Just like the human body, most rooms share the same skeleton. No matter the size or style—from Eclectic to English Country—a well-designed living room starts with one of a few basic layouts. These are floor plans that have proven over time to be the best at defining the space and directing the flow in your home's most livable room. Using the same three pieces—a sofa and two chairs—we sketched out three of the most popular living room blueprints. Now it's up to you to build out the body.
This formal layout doesn't cut corners; the sofa and chairs here face each other at right angles, creating a polite spot to sip Sazeracs and talk politics. The furniture in a formal layout inspires everything else in the room—the rug, side tables and art—to follow the same grid structure, creating a room that's symmetrical and elegant.
Great for: Intimate Adult Conversation
See it in action: Leslie and Jake's "Street Cred Granny" Style in LA
This wide open layout is relaxed and welcoming, with the seating placed only on two sides of the room. This layout is great for families, giving everyone their own spot to stretch out and relax (feet on the coffee table optional). Cozy and casual, you can just imagine piling around with pillows for a Netflix marathon.
Great for: Family Movie Nights
See it in action: Kelly's Luminous Tree House
Relaxed and Rounded
The Goldilocks of layouts; more intimate than the L-shape, but more inviting than a formal living room. The sofa and chairs are sat on either side of the room, but the chairs are turned outward just a bit, creating a tight circular arrangement that inspires conversation (a round table or ottoman is the pairing for this plan). The flow around this room keeps people from bumping into corners, making it ideal for a lively cocktail party or a busy home with lots of guests.
Great for: Parties and Entertaining
See it in action: Myka and George's Modern Abode
Which living room layout do you prefer?
(Image credits: Ammentorp Photography/Shutterstock; Taryn Fiol/Martina Vaculikova; Bethany Nauert; Carolyn Purnell; Kim Lucian)