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3 Beautiful and Functional Small Patio Design Ideas 

Small patios are common in city apartments, condos, and many homes. But just because a patio is small doesn’t mean that it can’t have a big style. Even if your patio is less than 10 square feet, you can create a beautiful design for it that’s an extension of the rest of your home. It’s all about how you execute the design elements.

To make the most of a small patio design, it’s helpful to think through how you want to use the space. Are you looking for an outdoor dining space, lounge, or conversation area? Maybe you want a little bit of everything! With some strategic planning, you can transform your small patio into an outdoor paradise.

To help you figure out the best design approach for your small patio we’re breaking down the different uses and layouts you can consider, along with how to make each design work. The result? Creating a relaxing retreat that serves as a beautiful and functional extension of your home. (Bonus: you can also use these layouts to create small patio ideas on a budget since not much is required to bring these small spaces to life!)

Psst! Need some extra help planning out your design? Check out our Renovation Design services!

 

The Dining Layout

Patio with fireplace and coastal style dining area

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The right table and chairs are key if you want to transform a small patio into an outdoor dining area. Similar to a small dining room design, if you have a super small patio, consider a round, two-person bistro table, since round tables are easier to navigate around in a small space. This is perfect for enjoying coffee and breakfast outside! But for small to medium-sized patios, you could get away with a square or rectangular table that sits 4-6 people. For small patio designs, you’ll also want dining chairs that have a sleeker profile. For small patios, we love cafe-style chairs, like the ones pictured above. They’re stylish and durable but they have a smaller footprint than many other patio chair styles.

A great addition to an outdoor dining area is an herb garden. It complements the dining theme, and it’s always nice to have fresh herbs on hand to use as a garnish for summer meals.

This is a great layout choice for…

Those who love to entertain and dine al fresco.

The Conversational Layout

Patio with outdoor living room area

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For small patio designs with a conversational seating area, opt for a comfy sofa or chairs. If you have the space, a small outdoor sofa, paired with an outdoor accent chair, will help you maximize seating when hosting guests. But, at the very least, prioritize a pair of chairs for a one-on-one conversation zone. An easy way to add seating options to a small conversational area is to include a pouf (which can double as an extra seat or a footrest) or to choose a coffee table that can double as an extra seat when needed.

This is a great layout choice for…

Those who love to host small, low-key gatherings with a couple of friends.

The Mixed-Use Layout

Mix-use patio with dining and conversation area

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If you have the space, you could create a mixed-use layout that includes both a conversation area or reading nook and dining space. Keep the dining space small, with a bistro table that seats 2-3 people. Then, add a pair of outdoor accent chairs on the other end of the patio for lounging and conversation. With a mixed-use layout, opt for lighter-weight furniture that’s easy to move around, as you may need to adjust your layout on occasion to accommodate the needs of a specific gathering. In this case, lightweight materials like aluminum and rattan are great choices.

This is a great layout choice for…

Those who want the option for both lounging and dining in comfort in their outdoor space.

Other Considerations

Once you land on your desired layout and find the right furniture for your needs, you’ll want to add some finishing touches to help your small patio go from functional to fully designed. And what exactly is required to take the design to the next level? Lighting, textiles, and plants.

Lighting

No matter the size of your patio, accent lighting can help create a cozy and inviting ambiance. We love the idea of cafe string lights, which add a cozy vibe while also taking up zero floor space since you can hang them up above your seating or dining area. Another great option is tiki lanterns, which can be set up in all four corners of your patio, creating a boho patio vibe. Tabletop candles and lanterns can also drive home a cozy and inviting vibe.

Textiles

A great way to make small patios feel like a natural extension of the rest of your home is with outdoor textiles. Indoor-outdoor rugs can be used to create some visual layers in your patio design, and outdoor pillows in weather-resistant fabrics make a seating area so much more comfortable. Plus, both can add color, pattern, and texture to your space, which makes it feel so much more consideration from a design perspective.

Plants

Is a patio a complete outdoor space without plants? We think not. A couple of potted plants in varying sizes will help your small patio feel more designed and inviting. Potted plants just make every patio design better by adding color and texture to your space! If you live in a climate where it’s warm year-round, you could have dedicated outdoor plants. Otherwise, you could bring your plants outdoors in the warmer months and move them back inside as the weather gets cooler.

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Layout Ideas: How to Arrange Two Sofas in a Living Room

With any living room layout, the starting point is likely the sofa. After all, it’s the largest piece of furniture in the space and the foundational element that defines how the rest of the room will come together.

If you’re in the beginning stages of your living room design project, you’re probably trying to figure out which style of sofa is right for you and your space. The most common dilemma? Deciding whether you should get a sectional or a sofa. And if it’s a sectional, which sectional shape? You’re also likely wondering how much should you spend on a sofa and should you really get a white sofa (because let’s face it, they look amazing if they stay pristine!)

We’ve covered many of those topics. But once you’ve landed on the sofa you want, next comes the part of planning out your living room layout. How you set up your living room furniture will depend on the size and shape of your living space. For some foolproof tips and ideas, check out our guide to the best living room layouts.

However, today we’re focusing on ideas for arranging a living room with 2 couches. Read on our tips on designing with two sofas along with ways to mix and match different styles!

Layouts for Living Room with Two Couches

You’ve likely seen plenty of airy, light-filled living rooms with two couches (or sofas) on Instagram and Pinterest. And you probably aren’t surprised to know that it’s one of the most common living room setups in homes.

There are two primary ways to arrange two couches in a living space: Two sofas facing each other, or two sofas in an L shape. To help you land the one that’s right for yours, we’re breaking down the different formations below.

Contemporary living room in neutral colors and two sofas facing each other
Layout Idea #1: Two sofas facing each other

This setup is most commonly seen in formal living rooms where entertaining is the focus. With two sofas facing each, the space lends itself to conversation as well as hosting guests and groups of people. It’s also a great option for rooms where the central focal point is a fireplace or a statement piece, such as a piano.

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For A Perfect Conversation Space

In most living rooms with two facing sofas, the seats are usually identical, resulting in a streamlined and cohesive look. It’s the simplest route if you choose this layout approach.

With two sofas in matching fabric and style, it ensures a symmetrical and balanced overall look.

For larger sofas, consider classic silhouettes and neutral performance fabrics, which make for pieces that are easy to clean and versatile in design for layering different accents that can be switched out according to the seasons.

If you’re working with a spacious living room, opt for deep-seated sofas that have generous proportions. Placed opposite each other, larger scale sofas will make for plush foundations that instantly turn a living space into a welcoming conversation area that’s comfy to lounge in for hours.

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For A Family-Friendly Zone

An easy way to de-formalize this setup is to cap the ends of your seating area with a bench or a pair of armchairs. It’s a popular add-on for this layout since it provides extra functional seating, while also defining the living space as a focused lounge area.

For sofas that can blend seamlessly with formal and casual accent furnishings and decor, look to seats with modern shapes and leather upholstery. The beauty of leather is that it’s durable, sleek, but can also feel elevated or everyday as needed. You can leave it undecorated for a slightly more sophisticated look or pile it with fun pillows for a family-friendly take. Then, pull in chairs made with natural woods and materials to complement the leather.

If you live in a home with young children or if you love hosting family and friends regularly, this setup provides maximum seating options and durable seating that can stand up to lots of use.

MCM meets glam style living room with twin green velvet sofas and conversational seating

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For A Cozy TV Spot

Generally speaking, two sofas are not the most functional choice if your living space is mostly used for TV watching. Or if you live in a small space. However, if you love the look and also want to have the extra seating because you host friends often, you can make two sofas work with some clever maneuvering.

An easy way to set up your sofas in alignment with your TV is to have them placed perpendicular to your screen—as if the TV is where your fireplace would go. With this arrangement, however, your TV will take center stage in the room, immediately drawing focus away from the rest of your space. The alternative is to place your TV on a wall slightly behind one sofa and put your second sofa directly across from it. What this achieves is a space that can be used for intimate TV watching and movie nights with a few people, but it can still handle a larger group hangout. The best part is that your TV won’t be the main focus in this setup.

Because this is a more casual and unexpected double sofa arrangement, keep to a clean-lined sofa that’s simple and easy on the eyes. Where you can experiment with style is with the fabrics—try a fun colorful velvet or choose a sofa with tufting or trims that add a stylish pop.

two sofa styles in one living room with an l-shaped layout

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Layout Idea #2: Two sofas in an L-shaped arrangement

The second layout option for living rooms is to place two sofas in a L-shaped arrangement. It has more casual appeal, so it’s a more common and practical choice for multipurpose open concept spaces, family rooms, and living rooms designed for TV viewing. Think of it as having the look and functionality of a sectional, except it gives you more space and more flexibility with your seating style because you have the option of choosing two different sofas.

Traditional style living room with two rolled arm leather Chesterfield sofas in an l-shaped configuration

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For An Open Gathering Area

The easiest way to master the L-shaped arrangement is to choose two sofas in a matching style with the same upholstery material. Two identical sofas always work no matter how you place them in a living space, so it’s perfect for an L-shaped setup where furnishings are not all symmetrically arranged.

Keep in mind that the L-shape design is like having a sectional that’s broken up into two pieces—which you can use to your advantage. It provides you with the bonus of being able to add an extra side table in the corner or pulling in a floor lamp that can cast light across both sofa areas.

Good to note: If two sofas will make your space appear too cramped, try the L-shape formation with two matching loveseats.

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For A Versatile Casual-Formal Look

For those feeling a little adventurous with their style, mix it up with two different couches. It’s an eclectic layout option that offers surprising versatility.

When you’re opting for sofas in different colors or materials, opting for contrasting styles will bring more depth and dimension to your space, as well as give it a unique style perspective. For instance, you can mix a laid-back sofa with a more modern one for a combination that accommodates both casual and formal occasions.

However, keep in mind that the more unique large furniture pieces you add to a space, the trickier it can be to make it all work together. Keep reading for some good rules of thumb to follow when choosing two different sofas for the same space.

Do Two Couches in the Living Room Have to Match?

boho-eclectic style living room with two different types of sofas and conversational seating

If your goal is for your rooms to feel more traditional and sophisticated in style, then a pair of matching sofas might work best for your taste—it’s also a more simple design approach. However, as we established above, your two couches do not ultimately have to match in your living room. It’s your home, so you should choose the pieces you like, even if it’s two different sofas!

Nonetheless, keep in mind that two different sofas means more fabrics, colors, and textures to consider. And while there’s no right and wrong—only what works best for you and your space—here are some quick tips to guide your fabric and color choices.

Stylish Fabric Combos For Two Sofas In A Space

It’s best to keep your fabrics exactly the same for both your sofas or completely different. Having the same fabric ensures a harmonious look that’s united by similar color and texture finishes. If you go with different fabrics for each of your sofas, here are a few of our favorite combos:

  • Leather and linen
  • Leather and tweed
  • Velvet and linen
  • Bouclé and leather

Perfect Color Combos for Two Sofas In A Space

Similarly, when choosing colors for two different sofas, it’s best to keep to colors in the same family—think different shades or tones of one color. If you love a bold contrasting look, here are a few of our favorite color combos to mix for sofas:

  • Blue and grey
  • Tan and white
  • Brown and blue (leather + color!)
  • Neutral and a bold red, green or purple
  • A patterned fabric with a solid one, all with similar tones of a color

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Where Should I Put a Piano? The Best Places for Pianos in Your Living Room

Pianos are a common feature in the homes of our Modsy clients. And many of them come to us wondering how to design a living room around their beloved instrument. It can be quite a challenge!

Whether you’re taking music lessons, have a pianist in the family, or inherited a baby grand piano, you’re dealing with a large musical instrument that has a serious impact on your room’s design. You can’t just stick them anywhere—these are sensitive instruments! But you also need to make them work with the overall layout of your space.

Most people place pianos in their living rooms, as this is already a place to gather. But you may find that a living room with a piano has competing needs. Should the seating area be the main focal point? Or the piano? Or is there actually a way for both purposes to live in harmony?

Beyond aesthetics and room functionality, it actually is important to think through the placement of your piano within a room; where a piano is placed can impact the sound, performance, and overall longevity of your instrument. We want to make sure your piano not only looks beautiful but maintains its structural and mechanical integrity for years to come! And that means adhering to a couple of guidelines when it comes to figuring out the layout of a living room with a piano.

So, we’re outlining some of the do’s and don’t s for piano placement, as well as sharing some living room design ideas for how to decorate around a piano in your living room! Read on for all the details.

large living room with grand

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Do: Decide on a Grand vs Upright Piano

If you inherited a piano, you might not have much choice over what style you have in your home. But if you’re looking to purchase a piano, consider if you want an upright or a grand piano. It’s all about the amount of space you have, as well as what the piano will be used for.

Grand and baby grand pianos offer a more dynamic range than an upright piano, with rich resonance and diverse tonality. But they also tend to be much louder and larger (ranging from 5 feet in length for a baby grand piano and up to 9 feet or more for a concert grand). Naturally, they’re also more expensive. This is often the piano type of choice for professional musicians.

Piano in traditional living room

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Upright (or “vertical”) pianos are much more compact and also tend to be much less expensive. There are actually several different types of upright pianos, in a variety of sizes. A spinet piano is the smallest type of vertical piano, usually 36-39 inches tall. A console piano is the next size up, in the 40-44-inch-tall range. This style of piano tends to have more aesthetic considerations and is intended for home use. A studio piano is just a bit larger, at 45-47 inches tall; this is what you’ll often find in a church or school. A full upright piano is 48 inches tall or larger and offers more range, resonance, and diverse tonality than smaller units—giving you the closest sound to a grand piano in an upright style. An upright piano is the ideal choice for music students, casual musicians, and in-home piano teachers.

living room layout with piano in corner and fireplace

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Do: Consider if Your Piano is for Regular Use or More Decorative

Does someone in your family play the piano regularly? Or do you have an antique piano that’s more of a showpiece than a regularly used instrument? How you use your piano will impact where you place it in your space and how it interacts with your overall living room layout.

If you have a pianist in the home who plays regularly, you’ll want to prioritize acoustics and quality of sound over aesthetics. You’ll also want to place the piano where the musician will feel most comfortable and listeners can gather around. With an upright piano, this could be in the center of the room, near the main seating area. It’s also nice if the pianist is able to face into the room and can look out on those who are listening versus having their back to the crowd.

If your piano is more of a decorative show piece, you can feel free to consider prioritizing the overall function of your room over the best sound quality, and simply place your piano in a spot that looks best and is most convenient for you.

living room with piano against wallpaper

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Don’t: Put Your Piano in Direct Sunlight

When figuring out where to place your piano, make sure you don’t choose a spot in direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is bad for pianos; not only can sun exposure cause a piano’s finish to fade but it can also compromise their sound. Direct sunlight can cause the soundboard to dry out and crack and weaken the glue joins throughout the instrument.

 

Don’t: Place Your Piano Near a Window

You also shouldn’t place a piano too close to a window, or near heat vents or fireplaces. (Basically, anywhere the piano could get too hot or too cold.) A piano is susceptible to the elements, like changing temperature, heat, cold, even moisture and it’s better to keep them in a location where the temperature and humidity will stay fairly steady. Keeping your piano away from windows is especially important in older homes, where windows tend to be a bit more drafty.

Changes in temperature and humidity can impact the piano’s tuning and cause parts to swell or shrink, which makes for an unstable environment for your instrument. Essentially, the less airflow and the more stability in temperature and humidity around your piano, the better.

Designer Tip: If placing your piano near a window is your only option due to your room’s architecture, consider hanging curtains to filter out light and mitigate any temperature changes, like we did in the living room design above.

Piano under steps

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Do: Place Your Piano Along an Inner Wall

Inner walls are safer for pianos due to the absence of windows. This offers the most regulated temperature and humidity for your instrument and helps promote the best sound quality—especially for upright pianos. On an upright piano, the soundboard is often openly exposed on the back of the instrument, and placing it against a wall allows for the best acoustics.

Grand Pianos should be placed with the long edge parallel to an inner wall.

In terms of specific placement, grand pianos sound best when the longest edge is placed parallel to a wall. This optimizes the sound quality and acoustics. Upright pianos are best placed against an inner wall, but it doesn’t matter if it’s in the middle of the wall or in a corner.

Piano with gallery wall

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Do: Use Caution When Decorating Around Your Piano

It can be tempting to place framed photos and knick-knacks on the top of your piano—but resist the urge as much as possible! Pianos are hefty, but they’re truly delicate instruments that aren’t technically designed to hold additional objects. It’s best to hang art above an upright piano. Or, if you really want to place decor on top, consider putting a cloth on the top as a protective layer to protect the finish from scratches.

But that’s not to say your piano should sit all on it’s own. Use the wall around your piano to visually support and enhance your beautiful instrument. And don’t forget to add good lighting—which can be both decorative and functional! Of course, it’s your piano—so how you decorate on and around it is ultimately up to you!

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Floating Furniture 101: The Ultimate Layout Hack You Can Use in Every Room

floating furniture

Sometimes, it feels impossible to land on a layout for your space—especially when you’re trying to squeeze extra function into your home, as so many of us have been doing this year with shelter in place. The furniture doesn’t seem to fit. There’s not enough wall space. What’s the focal point? How can you break up an open layout?

But for all of these problems, there’s one secret trick that (more often than not) always works: floating furniture.

What does it mean to “float” your furniture? We don’t mean a sofa that levitates off the ground but rather the act of pulling your furniture away from the walls and letting it “float” in the middle of the room. And while this may feel strange at first, but it can be the best thing that’s ever happened to your space.

Floating furniture is a great way to optimize your room, especially if it has an untraditional layout. It’s also a great trick if you’re lacking wall space. It can even help create more intentional pathways and traffic flow in your room, and establish “zones” in open spaces.

Ready to learn more about designing a space with floating furniture? Keep reading for our guide on how to float furniture in every room. And be sure to check out our guide to staying in for more design tips that will help you optimize the function of your home!

floating furniture sofaIn the Living Room

Great for larger spaces, a floating sofa in your living room can help define a focal point and create better flow through the space. Some people do this because they lack wall space to create seating areas if furniture is up against the wall. Others prefer this method because it creates an intimate seating area geared toward conversation.

Whatever your motivation, a floating sofa is a furniture arrangement that creatively divides up your room and establishes walkways that help direct traffic flow. This is a perfect option for your living room layout if you have an open floor plan and want to create distinct living and dining areas. Just remember to anchor the seating area with a rug!

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floating entryway table ideaFor an Intentional Entryway

Have a large foyer space? Install a floating entryway table! (Grounded by a rug, of course.) This furniture arrangement will help define an open entryway space and offers a quick and easy place to drop keys and mail when you arrive back at home. With this approach, a round table is best so there are no hard edges to bump into.

To keep it from becoming a cluttered catchall, give it a designed look. Consider adding a vase with branches, some coffee table books, or even a small group of decorative objects. Adding a mail organizer and a bowl for keys will keep this table purposeful and beautiful.

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floating office deskIn the Home Office

There’s no reason your home office desk has to be pushed up against the wall. Opt for a floating desk for a more “executive suite” style in your space. Yes, it gives your office a more formal air. But perhaps that will just inspire you to take on your projects with the confidence of a seasoned CEO?

This is also a great design option if you have other features in your office that don’t allow you to place a desk against the wall, such as a fireplace or built-ins.

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floating furniture studio apartmentIn a Multi-Purpose Space

If you have a studio, your kids are doing remote learning, or otherwise need a functional multi-purpose space, consider floating a bookcase as a simple room divider. This helps partition your space into zones—creating two distinct spaces. And as an added bonus? It adds storage to your space—which for most studio apartments is at a premium!

Just be sure that you opt for an open-back bookcase so that your shelving looks beautiful and is functional from both sides.

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floating furniture ideasFor a Few Extra Seats

Looking for some creative seating in your space? Try a floating bench. Place one in front of a fireplace or use it to break up a large living room into multiple zones.

We love this as bonus seating, especially in front of a fireplace, because it doesn’t block the view of whatever it’s sitting in front of so it won’t feel like it’s taking over the space. If benches aren’t your style, you could also try a pair of poufs or stools for the same effect!

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Layout Guide: A Large, Rectangular Living Room With a Fireplace

Arranging furniture in a living room floor plan may not be the most glamorous aspect of interior decorating, but it might be the most important! When it comes to rectangle living room layouts, you might think you have it easy because they are such a standard shape. You have 4 walls, with two long sides and two short sides—pretty straightforward, right? Not always.

A rectangular room can still be a tricky space to design and comes with many of its own challenges. Some rectangular rooms are long and narrow, leaving an awkward shape to arrange furniture. Some have a fireplace that takes up one entire wall. Others also serve as the entryway in some homes or serve other functions in addition to being your main living space. And some open up to the dining room and need a layout that accounts for the back and forth flow. So, what’s the best way to arrange furniture to create the best rectangular living room layout?

ectangular living room layoutArranging Furniture in a Rectangle Living Room

There is no right or wrong way to arrange living room furniture because so much depends on the function you want! Start by thinking through how you want to use the rectangular room. Will you be having friends over often for formal entertaining or mostly kicking back and watching movies with the fam? Do you love a space where you can cozy up in front of your living room fireplace? Or maybe you want to incorporate a work area to serve as your home office? The list goes on and on.

Once you have a sense of what the function of the living room will be, it’s time to think about arranging furniture in the space. Sectional sofas are a good choice for creating conversational circles in open floor plan living rooms. Long and narrow living rooms can benefit from an arrangement with a sofa against one of the long walls and the TV mounted against the opposite wall. For a small living room, consider using ottomans and benches as extra seating that doesn’t take up much space.

Here we designed one large, rectangular living room two ways to show some of the possibilities and help inspire you for your home.

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ectangular living room layoutLayout Idea #1: The Conversational Living Room

This long rectangular living room features a refined layout with traditional appeal and ample seating. It’s an open, beautiful space that creates a conversation circle as the focal point. It is spacious enough to allow for a large, functional coffee table and there is cozy seating by the fireplace. This layout is perfect for social gatherings and anyone who loves entertaining and showing off their beautiful home.

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ectangular living room layoutThe Key Elements

Having a large, sectional sofa pushed back against the wall creates space for additional furniture and maintains a good flow in the space. It adds additional depth to the room—and it has a great view out windows!

The room features plenty of additional seating options, too. The sofa, chairs, ottomans, and bench are all located in one section of the living room so that guests are drawn to the same area to mingle and converse. And low seating like the bench and ottoman are perfect furniture choices for this space because they don’t interrupt the view of the fireplace and window like some tall chairs would.

To make this living room layout extra primed for entertaining, it features a bar cabinet in the corner! An essential element of a good cocktail party, a bar cabinet also doubles as a handy place to store board games for game night. We also included a bookcase by the fireplace—who doesn’t love furniture that adds extra visual interest?  It also adds height and draws the eye to the fireplace area—plus, the display baskets also serve as extra storage.

ectangular living room layoutWill this rectangular living room layout work for you? Yes if…

  • You love any excuse to have guests over.
  • Your living room design has a fireplace and you want to take full advantage of it.
  • You are more into conversational furniture arrangements than staring at the TV.
  • You want the option of creating a small living room area for use as a den, study area or kids’ play zone!

ectangular living room layoutLayout Idea #2: The TV Viewing Living Room

We designed this rectangular living room as a space to watch TV and get comfy and cozy with your friends and fam. The living room is divided into two separate areas, but the transitional furniture and style across the whole space helps them blend together seamlessly. It’s a perfect idea for those who want a multi-purpose space to vege out with your favorite movie or cozy up by the fire with a good book.

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ectangular living room layoutThe Key Elements

The large, floating 3-piece sectional sofa is the heart and soul of this rectangular living room. Its three sides zone the entertainment space and then the area rug helps further define this part of the room. This furniture arrangement is perfect for movie nights or a celebratory TV binge with friends or family. The low arm of the sectional doesn’t block the fireplace and the circular coffee table makes it easy to slip into any seat on the couch.

In addition to the prime TV viewing area, there’s also a reading nook by the fireplace! Putting the armchair in the corner means you can enjoy both the cozy fireplace and the view from the window—and there’s plenty of light for reading. Two stools serve as extra seats in front of the fireplace, or you can pull one in front of the armchair as a footrest!

If your living room is doing double duty as an entryway, we added an end table by the entrance as a place to set mail and bags on the way in. Having a bench behind the sofa helps soften the visual effect of the long, blank sofa back and also offers a place to sit and take in the view out the window.

Will this rectangular living room layout work for you? Yes if you…

  • Love an ultra-comfy chill-out place for movie nights, sports games and anything else on the screen.
  • Prefer furniture that lets your guests kick back and get cozy versus a more formal gathering space.
  • Love an old-fashioned reading nook by the fire.
  • Have a living room that is immediately off the entryway.

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