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7 tips for perfect living room arrangements

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Modern Family Home Refurbishment:  Living room by WN Interiors of Poole in Dorset
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In the mood to change up your living room? Maybe you want to alter the furniture layout or make the space seem bigger? Regardless of what you are changing, the fact remains that the living room is the standard socialising space in any home, which means getting its arrangement right is quite important. 

But that doesn’t mean that you need to copy your neighbour’s seemingly perfect living room layout – no two spaces need to be identical, seeing as no two households are necessarily the same. Your living room arrangement will depend on how you use the space.

And we are going to help you get it right!

Living room arrangement tip #1: Find your focal point

Often, the living room is where we place the television, but that doesn’t mean your flat-screened friend has to be the focal point of the space. If it’s the main space where your household watches TV, sure, but you could also focus on the fireplace with a beautiful mirror / artwork over the mantelpiece. This is especially attractive in a living room meant for relaxing, reading and listening to music. 

Should your living room provide fabulous views of the garden, how about making that generous window the main piece in the room? Simply dress your windows with striking curtains or smart shutters instead of hiding it behind dull, heavy drapery. 

Remember that where you position your furniture will also help establish the room’s focal point. For instance, if you want to take in that glorious garden view, arrange the seating to focus on those windows. 

Of course your own living room furniture can also be the focal pieces. To emphasise conversation and establish the seating areas as the main focal points, the room should be arranged so that people walk around, and not through, conversation areas. Group sofas and chairs together so people can easily talk to one another. A conversational layout is especially great if you plan on hosting and socialising in your living room.

Living room arrangement tip #2: Closed or open-plan?

London Penthouse:   by NSI DESIGN LTD

London Penthouse


Should your living room form part of an open-plan household, or do you want it closed off from the rest of the house? This requires some self-analysis on your part.

While some people prefer their living room to become a separate sanctuary (for instance, where kids can play and watch TV while adults socialise in the kitchen / dining room), others just love an open-plan space where the sitting, dining, and cooking areas overlap. This also helps to make your living room seem larger and brighter. 

Of course you can have the best of both worlds: knock down a wall to link up the rooms, yet define the living area via double doors or large sliding ones.

Living room arrangement tip #3: Space for moving

Formal Living Room:  Living room by Studio Duggan
Studio Duggan

Formal Living Room

Studio Duggan

Once you’re in the living room, you don’t want to struggle to get back out again. 

Does your living room double up as the main route to the terrace and garden outside? Ensure the furniture is arranged to promote easy movement instead of climbing over coffee tables. 

If there is no other choice but for people to walk through the living room to get to the kitchen, for instance, use open shelving or storage units as screens to partially separate your seating space. 

In an open-plan layout, use your furniture to define a circulation route that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the living room. For example, L-shaped sofas can mark out the boundaries of your living area, effectively separating it from the kitchen and dining space.

Living room arrangement tip #4: Sofas and chairs

Kensington Gardens W2: Contemporary Style:  Houses by Increation

Kensington Gardens W2: Contemporary Style


Size always matters, and that is also true when it comes to your living room furniture. Since sofas and chairs are often the main stars of a living room, it’s crucial that they suit the space perfectly. 

First of all, measure the room before you shop! Even sketch out a rough floor plan to take with you to the furniture store. Once you have a few furniture pieces in mind, do some more sketches and try putting them in different spots to see which layouts work best.

Living room arrangement tip #5: Rugs

An area rug is one of the best ways to define a seating area, yet far too many people shop the wrong way and then return home with a rug that’s far too small. 

All your furniture must rest comfortably on that rug for the visual flow to work. And if space doesn’t allow for this, ensure that at least the front legs of the large pieces (i.e. sofas) are on the rug. 

However, your smaller pieces (side chairs and tables) must always have all four legs on your rug.

Living room arrangement tip #6: Coffee table

Art Collectors Residence:  Media room by JKG Interiors
JKG Interiors

Art Collectors Residence

JKG Interiors

If you have the space, a coffee table in the centre of your conversation area can be quite perfect. But remember that its height needs to be slightly lower than the seat height of the sofa and chairs surrounding it. 

In terms of length, the perfect coffee table must be roughly one-half to two-thirds the length of the sofa. 

If your living room is too small for a coffee table, try using smaller tables or benches for the same effect. But if anyone has to get up from their seat to put down a drink, then that table is too small.

Living room arrangement tip #7: Side tables

The Modern Living Room :  Living room by Aorta the heart of art
Aorta the heart of art

The Modern Living Room

Aorta the heart of art

Deemed as an afterthought by some, side tables are actually quite important. Although the number you will need will depend on how much seating you have, it’s recommended to have one on either side of a sofa (if there isn’t enough space, then just opt for a single coffee table), and between pairs of chairs.  

The main idea should be to provide adequate surface space, yet not overcrowd your living room. And your side tables should always be the same height as the arm of the chair or sofa beside them. 

Let’s continue working on the perfect living room with Interior inspiration: Choosing a coffee table.

Did we help you achieve the perfect living room arrangement in your home?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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