This Unexpected Piece of Furniture Is the Key to Creating Two Entirely Different Seating Areas in One Living Room

published Sep 8, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

If you enjoy entertaining, then you likely know coming up with ways to add additional seating areas in your home can be a challenge. A person’s living room is typically the go-to place to gather — save maybe the kitchen — whether hosting friends, family, or a book club gathering. You know what’s better than one living room? Two! Here’s a way to fake it ’til you make it, courtesy of one savvy Apartment Therapy house tour.

Jussara Mallmann and Ilson Soares live in a beautiful 1291-square-foot apartment in Brazil that they’ve owned for 13 years. “I remember as if it were yesterday,” Mallmann says in her house tour. “The day we went to visit this apartment for the first time, it was a sunny Sunday, and we were sure that was where we wanted to live with our family.” For years, she and Soares did just that.

As far as the design style of the home, Mallmann loves French-inspired interiors, but the apartment didn’t always reflect that aesthetic. When her daughter moved out of the home, Mallmann decided to renovate the apartment to create a space that was 100 percent true to her style by hiring architects Olga Dornelles and Mariana Ziede from Estúdio Dozi to bring her vision to life.

The official style Mallmann asked for is “classic with a French twist” with tons of cozy spaces to relax and unwind. Her newly redone living room is the best and brightest space in the home, for more reasons than one. Aside from the large windows and its bright color palette, there’s something else really inspiring about the living room, and that’s the stunning layout. The way this space room is set up and furnished, Mallmann technically has two living rooms in one, thanks to swapping a bench in for what would typically be a table behind one sofa.

It all comes down to a smart use of space and the creation of zones. On one wall in the large, airy space, the TV is mounted amongst built-in shelves that stretch all the way to the ceiling, which creates a natural focal point in the room. Directly across from that, a white sofa and coffee table combo rounds out the typical living room setup. What’s interesting, though, is that bench behind the sofa. Placing it here adds extra casual seating and another place for company to sit if the sofa spots fill up.

It’s best to look for a backless style bench, as Mallmann did here. That way, you won’t cover up too much of your sofa. You don’t have to worry about comfort either, since your guests can actually lean against the sofa back for support.

Another interesting design decision in this living room? The choice of putting nesting tables in front of that bench and then another sofa facing the bench just beyond them. This creates two completely different living room setups — back-to-back — with both sofas facing the same way so no matter which one you sit on, you can still see the TV. The built-ins, which hold favorite decorative objects and some books, are still the star of the show no matter what sofa you sit on, too. “My favorite hobbies are reading and being in bright spaces,” Mallmann says. “So the living room is definitely my favorite place to be.”

If you have a large, open space, then this is a brilliant, unconventional way to quite literally double up your living rooms. You can use two different sofas and two different coffee tables to create two completely different vibes in your home, just like Mallmann has inside hers. With less square footage, there’s still a takeaway here, too. For a few extra places for guests to perch, consider a bench instead of a console table behind your sofa.