In our Layout Guides series, you’ll find layout solutions for rooms of all shapes and sizes. This week we take on the challenge of designing an open dining and living room layout, where the possibilities seem endless—and overwhelming.
The Space: A large open living-dining room with big windows and an amazing fireplace
The Style: Inviting Industrial
The Challenge: Designing an open living room layout that is functional, comfortable, and has a cohesive style across the different areas.
More space, more design opportunities, right? True, but that’s also part of the challenge when it comes to designing an open living-dining room. While you have more space to work with, it’s also easy to suddenly get caught up with all sorts of design and decor ideas.
What if I placed my sofa away from the fireplace? Is that weird or just impractical? A sectional and two chairs make the most sense, but what if I just stick to a sofa and go for a bigger communal dining table?
These are common questions that come up when you’re working with a spacious open living room. To provide some guidance and inspire your open living room design, we explore two different layout ideas for open concept spaces that offer style, function, and big comfort all at once. Read on to see the layouts and get our tips for setting up your space.
Layout Idea #1: The Relaxed Gathering Living Room Layout
Equal parts modern, industrial, and livable, this layout is the perfect setup for a casual family home today. The emphasis is on laid-back comfort and simple style, and the boldly neutral palette adds warmth and an approachable vibe to the large open room.
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Why This Relaxed Layout Works
Family-Friendly Seating. If you’re working with an open living-dining room and want to keep a casual vibe, a large sectional sofa is a perfect choice. It’s family-friendly since it gives everyone tons of room to kick back and stretch out, and it also acts as a divider for your living and dining areas. Pull up a pair of armchairs and you’ve got a layout that’s big on comfort with good flow.
Casual Dining Area. With a smaller round table, you’ll have a relaxed dining area that’s simple and perfect for easy sit-down dinners. It’s great for a family of four with grown-up kids, or for those who prefer more free-flowing meal gatherings, like potlucks and pre-dinner snacks.
Good TV Placement. The TV mounted above the fireplace makes this an ideal layout if you love hosting movie nights or enjoy spending time keeping up with all the latest shows. The best part about this placement is that it makes watching TV easy from anywhere in the room, but it’s not the main focus in the space.
Modern and Comfy. Streamlined furnishings often can feel overly sleek and spare, but the pieces here are minimalist without feeling cold, thanks to the restrained color palette. The hint of brown in the dining chairs, the solid blues, and the subtle patterns all help to balance out the clean lines of the furnishings with touches of warmth.
Will This Open Living Room Layout Work In Your Space? Yes If You…
- Enjoy casual gatherings that are laid-back and relaxed.
- Love to host friends with kids for movie nights where everyone gets a seat.
- Prefer having people over for no-fuss pre-dinner drinks instead of long dinners at the table.
- Are all about a family-friendly space that can stand up to busy daily lives.
Layout Idea #2: The Formal Entertaining Living Room Layout
Elegant and contemporary in style, this layout leans formal and is thoughtfully arranged for conversation. It has a high-contrast palette of dark grays, white tones, and light woods, all of which give it a polished and considered look and feel. The mix of luxurious materials helps tie together the different areas and adds to the elevated appeal of the open room.
Why This Formal Layout Works
Symmetrical Seating. By placing two facing sofas in the living area, this layout instantly takes on a more formal look while keeping the flow of the room open. It’s an arrangement that’s great for conversations but is equally inviting and comfy for leaning back and putting up your feet.
Serious Dining Area. With a larger dining table that accommodates six people, the dining area is more primed for hosting long dinner parties. Combined with the formal seating area, it makes the overall room perfect for all sorts of entertaining, be it intimate book clubs or big fancy soirees. The fully stocked bar cart in the living room corner adds the finishing touch!
Lots of Vertical Storage. To keep the airy look and feel in this formal layout, the bookcases flanking the fireplace provide convenient vertical storage that opens up the floor space. It also acts as a showcase for accessories, photos, and objects while drawing focus to the fireplace.
Elegant and Cozy. This layout proves that you can have both formal style and comfort in an open space. The neutral color palette of varying gray and wood tones plays up a contemporary look that also feels warm and welcoming. Materials like velvet and sisal paired alongside wood graining add to that cozy feel.
Will This Living Room Layout Work In Your Space? Yes If You…
- Enjoy a little formality in your living and dining space that’s still inviting.
- Love hosting a good game night as much as you love a cocktail party.
- Are a big home cook who likes hosting long sitdown dinners with family and friends regularly.
- Appreciate a space that feels curated and collected when you come home each day.
Need help pulling together an open living room layout?