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How to get the most out of your living room layout

Your living room is likely to be one of the most versatile spaces in your home; it's somewhere you can relax, entertain, and sometimes even eat. While having this multi-purpose room is great, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to achieve the best room layout.

From casual settings with plenty of sporadic seating, to more formal environments with minimal furniture, there are so many different options, no matter what shape or size your living room is. So, if you're looking for living room layout ideas that'll enhance your space, look no further. Here, we'll be covering:

Living room layout basics

Before you begin designing your dream living room, it'll be useful to know the most important factors of living room design. Here, we will be discussing what you should be thinking about from finding a focal point to using all of the space available to you.

Finding a focal point in your living room

Every living room will have a focal point, which will typically be dictated by the purpose of the space. Many homeowners would agree that the TV is the point of interest in their living room, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, a fireplace, mirror, painting, or fancy piece of furniture can be the main attraction in your living room if you wish.

Once you've decided on this, you can then begin planning the rest of your décor around your focus piece.

Having clear routes around the room

When you've got plenty of new decorating ideas in your head, it can be easy to get carried away with furniture arrangement ideas. But, it's important to consider how you will move around the space and how to incorporate your ideas as practically as possible.

If your living room is open plan and leads to other areas of your home, like the kitchen, you can plan your furniture placement, so it distinguishes the space from neighboring ones.

Finding balance when arranging your furniture

Balance is key in interior design, and it's particularly important that you get it right when it comes to planning the placement of furniture in your living room. To do this, you'll need to consider the size and positioning of each piece to make sure that you don't place all of the large furniture at one side of the room, for example. There should also be a good variation in the shapes of any pieces of furniture you choose to include. For example, a standard linear sofa will look best complemented with a round coffee table. If you want to create a really unique space, you could even design your own custom sofa for a personal touch.

If you're finding it tricky to achieve the right balance, following the golden ratio of 2:1 when arranging your furniture can help. This means dividing the space into two sections: one large area that occupies two thirds of the room and contains the main pieces of furniture and one much smaller area which makes up the remaining third. This secondary space is used for things like additional seating, storage, or reading corners.

Creating conversation areas

Your living room is where you'll do most of your hosting and socializing, so it's important that the layout encourages conversation. This means you will need to consider how far apart your seating areas can be without disrupting the flow of conversation. This will involve trying different positions for your furniture and paying attention to whether there are any obstructions standing in the way of the seating, or whether it's hard to hear people on the other sofa. Similarly, you will need to make sure that any seats are angled towards each other. You can even have multiple conversation areas. We will cover this in more detail when we share our living room layout ideas.

Bearing in mind the 10-30-60 colour ratio

The 10-30-60 ratio dictates that a well-designed space will consist of three main colors: the dominant color that covers 60% of the area, a secondary color which makes up 30% of the space and a bold accent color that takes up the remaining 10%.

Paying attention to this color rule can help you with your living room plan.

Using all of the available space

Having your furniture pushed up against the walls can leave the rest of your room looking bare and your walls looking chaotic. Instead, you should be sure to leave some space behind your sofa if possible and fill the other areas of your living room with smaller pieces of furniture. While small living room layouts may not allow everything to be spaced out too much, this will work well for medium and larger living rooms that have plenty of room to play around with.

Five timeless living room layout ideas

Whether you're looking for small living room layout ideas or want to make sure you're using all of the space available to you in your larger living room, there are many different room layouts you can choose from. Below, we will be sharing some of the most versatile and creative ones:

Formal and conversational

If you host regularly, you'll need a space where you and your guests can wind down for the evening, and your living room is the perfect area for this. You'll want to ensure that there's a great seating area that directly encourages conversation, and this room layout will do just that.

This layout is the perfect example of how to arrange two sofas in your living room in a simple way. It makes use of two smaller sofas that are facing each other and separated by a large oval coffee table. The fireplace is adjacent to the sofas with a TV mounted above to provide easy viewing from either sofa. Any built-in cabinetry should be based around the fireplace to create a simple, linear living room layout that doesn't distract from the interactive seating arrangement.

Casual and conversational

If you're not too concerned about your living room being formal, but still want it to encourage conversation, this may be the living room layout for you. Featuring a single sofa and two smaller armchairs that are placed opposite it, the mix and match seating can help to make your living room layout to look more informal and relaxed. This in turn will comfort visitors and ensure the conversation flows.

If you want to make your living room multi-functional, you could consider adding a workstation in one corner of the room. This will be particularly useful if you've got kids who need supervising when doing their homework or want a space to get creative with your hobby. Again, keep cabinetry, fireplaces, and the TV on one wall to keep as much free floor space as possible.

Mix and match seating

If your living room is mostly used for watching the TV, then a mix and match layout plan may be ideal for you. To achieve this, you'll need to plan the room around your television, which is usually best done by angling the sofa towards it. But, you don't want to risk completely cutting off any conversation, so be sure to include other versatile seating, like armchairs, for people to relax into.

Although keeping things balanced is crucial for any living room, you don't have to be too strict when you're opting for a more relaxed living room. Coffee tables don’t have to be central and furniture doesn't have to be too linear for this layout, giving you an opportunity to be creative about the pieces you choose and where you place them.

Minimal and cosy

If you've got a smaller living room, or simply prefer a minimalistic style, you'll be pleased to hear that a pared-down living room layout can still make a big impact. The above living room layout focuses primarily on comfortable seating, with the main pieces including an inviting sectional sofa with a complementary footstool. Plus, an extra armchair in the corner gives a casual vibe that should encourage conversation to flow.

Your furniture should be the main event, but you can still add some smaller touches like lamps and plants to give the space a little personality.

Multi-functional and sociable

The layout of your living room doesn't need to be bound to any restrictions, and this living room plan is testament to that. If you have a larger living room with a lot of space, why not look at adding a dining area? You can use your furniture and rugs to define the different zones.

Try splitting your room into two, placing your dining tables and chairs in one half and your sofa, TV, and coffee tables in the other. As a general rule, you should have a large piece of furniture at the divisive border of the room, with most people positioning the sofa with its back to the dining area to achieve this divide.

As this room is multi-functional, it'll be important that you don't overdo it with too many soft furnishings, home accessories, and small pieces of furniture. These can make the space look overcrowded and chaotic instead of inviting and sociable, putting people off from sitting there.

Living room layout ideas by room shape

The shape of your living room can dictate what you do with the space. Here are some of the most common furniture arrangement ideas for different room structures:

Rectangle living room ideas

Rectangular rooms are particularly common, and the absence of any awkward angles means that they are usually straightforward to furnish.

Family-friendly rectangular living room layout

Rectangle living rooms have the benefit of two longer walls, which look great when lined with sofas, cabinetry, and a fireplace. The above layout is ideal for families who love to watch TV together, as well as couples who enjoy hosting casual gatherings in their home.

The sofa is in line with the long back wall, with a little gap left to maximize the space available. It is completed with two small perch seats to make a super relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. With so much room to fill, you could even transform the other half of the room into a cozy reading area or a study that will stimulate your creativity.

Sociable rectangular living room layout

Similar to the above layout, this floorplan focuses on turning the living room into a social hub. Two sofas placed adjacent to each other will encourage conversation, while the addition of an extra armchair and footstool can ensure there are plenty of seating options for any occasion..

For the ultimate laidback style, try incorporating a drinks area with a bar cart or a reading corner, complete with a luxury Chesterfield armchair and wool throw to cozy up in.

Square living room ideas

Similar to the rectangle layout, a square living room is among one of the easiest room shapes to work furniture and furnishings into.

Multi-functional square living room layout

The walls of a square living room will all be equal in length, so you won't be able to place your larger pieces of furniture against the longer back walls like you can in rectangular living rooms. Instead, placing your sofa, coffee tables, armchairs, and footstools all in the middle of the room can help you to optimize the space and ensure it isn't empty in the center.

This is an effortlessly casual layout plan, especially when your seating area is surrounded by a fireplace and mantlepiece on one side and a grand wall-mounted plasma TV on the other side. And, don't forget to add some cabinetry to keep your smaller living room clutter-free. We recommend placing these just shy of the corners of the room to really open up the space.

Small square living room layout

If your square living room is particularly small, angling your seating arrangement towards one corner can help to open up some extra space for cabinetry, plants and finishing touches around your larger pieces of furniture. The center point of this plan is around the coffee table, making it a great option for those who host regularly.

It can help to use an area rug to define the seating zone. Although some of your smaller pieces like armchairs can rest just on the corners of the rug, your sofa should be lined up with the edge of the rug. If you need any help finding the perfect sofa fit, check out our sofa measuring guide.

Long and narrow living room layout ideas

A long and narrow living room can appear awkward to furnish, but there are plenty of ways you can get creative and use the space to the best of your ability.

Long and narrow living room with distinguished zones

By splitting the room up with larger pieces of furniture, you can create the illusion of square zones — which are much easier to furnish!

In this floorplan, you can see that we have made use of an L-shaped sectional sofa, which sits opposite the TV. It's also accompanied by a side table for convenience. Additionally, there are two smaller armchairs sitting adjacent to the sofa, with their backs to the rest of the room — this defines the entertainment zone.

On the other side of the room, we've placed a dining table and chairs, and positioned a bookcase along the long back wall, making a multi-functional space to eat, read, and work in. However, you can transform this into anything you'd like, including your very own cocktail bar if you regularly host, or a study where the kids can sit and do their homework while you supervise.

Long and narrow living room layout with integrated zones

Similar to the above layout, this floorplan offers both a dining and entertainment space. However, they are more integrated, with a small side table being the only thing between the two. This makes it less separated and therefore a more sociable living room design.

You'll also need to think about seating and sofa layout ideas. Try placing a high-back chair and pouf box in the far corner at an angle that focuses in on the rest of the room. An L-shaped sofa with the shorter end adjacent to the dining zone will ensure conversation can flow uninterrupted. If you're struggling to find the best way of positioning your sofa, we recommend using an area rug, like our luxury hair on hide rugs, to help divide the space.

If you're struggling to find the perfect sofa to fit this slightly awkward space, our guide to choosing a comfy sofa can help.

Once you know which type of layout you're working with and how you'll fill the space, you can begin finding the perfect furniture to go in your living room. Here at Sofas by Saxon, we have plenty of classic British designs, which will add class and style to any living room layout you opt for. We offer beautiful Chesterfield sofas, chairs, sectional sofas, sleeper sofas, footstools, and more, which can all be made to your specifications through our custom service then delivered straight to you in the US.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to find the ideal layout for your living room area but, if you want to find more inspiration, take a look at our sofa buying guides and interior design hub. Or, don't hesitate to contact us to speak to our expert team about your requirements.