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Tricky Layouts: 11 Ways to Design a Living Room With a Fireplace

Living rooms are arguably the most important areas of the house! It’s where you get to chill out, relax, entertain guests and unwind after a long day. Having a fireplace in your living area can make it an even cozier space! 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 challenge. How do you incorporate a fireplace into your layout and design plans?

There are definitely some extra considerations when you’re dealing with a living room with fireplace design combo. Will you want 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? We’ve put together 11 rooms that show you how to create the perfect living room with a fireplace design to help you start to envision different possibilities for your home. Keep scrolling to explore the looks!

The Layout: Formal Fireplace Design

This space features a basic living room layout that incorporates the fireplace into the living space. It’s a conversational setup with enough seating for large gatherings. And the fireplace doesn’t take over as the main focal point, but 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 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.

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The Layout: Sofa Facing The Fireplace

This layout also facilitates conversation, but it keeps the fireplace as the main focus of the room. It’s a great setup for cozying up in front of a fireplace with intimate seating.

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.

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The Layout: Symmetrical Sofas Design

We love this more formal living room look with 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.

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The Layout: Corner Fireplace Design

This casual layout incorporates the fireplace into the mix. It has a lounge feel with rocking chairs and decor around the fireplace. The seating is open with space between the fireplace and sofa, creating a warm, inviting layout.

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.

The seating here is more fluid, meaning the chairs can be moved around to accommodate different uses. This is a great set up 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 fireplace ambiance.

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The Layout: Conversational Fireplace Design

This is another great layout that’s all about conversation and face time with your guests. The sofa faces the fireplace and chairs face 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.

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The Layout: Cozy Fireplace Nook

This is a great layout if you are using your fireplace as a decorative element, not a functional feature of the space. This look has books added inside the hearth and decor on top for a casual and un-intimidating fireplace layout/living room. Plus, the fireplace is at 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:

The seating elements around the fireplace create a casual, bohemian style lounge to sit and relax while the non-functional fireplace acts as decor/furniture itself in being used as a bookshelf. The living room opens up into the dining space and pulls both spaces into each other. Low furniture like the stool, chair, and pouf are super casual, relaxed in looks and function and create a very laid-back, boho vibe.

This Layout is Great If You… Want a casual, inviting space. Like lounging near the fireplace and don’t want the actual heat! Have (or don’t mind) a non-functional fireplace that’s more for aesthetics.

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The Layout: Dual-Focal Point Design

This layout features an L-shaped sectional that faces the 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… Like a minimal but cozy look/layout. Want an open flow to see/conversate with people in other rooms.

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The Layout: Sofa In Front of the Fireplace

We are super into this unexpected layout idea for a living room with a fireplace! If you don’t use your fireplace and/or don’t want to incorporate it into your layout, putting a luxurious sofa in front of it is a great way to maximize space. It also uses the fireplace as an architectural backdrop!

The Key Design Elements:

The layout features a sofa facing out, 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, dramatic look in your living room. Don’t plan to use your fireplace but don’t want it to create wasted space. Want a lounge feel that’s open for conversation, cocktails, etc.

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The Layout: Chaise Sectional Design

This layout features 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 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. Like smaller, more intimate settings.

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The Layout: Fireplace as the Backdrop

This layout features symmetrical sofas that frame the fireplace in the backdrop. Armchairs block in the seating area from the inside in order to keep space open as you walk in. 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/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!

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wit and delight

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!

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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 dining and living room layout, where the possibilities seem endless—and overwhelming.

The Space: A large open living-dining room with big windows and an amazing fireplace

The Style: Inviting Industrial

The Challenge: Designing an open living room layout that is functional, comfortable, and has a cohesive style across the different areas.

More space, more design opportunities, right? True, but that’s also part of the challenge when it comes to designing an open living-dining room. While you have more space to work with, it’s also easy to suddenly get caught up with all sorts of design and decor ideas.

What if I placed my sofa away from the fireplace? Is that weird or just impractical? A sectional and two chairs make the most sense, but what if I just stick to a sofa and go for a bigger communal dining table?

These are common questions that come up when you’re working with a spacious open living room. To provide some guidance and inspire your open living room design, we explore two different layout ideas for open concept spaces that offer style, function, and big comfort all at once. Read on to see the layouts and get our tips for setting up your space.

Layout Idea #1: The Relaxed Gathering Living Room Layout

Equal parts modern, industrial, and livable, this layout is the perfect setup for a casual family home today. The emphasis is on laid-back comfort and simple style, and the boldly neutral palette adds warmth and an approachable vibe to the large open room.

 

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Why This Relaxed Layout Works

Family-Friendly Seating. If you’re working with an open living-dining room and want to keep a casual vibe, a large sectional sofa is a perfect choice. It’s family-friendly since it gives everyone tons of room to kick back and stretch out, and it also acts as a divider for your living and dining areas. Pull up a pair of armchairs and you’ve got a layout that’s big on comfort with good flow.

Casual Dining Area. With a smaller round table, you’ll have a relaxed dining area that’s simple and perfect for easy sit-down dinners. It’s great for a family of four with grown-up kids, or for those who prefer more free-flowing meal gatherings, like potlucks and pre-dinner snacks.

Good TV Placement. The TV mounted above the fireplace makes this an ideal layout if you love hosting movie nights or enjoy spending time keeping up with all the latest shows. The best part about this placement is that it makes watching TV easy from anywhere in the room, but it’s not the main focus in the space.

Modern and Comfy. Streamlined furnishings often can feel overly sleek and spare, but the pieces here are minimalist without feeling cold, thanks to the restrained color palette. The hint of brown in the dining chairs, the solid blues, and the subtle patterns all help to balance out the clean lines of the furnishings with touches of warmth.

Will This Open Living Room Layout Work In Your Space? Yes If You…

  • Enjoy casual gatherings that are laid-back and relaxed.
  • Love to host friends with kids for movie nights where everyone gets a seat.
  • Prefer having people over for no-fuss pre-dinner drinks instead of long dinners at the table.
  • Are all about a family-friendly space that can stand up to busy daily lives.

Layout Idea #2: The Formal Entertaining Living Room Layout

Elegant and contemporary in style, this layout leans formal and is thoughtfully arranged for conversation. It has a high-contrast palette of dark grays, white tones, and light woods, all of which give it a polished and considered look and feel. The mix of luxurious materials helps tie together the different areas and adds to the elevated appeal of the open room.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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