Arranging furniture can be tricky. And, if there's one problem I see most often, it's all (or most) of the furniture pushed up against the walls. And, as much as I would like to drag every sofa in America out in the middle of the room, it just doesn't work in some spaces.
If you have an extra 12 to 18 inches to spare, a simple solution is to give your room some depth and interest by "layering" your furniture. I've always been a fan of bookcases, but I especially like them as a backdrop behind other pieces.
Angus Fergusson Photography via DecorPad
I've been in too many living rooms where the furniture--especially the seating--is way too far from each other. Even if you're fortunate enough to have a wide expanse of a family room, it doesn't mean you have to stretch your pieces to fill every square inch. Adding another piece behind a sofa or a pair of chairs forces you to pull everything in and create a warmer space for easier conversation.
Layering with bookcases especially works well if you've got a huge blank wall to fill behind your sofa. And, further layering with a large mirror or pretty piece of art just adds to the look:
(Another plus? You can add some baskets to the lower, unseen shelves for the "stuff" you don't want to look at all of the time.)
You don't have to use traditional bookshelves to achieve this look. I like the idea of using a china cabinet or credenza, as well:
Lower bookcases behind a pair of chairs work well, even on a wall with windows. (If you don't want to invest in custom built-ins, a set--or two--of the IKEA Expedit lower shelves would work perfectly lining a wall.)
And, I hope to use this idea in some of the projects I'm working on now. This is a great solution if you have a large wall and a small TV stand that doesn't quite fit. Add height--and lots of storage/display--by filling the walls with taller shelving. (Again, IKEA is my go-to for inexpensive shelving. The Billy bookcase would work perfectly here.)
So, be honest. Is your furniture pushed against the wall? If so, would this look work for you?