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Ask a Pro Q&A: Furniture Arrangement in a High-Traffic Room

Welcome to another installment of Ask a Pro! Today Dream Team member and interior design pro Jennifer Adams advises a reader on how to arrange furniture in a high-traffic room.

Q: My question is about how to arrange furniture in a room where people have to walk through the middle to get to other rooms.

The room is a rectangle, 16 x 20, with 2 entryways on one of the smaller (16-foot) sides and a big entryway at the end of one bigger sides (20-foot).

I can’t figure out a good furniture arrangement where the traffic flow goes AROUND the furniture, not through it.

-Mary Ann L.


A: This one is a challenge! Your room is big enough that you think you’d have enough space for a good arrangement, but, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, it fills up fast!

I’m assuming this is a living room, but I’ll share a trick that will help with a dining room, too, or even a bedroom! With your imagination, divide the room diagonally, from corner to corner. This will help organize the room.

Put most of the furniture in an “L” shape inside the triangle without traffic, and reinforce the arrangement with an area rug, so when you walk through the room, you won’t really walk on the area rug at all. It’s OK if the furniture extends into the “traffic” side a little.

You can create an “L” shape with a sofa and two arm chairs or a big sectional. Place the “L” along the long wall, closer to the far corner than in the middle. A coffee table, end tables and lamps will help fill the space and provide a place for people to set down drinks.

Lastly, an area rug that isn’t too big will help define the arrangement and reinforce the traffic pattern! A nice armoire or bookcases on the other long wall will balance the seating arrangement and add interest. This could also be the best place for a TV if this is the only room you have for TV watching. Good luck!

-Jennifer A.