Posts

how-to-layout-a-room-with-piano1

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

Shop This Look

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

Shop This Look

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

Shop This Look

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

Shop This Look

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

Shop This Look

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

Shop This Look

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!

Need help incorporating your piano into your living room’s design?

Start Your Project

image1-252

Sectional Shapes: Our Guide to the 6 Most Popular Types of Sectionals

We’ve all spent more time at home this year, which likely means more time spent watching TV, reading, or hanging out with family. It also means the centerpiece of all the action is probably your sofa—or, as may be the case for many, your sectional.

It’s not surprising that a sectional sofa is the seating of choice for serious lounging in living rooms and family rooms. They’re super comfortable and offer lots of seating for lots of people.

What is a sectional sofa?

But wait: what’s the difference between a sectional sofa and a normal couch? The frame of a conventional sofa tends to be one solid piece—just a straight seat and back, with cushions for comfort. A sectional sofa, on the other hand, is made up of multiple individual pieces or sections that can be arranged in a number of ways. Modular sectionals, especially, are customizable to individual needs, with pieces like a chaise that can be moved to the left or right depending on the layout of your room. They offer extra seating, with the “extendable” seating creating anything from an L-shape to a U-shape.

Types of Sectional Sofas

Not surprising, there are many different types of sectional sofas—from the L-shaped and U-shaped sectionals we just mentioned to modular sectionals and conversation pits. Whether you’re in the market for one now or thinking about buying a sectional down the line, it’s important to know the different sectional sofa styles out there so that you can find the right design for your space.

So just as we did with our guide to sofa styles, we’re breaking down the most popular types of sectionals, along with the pros and cons of each one to help you figure out what’s best for you. See our quick-hit list below, then read on to learn more about each type of sectional sofa.

The Most Popular Sectional Sofa Styles:

  • Sofa Chaise
  • L-Shaped Sectional Sofa
  • L-Shaped Sectional Sofa with Chaise
  • Modular Sectional Sofa
  • U-Shaped Sectional Sofa
  • The Pit

Already have a sectional but not sure how to decorate around it? Check out our living room furniture checklist and guide to choosing a coffee table for your sofa shape!

white traditional sectional with kilim style rug

1. The Sofa Chaise

Unlike a sectional sofa with a chaise, this popular design is more compact. It has a classic L shape but is closer in looks to a sofa. It’s ideal for apartments or a smaller family room design. Options with a moveable chaise also allow for multiple arrangements without the need to buy a new sofa.

Shop This Look

Pros:

  • It’s a perfectly scaled alternative to the sectional sofa that fits in any home, and it pairs well with other accent seating, like armchairs and ottomans.
  • The chaise part can usually be swapped to be on the left or right one side for the other—so with options for a right-arm chaise versus a left-arm seat, it’s a more customizable design than most sectionals.
  • Because it’s compact, it easily fits into any space or layout (and it can be moved around!).

Cons:

  • This size of sectional is definitely meant for seating rather than lounging and stretching out your legs because of its more petite footprint.
  • As a result, it also accommodates fewer people than a traditional sectional.

It’s great for… smaller spaces where you want the comfort of a sectional in a smaller size. Check out our guide comparing sectionals vs sofas if you’re undecided on which is right for your space!

coastal style living room with sand colored sectional sofa

2. The L-Shape Sectional Sofa

You likely recognized this sectional sofa style right away. The L shape is the most common among types of sectional sofas. It’s literally L-shaped, with one side being longer than the other.

Shop This Look

Pros: 

  • You can easily float this sectional style in a living room or set it up against a wall.
  • It can nest a coffee table or ottoman and it still leaves tons of walking room all around.
  • It’s comfortable and still looks polished.

Cons: 

  • Sometimes these sectionals come fixed, meaning you can’t make the shorter side the longer one in order to fit it in your space.

It’s great for… those living in a spacious apartment or house with an open-concept living room. This L shape is just the right size and can easily zone out the living room from the dining space.

types of sectionals

3. L-Shape Sectional Sofa With Chaise

Think of this as the 2.0 version of the L-shaped sectional. It’s an extended version of the L-shape style of sectional, with an additional chaise lounge pulled up to one side for an extra-roomy family seating area in one piece of living room furniture.

Shop This Look

Pros:

  • You can usually customize these sectionals, which leave one end open for a chaise lounge add-on.
  • Sometimes you can choose a chaise lounge that separates into two parts, with an ottoman that you can move around to make it most functional for your family and space.

Cons: 

  • While the chaise lounge is a great add-on, it only works in open concept floor plans or large living-dining spaces, since these pieces have large footprints.

It’s great for… spacious family homes and living rooms with an open plan. Check out our ultimate guide to living room layouts for ways to work in a big sectional.

types of sectionals

4. Modular Sectional Sofa

With individual pieces and seats that can be separated, moved around, and reconfigured, modular sectionals offer the greatest flexibility in style and fit for any living or family room.

Shop This Look

Pros:

  • Because it’s so malleable, it’s the perfect sectional choice for casual spaces, like rec rooms, laidback guest bedrooms, and playrooms (they’re super kid-friendly!)
  • They’re also a stylish solution for awkwardly shaped spaces since they can be pulled apart and tucked into corners and alcoves and along short walls.
  • The ottoman part of this sectional can be placed on the left or right side of the sofa, giving it ultimate flexibility in your space.

Cons:

  • Modular sectionals can sometimes get moved out of their intended spot due to the individual pieces and since they’re a little more lightweight than other sectionals.

It’s great for… a modern, contemporary, or minimalist living room. They can easily be worked into any size space. Find great layout tips in our gallery of living room design ideas.

types of sectionals

5. U-Shape Sectional Sofa

This sectional is exactly what it sounds like. It’s U-shaped with either tall backs on three sides or two end chaises and an open center, which gives more space to walk around.

Shop This Look

Pros:

  • It’s perfect for entertaining and TV watching, since it can accommodate many people while still making it easy to have conversations from opposite ends of the sectional.
  • It’s the best sectional sofa style for a big living room in a household where the entire family likes to have space to lounge and stretch out.
  • With two chaises, no one has to don’t fight over who gets a lounge seat—and there’s room for a coffee table or ottoman in the middle.

Cons:

  • Because of its scale, this sectional is limited to large living spaces—it’s over 120” long on average.

It’s great for… media rooms and rec rooms that are primarily for entertaining. See how to set up a sectional in these spaces with our tips on living room layouts for TV viewing.

types of sectionals

6. The Pit

We call this sectional sofa ‘The Pit’ because it feels like a conversation pit—an iconic architectural detail of the Mid-Century Playboy era. It’s one big block of cushions, almost like two sofas in one, and it’s among the less common types of sectional sofas. (Though it’s by far the comfiest.)

Shop This Look

Pros:

  • Like a U-shaped sectional sofa that is filled in the center with ottomans, it’s comfy, cushy, and oh-so-cozy.
  • It’s casual and bed-like, so if you’re looking for a unique piece that can also work as a sleep spot if needed, this is it. (Have teenagers? They’ll love it for movie nights and sleepovers.)

Cons:

  • It takes up a lot of space, more so than your normal sectional since it’s one big rectangular block that’s both wide and deep.
  • Its dimensions also make it not the most flexible option, since you can’t separate any section or chaise from it and there’s not much room to walk around it.

It’s great for… large rec rooms and family rooms. And families with kids who like to snuggle up and move around a lot in the living room.

Find more sectional design ideas!

See how a sectional sofa fits into your space

Start Your Project

This post was updated on May 24, 2021

image2-134

Layout Guide: 3 Ways to Design a Living Room With a Corner Fireplace

A living room with a fireplace is an asset in any home. It provides warmth during the winter months and also makes for a chic focal point.

If you have a living room with a corner fireplace, even better. But figuring out your furniture placement around a corner fireplace can be a tricky design challenge. This is a common design challenge in single-family homes, and is common all the way from Los Angeles to San Antonio interior design schemes. Where do you put your sofa? Should the fireplace be the main focal point? What about the TV? While it all depends on how you want to use your space, a corner fireplace presents a “fifth wall” that needs to be taken into account in your living room layout.

For some guidance, we’ve designed one living room with three different corner fireplace layout ideas to show you some possible setups that are practical and stylish. Find out more below!

Not exactly dealing with a corner fireplace but need a hand pulling together your living room? Get started with our online interior design services.

corner fireplace layout

Layout #1: The Sophisticated Family Room

This layout is designed to be a family-friendly TV space that still has an elevated look and feel. While the focal point is on the TV wall, the corner fireplace acts as an extension to that and serves as an equally central visual element in the room.

When it came to arranging furniture around a corner fireplace here, it came down to balancing out the L-shaped formation of the fireplace and the TV all. That meant floating a sectional that also helped to delineate and frame the seating area into a rectangular gathering spot. To round out this layout, a reading chair is pulled in to help anchor the corner fireplace. This is one of our favorite (and the easiest) corner fireplace ideas that helps incorporate a fireplace into a living room seating area.

The Key Design Elements:

A sectional is essential. There’s no debating between a sofa or sectional with this layout. By anchoring your seating area with a sectional, you create visual balance because the sectional faces both the TV wall and the corner fireplace at an angle. This makes the fireplace feel more part of the room’s layout and design.

Decorate around the hearth. Since the TV wall is the main focus of this layout, you want to define the fireplace area so that it’s equally noticeable. The best way to do this is to define the corner fireplace and the area around it with inviting decor. Here, a mirror and a plush armchair both help draw the eye to the fireplace surround.

Bookend the space. Just as the balances out the corner fireplace, adding a console table behind the sectional will help clearly delineate your seating area. This also creates visual balance with the media stand along the TV wall. The result is a seating area that’s inviting and feels like a cozy yet tailored space of its own.

Shop This Look

This is a great layout for you if…

  • You want a family room that’s well-designed and not overly casual (because your kids are now off to college or live away from home)
  • TV watching and using your fireplace are everyday activities in your life.
  • You want a defined living space that feels cozy but still has a focus that’s not just a TV.
  • Your ideal living room is elevated in look and feel but is also perfect for casual lounging.

corner fireplace layoutLayout #2: The Curated Sitting Room

In this layout, the angled fireplace is the focal point. Think of this as the corner fireplace layout where the centerpiece of the room is the hearth and the furniture placement emphasizes that.

By arranging a chesterfield sofa directly opposite the fireplace, it gives this seating area a contemporary curated look that is one of our favorite layout ideas for a corner fireplace. The overall setup, with the armchair and benches along the edges of this seating area, makes it an instantly cozy and intimate space for relaxing and conversation alike. Here, it’s all about creating a living room space that is equal parts formal and airy with modern industrial furnishings and art that are none too precious.

corner fireplace layoutThe Key Elements:

Choose a substantial sofa. Whether it’s a modern blue velvet sofa or a tufted leather chesterfield, you want your main seating to be as visually bold as the fireplace opposite it. Round out the living room by floating furniture to face the center of your seating area, which will help direct focus to the corner fireplace.

Punch up your mantelpiece. With the corner fireplace as the centerpiece in this angled living room layout, you want to make sure it stands out. Hang a bold graphic artwork or an abstract painting above your mantelpiece to visually direct attention to the fireplace.

Fill your vertical space. Because your fireplace extends all the way to the ceiling, balance out its height by decorating your walls with tall-standing bookcases and art. This is an easy way to draw the eye upward as well as to warm up the seating area with color and visually interesting objects.

Shop This Look

This is a great layout for you if…

  • You use your living room as a cozy place to relax, gather, and entertain all at once.
  • A contemporary and slightly industrial-minimalist design approach and aesthetic suits your style.
  • Your home has a separate family or media room for TV watching and use your living room more as a sitting room for quiet relaxing and unwinding at night.
  • You want your living room to also be a display space for your favorite artwork and objects.

corner fireplace layoutLayout #3: The Open-Flow Living Room

If you’re after a spacious and airy feeling living room where the furniture placement isn’t centered around the corner fireplace, this is an ideal setup. The corner fireplace is not the focal point in this layout, where the furniture is arranged against one end of the open living space.

In a living room with a fireplace in the corner, you can ultimately decide whether you want to incorporate the hearth to look and feel like a part of your seating area. And it can be a little separate if you want to, as in this living room design. In the end, you get a living space that still feels relaxing but has a more open atmosphere.

corner fireplace layoutThe Key Elements:

Mix in different seating. Whereas the previous two layouts focused on one main seating furniture piece, this encourages a diverse mix. Pull in a pair of leather armchairs and matching white ottomans to balance out a casual slipcovered sofa. By arranging these pieces away from the fireplace, it opens up the room. Meanwhile, the chairs and ottomans can be pulled near fireplace when it’s lit.

Spare your fireplace. You won’t come across too many corner fireplace ideas that tell you to keep it spare and minimally styled. But what you do use to decorate your fireplace, be it a raw-wood shelf mantelpiece or modernist ceramics, you want to make sure it makes a tall statement that adds to the blank vertical space in the room.

Let materials lead. Use earthy materials as the overarching theme in your space. Opt for tan leather, natural woods, crisp white linen, grainy woods, and smooth pottery to connect your seating area with your corner fireplace. This way, even though they are two delineated as two zones in your living space, the materials lend visual cohesion.

Shop This Look

corner fireplace layoutThis is a great layout for you if…

  • You have a busy family household and the living room is the central gathering space, which means more open space the better.
  • The fireplace is only used during the winter and colder months, otherwise, it’s more decorative.
  • You enjoy an actual living room space that’s not about TV viewing or formal lounging but actually is catered to everyday living and kicking back.
  • Modern-rustic design is your idea of ultimate comfort and style.

Browse more living room design ideas!

Feeling it’s time to change up your living room design?

Start Your Project

image3-3

Wit & Delight X Modsy: Making Kate’s Living Room Dreams a Reality

wit and delightLifestyle blogger Kate Arends is no stranger to interior design. But she struggled to find a layout for her tricky living room. Learn how Modsy helped her explore the layout possibilities and create a room that lived up to her style standards.

Homeowner: Kate of Wit & Delight

Location: Minnesota

Room: Living Room

Her Style: Chic Collector

The Backstory

Lifestyle blogger and influencer, Kate Arends’ blog, Wit & Delight, boasts more than 33 million (!!) followers. It serves as a hub for all things lifestyle, including content on self-care, personal development, crafting, and home decor ideas. So, it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about interior design.

In fact, Kate often helps her followers with interior design problems. She’s published blogs on everything from selecting the perfect bathroom tile to finding cute storage solutions. But, there was one design challenge she just couldn’t figure out on her own—her living room!

The Design Dilemma

Kate’s living room is long and narrow and has a large fireplace making it a tricky space to design. This awkward floor plan left her feeling like her design dreams would never come true.

“I’ve rearranged and redesigned this 120 square ft space numerous times…it has still managed to stump me.”

“I’m no stranger to the art of making a room feel like home… For years, I’ve been moving, reworking, and exploring the layout of the room to create an inviting and efficient space…I just couldn’t keep tackling the design of the living room on my own anymore. No matter how “finished” I was with this room, I was never really done. “

“For years, I’ve been moving, reworking, and exploring the layout of the room to create an inviting and efficient space…I just couldn’t keep tackling the design of the living room on my own anymore.”

The Modsy Moment

“I’ve been curious about Modsy for years. Both from a consumer standpoint and as a professional. Plus, I needed help solving my design woes.”

We got Kate set up with a designer who helped her address the layout issues she’d been struggling with. Kate was finally able to try many different layouts with ease to really figure out what she needed for her space. After that, her room started falling into place.

“My experience with Modsy was incredible. I’m able to rearrange furniture without breaking a sweat. With Modsy’s 3D Editor, I can visualize the room with the sofa in the corner or with a chair removed; it’s easy to make slight modifications [with] the click of a mouse.”

 “My experience with Modsy was incredible. I’m able to rearrange furniture without breaking a sweat.”

The Real Results

Kate was able to discover tons of alternative layout and furniture options for her living room, and now she finally feels like she has a design she loves.

“Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or a new home, or wanting to refresh a space in your existing home, I highly recommend Modsy… for those of you who are just starting out, this is a great alternative!”

High praise coming from someone with such amazing style. Thanks, Kate, we’re blushing!

Need help with your tricky space?

Start Your Project

tr_fce338f6-bb4c-41df-af28-72ffe42c1f18_790942_1_elsie_userview_1

16 Ways to Design a Living Room With a Fireplace

Living rooms are arguably the most important areas of the house. They’re where you get to chill out, relax, entertain guests, and unwind after a long day. And do you know what makes them even more inviting? Having a fireplace. Getting to kick back and luxuriate in front of a roaring fire is a wonderful thing to look forward to after work or on the weekend. However, a living room with fireplace design can be a tricky interior design challenge. How do you incorporate a living room fireplace into your layout and interior design plans?

There are definitely some extra considerations beyond our basic living room checklist when you’re dealing with the design combo of a living room layout with fireplace. Will you want space for TV viewing as well as fireplace seating? Do you want the fireplace to be the main focal point? Does the fireplace actually work or is it just for show?

Read This Next: How to Find the Best Living Room Layout for You

We’ve put together 11 living room layouts that show you how to design around a fireplace so you can start to envision different possibilities for your home. Keep scrolling to explore the looks!

a living room with a fireplace decorated in modern farmhouse style

1. Living Room with Fireplace in the Middle of a Long Wall

This space features a basic living room layout with a fireplace, with the fireplace actively incorporated into the design. It’s a conversational setup with enough seating for large gatherings. And while the fireplace isn’t the main focal point, it’s seamlessly incorporated into the space so everyone can still enjoy it.

The Key Design Elements:

This layout features furniture “floating” in the middle of the room. The foundational furniture pieces are pulled away from walls, making the fireplace the centerpiece of the space, but not the main focal point (learn more about floating furniture). The layout leaves room around the perimeter for other functions you might enjoy, like a reading nook, office space, room for a bar cart, etc.

There is lots of seating here, including the chairs, stools, and sofa. And the best part is that the chairs swivel and stools can easily be moved for a more flexible arrangement. This helps keep the focus on the center of the conversation circle—which is all great for entertaining! Stools in front of the fireplace give you a place to sit and warm up, and you can move them to the other side of the coffee table if needed!

This Layout is Great If You…

Love conversation in front of the fireplace and like to entertain and gather in a cozy setting.

Shop This Look

coastal style living room with a blue sofa facing a fireplace and two white wingback chairs

2. A Seating Area with the Fireplace as the Focal Point

This layout also facilitates conversation, but we specifically arranged the furniture around the living room fireplace to keep it as the main focus of the room. It’s a great setup for cozying up in front of a fireplace with intimate seating—as evidenced by the use of wingback chairs, the original “fireplace chairs.”

The Key Design Elements:

This layout enables easy conversation but could also work for TV viewing—you can just swap mantel decor for a flatscreen. The view faces out the window so you can enjoy the scenery of nature! The two armchairs are grouped in front of the window and can be incorporated into a cozy conversational area with the sofa.

This design also leaves enough open space behind the sofa to work as a dining area, reading area, office space, etc. This layout is nice if you have a bigger, open living-dining room you want to divide into two zones to maximize space.

This Layout is Great If You…

Enjoy having a view outside the window, or if you like intimate settings and a close-knit gathering place.

Shop This Look

Need layout help for your space?

Get an expert's help designing your living room online.

Start Your Project

Neutral color scheme living room with two facing sofas flanking a fireplace

3. A Symmetrical Living Room with Built-ins Flanking the Fireplace

We love more formal living room design ideas, where you have matching sofas facing each other. It’s optimal for conversation and entertaining purposes. This is not the best layout for TV viewing, but it’s great for reading books, having coffee, and entertaining friends.

The Key Design Elements:

This living room features a symmetrical layout that’s open on one side so it pulls you directly into the conversation circle. The fireplace wall creates a U-shape area with bookcases for extra visual interest. The fireplace and art are the main focus of the room without the distraction of TV.

The space feels super open and welcoming because the windows and ledge break up the solid wall. The seating is a formal arrangement—it’s not versatile as the sofas are large and stationary, but it’s a lovely set up for sophisticated entertaining.

This Layout is Great If You…

Love inviting guests into a beautiful formal living area or if you want a quiet space to enjoy your fireplace.

Shop This Look

eclectic living room design with a corner fireplace and red walls

4. A Casual Living Room with a Corner Fireplace

This casual layout incorporates the stone fireplace into the overall design of the space without it being the centerpiece. It has a lounge feel with rocking chairs and casual decor around the fireplace. The seating is open with space between the fireplace and sofa, creating a warm, inviting layout.

Want more ideas on designing a living room with a corner fireplace layout? Check out this guide to 3 different ways you can tackle this tricky space.

The Key Design Elements:

The floating furniture is pulled away from walls and windows and creates a casual seating area that’s not so tight around the heat of the fire. That way, the fireplace is a nice “surprise” in the corner—it’s part of the space but not the main focal point! The TV is situated across from the sofa so it’s there for easy viewing but doesn’t compete with the fireplace—making this a great option for designing a living room with a TV and a fireplace.

The seating here is more fluid, meaning can move the furniture around to accommodate different uses. (Specifically the two chairs.) This is a great setup for playing games with the family! There’s lots of space for foot traffic around furniture pieces and throughout the room.

This Layout is Great If You…

Want to enjoy a lounge feel with TV viewing and a fireplace ambiance. 

Shop This Look

contemporary living room with a fireplace and a gray sectional sofa

5. An Open Living Room Layout with the Fireplace Open to an Adjoining Space

This layout features an L-shaped sectional that faces both the living room fireplace and open kitchen/dining area. The floating furniture layout without pieces anchored on the walls opens the room up to other spaces and allows for conversation without feeling tight and cramped.

The Key Design Elements:

This layout features furniture in line with the fireplace, keeping it open for traffic to move throughout the space. The L-shaped sofa defines the space but also leaves lots of open room so it doesn’t feel cumbersome and inhibited in any way. It’s a great way to divide open space into distinct areas for different uses.

This Layout is Great If You…

Want an open flow to easily move through the space and to see and converse with people in other rooms.

Shop This Look

living room with two leather armchairs and a sofa in front of the fireplace

6. A Living Room Layout Where the Fireplace is Behind the Sofa

We are super into this unexpected layout idea for a living room with a fireplace! If you have a nonfunctional fireplace and/or don’t want to incorporate it into your layout, putting a sofa in front of it is a great way to maximize space. With this living room furniture arrangement, the seating area is spun around, opening up into the larger space. It also uses the fireplace as an architectural backdrop!

The Key Design Elements:

The layout features a sofa facing out, with its back against the fireplace—keeping the view and conversation away from the fireplace. We chose a luxe chaise sectional to create a stunning centerpiece in the room. An office in the living room allows the space to be multifunctional— otherwise, the fireplace might’ve taken up too much space. The living room features a mix of styles and allows the quirkiness of the layout to feel intentional.

This Layout is Great If You…

Love a unique look in your living room, if you don’t plan to use your fireplace but don’t want it to create wasted space, or if you want a lounge feel that’s open for conversation and cocktails.

Shop This Look

eclectic living room design with a corner fireplace

7. A Casual Lounge with a Stylish But Non-Functional Fireplace

This is a great layout if you are using your fireplace as a decorative element, not a functional feature of the space. Plus, the corner fireplace is at the end of the room as a backdrop—it’s not the focal point but it definitely makes a statement in this space!

The Key Design Elements:

Give the Fireplace Function: The non-functional corner fireplace acts as functional decor by being used as a bookshelf—with books lined up inside the hearth. The fireplace mantel decor adds an extra dash of style, creating a casual and un-intimidating design.

Play Up the Casual Vibe: When you have a non-functional but stylish fireplace like this, embrace the vibe by creating a casual, bohemian-style lounge to sit and relax. Low furniture pieces like the stool, chair, and pouf all have a super casual, relaxed look. A cowhide rug helps ground the casual seating area, while abstract and textural wall art helps tie this space in with the adjacent dining room.

This Layout is Great If You…

Want a casual, inviting space; if you like lounging near the fireplace and but don’t want the actual heat; or if you have a non-functional fireplace that’s more for aesthetics.

Shop This Look

large living room with tall ceilings, a fireplace, and contemporary decor scheme

8. A Symmetrical Conversational Fireplace Layout

This is another great layout that’s all about conversation and face time with your guests. The sofa faces the living room fireplace and the chairs flank the fireplace and face the sofa for the ultimate conversational setup. Furniture floats in the space but is grounded by symmetry and a large rug so the room feels very intentional and put together.

The Key Design Elements:

A visually grounded sofa anchors the seating area, while smaller accent chairs surround the front of the fireplace to create a “circular” conversation center. The pouf comes in handy because it can be used as a footstool in front of any of the seats or as extra seating itself. Chairs can be moved around to face the fireplace or look out the window when you don’t want a closed conversation circle. And bookcases flank the fireplace for added visual appeal—you can even add a reading nook or study to the space.

This Layout is Great If You…

Love family game nights, enjoy curling up with a good book or coffee in front of the fireplace, or just want a light, open layout.

Shop This Look

living room with a black accent wall and a TV next to the fireplace layout

9. A Living Room with a TV to the Side of the Fireplace

Want a TV and fireplace in your living room? When you have a living room with a fireplace, but you also want a TV for watching movies and shows, you’re more limited with your layout options. Here, the fireplace is the focal point of the living room, but the TV is just off to the side for easy viewing.

The Key Design Elements:

Choose a Dark Paint Color: By painting the fireplace wall a darker color, the TV blends in and becomes less of a focal point. By helping it not stand out as much, it doesn’t take attention away from the fireplace when it’s not in use.

Balance Out the TV: Since the TV is to one side of the fireplace, you want to visually balance the fireplace wall by placing another weighty item along the wall. This helps the overall layout feel more polished and intentional. We put a full-length floor mirror and tall plant on the opposite side of the fireplace, but you could also do a bookcase or cabinet if you want extra storage.

This Layout is Great If You…

Enjoy snuggling up by the fireplace but don’t want to sacrifice watching TV. It’s also great for families with kids, since the sofa directly faces the TV but isn’t the main star of the room.

Shop This Look

Living room design with a leather sofa and a fireplace on a slanted wall

10. A Living Room With Fireplace on a Slanted Corner Wall

The fireplace in this room is tucked in the corner, with the brickwork popping out into the room a bit, creating an additional slanted wall within the space. This, combined with the large mantle, makes it a pronounced focal point within the room. To celebrate that, we gave this living room an unexpected layout.

The Key Design Elements:

Play Up the Angle: Instead of facing the sofa toward the long wall or the windows, fighting against this architectural element of a corner fireplace, we decided to embrace it. To do this, we placed the sofa at an angle as well, directly facing the fireplace. It’s worth noting that this layout only works in an open-concept space where you have the room to put the living room furniture at an angle without blocking walkways or entrances.

Fill Out the Space: Having just a sofa angled toward the corner fireplace in an open room like this would make the space feel pretty sparse. So, we incorporated extra accent furniture to help fill out the space—including a bookcase and a bench along the windows. There’s also a sitting chair to the left of the sofa to help fill out the seating area itself.

This Layout is Great If You…

Want the corner fireplace to remain the focal point and want the seating arrangement around it or want a more formal living room set up with an unexpected twist.

Shop This Look

living room with dark grey walls and a formal fireplace with a sectional sofa and green armchair

11. A Cozy Seating Area in Front of the Fire with a Chaise Sectional

This layout features living room furniture pulled off the walls and arranged closer to the fireplace for a cozy feeling. The big armchair offers a place to sit, relax, and drink wine by the fire and the sectional creates a more casual, relaxed look. It’s an ideal furniture arrangement for conversation and small groups.

The Key Design Elements:

This design features a cozy, intimate seating arrangement with a singular chair to keep the space open. The chaise on the far side from the fireplace creates a cozy feel and a conversation circle without blocking the fireplace. And the setup makes sure to keep the fireplace front and center as the focal point!

This Layout is Great If You…

Want to cozy up in front of the fireplace and like smaller, more intimate settings.

Shop This Look

modern boho living room design with a white brick fireplace and two flanking grey sofas

12. A Living Room that Treats the Fireplace as a Visual Backdrop

This layout features symmetrical sofas that frame the fireplace. Armchairs block in the seating area from the inside in order to keep space open as you walk in, using the fireplace more as a backdrop. It provides a cozy, conversational seating area without closing off the far side of the room.

The Key Design Elements:

Matching sofas and chairs keep the room symmetrical and classy while also providing comfortable seating options for you and guests. The ottoman and chairs are easily movable for different arrangements and needs for space. And you can enjoy the fireplace from the chairs, ottomans and even from the sofas.

This Layout is Great If You…

Love having large groups of people over but don’t want your living space to feel cluttered with seating options.

Shop This Look

family room with a fireplace and a white sectional across from a TV

13. A Basement Family Room with Fireplace

We’ve talked a lot about main living spaces with fireplaces—but what about a basement family room with a fireplace? This is a super cozy element to have in a space where coziness and comfort is key! But many family rooms are primarily geared toward entertainment and play spaces, so it’s important to focus on those functions without ignoring the fireplace.

The Key Design Elements:

Create a Cozy Lounge Space: Opting for a large sectional offers plenty of space for family and guests to spread out and casually enjoy the space. It’s facing the TV—perfect for movie nights—but is also a great place to curl up and read or oversee playtime with a cup of coffee.

Get Practical: The fireplace adds a practical touch, helping to warm up a cold basement room. And since the chaise section of the sofa is on the opposite side of the room, the fireplace is more incorporated into the design of the room rather than being blocked off. So, you can easily enjoy the fireplace without it being the focal point of the space.

This Layout is Great If You…

Want to establish a kid-friendly space that the whole family can enjoy.

Shop This Look

small living room with a fireplace design

14. A Small Living Room with Fireplace

When you have a small living room with a fireplace, you generally don’t have much choice but to make the fireplace a focal point. In such a small space, it’s really front and center! Balancing furniture on either side of the fireplace helps make the best use of this space.

The Key Design Elements:

Get Cozy: The furniture is closer together than you might have in a typical living room, but it has to be to fit a sofa and two chairs. But since the pieces have simple silhouettes, the space feels snug and open rather than cluttered and cramped.

Keep the Design More Minimal: With both a small living room and a fireplace, you don’t want to overfill the space and make it feel cramped. Instead, be picky about what you bring into the space, and lean toward a more minimal aesthetic, making sure everything has a purpose. The neutral palette is soothing and helps keep the room from feeling too busy.

This Layout is Great If You… have a small living space but want it to feel polished and upscale, since the furniture facing each other feels more formal.

Shop This Look

long and narrow living room with a fireplace

15. A Long, Narrow Living Room With a Fireplace at the Far End

When you have a fireplace at the far end of a long, narrow living room, it can be challenging to know how to approach your room’s layout. Grouping all of your seeing around the fireplace would be tight, and it would also mean there was a ton of empty space behind the seating area. The solution? Create two separate seating areas to maximize the long and narrow living room.

The Key Design Elements:

Frame the Fireplace: We used art, an area rug, and chairs to frame the fireplace and make it more a part of the overall design of the space.

Create Two Seating Areas: In this living room, seating is zoned into two areas, but the fireplace is visible and can be enjoyed from both areas.

This Layout is Great If You…

Have a long, narrow space and want to still enjoy the fireplace from all areas of the room.

Shop This Look

living room with a fireplace layout

16. A Living Room with a Fireplace and TV on the Same Wall

Can’t decide between a fireplace and TV when choosing the focal point of your living room? What if you didn’t have to decide?? If the wall above your fireplace allows it, you can hang your TV directly above the fireplace, so you can enjoy either element without moving—or even enjoy both at the same time! It’s a practical move that doesn’t take away from the beauty of your fireplace.

The Key Design Elements:

Create a Sense of Balance: The fireplace is naturally centered in the room, so we balanced the furniture on each side of it. The two chairs are larger, so they visually feel like the same weight as the sofa.

Add in Other Functions: Just because the TV and fireplace combo is the focal point of the living room doesn’t mean you can’t embrace other functions for the space. In fact, the furniture arrangement itself offers you a great space for conversation, and there’s even room behind the sofa to place an exercise bike!

This Layout is Great If You…

Don’t have any other solid walls where you can place your TV, or if your living room is also open to your dining room or kitchen and you want to be able to see the TV from each space.

Need help with a living room with fireplace design?

Start Your Project

lrdr_layouts_d2_uv5

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 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.

 

Shop This 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 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.

 

Shop This 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?

Start Your Project

mailchimp-layout

A Simple Solve for a Common Living Room Dilemma

For many homeowners, having a large living room can be a conundrum, especially when it comes to figuring out the best seating and furniture arrangement. And it often starts with where the sofa should be placed. Not surprising, given it’s the largest and most essential furniture piece in every living room.

It’s almost instinct to place a large-scale furniture piece, like a sofa, against a wall. It’s a practical approach that essentially helps guide where everything else in the room would go.

However, as this before-and-after scenario proves, there’s more you can do with a sofa than just pushing it up against a wall in a large living room—which ultimately results in a much more relaxed and welcoming space.

 

BEFORE: An Imbalanced Use of Space

Having your sofa against a wall is a great way to carve out an intimate seating area in a large room, but it also leaves a lot of underutilized space in the rest of the room.

In this living room, the sofa may be perfectly positioned against the wall, but everything else around the room feels out of place. There’s a lonely tall bookcase has no place to go but a wall in between two doorways, which feels random and out of place. Similarly, a large cabinet ends up blocking out half a window on the other side of the room because there’s no space for it anywhere else in the room. The result is a layout where the focus is on the sofa, but the rest of the room feels impractical and imbalanced.

AFTER: A Perfectly Welcoming, Multi-use Space

Consider floating your sofa in the middle of a large room rather than placing it against the wall instead. Designers often float a sofa as a way to create a room within a room, to delineate different areas in a large space, or simply to center the focus. If your large room features architectural elements like a fireplace, you can use it as a visual starting point to inform your sofa placement—either one opposite the mantel or two perpendicular to it.  

Additionally, if you want to formalize your living room, floating your sofa will give it an elevated look, as it helps establish the room as a dedicated place for lounging and conversation.

This Layout Works Because….

 

It Takes Advantage of the Fireplace

For any living, family, or sitting room where there is a fireplace in the middle (or designated spot for your TV), floating your sofa opposite it will help to centralize the layout. Here, the fireplace and the sofa immediately establish a sense of welcoming balance in the room and create a centralized focal point.

It Opens up the Flow of the Room

By floating your sofa, you’ll have a much better flow in a large living room and there will be no awkward unused areas. The arrangement allows you to create other smaller vignettes, such as a wall lined with tall bookshelves or a reading corner by the window, as seen in the layout on the right. It also provides you with more room to walk around the furniture and the space, so you can easily move from one area to another. Think of the sofa in the middle of the room here as the one piece that unifies the overall space.

It Makes Better Use the Walls

Before, the large cabinet in the room was relegated to a space that blocked one of the windows. By floating the sofa in the room, it opens up the entire wall space for a storage and display area that can even accommodate an additional bookshelf, creating a symmetrical arrangement. Unlike the lower-profile sofa, these tall bookcases help to fill out the large empty walls given their height and draw the eye up.

It Creates Space to Lounge

By floating your sofa in the center of the room, it also frees you up to spread out your seating to create mini lounge areas. Previously, this armchair was placed in a cramped spot in the seating area. In this new arrangement the chair can be pulled up to a window to become its own independent reading nook.

Want help finding the ideal layout for your space?