The Best Living Room Layouts Have These 3 Things in Common

published Feb 3, 2023
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Arranging your living room can prove tricky. Not only do you have multiple (large!) pieces of furniture to work with, but you need to consider where to put your TV and how to create a space that’s well-designed but also cozy. It’s not called the living room for nothing.

Robin DeCapua, owner and designer at Madison Modern Home, a home staging company based in Los Angeles, has seen all kinds of living room shapes, sizes, and configurations since she launched her business 12 years ago. Regardless of square footage, though, the living room, she says, is definitely the most impactful room to stage. 

Here are three things that the very best living room layouts have in common, DeCapua says.

No. 1: The sofa is the star of the show.

As a rule of thumb, position the sofa on the longest wall and lay out the coffee table, rug, and chairs in front of and opposite the sofa, DeCapua says. 

“When we do place a sofa against a wall, we pull it away from the wall slightly — a few inches is enough — to create a ‘drop shadow’ effect,” she says. “It always looks more deliberately styled this way instead of being haphazardly shoved up against the wall.”

While this layout generally works for most rooms, there are times when the sofa must “float” further away from the wall — like in lofts, open-concept spaces and very large living rooms, she explains. 

How about sectional sofas? Generally, sectional furniture should be reserved for an open-plan area that needs to be defined by the corner of a sectional.

Loft spaces and living/dining room combinations can be good candidates for an L-shaped sectional, DeCapua says. 

“When shopping for one, be sure to note if it’s left-facing or right-facing,” she says. “It makes a huge difference, as you want the corner where you need the definition.”

No. 2: The rug is the right rize (read: big enough).

Rugs are a surefire way to tie a room together. However, when choosing a rug, many people go too small, DeCapua says.

She has a simple rule that will make rug shopping more intuitive: The goal is for all furniture to have at least their front legs on the rug, she says. In most scenarios, you’ll need an 8’x10′ rug or an ever larger one.

No. 3: Chairs help set the tone.

Did you know that how you angle your chairs can set the tone of your entire living room?

An angled chair placement indicates a more casual space, DeCapua says. “Play around until it feels right,” she suggests. “There are no hard-and-fast rules here.”

But do consider sight lines out windows when planning your living room, she says. If there’s a view, you don’t want to block it with high-backed chairs. “

And try to match the height of your sofa with your chairs whenever possible,” she says. “Nothing makes a sofa look more out-of-scale than too-tall chairs.”

One more thing: If your chairs are going to be seen from the back, consider their shape and style. “Go for an interesting frame in sculptural wood or metal,” DeCapua suggests.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: The Best Living Room Layouts Have These 3 Things in Common