Be Your Own Designer: 10 Flawless Ways to Lay Out a Living Room

updated Nov 8, 2022
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Our living rooms wear a lot of hats: we watch TV, entertain friends, have conversations and spend time reading in them. Sometimes they double as home offices, playrooms for kids, or even dining rooms, too. With all these considerations, it can be tricky to decide how best to arrange your living room, but thinking about the feeling you’d like the space to convey in combination with how you’ll spend time there is a solid way to start.

Here are 10 living room layout ideas to get those creative wheels spinning.

10 Living Room Layout Ideas

In order to show you 10 different living room layouts, I first had to come up with a versatile enough floor plan, one that incorporated a few problems/features we’d all recognize. Here, a long rectangular room has a central fireplace, windows to the front, and glass doors/garden access to the rear.

It’s a generous space, but not one without challenges. In each layout, I’ve tried to consider TV placement (because, let’s face it, most of us prioritize that in a living room), storage, traffic routes, and zoning the space with rugs and accessories.

Your own home may not have a living room that’s quite so versatile—it’s a sad truth that the smaller (or more oddly shaped) a room is, the fewer ways it can work as a space. My own L-shaped living/dining area only really works one way due to short walls, radiators, and an entire wall of windows. So think of these specific layouts as tailored to this space, but take inspiration on how you can re-think your own home in a multitude of ways.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1. Formal and Balanced

This is probably the layout many of us think of when we consider a “formal” living room: two small sofas facing each other, a coffee table between them. Built-ins to either side of the fireplace provide storage, and a TV over the mantle can be easily viewed from either sofa.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

2. Casual and Balanced

Similar to the above, this is just a bit more relaxed. Two matching chairs offer a different seating option, and the TV moves to one side of the fireplace, as it’s more likely to be viewed from the sofa. I’ve also squeezed in a little writing desk for occasional work.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

3. Lots of Versatile Seating

Swinging the sofa lengthwise to the room allows for a slightly larger one, facing the TV directly. Two armchairs in opposite corners can be moved where needed, and a pouf-as-coffee table can become seating in a pinch, as well. This is definitely a living room to welcome your friends’ ’round for movie night.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4. Minimal and Comfortable

When comfort and style are both paramount, pare down the furniture but select it carefully. A sectional sofa and armchair and footstool offer the only seating, but since they’re both such comfortable options, nobody will feel like they got the sad seat.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

5. Retro Party Pad

There’s something deeply chic about a ’70s-style sectional and matching chaise, don’t you think? Here, we lose the built-ins in favor of some freestanding mid-century media and storage units, just for a change. For added party points, I’ve added a bar cart in the corner and an oversize coffee table, perfect for all those party snacks.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

6. Work & Live Space

The nice thing about a sectional is that it can divide a space without really dividing it if you know what I mean. With the chaise situated in the center of the room, this space is essentially a small living room + office. The rug, only under the “living area,” further underlines this.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

7. Modern Country Casual

Many cozy conversation areas come to mind when I think of country-style design. A small table, paired with two cozy armchairs, allows for board games or reading, while two small sofas face each other for comfier conversations. The TV is placed centrally in some formal built-ins but is probably less important in this space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

8. Family Friendly

In this space, the sectional becomes a full-on L-shaped sofa, with arms and back all around. Extra seating is provided by a large pouf/ottoman, and the other half of the room is all play zone, with toy storage provided. I’ve even cleared the way for a child’s play table or toy kitchen.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

9. Separate Dining Zone

A lot of us have live-eat rooms, so here’s an option if that’s your situation. By placing the sofa in the center of the room with its back to the dining area, you create two separate spaces, and the rug also helps with this. The living area is small, true, but it looks out into the garden, and the TV is placed on a media unit nearby. In the dining area, I added shelving for books on each side, to make a sort of eat-in library.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

10. Integrated Dining Zone

This layout is similar to the above but more casual and spacious in feel. A sectional under the windows, a table by the doors, and a central TV that can be viewed from either space. I’ve kept the rug under the living area only, but this would work just as well with a large centralized one, provided you weren’t worried about food spills.

*Re-edited from a post first published 09.20.2017 -BM