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How to Use Empty Space in Arranging Furniture

Measurements to Create Flow in Your Floor Plan


Arranging furniture is mostly about using empty space around your furniture to create flow in your floor plan. You want people to move around comfortably without bumping into furniture, and sit down comfortably without grazing their knees or feeling hemmed in.

Living Room

For your living room to be comfortable, make sure you don’t crowd your space. Too much furniture crammed into too little space or sparse furnishings in a room that is too large can make for a very unattractive space. You need to provide enough space for an an efficient flow of traffic, and let your space breathe visually. This creates a sense of well being and relaxation.

  • Traffic Lane: 3’ or more
  • Foot room between sofa or chair and edge of coffee table: 1’.6”
  • Floor space in front of chair or sofa for feet and legs: 1’.6” to 2’.6”

Dining Room

To enjoy your dining room to the fullest, make sure you leave enough space around the table so that people can get in and out of their chairs comfortably, and the person who is serving can move around the table without trouble.

  • Space for occupied chairs from edge of table to back of chair:
  • 1’.6” to 1’.10”
  • Space to get into chairs: 2’.6” to 3’
  • Traffic path around table and occupied chairs for serving: 1’.6” to 2’
  • If you’re using armchairs, remember to add 2” to the measurements.


In a bedroom, place furniture so that you don’t stub your toes should you need to get up in the middle of the night. You should also be able to move around comfortably to make the bed and be able to open any drawers without trouble.

  • Space for making bed: 1’.6”
  • Space between twin beds: 1’.6” to 2’.6”
  • Space in front of chest of drawers: 3’
  • Getting into or out of bed: 2’.6”

Around the House

Leave enough space around the doorways, or the room may look very unwelcoming, and crowded. You always want to leave a small transitioning area uncluttered by any furniture when moving from one area of the home to another.

  • Space from doorway to first object: 3’
  • Space around main entrance: 4’
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