There’s nothing worse than moving into your new place only to find that your coffee table hogs the living room, the bed covers half a window, and your dining room table pokes into the pathway to the kitchen.
“Many times we fall in love with a piece that just isn’t right for our needs,” says Anna Brockway, an interior designer and founder of Chairish, an interior design app.
“The piece may be too big, too small, or oddly shaped,” says Brockway. “Don’t be tempted to purchase that piece in hopes that you can make it work.”
You don’t have to end up with rooms so packed that no one can walk through them.
Here are some tips for leaving enough space to lounge on favorite furniture and still enjoy your new home:
1. Measure Now or Pay Later.
Measure several times before buying furniture and you won’t have to sell all those pieces on Craigslist a few months later. Don’t try to “eyeball or guess” at the dimensions, says Brockway. Otherwise, you could end up returning furniture or be stuck with ill-proportioned pieces.
2. Door Size Matters.
Don’t buy the perfect size sofa and realize later that it won’t fit through a door, into an elevator or around a winding staircase, says Ana Cummings, principal designer and owner of ANA Interiors. Always bring room and doorframe measurements with you when shopping for large furnishings.
3. “Try Out” Furniture First.
Before you buy one or more pieces of furniture, place strips of blue painter’s tape on floors and walls, mapping out each item’s dimensions. Spend time walking around the room to get a feel for how much space you’ll have to move around, says Brockway. You can also experiment with arranging furniture via online interior design apps like Chairish, Homestyler and RoomReveal.
4. Don’t Sleep Tight.
Your bed dominates the bedroom so make sure it doesn’t swallow the entire room by leaving no space for anything else, says Michelle Ellis, owner of Cottage and Bungalow.
You can use an app or tape on the floor to gauge your desired bed size using the following standard mattress dimensions:
- Twin: 39″ x 75″
- Full: 54″ x 75″
- Queen: 60″ x 80″
- King: 76″ x 80″
- California King: 72″ x 84″
Ellis suggests these guidelines for bed and room sizes:
- Standard twin: 7′ x 10′
- Two standard twin beds: 10′ x 10′
- Full: 10′ x 12′
- Queen: 10 x 10′ ̶ 14′
- King: 13′ x 13′
- California King: 12′ x 12′ to 14′ x 12′
For a seating area, leave at least an additional 8′ x 8′ area in addition to space for the bed, dresser and nightstand, says Ellis. Factor in height of nightstands, mattresses and other furniture to avoid blocking windows and light switches.
5. Leave Room to Live in the Living Room.
Your sofa should allow room for side tables, a coffee table and floor and table lamps, says Cummings. Make sure you can walk all around your sofa and between the edge of the sofa and the edge of the coffee table, leaving at least 14 inches around the sofa. Additional seating should be within 8 feet of the sofa for easy conversation with guests.
6. Get the TV Right.
When situating your television, the key is placement height and distance from prime seating. TV height is determined by how high you’ll sit when you watch, says Cummings, who recommends investing in a swinging arm mount to install the TV to the wall. If you want “cinema viewing,” position the TV closer than for regular viewing.