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Find The Right Sofa Layout For Your Living Room

POSTED BY DECORIST EDITORIAL TEAM
NOVEMBER 11, 2019
Photo credit: Shelly Guberek

Just as choosing a sofa style that suits your aesthetic is important, figuring out how one will fit into your living room layout is equally crucial before making your purchase. For instance, if you enjoy hosting regular movie nights with friends, you may want a big chesterfield for a deep comfy seat. But if you like having people over for cocktails and conversations, you might opt for modern velvet sofas that face each other. All to say, no matter the size of your living room, your setup needs to work for your lifestyle.

For inspiration and guidance, we pulled together tips on how to arrange your sofa based on your living room size and how you might use your space. Read on for some floor plan ideas and get tips from a few Decorist designers.

Not seeing a sofa you like anywhere? We've got you covered. Browse our curated selection of designer-approved picks, or take our Sofa Quiz, and we'll find the perfect one for you!

 

For A Small Space

boho chic small living room
Photo by Julia Sperling. 

In small living rooms, having the right size seating in the right place is essential to the flow of your space. Here are two arrangements that maximize square footage. 

 

If Your Space Is Mostly Just For You

small apartment living room layout

This layout is our idea of the perfect tiny haven for one. A comfy sofa should be the anchor in this small room, which is an ideal place for one person to unwind, kick back, and watch their favorite shows and movies at night. Because this is the main area for lounging, choose something compact and versatile but also comfortable.  
 

Styles We Love:

  • Sleeper. If your living space is a place for lounging by yourself as well as hosting the occasional visiting family member or friend, consider a sleeper sofa that does double-duty. The best part is that these now come in compact sizes and elevated styles that are a far cry from the fold-out futons of the past.  
  • Loveseat. It perfectly accommodates two people and comes in a range of styles, from compact tight back styles to more polished velvet settees. The shape and form are up to you, but most loveseats have pretty comfortable cushion supports. 

A Good Size: Any two or three-seater up to 75" in length

 


"When designing a small to mid-size living room, remember to measure the dimensions of your space and try a sofa that covers about two-thirds of the width of the wall behind. A loveseat or a two-three seater paired with a narrow console can make your room feel lighter. Adding an area rug will also help define the space." — Decorist Classic designer Palak Shah


 

If You Enjoy Hosting Intimate Gatherings

elegant small living room layout

Having a small living room doesn't mean that entertaining is out of the question. With the right size seating in the right spot, you can easily add accent chairs and a coffee table to create an area for mini gatherings. Unlike a room that's outfitted just for you, this setup calls for something comfortable and eye-catching as it should stand out alongside other furnishings. 
 

Styles We Love:

  • Midcentury. The streamlined look of a Midcentury sofa has universal appeal and works with any decor or setting. In addition to their versatile tailored form, they're available in many small-space styles and sizes, from Scandinavian-inspired designs with wood frames and splayed legs to more angular and boxy versions.
  • Chesterfield. If your style leans classic, a scaled-down chesterfield makes for a great investment piece that's both big on comfort and polished good looks. It can instantly cozy up a small room to feel like an elevated sitting room, and it also pairs nicely with other upholstered accent chairs and wood tables. However, you may want to go with a Midcentury piece if you want one that lets you lie down and spread out. 

A Good Size: Any two or three-seater up to 75" in length

 

For A Large Space

glamorous formal living room

With a spacious living room, your possibilities are endless. From formal living room to multifunctional spot, here are two ideas for a place that can host practically any number of people and occasions. 

 

If You Love Having A Place For Conversation

formal living room layout

For a more formal living room that's balanced and outfitted for conversation and casual entertaining, consider this floor plan with two facing sofas. It's perfect for everyday relaxing but can instantly become a lounge area for a fancy happy hour or a place to wind down following a formal dinner party. Given the entertaining focus here, choose a piece that's comfortable and durable, with a simple-chic aesthetic.
 

Styles We Love:

  • Slipcover sofa. If you're all for the crisp, clean-lined look or like the idea of a piece you can comfortably dress up or down for any occasion, slipcovered designs are the way to go. A pair positioned in this manner also appears both relaxed and purposeful. Also, you won't have to worry about keeping them clean since you can toss the covers into the wash after you entertain. 
  • Loose Back. These have back cushions that aren't attached to the back. They're great options here since they offer comfy support and a tailored look that works well for a formal room. They're elegant choices if you're thinking about this arrangement for a sitting room that's separate from your everyday family room.  

A Good Size: Matching 80" seats

 


"I love how floating a sofa or sectional can create a cozy island in a living room as well as passageways for a better flow around the furniture. For me, it just gives a sense of freedom to the space." — Decorist Elite designer Marie Ducheyne


 

If You Want A Space That Can Do It All

casual large living room layout

In large living rooms where the challenge is filling it out, split up your space with back-to-back sofas. Each zone can serve a different function: One side can have armchairs for a spot where people can gather around, whereas the other area can be an everyday family zone for relaxing and watching TV. Think durable with deep seating that can work for, as well as visually tie together, both areas.
 

Styles We Love:

  • Tight back. These have durable constructions with cushions that are attached to the seatbacks to offer firm support. So, they're perfect if you have active children. Many people also love them for their tailored look.
  • Tuxedo. For a more elevated approach, tuxedo sofas, which are boxier versions of chesterfields, are well-suited for a composed sitting room look. Leather tuxedos, which are durable and age wonderfully over time, also provide a luxe look that will warm up a large room.    

A Good Size: Matching 80" seats

 

For A Family-Friendly Space

modern family room
Photo courtesy of Decorist Celebrity designer Will Wick.

For an open living room that can accommodate adults and children alike, these flexible and family-friendly spaces emphasize casual comfort. 

 

If You're After A Laid-Back Family Room

relaxed modern family room layout

When it comes to a relaxed living space for a family home with children, this L-shaped placement is tried-and-true. There are a few setup options here. One approach is to have two of the same style for a cohesive look. Another is to choose a set with two- and three-seaters. Or if you're after a casual (and eclectic) vibe, you can mix two different styles. Just be sure they frame a corner together.
 

Styles We Love:

  • Track Arms. With tall, flat-surfaced arms, Track Arm sofas are probably the most practical options for family rooms. They're cushy and have comfortable arms, so they're perfect for TV-watching. You'll find them available as loveseats also, but they look much more clean-lined in larger sizes. 
  • English Roll Arms. A pair can bring a classic look to your living room without it feeling overly decorated. They're a sumptuous choice, and you'll dial up the comfort factor with two of these. While they lean traditional in style, they're durable and built to stand up to busy family life. 

A Good Size: 80" or more in length

 


"I love to use two sofas with an L-shaped layout when there is a large open space or an open-concept living room. Not only is it functional for large living rooms, but it's also great for big families as well as entertaining since it seats a lot of people." — Decorist Classic designer Christine Sharrow


 

If You Like A Casual Space That's Party-Ready

modern glam living room layout

One of our favorite decorating tricks is to float a sectional. This approach gives your room an airy, open vibe. If you're after a more modern, less traditional setup, this one's for you. Consider bringing in an L or U-shaped sectional if there's room.
 

Styles We Love:

  • Deep Sectional. A floating sectional does two things in a big living room. It allows for lounging while leaving lots of walking room all around, and it keeps the room from feeling overly formal. As the centerpiece in a large living room, it's perfectly casual for movie and game nights but also chic enough for cocktail parties and soirees. 
  • Modular sofa. These look best when placed away from walls given their edgy, modernist form made up of multiple parts. They're more design-forward options than sectionals that are also surprisingly comfortable. 

A Good Size: One that's at least 84" in length or a standard sectional (usually a minimum of 110" in length)

 

Looked everywhere but still can't find a seat that feels right for you? Check out our designer-curated selection. Or take our Sofa Quiz and let us find the perfect one for you based on your needs!

 

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