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types of sectionals

Sectional Shapes: Our Guide to the Different Types of Sectionals

We’ve all been spending more time at home this year, which likely means more time watching TV, reading, or hanging out with family. It also means the centerpiece of all the action is likely 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 the living room and family room. They’re super comfortable and offer lots of seating for lots of people.

Not surprising, there are many different types of sectional sofas—from the L-shaped to the sleeper sectional. And 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 common types of sectionals along with the pros and cons of each one to help you figure out what’s best for you. Read on to see all your options in this complete guide!

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!

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.

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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. You’ll have to find a different style.

It’s great for… those living in a spacious apartment 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

L-Shape Sectional Sofa With Chaise

Think of this as the L-shape sectional v. 2. 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 seat.

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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.

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

U-Shape Sectional Sofa

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

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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.
  • It’s the best seat 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 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.

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.

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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 from one side for the other—like a right-arm chaise versus a left-arm seat—so 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 is definitely meant for seating rather than lounging and stretching out your legs, and it accommodates fewer people than an actual sectional.

It’s great for… smaller spaces where you want the comfort of a sectional in the size of a sofa. Check out our guide to sofa materials for the best durable upholstery, and also whether you want a sectional vs sofa if you’re undecided!

types of sectionals

The Pit

We call this sectional sofa ‘The Pit’ because it feels like a conversation pit. It’s one big block of upholstery and among the less common types of sectional sofas, though it’s by far the comfiest.

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Pros:

  • Like a U-shaped sectional sofa that is filled in the center with ottomans, it’s comfy, cushy, and oh-so cozy, recalling the amazing conversation pits of the Mid-Century playboy era.
  • 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.

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.
  • That also makes it not the most flexible option since you can’t separate any section or chaises 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.

types of sectionals

Modular Sectional Sofa

With individual 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.

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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.

Cons:

  • They can sometimes get moved out of their intended spot 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.

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corner fireplace layout

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. 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 layoutLayout #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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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 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 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  living room layouts that show you how to decorate around a fireplace so you can 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 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.

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The Layout: Sofa Facing The Fireplace

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.

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The Layout: Symmetrical Sofas Design

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.

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The Layout: Corner Fireplace Design

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 ambience. 

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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 living room fireplace and the chairs 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.

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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 fireplace mantel decor on top for a casual and un-intimidating design. Plus, the 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:

The furniture around the fireplace creates a casual, bohemian style lounge to sit and relax while the non-functional fireplace acts as functional decor by 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; 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.

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The Layout: 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… Like a minimal but cozy look or want an open flow to see and 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, 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, dramatic 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, 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 and 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 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!

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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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