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Design Sets Like The Pros

7. Arranging Furniture


The students will demonstrate their ability to cluster furniture and set dressings by completing a cluster assignment.

Materials Needed

Envelopes with construction paper cut-outs of furniture (enough envelopes for each person or pairs), poster board to act as a studio apartment square or construction paper for each clustered area, crayons/markers
Related Documents
Furniture Cut Out List

Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Have the stage set up like a room with 4 walls, including furniture facing the back wall. Gather some some volunteers who are comfortable on stage and ask them to improvise a scene within the stage space. The rest of the class should sit in the house. After the improv is completed, ask the students why the set didn’t work for them. Focus on opening up the furniture to create an invisible fourth wall. Talk to the students about the importance of balance on stage.


Step 1: Have the students come up with a list of furniture found in their living and dining rooms. Have a student volunteer write the furniture pieces on the board.

Step 2: Draw a square on the board. Ask the students where they believe the furniture should be placed in the square from the list on the board. What furniture would you find in a living room? What would you find in a dining room? You may draw the furniture shapes on the board, or you can have the students who volunteer the information do so.

Step 3: Ask the students why they chose to put the furniture in those locations. How do the clusters of furniture make sense?

Step 4: Take a wall out from the square on the board and ask how this may change how the furniture would be placed. On a stage, you need to make sure the furniture is facing out toward the audience as well as flowing well together. Make sure the students understand that on a stage, you need to consider the actors’ needs as well as the audience’s sight lines.

Step 5: Allow the students to partner up and get an envelope of furniture cut outs from the teacher. Explain to the students that they need to arrange the cut outs in the envelope on construction paper or half a poster board. The clusters need to be logically placed.

Step 6: After the students arrange the furniture, they need to trace and label each furniture piece on their paper. If the students have enough time, they can also decorate the clusters with crayons or markers to give the room(s) personality.

Step 7: Have the students explain to the class why they organized the furniture as they did.


Step 8: The students need to look at the furniture lists for their scenes and decide how to organize them in clusters. What are the important furniture pieces in the scenes? How can you highlight those important pieces? What are additional things you could add to your stage to “dress” it up? What do you absolutely have to have or what can you do without?

Author's Notes

• List of furniture and sizes for the envelopes (1 foot equals 1 inch when cut out)