Creative Ways to Rethink Your Living Room Layout


What does your living room look like right now? Many American living rooms are a bit like a miniature theater, with furniture arranged in an admiring arc around the TV, which has become the true heart of the home. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If your living room could use a bit of a shakeup, consider one of these alternative (and exciting!) new ways to arrange you furniture.

Consider facing two sofas.

It’s not uncommon to see two sofas arranged in an L shape, but if conversation (or coziness) is your primary goal, you may find yourself much better served by two sofas that face each other (like in this Scandinavian living room from Elle Decoration). This arrangement actually takes up less space than the L-shaped alternative, and if you give it a try you might be surprised by how much more natural conversations feel when you’re sitting directly across from the person you’re talking to. Unless your living room is quite small, this will probably result in floating one or both couches—you don’t want the conversants to be more than eight feet apart, or conversations will start to feel unnatural.

The sofa-facing-sofa arrangement works well in living rooms without a TV, but it doesn’t mean that this setup can’t work in a room with a television as well. One option, as seen in the lead image up top, is to hang the TV on a wall (or place it on a console) at a right angle to the two couches. Another option, as demonstrated by this little living room above from One Kings Lane, is to use low chairs on one side and place the TV behind them. It’s a clever, space-saving solution that means you can only watch TV from half of the seating in the room—but if you only ever watch TV when you’re alone or with one other person, it’s not much of an issue.

Try a sofa + two chairs in a U

This arrangement (seen here in a living room by Ash Design) has a coziness that really appeals to me, and it has the additional advantage of allowing lots of openings where people can flow through the space. Try balancing a heavy sofa with lighter, more delicate chairs.

Enlist the help of some footstools

At first glance this living room grouping from Cup of Jo may look like a U, but it’s actually a full square, a great setup for conversation. Using the two footstools and the daybed for two sides of the square keeps the furniture grouping from visually breaking up the room.

Replace your couch with a couple of chaises

If lounging is what you’re after, consider replacing your couch entirely with a couple of paired chaises (like in this living room from Nuevo Estilo, via Thou Swell) for the ultimate in slouchy luxury.

Here’s another example of the type, from Style Me Pretty. These chaises have arms on both sides, so you can’t snuggle right next to someone, but it still looks like a very cozy setup.

Have no sofa at all

If spooning on the couch is part of your Saturday ritual, you may balk at this, but if most of your lounging is of the sitting up kind, you may be well served by forgoing a couch entirely and replacing it with a couple of comfy chairs. This setup, as seen on Domino, is particularly good for small living rooms (or a larger living room where you need all that extra space for books).

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