Emily Henderson reveals the simple furniture styling tip that will make guests feel more welcome

A small tweak to how your living space is arranged can make all the difference

living room with large green rug
(Image credit: Wayfair)

We all want our homes to feel welcoming to guests, and it's something we are thinking about more as the holiday season approaches. Emily Henderson has revealed a simple furniture styling secret that will make your living space feel extra inviting. 

According to the interior designer, it all boils down to how your armchair, sofa, and best living room rug are arranged. And, trust us, it's easy to get it wrong...

sofa, rug and side table

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Emily Henderson's furniture styling tip

When tackling the frequently asked question of how to choose a rug that's perfect for your space, Emily shared an easy tip. She basically explains how your rug should be considered as the anchor of your space, with all furniture on the rug - or all furniture off. 

Not a mix of the two. On a short YouTube clip, she said that if your sofa's legs are on top of a rug  - the front two or all four - but your armchairs' legs aren't touching it at all, this divides up the conversation space.

Likewise, if your sofa is off the rug, but the armchairs are on the rug, this prevents the space from feeling like one cohesive area. It's like the rug is the island, and the wooden flooring is the sea.

cosy fall living room with fireplace

(Image credit: Wayfair)

'Be consistent,' she says. 'So if your [furniture] legs are on, have them all on. If they are off, have them all off.'

'Or, if they're half on, have them half on. But don't have your sofa on, and your chairs off - that really cuts the conversation area,' says Emily.

'You don't want to orient it to the sofa, and cut off the chairs. If it's a long room, orient it lengthwise.'

living room with large green sofa

(Image credit: Wayfair)

A rug is a key item when it comes to living room design - and we often panic because they're expensive pieces. Be sure to measure the space before picking a rug, and if in doubt, go bigger. We have our eyes on the LOHALS natural jute rug from IKEA which is super affordable and huge.

Emily highlights that having all furniture on the rug dictates the conversation area and makes the room feel very pulled together, scoring you design points.

Moving furniture away from the walls (if space allows) and arranging it closer together is a great way to make an intimate social space. This means everyone feels included and part of the conversation.

Millie Hurst

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.


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