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.

Do you entertain family and friends often there? Are you trying to incorporate a play area for your kids? 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 layout ideas 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 ideas.

FOR CASUAL CONVERSATION

Living room ideas featuring laid-back layouts for conversation 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.

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.
  • Go round. Curvy designs will give your living room 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

Think of this split-level living room layout as the “conversation pit.” Whereas the first layout has an open flow, this one has a formal and structured formation with furnishings that play 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. Arrange your sofa, armchairs, and benches and ottomans in a U-shaped setup so that they form a semi-closed seating area that feels intimate.
  • Keep to 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 stick to light blues, greens, and beige tones in your accents for a cohesive look that’s punchy but easy on the eyes.

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FOR TV WATCHING

If you use your living room lmore 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 focus of the seating area.

TV Watching Layout #1

With a deep, stuffy sectional as the centerpiece, this living room layout is perfect for families with kids or those of you who host regular movie viewings and game nights. It’s all about fuss-free comfort with this setup, where everything is designed around 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 the 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 approach 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.

How To Set Up This Layout:

  • Try multipart seating. Another seating option is a large multi-piece sectional that is designed to be configured and can accommodate lots of bodies. If you float this piece in the room, as in this layout, it also acts as a room divider. See why it’s 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. It’s 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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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 balanced 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. Facing sofas, floor lamps flanking the fireplace, matching pillows, there’s power in pairs when it comes to this layout. Start with your sofas—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 an even more 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 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, 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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FOR A MULTI-USE SPACE

For many people, the living room isn’t just for lounging. It 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 you, these multipurpose living room ideas featuring flexible layouts are sure to help you tackle your space.

Multi-Use Layout #1

In a small space that needs to work as both living and dining room, clear delineation of where each area starts is key. That means how and where you place your 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 markers that will help further set apart your living and dining spaces.

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Multi-Use Layout #2

Balancing multiple functions in the 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 little kid markers. By that we mean hanging up a piece of kid 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.
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