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It's vital that you move easily within your space and that furniture is given enough room for it to function as it should.
You should ideally have at least 20-30cm of free space above any tall piece of furniture - this will ensure a feeling of space in a room. If you have cornices measure to the bottom of the cornice to establish your ceiling height (otherwise taller pieces such as bookcases might not sit flush against the wall). Be wary of sloping ceilings - always measure to the lowest point.
Allow at least 50cm space from once piece of furniture to the next (the exception being side tables which usually sit right next to the bed, sofa of chair). When placing chairs around a dining table make sure that you have at least 50cm space between the back of the chair and any wall so people can easily move to and from the table.
When placing furniture in a hall or passageway ensure that you have at least 80cm free space left to allow easy movement through it to avoid feeling enclosed and cramped.
The first step is measuring all entry points through which your new furniture has to travel to reach its final destination.
This should include passages, stairwayds, lifts and doorways and include width, height and diagonal width dimensions. Be sure to make a note of any light fixtures, railings or architectural details which may impede on the way. As a rule, furniture should be ideally 4 inches less than your passage measurements for easy installation.
To figure out the optimal distance between your sofa and your television, measure the diagonal of your television screen. Your sofa should be between 1.5 and 3 times the distance away. For example, if you have a 40" screen, your sofa should be between 5' and 7' away.
For large wardrobes or side units you will require space approximately 3x the size of the piece in order to safely assemble.