How people will circulate through a space will determine where you place the furniture. Having a clear plan for placement will help you avoid awkward blockages and tight spaces, with plenty of room for walking as well as space for legs and feet while seated. According to John Pile, the concept of proximity (the relationship of closeness or distance,) is of particular importance in planning furniture placement. People will have needs that require them to be close to or far from others.
Conversation is made easier when people are close enough to hear one another without straining and to see facial expressions clearly. Consider the following suggestions for planning furniture arrangements in the most commonly found residential spaces:
Living Room From formal spaces used only on special occasions to the all-inclusive living space in a studio apartment, living rooms typically call for furniture placement conducive to entertaining and conversation. Seating must accommodate a reasonable number of people seated at suitable distances and in comfortable arrangements. Between 4 and 10 feet is a comfortable range of distance for conversation. Typically, seating for a group of four to six is used, with the arrangement around a low table. If larger numbers of people will be occupying the space on a regular basis, consider seating in separate groupings, possibly movable seating. In addition to seating for conversation, the living room is likely to be used for watching television and listening to music, so location of that equipment will also need to be considered. Also, determine if this space will have a secondary use, such as a music room, home office or sleeping room for guests. Should the space be a shared living-dining room, try to design your everyday dining use with an option for expanded seating for special occasions. Keep circulation of the room in mind or consider an alternative arrangement that can be used for entertaining.
Dining Room If located in another room, the dining space should accommodate a table of size suitable for your needs. There should be ample space for chairs to be pushed back from the table and for serving to take place around the table. Your table shape will have great bearing on the use of space in the dining area. Larger and formal dining areas will likely include additional pieces of furniture to place, such as buffets and sideboards.