1. Follow the furniture rules of thumb

Have you ever been in someone’s living room and felt like everyone had room to walk around without bumping into things, and that everything was within easy reach? They were probably adhering the the basic rules of thumb for furniture placement. Living room furniture is usually oriented towards the fireplace – this doesn’t mean everything has to face the fireplace. It simply means that the fireplace usually serves as the focal point of the room and is generally placed in the central part of the room. You’ll want to leave about 36″ of space for walkways; this will give two people enough room to pass each other. Coffee tables should be no higher than the seat of the sofa and should be about 18″ from the the surrounding objects. End tables can sit right next to your seating. The right height of these tables is whatever height is comfortable for the person sitting down: too high or too low and it will be awkward to reach for things.

2. Invest in the right pieces

If throwing a holiday party has made you want to throw out your furniture and start a new, you’re not alone. A party is a good excuse to finally get that piece you’ve always wanted and to possibly upgrade your furnishings. But choose wisely. If you regularly host parties and are looking for ways to quickly add surfaces, think about investing in nesting tables. If you never have enough seating, consider purchasing ottomans or stools that can be used for multiple purposes. If you need more options for lighting, go out and get a few floor or table lamps as well as dimmer switches.

3. Remove what you don’t need

If you regularly decorate for the holidays you know that to accommodate the Christmas tree and other decorations you may need to actually remove furniture from the room. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply doing a quick rearrange, sometimes whole pieces need to be moved into another space. Or if your fireplace is filled with decorative objects in the summertime, you may need to swap it out for actual firewood in the winter.

4. Temporarily rearrange for a party

Whether you will be having a small gathering or a large holiday party, you may need to significantly rearrange the living room, at least temporarily. The challenge is to still have enough seating room and table space, while making room for guests. Some hosts actually remove all the unnecessary furniture and move in folding tables or chairs. It may be a good idea to ask friends or family to borrow a really functional piece or move things from one room to another. You may want to even create different spaces in your home, like a mini lounge near the kitchen or a really long dining table in the living room.