Living rooms are the most important social space in the family home. It’s where we spend most of our free time so the layout should make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Today many of us have small, or odd shaped spaces to work with. It’s also common to have an open plan living space, so arranging your furniture cleverly is really important in maximising what you have. So here’s a handy guide to help you create a smart, comforting place to relax in the evening. And for further tips and design inspiration, see our earlier blogs here.
1. Choose a few simple pieces
First things first, think about what the essential ingredients to your perfect living space might be. There are no rules that say you have to have a sofa, or a TV. So if you want bean bags, have them! If you want a coffee table, then go ahead. The most important thing to remember here, is that this is your space. Choose a few pieces that make sense in your space, and don’t be tempted to conform to traditional living space arrangements if they don’t suit you.
2. Allow space for movement
You should aim to leave about three feet of space for people to walk through, when laying out your living room. You wouldn’t want guests to walk into the back of sofa, so make sure there’s space around the edges. This clear thoroughfare will mean that people can move through the space comfortably and will make the room much more usable on a day to day basis.
3. Seat to encourage conversation
The most important part of your living space is your seating. Whether your living room is a place where you have girly evenings, or family gatherings, the placement of the furniture is key to making the space really welcoming. If you need space to entertain, then using a nest of tables is a good space saving tip. This gives you different options when choosing a flexible layout for having guests over. When it comes to seating, don’t be tempted to just push your seating against the walls, it’s much better to push seats together so everyone can sit together and talk. Why not try a more flexible seating arrangement, or an L-shaped sofa? If you need further advice, take a look at our previous post to help you find the perfect seating for your space.
4. Point seats towards a single focal point
Where you orient your seats depends on the focal point of your room. Many people choose to make the TV a focus point, but this is only one of a range of options. You could choose a fireplace, a coffee table, a window or a painting. Once you choose the feature, orient the seating towards it. This is another trick that can draw conversation, and help you move your furniture away from those walls!
5. Mix it up!
It is really effective to have symmetry when you’re choosing products with the same finish. But if you want to add to your living room over time, a final tip for decorating smaller living rooms is to not be afraid to choose a variety of pieces. A mixture of different sized seating pieces can work well together in smaller spaces. Whether you need an activity space, or somewhere to work, chairs can easily be moved to suit this. Instead of a traditional arrangement, use different sized chairs or smaller sofas together with stools to create a seating plan you can re-arrange to fit the occasion.
6. Choose multi-functional pieces
Rather than choosing two sofas, why not armchairs? The best thing about single chairs is they are multi-functional. You can move chairs around to suit the purpose of the room as it changes. Perhaps you could pick a love seat or an L-shaped sofa to better suit the space you have. Also, deciding on an ottoman as a central piece works well, doubling up as a coffee table, footstool and extra seating if you need it. Our favourite item is the Fresco storage table, which doubles up as a coffee table and has useful drawers to store away any clutter, or our French Rustic TV cabinet, which has extra room for storage but still won’t take up too much space.
7. Décor in one corner
A trick that works really well in all spaces is to decorate one corner of the room more fully than the others. Choose one corner to add texture with paintings and pictures, or some soft furnishings. This has the effect of enlarging the room from a distance, but also means the room doesn’t seem over-decorated or enveloped in too much detail. Try decorating your room at eye height and above, bookshelves like our Mango range are good for this purpose. By choosing to hang pictures higher than normal you give the impression of a taller ceiling. This also means that when sitting down, the room doesn’t seem too busy or overly crowded. Keep it simple, and go crazy in one corner!
8. Pull everything together with a rug
Using a large rug will unify your seating arrangement, and pull everything together. Here you can really experiment with different colours and textures, and choose a rug that contrasts or accents the blends you already have in the room. If your rug isn’t large enough to hold all of the furniture pieces, try to ensure those furthest from the wall are still touching the edges, to bring your central conversation area together beautifully!
We hope you found our advice useful! Don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller rooms, and if you’re ever in doubt speak to one of our team in store, they are always here to help! Also see our previous blog posts here for more information.