so right. What a difference the furniture layout makes! I really really like this a lot! I look forward to seeing the sofa table you come up with but mostly I can’t wait to see the drapes. Now they will definitely take center stage (pressure’s on. 🙂 -since theirs nothing to block them.
    And am I crazy – Or does this layout in fact, make the room look bigger and more open???

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Much better, not a waiting room look but a homey comfy cozy gathering room. I am now going try and have “new eyes” to look at my formal living/sitting room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I love it, love it, love it, Kristi. Thanks for trying my suggestions. Your house was made for a floating sofa arrangement. It feels so much more inviting and cohesive how. Adding a nice sofa table and accessories will help to balance it all out and I can’t wait to see your new drapes in there. What I am most happy about is that the space is more user friendly for Matt and that this arrangement will save you so much time, money and effort since you will not have to build a wall or install bookcases and smaller windows. Looking forward to future posts. Have a fabulous day and even better weekend.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    what a great change! the room looks larger and can’t wait to see it with photos on the wall, plants and other decorative items. I am particularly interested in seeing what/how you make the ottoman with your beautiful rug. thanks for sharing this journey with us. I have great respect for what you do.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alta Craig
    November 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Oh, yes, so much better than the previous arrangement! But, comment #32, with the sofa on the window wall is an interesting idea also. I’d love to see that arrangement. Maybe a narrow table could be placed between the back of the sofa and the window wall to let the windows ‘breathe’?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Alta Craig
      November 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Oops, I re-read your post and saw that you had already tried that idea. My bad!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jessica Sala-Bonin
    November 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Love the layout and LOVE your blinds!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Love this new arrangement! The other felt boxy and stiff. I don’t think of you as ‘stiff’ 🙂 This feels cozy and warm, more you. It is also really nice to know that you do not take comments for granted, that you actually think about them. You may think about it for a split second and think ‘no way’, but at least you give it that second. Have great weekend.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    We often have a floating sofa to give separation to differing areas of our house. We are getting ready to convert a built in china hutch with a huge mirror in the upper center into our built in entertainment center, which will totally change the configuration of the living room.

    The new room looks great!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I liked the old furniture placement, but I do think the new “Sheila Arrangement” is really, really nice. It opens up the view of the gorgeous picture window and yes, the drapes will really make a statement now. Always been a fan of a floating sofa, and a sofa table will really help anchor that part of the room. Most of all, I’m a huge fan of classical balance, and I love that you’ll have a two chair/table arrangement under the two windows, which will look so beautiful flanking a fireplace.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    It really does look so much better! I like that everything doesn’t seem so smashed up against the walls… I never like that look. This just feels so much more warm & inviting, somehow. I’m loving watching the progress unfold!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 22, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    This arrangement is beautiful. What a difference!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Miss Mehndi
    November 23, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I have never heard the term “floating sofa” before. I had a similar issue in a house I lived in…no entry way & a big picture window. I used a loveseat & a side table in the same manner as you are using your sofa. Instead of a sofa table behind it I put a long buffet up against the wall & filled it with family photos. I like how it separated the room & gave me the feel of an entry way. I also liked having an unobstructed view of the picture window. Every year I put the Christmas tree there & kept the blinds open well into the evening so we could share our tree with people passing by.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

    After living in our house for 23 years we have opted to make over our bedroom, bathroom and closet. We completely gutted the bathroom, rearranged everything and finished it exactly the way we wanted it. Since we will be staying here when we retire we built everything with comfort and safety in mind. The bedroom got new flooring, new paint and trim and new plantation shutters. This post gave me the idea to rearrange the furniture when the room went back together. We moved the bed to a totally different area and I can’t believe how peaceful and calming it feels. We now have a comfy sitting area where we can read and listen to music. And best of all we got rid of all of the clutter! The closet, which is a 10 x 13 room, got new flooring and paint. We are now looking for ideas and plans to do built-in pieces ourselves since having any kind of custom work done would cost many thousands of dollars which is totally NOT in the budget. I want to build it so I don’t have to put bureaus and dressers back in the bedroom.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 23, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Hi Kristi,
    I found your blog about a month ago and I have devoured every post! I have long been a DIY’er (the hubs and I have redone or restored 7 houses so far.) I am great at plumbing, electrical, drywall etc. I often say “I can build you a house but I cannot decorate it.” I have always thought that I needed some great imagination to decorate. You have come to my rescue! I am learning to use your imagination to decorate my 113 year old Victorian. I am eclectic in my tastes. I love old objects used for work. Such as shoe forms, farm implements, old tools and printers blocks. But I also love girlie things such as Paisley!!!!! (makes my heart flutter!) and crystal and silver. I am learning how to put these things together and it just looks right. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Oh yes, I like this layout better too. Can’t wait to see what you do with those big beautiful windows!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Leena Lanteigne
    November 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    This is a wonderful arrangement! By floating the sofa, you actually give the room more visual space. Having the windows uncovered allows more light to come in and also makes the room look larger and you have the option of designing and adding built-ins to the large wall opposite the windows, to provide balance, visual interest and display/storage space! Love it! Hugs, Leena

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Wow! The change is amazing.
    Now I just need someone to do that for my house 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    L Hynes
    November 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Such an improvement!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I’m just amazed at the difference that makes! So much better.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Donna Allgaier-Lamberti
    November 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I love this option in your space. In fact, this is very similar to my living room layout. I use the couch, a sofa table and a rug to define our living room and separate it visually from the dining room. I started with just the rug and sofa and within the last year added the sofa table. I bought a sofa with an attractive back because I knew that it would show. Enjoy your room!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Julie Guthrie
    November 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I am addicted to decorating too! Changing a room around is just so addicting.

    My daughter & I recently started a blog together that focuses on both home decor & fashion. The URL is:

    Hope that you check us out sometime when you get a chance!

    Just love your blog!

    Happy Holidays! Julie

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
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