One of the first things you need to do when decorating a room is decide on a layout. In the living room, figuring out the right layout for you depends on how you want to use your space and what pieces you want to include.

Check out our living room checklist for all of your must-have living room furniture pieces.

So, start by asking yourself how you want to use your living room. Do you entertain family and friends often there? Are you trying to incorporate a play area for your kids? Wanting to figure out layouts for living rooms with a fireplace? Or maybe you have an open floor plan and the living and dining spaces need to feel cohesive? Whatever your needs are, being clear about how you’ll engage with your living room design on a daily basis will help determine your layout.

To provide you with some guidance and inspiration, we’re breaking down four common living room layouts below. Read on to see the layouts and pick up tips for bringing the look in each setup into your home with our casual and formal living room layout ideas.

Best Living Room Layouts for Casual Conversation

Living room layouts featuring laid-back conversation areas are common with Modsy customers. It’s easy to see why, given that these designs encourage intimate conversations. If you want a cozy living room where people can mingle and relax, these are for you.

Conversational Layout #1

This layout focuses on the three mini seating areas that surround space—the sofa and woven ottoman serve as main seating in the room, while the armchairs by the fireplace are each set up as reading corners with their respective ottoman and drinks table.

Get more layout ideas for living rooms with a corner fireplace.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Use three-point seating. Arranging your seating in a triangle, like the sofa opposite the fireplace and the inward-facing armchairs here, will instantly center your seating area and create an effortless conversation area.
  • Go round. Opting for curvy designs in your living room furniture will give your space a less rigid look and feel. It will also create a good flow, making it easy for lots of people to move through the seating area.
  • Think visually minimal. The monochrome prints, black-and-white Moroccan rug, and white sheepskin keep the space feeling cozy rather than busy and overwhelming.

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Conversational Layout #2

Stumped by an awkward living room design? We’ve got you. Think of this split-level living room layout as the “conversation pit” of your space. Whereas the first layout has an open flow, this one has a formal and structured formation with living room furniture that plays up a cozy vibe. If you’re after a simple layout, this is one of the more straightforward living room ideas.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Line up your seating. A simple way to create conversation areas in a living room is to arrange your sofa, armchairs, benches, and ottomans in a U-shaped setup. This way, they form a semi-closed seating area that feels intimate.
  • Stick with open bases. Because your seating arrangement has a boxy configuration, even it out with furniture that are on legs and have open bases for airy contrast.
  • Opt for classic colors. No need to go full neutral—but sticking to light blues, greens, and beige tones in your accents will create a cohesive look that’s punchy but easy on the eyes.

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Best Living Room Layouts for TV Watching

If you use your living room more as a place to kick back for movie nights and weekend Netflix binges with family and friends, the following two layouts have you covered. These living room ideas are centered around the TV as the main focal point of the seating area.

TV Watching Layout #1

With a deep, stuffy sectional as the centerpiece, this living room furniture arrangement is perfect for families with kids or those of you who host regular movie viewings and game nights. This living room with a TV and a fireplace is all about fuss-free comfort, where everything is designed around the joint focal point of the fireplace and TV.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Invest in big seating. When the focus of your space is entertaining around the TV, go for a comfy, sink-in sectional and chaise combo to create the ultimate lounge area. Not sure if you want a sofa or sectional? See our guide for each of their pros and cons.
  • Elevate your TV viewing. Even if you don’t have a fireplace, hang your TV a little higher to avoid having to crane your neck to watch movies. For the best way to incorporate your TV to look like decor, check out our easy hacks for working TV viewing into any living room layout.
  • Finish with extra seats. A sectional and chaise on its own isn’t enough to fill out your living space, so make it a point to include the additional pouf or armchair. This will give your living room more flexibility as a conversational area and not just for TV watching.
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TV Watching Layout #2

While the first layout gives you a sort of cozy seating alcove, this furniture arrangement gives you a central boxed-in, TV-viewing spot that still has good flow and leaves plenty of walking room all around. And unlike the previous design, this layout results in a slightly more formal living room design, while still using the TV as the focal point.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Try multipart seating. Another seating option is a large, multi-piece sectional that is designed to be configured to suit your room and can accommodate lots of bodies. Try a floating furniture approach with this layout, since a floating sofa can also act as a room divider. This approach is especially good for large rectangular living rooms.
  • Add in more moveable pieces. With a sectional that forms a conversation ring, pair it with versatile accent tables that can easily be pulled in and out of the space. Try a round coffee table and a C-shaped drinks table for compact and convenient options.
  • Optimize space around. Tuck a bench behind the sofa so that it’s easy to bring around for extra seating when needed. A bench can serve as a great perch to have at the ready for family game nights or for an extra surface for setting down a tray of drinks.

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Best Living Room Layouts for Formal Entertaining

Conversational but less casual and intimate, these formal living rooms are less focused on lounging and lean more toward a space for cocktail parties and book clubs. These layouts are more aligned with traditional rules of interior design—so expect more classic and elevated living room ideas with furniture arrangement and decor.

Formal Layout #1

When it comes to formal living room ideas, this layout approach is tried-and-true. With its symmetrical furniture arrangement and elegant decor pairings, this layout offers a sense of instant sophistication that never fails to impress guests.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Double everything. There’s power in pairs when it comes to this layout—from facing sofas to floor lamps flanking the fireplace and matching pillows. Start with your sofas—the more classic shapes the better—and then move to the smaller accents and accessories.
  • Symmetry rules. This is key if you want a classic formal layout. It not only provides a sense of order and structure to the space, but it also lends a tailored look and frames architectural details, like windows or a fireplace, as focal points.
  • Neutral is best. The best way to ensure this formal living room layout maintains a streamlined and elegant look is to embrace a neutral palette of grays and white tones. It will soften sharp lines and dark materials and give your space a light and chic appeal.

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Formal Layout #2

For a different take on formal living room design, try this elevated and curated take on a conversational layout. The key here is to combine lots of different seating in many different styles and materials, which will usher in a refined ambiance.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Vary your seating. The most important element in this living room layout is the mix of ottomans and armchairs, along with a bench and sectional. Together they create a formal and balanced look that gives any living room both a sense of intimacy and elegance.
  • Center with accents. With a variety of seating styles, you want to make sure the seating area still appears focused. Use a set of art prints and a large coffee table as visual anchors to ground the center of your space.
  • Delineate with a rug. No matter your living space, a rug will set apart your seating area. It’s essential in this formal layout, as a light-hued rug can unify all the different designs.

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Best Living Room Layouts For Multi-Uuse Spaces

For many people, living rooms aren’t just for lounging (especially during shelter-in-place times). This space might flow into a dining area or need to also function as a playspace for children or as a makeshift home office. If this is the case for your home, these multipurpose living room ideas featuring flexible layouts are sure to help you tackle your space.

Explore more multipurpose space design ideas.

Multi-Use Layout #1

For a small living room design that needs to work as both living and dining room, clear delineation of where each area starts and ends is key. That means where you place your living room furniture will make all the difference.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Partition with furniture. Use a sofa to divide the living and dining areas. The sofa back acts like a wall to separate the room into two distinct spaces with different functions. If you’re not sure where to start, take a peek at these open living dining room layout ideas.
  • Add tall accents. Whether it’s a light fixture over a dining table, a tall plant next to your sofa, or art on the walls, accents make for visualmarkers that will help further set apart your living and dining spaces.

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Multi-Use Layout #2

Balancing multiple functions in a living room can be tricky, especially when it involves a space for children. When you’re carving out a play area or a fun corner for kids, it’s even more important to nail down a layout that clearly provides separation between different “zones.”

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Corner it. Carve out a corner for the kiddos. You can use a rug to physically zone the space and top it with children’s furniture to formalize the spot as your little one’s dedicated play area. Having trouble doing this in your own space? Check out more ways to make your living room also work as a playroom.
  • Use kid-friendly markers. No, we’re not saying you should let your kids draw on your walls! We simply mean hanging up a piece of youthful art to signal that the area under it is a play space. You can also work in baskets and kid-friendly storage for toys and clutter, which will ultimately indicate that it’s a separate space from the rest of the living area.

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Multi-Use Layout #3

One of our favorite open floor plan ideas for a living room is incorporating a mini office space. But it can be tricky to get the layout right as you want to make sure you add function without creating more visual clutter.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Back it with a desk. Tuck a desk behind your sofa to set up an open workspace for yourself. The back of the sofa acts like a mini wall that instantly sets your office area apart from the rest of the room. Can’t fit a desk behind your sofa? Explore more ideas from us on how to make an office in your living room.
  • Work in accent furnishings. By itself, a desk can feel a little haphazard in the middle of your living room. Try rounding out your office space with side tables, storage pieces, or a pair of stools on either side of your desk. This adds instant symmetry and balance while also formalizing this area as a dedicated workspace. Want more ideas? Get the full scoop on our favorite miltipurpose furniture.
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Looking for more living room design inspiration? Dig further into our blog for some real living room design stories and check ut our line-up of the best living room designs of 2020!

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1 reply
  1. Afton Jackson says:

    I really loved reading the segment of your article that discussed multi-use layouts for living rooms. This is something I can definitely see us making use of since we’re a family with two kids and my wife and I have home jobs. If I can find an interior designer that can advise us on what furniture to use so we can achieve this layout, I’m sure living here will be a lot easier.

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