Living Room Layouts: How to Arrange Furniture

For most households, the living room is the social space, though the kitchen may be the heart of the home. The living room is where you entertain guests, gather to watch the game, host a book club and have kids play with their friends if they don’t go to their room. But what is the ideal living room layout?

A Sofa

Every living room needs a sofa that can seat at least two people, while seating for three or more is ideal. If your seating needs are always changing, consider a sectional couch. Then you can switch from a two-seat configuration to a three or four seat configuration by moving around matching chairs and foot cushions. The use of a sectional couch may eliminate the need for lounge chairs, though you may want at least one good recliner or stand-alone chair.

Whatever you use for seating, everyone should be within ten feet of each other so that they’re literally seen and heard. The exception to this would be a chair or loveseat in the corner for those who want to be alone. You can have several portable chairs set aside for when you need additional seating. That may be stored in a corner of the living room, the shed or inside of a storage cabinet. It really depends on what you have available.

Most permanent seating should be near and/or around the focal point of the room. This could be a conversational grouping, seating facing the big screen or chairs facing the picture window and the views you want to show off.


Tables should be placed where people want to put these down. These items may be drinks, plates of food, TV remote controls or their reading glasses. If you often host guests eating in front of the big screen, you’ll need more tables than someone who only needs to put their cup down while checking their phone. You can have TV trays and other small portable tables available for guests.


The living room needs lighting, because it is rare for natural lighting to provide all of our needs. Nor should you rely on a television or entertainment center to provide the necessary light when the overhead lights are off. A common solution is having at least one lamp next to the sofa and any stand-alone seating. You should have task lighting wherever people may need it, though this may be a standalone lamp next to a reading nook or a large overhead light over a game table.


There are quite a few items that should be available to those in the living room but not visible to guests. For example, you could store games, party supplies, toys and audio equipment inside of cabinets. If there is a wet bar, the alcohol needs to be secured inside of a locking cabinet. If you have young children, your life will be so much easier if there is a toy chest or toy box in the living room.  Don’t underestimate the value of a bookshelf. This could be used to hold picture frames, awards, or books.

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