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With the growing trends towards open-plan and non-traditional blueprints in home construction, it might appear difficult to perfectly adjust your interior design to balance both the desired look and the usability of your space. Smaller rooms, a lack of walls, beautiful large windows that you don’t want to block the light and air-flow from, oddly placed structural support beams/pillars… many things could impact your options while figuring out your furniture layout – it can seem like there’s no way to fit everything in or just that the room feels unstructured.
How do you choose and define a focal point? How to make the most of your open layout? These questions can be of particular concern when you are planning placement of furniture for small space set ups where you have limited usable wall or floor area but need multi-functionality. The tendency is to push furniture up against the wall in an attempt to regain “space” in the middle, however this usually backfires when windows and other necessary wall elements are in play. Luckily there is a smart design trick that can be the perfect solution: floating furniture.
Floating furniture is one of the simplest and yet most effective small living room ideas when you are working with limited wall space, as it helps to create well structured traffic flow and neatly defined “zones” in open areas to boost functionality.
So what do we mean when we suggest you “float” furniture? Traditionally in interior design we mean positioning a piece or a grouping of furniture away from the walls and into the middle spaces of your room, so that they “float” in the floor plan. For example, in an open plan living room, a floating couch that sits within the main area provides a smart and convenient way to define the different zones of the room. It becomes a clear partition between the living room and the kitchen or entrance area while also lending intimacy and closeness to the conversation space. Anchor this arrangement with an area rug, add a pretty floating
table at the centre, and you can create a place ideal for conversation that still allows for ease of use and walkways.
Another effective idea for a divider that does double duty is a floating bookshelf. It creates visual interest and gives you extra storage space while lending your open concept room a degree of definition and flow. Especially if you choose an airy, open bookshelf design you have the best of both worlds: a neatly divided space that maintains all the airflow and lightness of your larger room. Similarly floating cabinets are a handy way to utilise non-traditional spaces while keeping your walls unencumbered.
Taking the above advantages into account, we do have to discuss the cons; one of the most likely ones you’ll have to consider is furniture that does require a wall for practical or aesthetic reasons. Entertainment units (with their cables and electrical outlet requirements), hanging furniture or pieces that require a wall to provide additional support (such as top heavy or cumbersome shelves and cupboards), would all fall into this category of pieces that need to be fixed in place and cannot float. For example, although called a floating tv unit & console, this assemblage is usually a wall-mounted unit that gives you the advantage of saved floor space, utilising in-built wiring and lighting in an efficient, practical manner.
Luckily, as an effective way to save living room real estate, such wall-mounted furniture or other “fixed” pieces are actually fairly easy to integrate into the more traditionally known floating furniture layout; they can be used as a focal point for your other furniture to group around. When paired with a floating couch, a set of chairs and an area rug (as discussed earlier), you can create a cosy living room space for winding down at the end of the day.
Living rooms are not the only spaces that can benefit from this décor trick. In a bedroom, floating the bed away from the wall is a great way to create better access and walkways around it. Alternatively a floating bed with lights underneath can be wall mounted with actual space below for ease of cleaning. Accessorise with a satellite chair or two and a small rug and you get a quiet little nook within your room. Simply add in a folding wall mounted desk to make this space effortlessly adaptable to working from home. By balancing what furniture you put on your walls and what furniture you keep in the open areas of your room, you can create an attractive décor plan that optimises both functionality and charm.
Floating furniture is also a great design option if you have other features in your room that take up wall space and therefore don’t allow for against-the-wall placement; such as built-in shelves, cupboards or electrical outlets. This means it is often a smart solution in home office spaces as well as entryways and kitchen/dining areas. In fact, the dining table is one piece of furniture that most consistently makes use of this interior layout choice. After all, in family homes, to use all seating options at the table, it has to float. But floating a table isn’t a choice that needs to be restricted; by choosing a floating table as your home office desk, you can augment the “executive suite” style of the room,
giving it a more formal air. Invest in a good office chair and curate the shelves behind you to give your online appearance an uncomplicated professionalism and dignity.
Another way to effectively use this layout choice, is to delineate a space and create more definition between areas in a room, as mentioned earlier. For example, if you have an over-wide entry space that opens directly into your house, a floating bookshelf can give you a degree of privacy without seeming like an unwelcoming and severe barricade. Decorate it with indoor plants and attractive knick-knacks to draw the visitors eye and be uniquely inviting. Another option is in an open concept kitchen-dining area. Here, you could choose free-standing floating cabinets to display crockery, cookbooks and maybe even small pots of fresh herbs. This solution provides ease of storage for the cookware/cutlery you need at hand while serving to demarcate a subtle distinction between work-zone and dining or entertainment space.
One of the counterintuitive truths about interior design is that leaning into your small space can actually make the room look both classier and more inviting. By floating furniture into a more intimate grouping, you can create a distinct seating zone that frees up the remaining area for movement and perhaps even artwork. A key element to this is picking the right furniture for small space solutions – do away with overstuffed sectionals or bulky rugs and focus on pieces that allow for easy passage. Choose pieces that incorporate textures and colours that complement and contrast each other to make your overall look cohesive and stylish without becoming too matchy-matchy.
Alternatively, if your problem isn’t trying to make the best use of a small space, but instead a very large one that feels cold and uninviting, using multiple groupings of floating furniture can help create cosy areas – each with their own purpose or even design style and feel. And remember that no matter what the size of your floor plan, another core advantage to floating furniture in your space is the ability to readjust or adapt your room with very little effort. Change a rug, a few tables or a single arm chair and you can revamp your look in an instant!
So how do you decide if floating furniture for small space interiors is the right layout for you? If you’re still stuck on this question, we’re here to help! Partner with us at Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints – our team will be there to help you through all your design decisions! Or simply find the latest in furniture, home accessories and décor styles from our curated collection, to achieve the home interiors you’ve always dreamed of.
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