The kitchen may be considered the heart of the home, but if you ask many people, they would probably say their living room is more deserving of that title. The living room is where members of the family come together to watch their favorite television shows, play games, host parties, and spend time enjoying one another’s company. In many homes, the living room is a haven from the frenetic pace of daily living.
However, you need more than just people to make a living room shine. Experts suggest that furniture placement is as vital to interior design as your decor and color scheme. No matter the size of your space or the details of your personal tastes, arranging furniture correctly can have a tremendous effect on the overall look and feel of your living room. So let’s take a look at some ways to arrange furniture in living rooms big and small and make the best use of your space.
How to Arrange Furniture in Large Living Rooms
Large living rooms might seem like the easiest spaces to work with because you have space for all the living room furniture and fixtures you want. However, large rooms also present a challenge. Often enormous spaces can seem alienating, but you can find ways to make a large living room seem much more inviting.
Rather than treating your large living room as one large space, segment it into smaller areas. You might arrange your furniture to create a television viewing zone, a play area for children, and another area for entertaining guests. Arrange backless or low-backed sofas on the borders of your living room areas. These sofas make excellent dividers, since they divide the area without blocking your line of sight.
Bookshelves can also work well. If your living room is rectangular, you might consider dividing the space into two squares, a shape appealing to the eye.
If your large living room isn’t spacious enough to comfortably divide, you can make the space more intimate by arranging large furniture. A large living room might dwarf a small couch, but you can upgrade to a larger sofa and place another small couch beside it to create the appearance of a larger piece. Place a coffee table between couches or chairs, along with a large ottoman that has more bulk.
Homemakers may think they should arrange their furniture around the perimeter of the room to maximize their available space. However, this layout can make a large space seem even more intimidating. Instead, bring your chairs and couches to the middle of the room, leaving plenty of walking space around the perimeter, to create an open family living room space. A U-shaped configuration around a focal point, such as a television set or fireplace, encourages people to connect.
How to Organize Furniture in a Compact Living Room
If your living room is smaller, as you may find in many apartments and condos, its compact space can get cramped and cluttered. But if you learn how to arrange furniture in a small living room, you can make your room feel spacious.
Your job starts with selecting the right pieces. Rather than the sizeable pieces you’d select for a large living room, you’ll want less weighty items, such as a small rocking chair, which reveals more space to the eye. Transparent items, such as glass-topped tables and acrylic glass chairs, can also make a small living room seem more spacious.
End tables make for a good way to maximize space, and you can boost their height with books or decorative ornaments.
By filling your small living room with multipurpose furniture, like modular sofas, you can divide and extend the space you have for entertaining. Ottomans with removable tops can double as storage spaces and accent pieces.
Clever furniture placement can also reduce the amount of furniture you’ll need, maximizing space in a living room. For example, if you arrange two small sofas in an L shape, you’ll need only one end table, rather than two separate tables, where they naturally come together.
If your living room is naturally dark, arrange some lamps to add extra light. Bright spaces seem larger and more open. White lamps can be more effective at creating a brighter appearance than other forms of lighting.
Once you have your furniture in place, walk around the room as you normally would. Consider how you’ll move around your living room as well as how you’ll enter and exit the room. Are there clear pathways to follow? If you find yourself squeezing past furniture or backtracking as you move through the room, rework your furniture arrangement.
Set up your living room furniture in whatever way works best for your daily living, and have a backup plan for entertaining. The space you’ve created to make your compact living room feel less cluttered can be used when friends drop by for a visit. Keep some lightweight chairs in an out-of-the-way place in your home, like your garage. Simply place them in the room when you need extra seating and remove them when your guests leave.
Create a Multipurpose Living Room
Many people want their living rooms to serve as more than just a place to unwind. But a multipurpose living room that does double duty as an office, dining room, crafts room, or study den can seem mismatched if you don’t arrange your furniture carefully.
For multipurpose spaces, segment your living area and create separate zones for each part. Don’t let the items in your home office area encroach into the sitting area, or you’ll have a more difficult time switching from work mode to relax mode. Face your desk and chair toward the wall to help you keep focus and make sure you’re not distracted by your couch and television set.
Combining a lounge room and a dining room is a classic combination. Put a dining suite in one corner of your room, and use a couch to section off the space and create a smart dining room–living room combination.
While furniture can effectively segment your space and maintain an open plan feel, you can achieve a more dramatic segmentation by adding doors or curtains. These features will make both zones feel smaller, but you may find you can concentrate more in a newly created home office or craft room.
Scaling back your seating space might seem intimidating, but it can be a clever way to improve your living room’s social factor. Large couches with wide spaces between them can slow the flow of conversation. But when you choose smaller couches and move them close together, you can encourage open communication and shared good times.
While clear segmentation is important to make a multipurpose living room functional, remember to keep that same feel throughout this shared space. Choose pieces that complement one another, not clash with one another. Even if your living room functions as an office, you shouldn’t settle for office furniture that looks like it belongs in a bland cubicle. Arrange pieces that reflect your personality in your workspace; you’ll not only boost your productivity but also make your home office a place you want to work in.
Keep the three Fs in mind — flow, function, and focal points — to make the most of a living room of any size and purpose. Take your time when you arrange your furniture, remembering that no arrangement is ever permanent. You may need to experiment with several furniture configurations to find the one that speaks to your personality and creates the right atmosphere for both you and the members of your family.
Do you have furniture arranging tips of your own? Share them in the comments section!