The Ultimate Living Room Layout Guide: 12 Ideas on How to Arrange Your Furniture in 2017

Attempting to fill an empty living room can be intimidating. You may be standing there looking at an empty room wondering where to even begin. Thankfully, we know of a good way to get started. We'll get to that shortly. And then we'll show you how to finish once you get started. And we'll help you furnish your room in a way that reflects your own, individual personality and style. Not ours or someone else's.

What is the Room's Purpose?

Living rooms are used for all sorts of purposes. Some people want to watch TV in their living room. Some will want a place to have conversations with family and friends. Others only want a place to relax and take a break from the daily grind. And some people want a multipurpose living room.

Take a moment to consider how you want to use your living room. If you never plan on watching TV, then don't get one. Or get a smaller one. Or place the TV off to the side where it doesn't scream "WATCH ME" to everyone as they walk by.

A Place to Watch TV

If TV-watching will be an everyday activity in your living room, then allow your TV the attention it deserves. Put the TV where you and guests can easily see it — on a stand or mounted to a wall.

Prato Small Entertainment Unit in living room

Place a couch or set of chairs facing the TV — about three or four meters away for best viewing. If you need more seating than this, you can try placing chairs at either end of the couch. You can also try a sectional sofa depending where your TV is at.

Now you'll want somewhere to place beverages and food while watching TV. A coffee table or ottoman in front of the seating area will do the trick. You can also put small tables next to chairs if you prefer.

A Place for Conversation

For rooms focused on encouraging comfortable conversation, consider making an artwork or fireplace the room's focal point.

helene velvet chair in your living room

Center your chairs or sofas around this central point — make a "square" of furniture, where one side is the work of art or fireplace. Also be sure to have space in between you all for a lovely coffee table or an ottoman or two. Or just to keep the conversation relaxed and not too intimate. A semi-circle arrangement also looks great if you have chairs and no sofa.

A Place for Relaxation

A living room can also be furnished to be perfect for reading, napping, and relaxing in general. 

Let your living room breathe by only keeping the essential furniture. Having too many decorations or things to look at can be distracting when you're trying to relax. 

Amelia 3 Seater Sofa relaxing sofa

A day bed placed near a small table is the perfect place to lie down for a bit and regain some energy. 

A comfortable reading chair placed near a standing lamp — or a lamp placed on a desk — is all you need if you like to unwind with a good book. A small desk nearby can also be used to hold an afternoon snack or drink. Or a book or two when you aren't doing some reading. 

Even if your living room is mostly for relaxing, a few occasional chairs as statement pieces off to the side never hurt anyone. Then, you can relax or talk with company from time to time.

A Place for Many Things

Chances are you'll want your living room to fill a variety of needs. Sometimes you'll want to watch TV, but maybe other times you'll want to talk with guests or relax alone. In this case, consider everything you want your room to be and make some compromises. 

Bouverie Armchair in living room

Opt for a couple of chairs instead of a sofa so you can rearrange the chairs for conversations between friends when your favourite show isn't on. Or make sure some of your chairs have lamps nearby. Then you can relax after your guests have left and the room is all yours.

A Clean Slate — An Empty Room

The most common way to begin is to decide what you want the room's focal point to be. This can be a TV, fireplace, or anything else. The focal point is what you want your guests to notice the most when they enter your room. If you're into art, it can even be your latest and greatest work of art. 

Once you've chosen the thing or area you want to matter the most, the rest of the furniture and decorations will begin to fall into place. It's like Tetris. You can't imagine how the game will go until you see your first piece, then your second piece, and so on. 

Let's say you want your TV to be the room's focus, for example. Look around the room and try to figure out where it should go. It's most common to place the TV against a wall where it can be easily seen by anyone seated on a couch placed opposite it. Or chairs if you prefer. 

McCoy Entertainment Unit lifestyle

You'll also probably want to place the TV so that you see it right when you enter the living room. 

If you have a stand or entertainment centre for holding your television, you'll have to place it somewhere that it fits. If you're short on space, mounting the TV can leave a lot more room for other furniture and decor.

You really can't go wrong with placing the first piece in your living room. And if you end up with a result you don't love, you just have to move things around and try again.

So you have the first piece located somewhere in your room. Now you need to add everything else. But don't be in a hurry. Proceed by adding the most essential furniture and objects first. Your living room will be beautifully furnished in no time.

Filling the Rest of the Room

Fill rest of the room with storage, decorations, lighting, and extra furniture — like a work desk, for example.

Storage

Usually, you'll want to keep your storage — bookshelves, cabinets, etc. — against the walls. This keeps them securely in place. It also prevents them from blocking your ability to see around the room.

Some ottomans can also function as storage. Look for an ottoman like this if you need an extra place to put things and don't want it out in the open.

Lighting

Install ceiling lighting above your room's main seating area. You'll also want lamps near or on a work desk if you have one. Or on side tables next to chairs.

Wall-lighting can be effectively used to draw attention to artwork or other decorations.

A Rug

Centre a rug underneath your main seating area. Try to have it extend a little bit past your seating options. If this isn't possible, have it be a bit larger than your coffee table or ottoman.

Mix and Matching Furniture

Differently-sized furniture can liven up a room and give it more life. However, if you want a more comfortable and relaxing space, aim to keep your furniture similar. 

Keep Pathways Clean

Keep an easily-walkable pathway between doorways. Leaving the living room shouldn't require someone to navigate a maze.

Also aim to keep a walkable path from one area of interest to another — from the door to the TV, etc.

Tips and Tricks

Large Living Room

Lounge Suite Camden Chesterfield 3 Seater and Armchair in large living room

If you have a larger living room, consider "dividing" your room into separate spaces. This can be handy if you want "different areas" for watching TV and chatting with others. You can accomplish this by using a sofa or other long, solid piece of furniture like a shelf or a sideboard between one area of the room and another.

Small Living Room

Marion Wingback Armchair in Small living room

If you have a smaller living room, try leaving out a sofa. A sofa is never necessary, and a room with several chairs instead can look a lot more spacious and inviting.

If you absolutely need a sofa to achieve the look you're going for, get one that isn't very bulky. Or one that is on the smaller size. Consider a love seat which would be perfect for a small space.

A Wonderful View

Sofa Set Manhattan 2 and 3 Seater - wonderful living room

If you have a large window or see-through doors with a beautiful view, take advantage of this. Use this wall as your room's focal point and centre your seating around this. And the natural light will make the area refreshing and relaxing.