The living room is arguably the most important recreational space in the home. After all, it’s where we invite our guests when we want to entertain, and where we put our feet up to relax at the end of a long day. But, as our living areas often need to be very versatile, it can sometimes be tricky to arrange your furniture in a way that suits all your needs — especially as you'll also want it to look perfectly stylish and inviting.
The solution is choosing a layout that suits both the size and shape of your living room, as well as the sorts of activities you'd like to use your living room for. In this guide, we'll talk you through seven different living room layout ideas, so you can pick the best arrangement for your home and lifestyle. We'll cover:
Before we begin, it'll help if you have a grasp of some key layout ideas that underpin good interior design. Here, we’ve shared a few of the principles that will help you to put together the best living room layout for your home.
If you're struggling to work out what size furniture will suit your living room, then you may want to draw inspiration from a common mathematical concept called the golden ratio. The ratio describes the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions. Put simply, it offers a blueprint for sizing and arranging your furniture in an aesthetically pleasing way.
To design a seating area according to the golden ratio, try to stick to a 2:3 ratio when sizing furniture and rugs. So, if you're placing a couch on a rug, the couch should be two thirds of the length of your rug, and your coffee table should be two thirds of the length of the couch. This creates a sense of harmony and balance, ensuring that all of the pieces are perfectly in proportion to each other.
The sofa is usually the largest item of furniture in a living room, so it important to get the sizing right, as it can throw the whole room out of balance if it’s too large or small. There's quite a lot to consider when measuring your space for this, including logistical issues such as whether it will fit through your doorway, so take a look at our complete guide to measuring your sofa so you can be sure you get it right. If you can't find a couch that's the right size for your space, you might want to go for a bespoke sofa, instead.
At some point, you've probably been in a living room where all the furniture was pushed up against the walls, leaving an expanse of empty space in the middle. While this might work in smaller living rooms where there's not enough space for a floating couch, it's not the best layout for medium or large rooms, which can look sparse and empty while the walls look cluttered. Instead, avoid placing furniture right up against the wall, and fill the centre of the room with coffee tables or an ottoman. You can find a few ideas for filling the space in a larger living room later on in this guide.
Whether your living room is large or small, narrow or L-shaped, it should always have a focal point. This is the first thing people will see when they enter the room, and so is usually positioned opposite the door.
Exactly what your focal point is going to be will depend on the existing features in your home, and what you'll be using your living room for most of the time. For example, it could be the TV, a fireplace, some artwork, an accent wall, or a large window with a great view. You could even use a piece of furniture as the focal point: a statement armchair or sofa in a bold colour or pattern can work very well, especially in a room with neutral décor.
Whatever you choose, be sure to factor the focal point into your eventual plan. The layouts we've shared below should give you a few ideas.
Every living room needs a centre point. This is usually the point in the middle of the room where you'll find the coffee table or rug, which your seating is clustered around. This doesn't necessarily need to be exactly in the centre of the room, though: it may be slightly to one side, depending on the shape and size of your room. In a very large living space with more than one cluster of furniture, you may even have more than one centre point. Your seating will usually face inwards towards this point, so bear this in mind when designing your layout.
As we’ve mentioned, you don't want to leave a large expanse of free space in the middle of your living room. But, that doesn’t mean your space should be so crowded with furniture that you can't easily walk through it when you need to. You should leave a clear route through the room and, ideally, this will be a path that's at least two feet clear of any furniture. This is especially important if your living room connects two spaces, such as the kitchen and the garden.
Now you've got a solid understanding of the basic principle of a good living room layout, you can start putting together your own floorplan. To get you started, we've put together five living room layout ideas that should suit most standard-sized homes.
A 'conversational' living room layout is one where the seating options — usually two sofas — are positioned so they face each another, creating a cosy and sociable area that's designed to stimulate conversation between guests. The conversational layout works best in symmetrical rooms, especially if there's a central window, doors, or a fireplace that can act as a focal point.
A very traditional — and almost formal — layout, this style has become less popular in recent years, probably because we prefer to use our living rooms for watching TV rather than conversation these days. However, it’s a great arrangement if you often have guests or want to create a more sociable living room, and it's perfect for playing board games.
In this layout, a sofa is positioned opposite two armchairs, which sit side by side — perhaps with a small side table in the middle. The sofa and chairs face each other, so there's still a sense of intimacy and it's great for entertaining. But, it feels just a little less formal than the traditional conversational layout we shared earlier, as it isn't completely symmetrical.
One advantage of this layout is that it leaves the corners of the room free, so you can add a small desk, reading nook, occasional table, or anything else you fancy. And, as you'll have armchairs in addition to a sofa, there's a choice of different seating options, which also brings more visual interest to the room. If you want to be able to watch TV from every seat, then opt for armchairs that swivel, so you can effortlessly turn them around to face the screen.
If you regularly host movie nights in your household, then this layout, which uses the TV as a focal point, might be the best choice for you. A large sectional corner sofa offers a clear view of the television, while side tables will keep your snacks and drinks within easy reach.
There are also a couple of comfy armchairs in the corners of the room, which can be swivelled or moved to make space for extra guests. You can also add some bookshelves and storage units to the outer walls to create space for DVDs and books.
In this layout, a sectional corner sofa, an armchair, and an ottoman footstool provide a range of different seating options to suit all guests and needs, so it’s a great choice if you have a larger family or are always hosting. The ottoman can be used as seating to accommodate extra guests, but can also double up as a stylish coffee table if you simply add a tray. If you're a real social butterfly, swap one of the storage units for a bar cart or drinks cabinet so you can serve up G&Ts without even leaving the room.
The central position of the TV and fireplace creates a focal point, while the bookcases or storage units on either side bring symmetry and balance. There's also a little bit of extra floor space, but not so much that the room feels empty, which can be handy if you have young children who like to play on the floor.
If you don’t have a separate dining room in your house, chances are you'll want to incorporate a table and chairs into your living area. This open plan living room layout clusters a three-seater sofa and armchair around a coffee table to create a distinct space for relaxation and TV, and a dining table and chairs on the other side of the room create a place for family meals. Adding an area rug to one or both areas will help to split the room up and define each zone.
A smaller living area can present some unique design challenges, and the limited space can make it tough to fit in everything you need. But there are lots of tricks you can use to make even the cosiest living area feel perfectly proportioned. Plus, in a very small living room, you can get away with placing more of the furniture up against the walls, as there's no need to worry about filling the floor space. Here, we've shared a few small living room layout ideas that will help you to make the most of a snug space.
In this simple but versatile living room layout, a snug two-seater sofa and a comfy accent armchair or wingback chair and footstool provide enough seating to suit a small family. The television can be positioned either over the fireplace or in the corner of the room — everyone should still have a clear view of it from any seat.
A small living room should feel as uncluttered as possible, so don’t be tempted to cram in too much furniture. If your home is very compact, you could swap the sofa for a loveseat, which will take up less space. We'd recommend going for a sofa and chair with contrasting fabric coverings, as this will bring visual interest to your space. If you need more storage, look for TV stands, side tables, and coffee tables with built-in storage — you could even get a footstool or ottoman with hidden storage. These are great for adding valuable storage space while retaining that clean, uncluttered look.
If you can, include at least one wall-mounted mirror somewhere. Mirrors are great in a smaller space, as they trick the mind into thinking that there's more room than there really is. Plus, they add a feeling of symmetry to your space.
In a living room that is both narrow and small, there's only really one way you can arrange the furniture, and that's to place the TV and the sofa in parallel to each other against the wall. As your sofa is going to be the main focal point here, you can afford to be bold with it: a bright colour or statement fabric like velvet will always work well in a small and narrow room.
The biggest challenge with this sort of living room is that it can easily end up feeling more like a hallway or corridor than a living area — a problem that is sometimes called the 'bowling alley' effect. To avoid this, you need to find clever ways to break up the space without making the room look cluttered. A transparent Perspex or acrylic coffee table can work very well in a narrow living room, as it breaks up the space without making the floor look too busy.
If the room is very long, adding a statement accent chair at one end will also help to 'close up' the space. Mirrors can help open up the space, but place them on the longest walls, as this will help make the space feel wider rather than longer.
Larger rooms can be surprisingly challenging to furnish: all that extra space can sometimes be tricky to fill, and they can end up feeling empty and uninviting if the furniture isn’t properly arranged to fill the floorspace. But, when done right, a spacious living room can look very luxurious. You can also afford to be a bit more creative with your living room layout, perhaps even creating multiple focal points and seating areas. Here, we’ve shared a couple of large living room ideas to help you get started.
This airy layout makes the most of a spacious living area by including lots of different styles of seating. A sofa, an armchair, and two footstools are clustered around a table, creating a large area for entertaining or watching TV. There's also a small breakout area with a pair of occasional chairs and a bookcase to one side, which will work well as a reading nook. Or, you could add a small table between them for board games, writing, or working.
The two ottoman footstools placed in the middle of this room stop it from feeling empty but, unlike a sofa or armchair, they don't break it up completely, allowing a clear view of the television, which acts as the focal point of the room. Alternatively, if you have a fireplace in this spot, then you could place the television in the corner.
If you have a large space that you want to use as a living-dining area, then this layout is perfect. Large area rugs create two clearly defined zones: one for dining, and one for relaxing. In the living area, a sofa and two armchairs offer a choice of comfortable seating, while a daybed or chaise longue adds some extra seating without obstructing the view through the windows (and also provides a great place for an afternoon nap).
A console table or sideboard behind the sofa is a great place to display artwork or position a pair of lamps. Or, you could swap this for a drinks trolley. For extra storage, try adding cupboards or shelving on either side of the fireplace to create more space for DVDs, books, and games.
We'd recommend going for a three-seater Chesterfield sofa or another low-back style in the middle of the room, as this won't disrupt the view of the focal point, creating a seamless feel. Additionally, you may want to go for a style that has buttoning on all sides, as you'll be able to see the sofa from the back in this layout.
Once you’ve created the ideal layout, you’ll be ready to start shopping for furniture, and what better way to furnish your space than with a classic piece of British design? Here at Timeless Chesterfields, we’ve been crafting premium furniture in our Lancashire workshop for over 35 years. We offer Chesterfield sofas, corner sofas, chairs, footstools, and more — all of which can be customised to suit your exact requirements. So, browse the collection to start designing your ideal living room suite today. Hopefully this guide has given you all the inspiration you need to create the perfect living room layout for your home. Remember, you can always find more stylish tips for creating your ideal home in our interior design hub.