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Layout Guide: Ideas For a Large Open Living-Dining Room

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 living-dining room, 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-dining room 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 instead? 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 #1: The Relaxed Gathering 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.

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-out 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 Layout Work In Your Space? Yes If You…

– Enjoy casual gatherings that’s 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 #2: The Formal Entertaining 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 is 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 play 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 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?

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furniture upgrade

My Modsy Story – Graduating From IKEA to a Design of My Own

furniture upgrade

When she moved to a new condo, Audra was ready to trade in her IKEA furniture for something more sophisticated.

Homeowner: Audra, Education Administrator

Location: Boston, MA

Room: Master Bedroom

Her Style: Contemporary Minimalist

The Backstory

After moving to a new home, this family was ready for a furniture upgrade

My family and I had just moved into a new condo and we were ready for a furniture upgrade from our old IKEA set to something more adult. We wanted to celebrate our new home and create a space that reflected our unique design aesthetic.

Audra’s space before

The Design Dilemma

She knew what she liked, but couldn’t put it all together

I actually have a good sense of my own style and know what I like when I see it. The problem for me was putting all the pieces together. I remember browsing online at places like West Elm and Crate & Barrel and finding pieces I liked but struggling to imagine how they would look all together.

“I couldn’t visualize how my ideas would translate to our exact space.”

To top it off, our new condo is on the smaller side and figuring out how to make the most of our master bedroom was particularly challenging. I wanted to maximize storage but I couldn’t visualize how my ideas would translate to our exact space.

furniture upgradeAudra’s Modsy design #1

The Modsy Moment

Too good to be true or the cure to her design blues?

One day, an ad for Modsy showed up in my Instagram feed and I decided to try it out. I took their Style Quiz and, to be honest, was incredibly skeptical about whether or not that exercise would accurately help a designer understand my aesthetic.

“My first thought was, ‘It’s like our bedroom if it were in a magazine!’ I was in love!”

Additionally, the service struck me as very affordable, so I had to wonder if the price might be a reflection of a low-quality product on the other end.

Luckily that was not the case! When we go our master bedroom designs back, my first thought was, “It’s like our bedroom if it were in a magazine!” I was in love!

furniture upgradeAudra’s final Modsy design

How Modsy’s Designs Helped Audra

Unlocking new ideas for a small space

The layout that our Modsy designer suggested completely solved our storage concerns and changed the way we thought about the room. They gave us some creative solutions that I never would have come up with on my own.

I loved the bed, nightstand, and lamp ensemble from the first design design, and the wall art and dresser configuration from the other. Both designs reflected our style and I could easily see us settling into the room as a retreat each evening. The hard part was deciding between the two!

Seeing exactly how the design would look made us so confident in our choices. We ended up combining our favorite parts of the first two designs and purchasing it all. It is crazy to see how closely Modsy’s 3D images look like our room in real life!

furniture upgradeThe Real Results

Getting the HGTV treatment for her home

We thought that our room’s small footprint and lack of storage space would prevent us from having the bedroom of our dreams. Our Modsy designer showed us that with the right furniture and layout we could have more than enough storage space without compromising on style.

“Modsy allowed us to fall in love with our new master bedroom before all of the pieces even arrived at our door!”

This experience was a game changer for us. I’m an HGTV junkie and Modsy is the next best thing to being on one of those shows! The 3D designs are incredible and the designers are so talented. Those two things combined allowed us to get expert design ideas, make changes on our own, and see it all in an impressively-accurate 3D version of our space.

Basically, Modsy allowed us to fall in love with our new master bedroom before all of the pieces even arrived at our door!

Ready for a furniture upgrade in your home?

My Modsy Story: Overcoming Self-Doubt When Designing My New Home

Like Erin Canova, we often talk ourselves out of ideas for our spaces—until we realize we had it right the whole time.

Homeowner: Erin Canova, mom extraordinaire

Location: Sacramento, CA

Room: A tall-ceilinged den and TV room

Her Style: Contemporary Minimalist

The Backstory

Balancing a new home’s great bones with not too much decor

In our new home, we are blessed with all these incredible rooms. We have very tall ceilings, which was one of the hardest things for me to try and design around. I just had no clue how to compensate for that with the decor.  

That said, I did not want to have too much decor in the space that I would have to dust or tidy up on a regular basis. I want a minimal home that feels welcoming and homey, but also functional and that enhances our daily lives rather than creating more roadblocks.

The Design Dilemma

Knowing what she loves but not what blends together in an empty room

My biggest challenge was room cohesion—if that’s even a term. I can pick separate pieces of furniture that I like, but picking the right items that all blend well together is next to impossible for me. I started with this den and TV room because I hadn’t purchased any new furniture for it yet. It was essentially a clean slate.  

The Modsy Moment

Taking a risk that cost far less than hiring an interior designer

I first saw Modsy in a blog post, and I figured even if it was a total bust, $70 was such a reasonable price compared to what I was considering with an interior designer, which costs much much more.

Getting started was so incredibly simple that I was kind of blown away at how easy it was. I didn’t even have to clean up my space before hand!

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Erin

She thought her idea wouldn’t work; but seeing furniture in the space reassured her it would

I was through the roof with excitement when I first saw my Modsy renderings. It was so amazing to finally see the room transform into EXACTLY what I had envisioned. It’s currently covered in random kids toys, and I just had no idea where to start; now I know exactly what to do, how to lay out the space and what items to buy.  

I was especially excited with the second Modsy layout design I was provided because I had actually thought about purchasing a sectional and placing it the same way but convinced myself it wouldn’t work and that the space would be too tight. Seeing it in the rendering showed me that with just the right size sectional I actually could divide the larger space into two zones to get the most use out of the room.

Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 2
Modsy Design 2
Modsy Design 2

Modsy took an issue I had been stressing over for months and not only solved the issue but got me excited about tackling it going forward! I’ve felt bad about continuously changing things but my Modsy advisors assured me that it’s not a problem.

I’m still working on changing the renderings (I’m on my sixth design) to get the room just right. But I plan on buying most, if not all, the pieces detailed in the design. I also love that many of the items placed in my renderings are incredibly affordable and I can find them at my ultimate favorite retailer, Target!  

Need a little design help? Try a Modsy rendering for yourself!

Modsy Collections: A Soothing & Serene Living + Dining Room

Now that 2016 is behind us, we hope you’ve had a chance to relax and spend time with loved ones. But, as we know recovering from the holidays isn’t always so easy. Here’s a little post-holiday detox for your home. We even went ahead and swept up the pine needles and packed up the holiday decorations for you.

A muted palette of beiges, greens, and earthy browns, lays the room’s serene foundation, while antiqued metal finishes and playful pops of pattern enliven the space and keep it feeling contemporary. A sophisticated collection that looks toward spring, but still warm and cozy for the winter.

Soothing & Serene Dining Room

Designed for anyone who craves a space that is so fresh and so clean, our collection will help you sail into the new year feeling uncluttered and renewed. Contemporary Minimalists, Discerning Collectors, and even those drawn to rustic and warm spaces will especially love this look. Not sure what your Modsy style is? Take our Style Quiz to find out.

Soothing & Serene Living and Dining Room

Stylist tip: Try pairing more formal pieces of furniture with playful accessories, such as fun art or patterned rug to give your space a little contemporary edge. We love the Looking Forward and Out of Egypt prints from Minted. They add the perfect touch of visual intrigue to a space, while still creating a balanced, put-together look.