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living room

Layout Guide: 1 Split-Level Living Space, 2 Open Layout Solutions

living room

Some rooms are a headache to furnish because nothing looks or fits right. And then there are some rooms where the overall space is unusual but you know the design possibilities are endless. This split-level, open layout living space is the latter.

Here, we dreamed up two ideas for this split-level open layout living space that serve very different needs but are both thoughtfully designed to accommodate different lifestyles. See how we bring it all together in this bi-level room layout.

The Space: A split-level living and dining space with an open layout

The Style: Mod Visionary

The Challenge: Designing a cohesive look in a split-level room

living roomIdea #1: The Chill-Out Entertaining Layout

Layout #1 is a functional entertaining space with an emphasis on family-friendly design. A large sectional anchors the lower level living space where the layout caters towards all things TV viewing. It’s a layout that allows a lot of room for adults and kids to lounge and move around in.

There’s also a designated kids zone, where a mini chairs-and-table setup provides room for both homework and fun and games. In contrast, the upper level is organized to be a relaxed dining area that’s all about unfussy family dinners.

Shop This Roomdining tableWhy It Works

There are clearly defined areas for entertaining on all levels. From the kids’ zone to the main living space to the elevated dining area, they all maintain a casual, relaxed vibe.

The floating sectional offers ample seating, and also works to divide the living space from the walkway. We added a console to help maximize storage in what would’ve been dead space. Likewise, the coffee table has hidden storage, which makes for an extra family-friendly addition to the living space. Not to mention, the round shape helps encourage traffic flow and is a more kid-friendly option (no sharp corners here).

The wall-mounted bookcase adds vertical storage and a tall overarching floor lamp is a great solve for a room without ceiling lights. Meanwhile, on the higher level, the dark blue accent wall helps draw the eye up toward the dining area, where there’s plenty of storage (credenza, bar cart) thanks to the round table that optimizes floor space. It all adds up to an open layout design that allows for a lot of comfortable family-friendly lounging, practical storage, and easy entertaining.

living roomThis Is Great If You…

  • Have a big family with lots of busybodies that find themselves doing many different things in the same space.
  • Love to host movie nights and entertain lots of friends on the regular.
  • Like a laid-back living space for simply kicking back and putting up your feet.
  • Are keen on a space that is highly functional for daily living and provides lots of room to move around in.

open layout split-level living roomIdea #2: The Conversing and Dining Layout

Layout #2 takes on a more tailored look and feel and is designed as more of a conversation space. It has a more formal look but is equally great for casual hangouts. Although there’s less of a kid-friendly focus here.

Rather than a space that’s designed around a media stand and TV, the sofa and armchairs in the main living area here are arranged to facilitate conversation. Likewise, the dining area is set up with a long table and stylish seating that accommodates a party of six for long sit-down dinners.

Shop This Room

dining chairWhy It Works

It’s a polished look from top to bottom and is tied together by an elevated color palette, starting from the dining room art and rug to the living room armchairs and sofa. The sofa and chairs are conducive to easy conversation, while the bench against the partition wall adds extra seating that maximizes that tricky wall space. Bonus points: you can even pull it up into the dining room for an extra seat if you have lots of people over!

The rectangular coffee table has an open airy base that balances out the heavier seating, and the credenza offers serious storage. In the dining area, the rectangular table makes the most of square footage in the space and the black dining chairs tie in the darkness of the tall cabinet and the living room bench. Altogether, this layout is about a unified entertaining space with a polished look and feel.

open layout living roomThis Is Great If You…

  • Are a couple with no children who love the idea of a space that’s perfect for conversation and intimate entertaining.
  • Enjoy having friends over for more formal affairs, like cocktails, wine-and-cheese nights, and sit-down meals.
  • Consider your style to be more modern and minimal and prefer a more streamlined look with a few key pieces in two open spaces with distinct functions.
  • Are looking to graduate your style and this is your first grown-up space that you’re furnishings for yourself.

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