WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF 'FLOATING' FURNITURE?
ZONING AN OPEN PLAN ROOM
First up, the pros. A floating piece of furniture can really work to zone a space. If you are thinking of redesigning a modern living room, an open plan space, for example, it might be tricky to create different zones when you have so much space to play with. You may want to divide up the space so you separate your office from your living room, your kitchen from your dining area, for example, but putting furniture flush up against the wall doesn't help matters.
CREATING WALL SPACE
Another pro of floating your furniture is that you then have a lot more wall space to hand. This can really help to make the room look bigger, a ceiling look higher and the room in general look grander as you can take in the length of the wall in its entirety. Living rooms that have furniture blocking wall space can make the ceiling look lower. Moving furniture away from the wall also gives you a bigger canvas to play with living room wall decor or shelving and storage.
DELIVERING A COZY FEEL
What's more, the floating furniture technique can encourage a cozy living room. By creating these corners using furniture, you're creating intimate, comfortable zones that are conversational spaces. It means you can also create a living area that's perfectly proportioned for socializing and relaxing, without relying on the proportions of the room to inform you. Small rooms and spaces do lend themselves to this cozy feel, and if you don't float your furniture, you run the risk of an open-plan room that feels cavernous and too big.
'Here, we made the sitting area into an intimate cocoon, pulled together with a gorgeous shaggy carpet, which contrasts with the fairly austere marble coffee table,' explains interior designer Asma Florençon. 'This allows the bar alcove to claim its own space, the full-height windows to have breathing room to communicate with the exterior, and a large dining table to exist alongside (yet out of sight) which doubles as a messy desk during the day.'
SOFTENING HARSH EDGES
A floating living room sofa can also help hide areas of your room you might not want to be on display. 'In a recent resort scheme we had a guest room which had a step down from the bedroom to a living area,' says Jo Littlefair of Goddard Littlefair. 'To soften the aesthetic and keep a low-key feeling to the space, we built a curved sofa that oversailed this step, softening any harsh lines. The seat then curved out and we gave it the impression of this section floating by recessing the supporting plinth.'
SHOWING OFF STATEMENT PIECES
Finally, floating furniture makes a statement of your piece of furniture. Instead of hiding it away, covering up one side of it by propping it up against the wall, it means the furniture can really show off in the center of the room, and guests can admire all its angles. A curved sofa is an example of a piece that you might not want to float against the wall and makes for an elegant living room. ‘A curved sofa can help to define an area and will work in open-plan spaces as the back of the sofa is a design feature in itself,’ says Natalia.
WHY FLOATING FURNITURE IS SOMETIMES A BAD IDEA
However, floating furniture might not work in all living rooms. If you have a dark or small living room, this technique might only make the space feel more cramped. So reserve the floating method for spaces that are larger and open plan. Another reason a floating layout might not work is if the room is an interesting shape. This design from Brendan Wong Design has the sofa sat against the wall to emphasize the aesthetically pleasing curve of the wall.
HOW DOES A RUG HELP FLOAT FURNITURE?
Rugs are your best friend when floating furniture in the living room, as they provide a zone that you might wish to design around. Consider a living room rug, or perhaps a rug under your dining table to help emphasize the space. When sizing and choosing a rug for a living room area, the rug can have at least part of every main furniture piece touching it. Either all furniture legs rest on the rug, or just the front legs – the exception being a centerpiece coffee table, for example. This unifies a large space, bringing all elements of a living room together. If you want a large area rug that will fill your floor space, choose a rug that leaves around a 18 inch gap between the edges of the rug and walls of the room. This scheme by Byrdesign relies heavily on the rug for zoning. 'The rug should be oversize and the sofa should sit effortlessly and comfortably within the rug,' says Beatriz Rose of Byrdesign.