I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I’m kicking off the week with a new Design Discussion post! Who is ready for another controversial chat about interior design? If you missed any of the past posts in the series, you can find my thoughts on installing a TV over a fireplace, my take on installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen, and my preference on stacking laundry units. Our topic for today?! Arranging furniture flush or tight against a wall. When is it ok? Is it ever ok? Does the size of the room impact this rule? Why is it always labeled a faux pas? Can certain furniture pieces live tight to a wall, while others can’t? I’m breaking it down in this post. People tend to be very opinionated on pushing furniture tight against a wall- myself included. Click through to see where I stand and weigh in on the debate!
Many designers say NEVER ever push furniture tight to a wall. As a designer, my response would be, “ehhh… it’s a blurry line.” If I could rewrite the rule, I think it’s more important to get specific- pushing upholstery tight to a wall typically isn’t ideal. How tight are we talking? I don’t like any furniture to physically touch a wall, but a console table floated an inch in front? I love that look! In my opinion, I’d probably disagree with the design rule, “furniture, in general, should never be installed tight to a wall.”
Let’s use my newly renovated formal living room as an example. The console table and ottoman tucked beneath it looks great styled against the wall. I think that totally works.
On the contrary, I prefer my upholstered pieces to float as a group and create a more conversational floor plan. Grouping sofas, chairs, and tables to create an organized cluster that promotes conversation and can be used functionally is always the goal.
I sometimes feel like furniture placement is easier when you have a lot of architectural elements along the perimeter of the room to work around. It forces you to float your furniture toward the center of the space. In our first home- we had a fireplace, windows, and doors on every single wall in our living room (pictured above). I made sure to create a traffic path around the entire seating area. It felt more intimate and intentional pulling the furniture away from the walls.
I also realize sometimes it is literally impossible to pull your furniture off of the walls, due to limited space. In our previous home, Emmett really wanted a sectional so we could both sit comfortably while lounging and watching TV at the end of the day. A sectional also made sense for our tiny living room to maximize seating. With a giant window on one wall and a wall of built-ins with a fireplace on the other… the only functional floor plan was to install the sectional against the wall. I will say- you’ll notice it’s not touching the wall (it’s pulled out an inch or so), but I’d definitely consider it “against the wall” when reading the floor plan.
In addition to tables, there have been other times I’ve intentionally installed upholstery against a wall. Take our guest room window nook for example… it took me forever to find an armless sofa that fit tight wall-to-wall. This was one instance I actually wanted a sofa to physically touch both side walls to appear more custom and built-in. I think that’s a good example of “some rules were meant to be broken.” Sometimes it takes getting creative with your space, thinking outside-the-box, and doing what works best for your family in terms of functionality and style.
Our basement media room is another example of blurring the line. Our sofa sits about eight inches off the wall. It’s not enough for a traffic path, but it’s not touching the wall either.
In the end, I’ll say this- I think furniture pulled closer to the center of the room adds depth, encourages better traffic flow, looks best aesthetically speaking, and is the ideal situation when floor planning.
Ultimately, you have to do what is best for your home- so remember… some design rules were meant to be broken. I photographed the above image at the Alice Lane show home and think the chair pushed against the wall to the right of the fireplace is an awesome example of breaking the rules in a good away. Upholstery pushed against a wall… and it looks balanced and amazing! Soooo, that leads me to the poll. Where do you stand on furniture floor planning?
Let me know if the poll works for you guys this time. I coded a new version since the previous polls have been faulty for some of you! I’d also love your help thinking of topics for our next Design Discussion. My friend Chloe just shared a helpful post on how to shop for furniture like an interior designer, if you’re interested in that. Just another related topic, I thought I’d share. Please elaborate or weigh in below using the comment section! I’d really appreciate it. Everyone have a wonderful week!