6 Ways to Re-think Your Living Room Seating Plan…No Matter Its Size

published Mar 26, 2019
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Credit: Megan Schlachtenhaufen

Buying new furniture is a big part of the fun of moving into a new place or redecorating the place you already have. But furniture (particularly living room furniture) is a significant purchase, and you want to get it right. The first step, before you get down to styles and fabrics and colors, is deciding what furniture you need. How do you get the right combination to make the most of your space?

If you’re furnishing a whole room, or just contemplating buying a new sofa, here are six ways to create a space that suits your unique needs — and make the square footage that you have work for you. We’ve used two collections from Interior Define to illustrate these common setups (both were designed by our founder, Maxwell, who knows a thing or two about making people’s spaces work): the Maxwell and the Ms. Chesterfield collections. Besides looking great, these sofas all come in custom sizes, so you can get the perfect fit for your space.

If your living room is…

Big and Spacious

Multiple Seating Groups
While it’s certainly not a bad problem to have, a living room that’s very large can present a design challenge. Your typical living room configuration (sofas and chairs grouped around a TV) can start to feel a little lost in a very large space — either that or the grouping becomes so large that it starts to feel like an amphitheater. If your living room is particularly big, you can break up the space by creating multiple seating groups, with one centered on the television and one designed for more intimate conversation.

Two Sectionals Paired Together
Another idea we love is to pair two sectionals together for a conversational grouping that becomes a sort of room-within-a-room, creating a more “human” scale in a larger space. Try two matched Ms. Chesterfield sectionals, or even this corner sectional if the room is particularly large.

Credit: Miko Bowen
Facing your seating against other seating (instead of a TV or fireplace) helps eliminate the "amphitheater effect."

Average Sized

Two Sofas Across from Each Other
In an average-sized living room, you won’t have to worry about furniture being swallowed by the space — but the typical arrangement of a seating group around a TV can still feel a bit impersonal. One solution we love is to place two sofas or loveseats across from each other, which creates a really cozy, intimate feel (and can really improve a space’s flow). Maxwell’s Ms. Chesterfield, a modern take on the classic style, would look very dignified in a pair.

Credit: Megan Schlachtenhaufen
In some small space, one large piece can work as an anchor in the room.


Apartment-Sized Sofa + Ottoman
Trying to squeeze a full-sized sofa into a little space can make some rooms look smaller and impede movement around them. (But not all rooms! More on this next.) The Maxwell Apartment Sofa has the same luxuriously deep seat, but it’s proportioned to fit a smaller room. Add an ottoman for extra versatility: With a tray on top, it’s a coffee table, and when you have guests, it’s an extra bit of seating you can position anywhere you like.

Sectional Sofa
On the other hand, sectionals are a surprisingly good solution for some small spaces: Their versatile layouts allow you to really take advantage of all the square footage available. Depending on the layout of your room and what other pieces you have in it, one large piece can become a functional anchor for the room and make the room feel bigger. The Maxwell is available with a chaise either on the left or the right, to suit your space.

Credit: Jordana Nicholson
Your really small room might not have a sofa and a piano, but the Maxwell Accent Chair and Ottoman pictured here bring in the right-sized luxury.

Really Small

Just a Chair (or Two)
If your living room is REALLY small (or you’re living in a studio where one room does triple or quadruple duty), it’s worth asking yourself whether you need a sofa at all. If you don’t entertain often, a single big, comfy chair might be just the thing to meet your lounging needs. Pair it with an ottoman (or a second chair) and you’ll have an extra seat for the times you do have company.

If you’re still feeling stumped about how to layout your living room — or if you’re inspired by these ideas but don’t quite know where to start — Interior Define can help. Their expert Design Specialists will consult with you about your furniture layout, and help you put together just the right combination for your space. They can help with fabric selection and make color suggestions, too. But the best part is that their 100-day return policy means you don’t have to stress about buying furniture online, because you’re guaranteed to be happy.