Dwell On This: Float Your Furniture

Dwell On This: Float Your Furniture

That statement sofa wasn’t meant to be a wallflower.
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At a Glance


  • It may feel strange at first, but anyone can give this a try.
  • You may need some extra muscle to help you lift the couch, though.


  • Use what you’ve already got to shake up the room.


  • It’s not as instant as a snap of your fingers, but it’s pretty darn close.

There’s a game we all play when we move into a new home, and that’s Tetris—although instead of vivid polygons, the moving pieces are sectional sofas and coffee tables. I’m a regular player even after settling in, shifting furniture around whenever there’s a new piece to add to the home or simply to refresh the look and feel of a room. My wife says my tell is a distant gaze that says, "He’s in his happy place."

The next time you’re in your happy place, try floating your furniture off the walls.

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Yes, our natural inclination is to arrange larger pieces of furniture—like a sofa, desk, or floor lamp—right up against the wall. This opens up the center of the room and subscribes to the popular notion that an open space is a better one. We’re here to tell you that it’s not only okay to move furniture away from the walls, but that positioning them more dynamically toward the center may reveal a layout that’s easier to move around, more intimate and engaging, and more aesthetically pleasing.

Start by planting your sofa, or another hefty piece like a bookshelf, perpendicular to a nearby wall and toward the center of the room. Use a rug as a visible border and to help delineate space as you furnish the area. Floating furniture offers more bang for the proverbial buck, creating a room-within-a-room effect and freeing up space around the perimeter for house plants, console tables, and other decorative items. 

As I once advised a friend who was nervous about pulling their furniture away from the safety of their walls: You only learn to swim by letting go of the edge.