Something as simple as changing the way your furniture is arranged can make a big impact on how you use your living room.
Arrange for face-to-face conversation.
Arranging the seating pieces to face each other over a shared coffee table makes conversation easy, and the table keeps drinks in easy reach.
Seat four with chairs.
If you don’t have room for the usual sofas and love seats, four comfy chairs will serve as well—or perhaps better. In this clean, crisp setting, matching white slipcovered chairs define an orderly, compact yet welcoming seating group.
Pull furnishings together with a rug.
Use a large area rug to unify a seating group within a larger space. If the rug isn’t large enough to contain all of the seating pieces, make sure that those farthest from the wall are solidly anchored on the “island.”
Make space for lounging.
In living rooms where lounging and TV-watching are the main activities, a sectional sofa offers flexible, comfortable seating. Sectionals come in a variety of units, from armless chairs to love seats, ottomans and chaises that you can combine to fit your space.
The sofa in this living room is oriented toward the TV (not shown) and the extra seating is lightweight and can be easily rearranged to face the TV.
Divide large spaces with seating.
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If your living room is the setting for large parties, bring intimacy and a comfortable sense of scale to the room by dividing it into two conversational groupings with a path between them. Placing one sofa with its back to this path underscores the separation between the two groups, as do the area rugs anchoring them.
Focus on the view.
An effective room arrangement starts with the focal point, the cornerstone of your living room design. Typically a fireplace plays this role, but in this contemporary cottage space, the view out the French doors takes center stage instead.
Orient the main seating piece toward the focal point and arrange the secondary seating pieces around the main piece. In winter, the room could be rearranged to focus on the fireplace.
Create order with symmetry.
Pairs of matching sofas, side tables and lamps strike a perfect balance on each side of the fireplace in this contemporary living room. Symmetry imposes a sense of order on the space.
Create activity zones.
In a large, open room, use furniture arrangement to divide the space into different activity zones. Here a table and chairs gather on one side of the room, providing a spot for informal meals or games.
In the center of the room, a sofa, chairs and ottoman form a conversational cluster anchored by a rug.
Use chairs instead of sofas.
In a small living room, create a sense of greater space and openness with a collection of chairs instead of using sofas or love seats. The scale of these armchairs suits the smaller living room.
Set aside a sunny corner.
A pair of chairs with a set of stools converts this well-lit corner into a cozy spot for two. Whether you entertain large groups or small ones, providing guests with paired seating helps ensure that everyone will have at least one conversational partner.
Arrange seating in an L-shape.
In this large living room, a sofa and a love seat form an L framing a large coffee table. This simple arrangement provides a convenient conversational cluster. A single chair at the other side of this group can easily be moved closer to the conversation grouping.
Create a quiet spot in a bay.
Turn a bay window into a quiet spot for two with a pair of comfortable chairs and an ottoman. Provide the chairs with a table and lamp so you’ll have light for reading and a place to rest a cup of tea.
Snuggle up to the fireplace.
The fireplace is the natural focal point of a living room. Flank each side with seating, whether it’s two sofas or a sofa and pair of chairs, and place a large coffee table in the middle.
Offer casual seating.
If you’re more likely to lounge in front of the fireplace than sit on a sofa, keep a supply of oversize floor pillows and ottomans on hand. Ottomans can move where you need them for seating, or they can stand in as side tables.
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