How to Lay Out a Living Room

As home stagers, we at HAVEN have styled LOTS of living rooms in all shapes and sizes. Each has its own pros and cons in terms of layout, but the fun part is figuring out how to maximize the space when we lay out a living room.

Layouts anywhere in your home can present design challenges, but living rooms in particular seem to be tricky. The room itself may be larger, but that doesn’t equal flexibility necessarily. Living rooms often have architectural limitations like doorways and windows, sometimes on every wall! Thankfully, there are some techniques and tried and true layouts that can work in almost any space.

living room design

First things first, think about how you’re going to be using the living room space.

Regardless of size or shape of the room, asking yourself these questions will help to guide how you’ll place your furniture within the room, and perhaps even tell you size limits for the pieces themselves.  

  1. Will there be a TV that all seating options are able to see? 
  2. Is there a fireplace you’re gathering the space around? 
  3. Is it large enough to break into multiple seating arrangements? 
  4. Does it need to be able to function as a workspace, dining space, or anything other than living? 

Understanding the function of your space is just as important as making it look good and is generally the best place to start. 

mid-century modern couch

Next, pay attention to what you’re already working with. 

Now that you understand your room’s main function and focal points, take into account what is already defining the space that isn’t as easily changed, like doorways and windows.

These elements will impact the size of furniture you can place in each section of the room. You want to ensure that all of your doors open fully without bumping into a piece of furniture. Full walkway access to your doors and windows can be an important consideration for the layout of your space in addition to the size of the furniture pieces too. For example, if you have a sliding glass door out to your patio, you want to make sure there’s a walkway to access this door. Don’t forget about things like radiators or wall jut outs that could be in the way of things like sofas and chairs. 

All of these things will be factors for your unique space, but the next layouts we’ll go through can give you an idea of some basic foolproof set ups. They may require sizing specifics and adding or removing more pieces to fit the space, but they’re good jumping off points.

living room layouts
Images via: Apartment Therapy & HAVEN projects

Symmetrical

Symmetrical living spaces involve laying out the furniture in almost a square. Think of two matching sofas across from one another or a sofa with two accent chairs across the way. This setup is more formal when you use the sofa set and more casual when chairs are added in. It also works best with living spaces that don’t include TVs, since the seating faces one another rather than a wall.

how to lay out a living room
Images via: Apartment Therapy & HAVEN projects

Versatility/Asymmetrical

In this set up, you use a sofa as an anchor for your seating, but have several other types of seating available in the room. A side chair, maybe an ottoman that doubles as a bench when needed, and a pouf or other small accent chair in a corner that can be pulled in with larger groups of people. Usually in this set up the sofa is facing the TV directly. The other seating allows for game or movie night easily with friends. It’s a more casual vibe.

interior design template
Images via: Apartment Therapy, Modsy, & HAVEN projects

Living/Work Space

Something we’re seeing much more of now is the need for desks in various rooms of the house. A space that’s large enough to accommodate something like a sectional along with desks can be a great multifunctional use of space. Even in smaller spaces, a desk is a great way to fill unused wall space or tuck in a corner. You can get super creative, and use your console as a desk. Just pull up a dining chair or stool for a flexible work station, and reset everything when you’re not working. 

living room design
Images via: Apartment Therapy & HAVEN projects

Multiple Conversation Areas

If your space is large enough, you can use furniture to divide the space into multiple cozier seating arrangements. Put two smaller sofas across from each other with a coffee table between on one end and a few accent chairs with a small side table on the other. We love a good window reading nook too, especially if you have bay windows. If your space allows, place a chair and a lamp in your window space for an instant, cozy reading area. 

There are of course more options for layouts! Be sure to check out this article from Apartment Therapy that mentions these and a lot more. Remember that part of the process might be just shuffling items around periodically and trying it out!

Love, HAVEN

PS – This topic was a Tuesday @ 2 session! You can watch the full video here:

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