Find the focal point
The cornerstone of every arrangement. It might be a view, fireplace, or a wall of built-ins are obvious possibilities. In rooms without a focus consider grouping furniture around a dramatic painting, freestanding shelves, a tall cupboard or armoire or a wall of collectables.
Determine the traffic flow
People cutting in front of the sofa while you are trying to chat is a no no. Make sure electrical cords are not across walkways and that rugs are anchored by non-slip backing. Move furniture away from the walls to get away from that 'waiting room' look.
Consider the composition
Include a mix of large- and small-scale furniture. Remove non-essential furnishings to create space or add furniture to divide a room into activity areas. Breaking a room into two or more groupings can help it function better.
Break the rules
Consider a dining table that is not centred! Avoid labelling a room and use the space creatively - why not dine in the living room if it feels right?
Add your personality
Surround yourself with collections and pieces you love - that way the room will feel satisfying.
Save your energy
Measure your room and arrange paper templates on a simple grid - saves moving the real thing around!
Use your angles
To emphasise the width of a room angle a large piece like a sofa across one corner.
Emphasise ceiling height
Raise a low ceiling with floor-to-ceiling window treatments. 'Lower' a ceiling with a colourful area rug and low-level lighting.
Create a functional space
Choose furnishings with multiple functions such as the wall unit that houses the computer or TV, and the drop-leaf table for occasional dining.
Make some pieces mobile
The ottoman, small tables and benches, lightly scaled chairs.