Living Room Design Ideas
Whether you are wondering how to design a large living room or trying to fit it all in a small space, these tips and tricks will help you create the perfect comfortable and stylish living space in your home.
One of the most high-trafficked areas in the home, the living room is a place to both relax and entertain. It’s a place to host family and friends and a space to unwind at the end of the day. That said, it’s wise to design your living room with a range of seating arrangements to suit gatherings large and small.
Key Living Room Design Considerations
How you set up your living room will affect how you use it, so you should ask yourself a few questions before you begin. First, consider which items you already own that you’d like to keep. What should stay and what should go? Next, think about your threshold for entertaining. Do you entertain casually or do you throw large parties? Your entertaining style will determine if you need multiple conservation areas and flexible seating. Plus, think about who will be using the space. Will the materials you choose need to be child- or pet-friendly?
Space Planning Tips for Your Living Room
You may not have a natural instinct for laying out your living room furniture, but thankfully, space planning is a simple process that anyone can follow. Either use our online room planner or get a pen and paper and create a rough sketch of the dimensions of your room. Begin by sketching in large furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs, and bookcases. To configure your seating, look for a natural point to focus on, such as a fireplace, a bank of windows with a great view or a media wall. Arrange your furniture with a view to this focal point, placing chairs and sofas within 8’ of each other to encourage conversation.
As you’re placing furniture, consider scale. Be sure to keep pieces of similar scale together, or balance large pieces with several smaller items as needed. For instance, a large coffee table would work well in front of a sofa or a pair of small armchairs, rather than a single small side chair. You should also balance linear pieces with round ones and tall pieces with short ones to imbue the room with visual interest.
Once you’ve placed large furniture, plan for traffic patterns. Major pathways need about 36-48” for easy traffic flow, and you should allow 14-18” between a coffee table and sofa, and 24” between other pieces of furniture. If your living room has a television, the distance between the TV and seating should be three times the size of the screen; For instance, with a 27” screen, seating should be 71” from the television for comfortable viewing.
Design Tips for Open-Plan Living Rooms
Open-plan living rooms, also known as “great rooms” are more and more common these days, and they’re also great for entertaining. Since you don’t have walls to delineate between spaces, the key to designing an open-plan living area is to create distinct activity zones within the space. You can use furniture, such as the back of a sofa, to divide seating and dining areas. By placing a large rug in a living area, you can also instantly define a conversation area.
Plan to host parties or game days often? A u-shaped sectional or seating group will allow the greatest number of people to sit together. You can also have two “dueling” sofas facing each other, alongside four chairs facing each other to fill out the space. In general, in open-plan living rooms, large-scale furniture pieces can make the space feel more expansive, while a lineup of smaller pieces will look cluttered or disorderly.
If you’re tight on space, select furnishings that maximize your square footage and increase the functionality of your space. Consider adding wall shelving as storage or a slim console table that can double as a bar during parties. Look for furniture with storage capacity, such as a media cabinet with shelving, storage ottomans, or trunks which can be used as a side table. Plan for extra seating with garden stools that can be easily moved about or folding chairs that can be tucked away in a closet when not in use. Be sure to also place tables next to seating to hold food and drinks.
Once you’ve set up your space, be mindful of how you’re using it. Is it serving your needs? Is it inviting for guests? If not, sometimes a simple rearrangement of your floor plan is all it takes.