Living Room Geometry: The Basics of a Well-Balanced Room

published Aug 11, 2014
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
(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Forget everything you think you know about 10th grade math. The geometry of a harmonious living room is a lot more basic than you think, no protractor needed. Get acquainted with these two key points and this one simple dynamic shape, and you’ll be on your way to a living space that sings.

The Focal Point

The focal point is where people’s eyes first land upon entering the living room. It could be a natural focal point, like a fireplace mantle or a big window with a view, or it can be something you’ve designed to be the focal point, like an accent wall or large piece of artwork.

The focal point should face the entry way, or whatever is the most common entry point for your room, but it doesn’t have to face the furniture (or vice versa). The sofa in Adam & Ellen’s Inspired Brooklyn Brownstone above faces away from this stunning fireplace focal wall.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The Center Point

The center point is the core of your room’s layout. It doesn’t have to be the exact middle of the room, although that’s the case in many homes. The center point of a living room is where the coffee table or center table will sit, with seating arranged around it.

In a long living room or an especially large one, you might consider locating two or more center points to create seperate seating areas. The photo above from Frank Roop Interiors features two center points, the conversation circle in the foreground, and the coffee table and sofa in the background.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)


Triangulation is simply the idea of trying to create triangles wherever you can in a room. It’s based on the idea that groupings of three are harmonious to our senses and that diagonal lines are dynamic and keep eyes moving. Triangles can go everywhere and anywhere in the room, and there’s no limit to how many.

Go small and arrange three same-color objects in a triangle on the bookshelf, or go big by creating an isoceles triangle above the sofa: The apex is a big piece of art and the base points are side tables and the coordinated objects on them. The green pillows and sculpture for a triangle in Maureen’s Classic and Comfy Austin Abode, above.

How do you make geometry work in your living room?