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Should Furniture Touch The Wall?

If you're rearranging your furniture, you might be seeking a way to maximize the amount of room you have. As furniture takes up the most space in a room, the way, you arrange it will control the room's flow and accessibility. You might be tempted to create more room by placing your furniture flat against the wall. Is this ideal? We looked at multiple layouts and researched decor ideas from various sources to give you the best possible answer to this question.

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How far furniture should be from the walls depends on the size of the room. Furniture should be placed at least twenty-four inches from the walls in a larger room, while in smaller rooms, a distance of twelve inches will suffice. For back walls behind sofas, it's recommended that you use spacers so that the sofa won't be able to touch the wall and damage the paint.

Now that we know the recommended distance between furniture and walls, we'll look at some room layouts so that you can get a better visual idea of what we're talking about. You might also be wondering what you can place behind your couch or how much space you'll need for a recliner. To get the answers to these and other questions, read ahead in this post. 

living room with sofa set, arms chairs, wall paintings and beautiful chandelier, Should Furniture Touch The Wall?

Small and large room layouts

Room sizes can lead to challenges when making sure furniture is adequately spaced from the walls and other pieces. Let's look at a few ways people have gotten creative to protect their living room investments.

This room has the sofa at an angle in the corner, allowing for plenty of space between its back and the wall behind it.

Two stylish small coffee tables with marble tops in front of elegant grey couch with emerald pillows

The smaller living room in this photograph has the sofa placed directly in front of the window and across from the big-screen television. Using spacers to keep the back of the couch from marring the paint on the front of the sill would be strongly recommended in this situation.

Living room with table, couch and television

It's a lot easier to space your furniture correctly in a large living area with an open floor plan. As you can see in this photograph, the homeowners here have done just that. The sofa's back has no wall beyond it, as it acts as the only barrier between the living and dining areas.

Beautiful living room interior with hardwood floors and and view of kitchen in new luxury home

The homeowners of this large living room have decided to cluster the furniture off to one side in front of a television set. This opens up the room considerably, creating a generous flow throughout it. You will notice that it is appropriately spaced from other pieces and the side and rear walls while the seating is together. 

Beautiful New Furnished Living Room in New Luxury Home

What can you put behind the couch?

You can fill that space behind your sofa with a variety of things. Let's look at some creative ways people have utilized this space and made their living rooms more enjoyable.


If you've always wanted indoor plants, consider having several of them placed behind your living room sofa. So long as you have a room that gets plenty of sunlight, this is a very workable idea.

In this living room, we see a literal wall of greenery to the right and large potted plants to the left. 

Botanical living room with grey sofa, green pillows and bookcase

Sofa tables

These taller tables fit nicely behind your sofa and serve as a great place to set plants, books, or any other object you feel makes the room cozier. 

This sofa table is thirty inches high and will work great when paired with a short-backed sofa or love seat.

To view this sofa table on Amazon, click here.


Shelving will give you a lot more surface room than a sofa table. For those that would like to have a wall of books or smaller pieces of decor beyond your sofa's back, this concept will be a good fit for you. 

In this living room, we see two shelving units of different heights immediately behind the sofa. There's enough room between the sofa and the shelves to access the objects on the shelving. 

Metal shelf with plants in pots, books and accessories behind comfortable sofa with striped blanket, real photo with copy space on the empty beige wall

How much space do you need for a reclining chair?

For obvious reasons, you should never place a recliner directly against any wall. Doing so will keep the recliner from opening all the way and damage the wall's surface behind it. So how much room is recommended between the wall and the back of a recliner?

Experts state that you should leave at least twelve inches of space between this piece of furniture and any back wall. This will give the chair more than enough room to recline out all the way while protecting the paint of the wall behind it. 

The padded leather recliner we show below has eight massage features. Designed with home theater seating in mind, this durable unit only requires ten inches of clearance between its back and any rear wall.

To view this recliner on Amazon, click here.

Where should a rocking chair be placed?  

Like recliners, consider where to place rocking chairs, the walls, and furniture that will not be close to it. You don't want to rock back in the chair and strike a wall, nor would you want to rock forward and hit your knees on a coffee table.

Placing the rocking chair at least two feet from other furniture and walls is a safe bet. This will keep this piece of moving furniture from damaging anything close by.

Rocking chairs work well on front and back porches. Keeping the spacing guidelines in mind, we mentioned above. You can comfortably fit several rocking chairs safely on most porches, making it a great place to relax during warm weather.

Indoors, consider placing a rocking chair away from the sofa and love seat. Giving the rocking chair its own little corner can be a great way to establish this piece of furniture as one of the most used in your home. 

Loft Room with Fireplace and Armchair

Should you put your desk against the wall?

Desks are versatile pieces of furniture you can use in several locations. But is it ideal to set one against a wall?

While putting the desk close to a wall will ensure that it's out of the way, you'll want to make sure it's not touching the wall itself. The wall can get smudged or damaged from the desk bumping and rubbing against it. Keeping a clearance of an inch or two will prevent this from happening.

Consider placing your desk in front of a window. If you've got a great view, it can be a pleasant distraction from your work throughout the day. As with any piece of furniture set against a window, using a spacer will prevent damage to the sill.

In Closing

living room with sofa set, arms chairs, wall paintings and beautiful chandelier, Should Furniture Touch The Wall?

The way we place furniture in a room is essential for the room's aesthetic and accessibility. Taking certain measures to ensure that the furniture's surface doesn't harm the wall behind it can take a little bit of time and creativity, but it is worth protecting them both. 

If you found this post on furniture to be informative, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following home decor posts:

End Table Vs. Side Table: Which Do You Need?

What Kind Of Coffee Table Goes With A Sectional