HOW TO // LAY OUT YOUR LIVING ROOM LIKE A PRO
A GUIDE TO LIVING ROOM SPACE PLANNING
Laying out your living room can be a frustrating venture, possibly full of ill fitting furniture and countless rearranging. It can be hard to get right on your first go round, so I have created a few tips to help you along the way! Just be honest about what you really need in the space and what sized furniture can realistically fit!
Living Room Layout Tip #1:
Define The Room's Purpose
The most important place to start when laying out your living room is to figure out exactly what the room’s purpose is. Some uses may seem obvious, like watching tv, but really think about every function you need the living room to achieve. Is this your primary spot for entertaining, where you occasionally work, or where guest’s sleep? Do you have a small open floor plan and the living room serves as the lounge, dining area and entry? Does the living room need to have a place for all of your books, a gallery wall or your kid’s toys?
Living Room Layout Tip #2:
Outline Your Furniture Needs
After sorting out what functions you need to consider, make a list of the furniture items that will help you achieve that function. For example, if you sometimes work in the living room a desk, laptop table, pop-up coffee table or task lighting might be on your list. If your living room’s primary use is for entertaining, you probably want to look into maximizing your seating options and have one comfy-as-hell sofa. In addition to your main furniture pieces, consider rug, lighting and storage needs as well.
Living Room Layout Tip #3:
Think About Scale
This tip really depends on the size of your room. If you have a large vaulted ceiling living room you definitely do not want to fill it with a dinky sized sofa and chairs. On the flip-side, if you are living in a studio apartment a hefty sectional won’t be doing you any favors. A good rule of thumb for smaller spaces is looking into an “apartment” sized sofa or loveseat paired with an accent chair or two. Chairs or small benches can easily be moved around and have more flexibility in a tight space. Rug sizing is also important in creating a harmonious living room. Too small and the rug ends up floating unanchored in the room, but too large and it looks like it has taken over the space! My best advice for choosing the proper rug size is to have at least the front legs of your main furniture pieces sitting on the rug. That way everything gets pulled together and you don’t have anything drifting out on its own.
Living Room Layout Tip #4:
Use Rugs To Define Areas
Keeping in line with the theme of anchoring furniture, use rugs to define different spaces within your living room. It does happen to be called an area rug for a reason! If your living room opens up to your entry, try using a large rug for the main living space and a runner to define the entry area, even if they happen to be only a few feet away from each other. This gives your eye a moment to rest and see the spaces individually.
There are so many different living room shapes and sizes out there and each comes with its own set of challenges. To guide you along on your space planning journey, I’ve rounded up common room types and created various layouts for each. Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas and help layout your living room!
HOW TO LAY OUT A LARGE LIVING ROOM
A large living room is amazing because you have the opportunity to seat quite a few people, but at the same time it can be a nightmare to lay out if there are several entry points and doors to worry about. Throw a fireplace into the arrangement and that's when a glass of wine gets involved. The floorplan to the left has several major traffic-ways. It is open to the kitchen, has one hall leading from the entryway, another heading to the master bedroom and has the back door crammed in there for good measure. I don't often care to hang the TV over the fireplace, but sometimes that is your only option!
HOW TO LAY OUT A LONG NARROW LIVING ROOM
This floorplan is very similar to my own home, with the front door leading straight into the living room and a few hallways branching off the ends. If you have a long, narrow living room it is important to define the spaces, even if it is only with a smaller rug in the "entryway". The layouts I created vary from a traditional symmetrical setup to a more atypical plan featuring a workspace in the living room.
HOW TO LAY OUT A SMALL LIVING ROOM
This living room setup is very common in apartment living - the kitchen, dining area and living space are all in one open area. Depending on the amount of storage, workspace and seating you need, there are actually quite a few ways to lay out a room similar to this. A smaller "apartment" sized sofa would work well here but as you can see I was able to squeeze in a small sectional into one of the layouts and even a desk area into another.
Want to read more from my How To series? Go HERE for tips on how to mix & match pillows like a pro or HERE to learn how to overcome design paralysis and start making decisions like a boss or HERE for an ultimate guide to styling your console table!