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We seem to hold a deep-seated belief that it’s better to have a lot of open space in the middle of a room and keep furniture lingering in the peripherals. But there are many good reasons to throw out this antiquated design aesthetic and move some pieces away from the walls…
One of the most well-established, traditional design ideas for living rooms is to have all your furniture placed up against the walls. This creates an open area in the middle of the room and maybe that’s why it feels like a more airy layout, but this basic placement doesn’t necessarily make the best use of the space and might not actually work in every living room. Figuring out the ideal arrangement of the furniture for living room spaces that are on the smaller side, open plan, have large french windows or are maybe even a little awkwardly shaped can be hard if you stick to this standard setup. In such cases it may be a better idea to move some pieces away from the walls. This kind of layout – where you’re essentially creating an “island” of furniture on your floor plan – is referred to as “floating”.
Floating furniture is a trend that’s been catching on for a multitude of reasons, but if you’re wondering how exactly floating your furniture helps, when it works best or why you should try this placement style the next time you need to set up a room… Well, we’ve got you covered.
These days, floating furniture has become one of the most popular small living room designs, as it can make the best use of a space. Of course, floating your furniture isn’t restricted to small rooms as this layout style has a great deal of versatility that allows you to easily devise unique interior looks, refresh a boring room, create intimate conversation areas, and maximise the use of your floor plan.
If you’re struggling with how to map out your furniture on your floor plan and just can’t seem to figure out how you’ll get everything to fit, then you are not alone. After all, we don’t all have the luxury of a spacious living room. Often, what you’re working with is a relatively poky space whose main purpose appears to be to create a sense of segregation between your entryway and the bedrooms, kitchen and other more private areas of your house. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a comfortable and usable parlour – all you need to do is set up your furniture for small space maximisation.
By floating your furniture, you can make sure that you’re not obstructing any part of it, in fact, you’re opening it up for new uses and giving it a 360-degree purpose. For example, repurpose a side-table as a coffee table – its compact size makes it an ideal piece of furniture for small space living and allows for movement all around it. Up the practicality factor by adding storage beneath it or small decorative bowls on it for keys or other odds-and-ends – however you choose to dress it, by floating your side table, you’ve increased its usability from every angle.
We’re all creatures of routine and habit, and this holds true even in how we move around in a space. Because of this, creating an obvious path for foot traffic in your floor plan helps to make a room more usable and functional; floating key pieces of furniture allows you to create corridors that offer easily discernible ways to move about the room.
As mentioned above, placing a floating table as the centrepiece for your conversation or entertainment area clearly indicates the focus of the room and will help guide guests through the living space.
Meanwhile, a floating sofa – particularly one with a high backrest–forms a sort of “hallway” between it and the wall, or whatever may stand behind it. With methods such as this, using smart furniture layouts and the proper placement of larger pieces, you can ease traffic flow in any room.
Along with delineating the traffic flow within a space, floating furniture can help you to create better definition in how the space functions by dividing and splitting different areas for different purposes. A common feature of designer living rooms is an open floor plan that has no segregation between the kitchen, dining area and entryway, as this makes your home feel more uncluttered and spacious. But if you want to make a few cosier spaces that allow you to retreat and not be accessible to the entire room at all times, then using floated furniture is one of the easier solutions that also gives you the option to make changes at any time.
While creating floating divisions within the room, try to use pieces that will not make the space seem smaller or darker – you don’t want to create a visual blockade, just make the space feel more cohesive and less disjointed. When floated, open shelving creates a peek-a-boo effect that provides a sense of privacy without blocking light and air-flow. Such a division can make a smaller space feel more put together, classy and appealing, since it doesn’t make your entire living room layout accessible all at once, but instead, allows visitors to gradually integrate into each space. By using open dividers or pieces that aren’t too tall, you can partition off specific zones within a room without losing the expansive charm an open floor plan offers.
One of the major things to consider when planning the layout of any room is how that room is used in your day-to-day life. The main function of a living room is to be a space where you can relax, enjoy free time with a good book, music or TV show, and gather with your family and friends. Setting up your living area to meet all these functions can take a little finagling.
When placing the furniture for living room interiors conversational comfort, you don’t want your seating to be too far apart, therefore wall-placement is not an ideal option. By floating your furniture so that seating arrangements are placed closer together, you can create a more intimate atmosphere; one that encourages visitors to relax and engage in conversation.
While cables and other wiring makes installing the TV unit /entertainment unit on or against a wall a necessity, this need not hinder your seating set-up. You can arrange a low coffee table in the centre of your room with a floating sofa and chairs around it; have chairs that are light enough to move easily or that do not block your eye-line to the TV placed between your entertainment unit and the table. With the proper arrangement you’ll be able to create sufficient seating for both everyday comfort and for having guests over.
It is inevitable that you will have some pieces of furniture that don’t lend themselves well to being floated within the room; whether it’s due to their purpose, size or design. For example, when floated, very large items will dominate the space, block light and air-flow and make your room look smaller; a good way to ensure that such items don’t disrupt your overall aesthetic is to lean into their quirks. After all, picking a focal point is an integral part of modern living room design.
As previously mentioned, when designing a functional living room, floating TV stand options are limited by practical realities.
Of course, you could choose the above method of prioritising your conversation and seating arrangement, but conversely you could also make your entertainment unit the focus of the space and place all your seating facing towards it. This method holds true for a wide-sectional sofa, a heavy sideboard or even a large bookcase – by choosing one key piece to be the focal point, you can actually hide its in-built design restrictions and instead elevate it to a more appealing aesthetic.
Next time you’re setting up a room, why not try this trend of floating furniture? Whether you use this arrangement to revitalise an old space or are doing up the interiors of a new house, we hope these reasons spark fresh interior design ideas for you! Still need a little help to create the home of your dreams? Partner with us at Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints; find the latest in furniture, home accessories and décor styles from our curated collection, or reach out to our team and we will be there to help you through all your design decisions!
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