Scenic Erie Station Village

How Much Furniture is Too Much?

Elephant standing in furnished living room.

August 2021


When you first move into an apartment it’s rare that you bring the perfect amount of furniture. You end up with some rooms feeling either empty or too crowded. And if you’ve been in your place a while, you may have added pieces over time and are starting to wonder if you’ve brought in too much. Here’s some helpful advice on knowing exactly how much furniture is too much and how to balance the functionality you need with your desire for a great looking apartment.

How do you know you have a furniture problem? You don’t have clear paths. That means both a clear path through a room and a clear path to each piece of furniture. If you have to do the cha-cha to fit between your coffee table and couch or turn sideways to slip into a side chair, you have a furniture problem. If walking through a room requires making twists and turns rather than having a clear and straight path, you have a furniture problem. A general rule is that you should have at least 40 inches of space between each piece of furniture that’s used for seating and 16-18 inches between a sofa and coffee table.

If you have a furniture problem, it means one of two things. You either have too many pieces of furniture, or the furniture you have is too large. And this is when form and function come into conflict. If you rarely use all the seating capacity you have, the easy solution is to pare things down. If you can’t bear to part with one of those seats, then consider the furniture you don’t sit on. Can you remove a table or two? Can you put that bookshelf in another room?

If, on the other hand, you absolutely have to have seating capacity you do, consider trying to replace pieces that have a large “footprint”. For example, an overstuffed sectional can seat six people, but it will take up more space than a modern style sofa on legs with two side chairs.

Either approach will help open up the flow through a room and to each piece of furniture in it. And having flow will make any room look better and feel more soothing.