Living Room Layout Ideas We Love

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It’s tempting to start decorating without a plan in place, but we’ve learned from Southern…

It’s tempting to start decorating without a plan in place, but we’ve learned from Southern designers that doing so is often a recipe for disaster—or at the least, a little disappointment with the final result. Instead, the pros advise beginning with the floor plan. If you’re stuck on where to start in your own home, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite designer-approved living room layout ideas that are guaranteed to inspire. From family rooms with twin sofas to dens with a trio of tables, these thoughtful and creative setups are sure to make any space sing. 

Find the Symmetry

Alison Gootee; Styling: Page Mullins.

For a living room that skews more traditional in its floor plan, opt for a symmetrical arrangement, like this one in Houston creative Natalie Steen’s formal living room. Here, designer Lila Malone centered the entertaining-worthy spot with a classic sofa, then flanked it with two pairs of twin chairs. Their unique silhouettes and different upholstery choices prevent it from feeling cloyingly matchy-matchy.

Anchor It with Statement Seating

Cooper chose a performance velvet for the 20-foot banquette. “It’s so big you don’t want to have to re-cover it,” she says. An equally sturdy fabric adorns the chairs in the breakfast nook where dogs Biggie and Ivy hold court.

DANE TASHIMA; Styling: PAGE MULLINS


At this Richmond, Virginia, home, designer Elly Poston Cooper positioned a 20-foot-long banquette against a bank of windows, ensuring there’s plenty of comfy seating for the homeowners and their frequent rotation of guests. 

Carve Out a Cozy Corner

Alison Gootee; Styling: Kate Malpeli


Designer Laura Jenkins was tasked with making the two spaces in this shared living-dining area feel distinct. To that end, she outfitted the den with a comfy sectional, nestling it in the window-wrapped corner. The oversized sofa is the perfect fuss-free option for the young family of four, while a floating chair and coffee table round out the room and make it more friendly for visitors.

Focus on the Fireplace

“I always knew I wanted to build this room around those,” says the designer about a trio of avian prints.

Hector Manuel Sanchez


Designer Catherine Branstetter opted for a traditional flow in her Nashville Tudor-style home, situating her sofa on the opposite wall from the fireplace and then floating a couple of chairs on opposite ends of the room. The secret to making this configuration work is all about thoughtful practicality: Each seat is within easy reach of a cocktail or coffee table, so your guests are never left without a place for their drink.

Spring for Dueling Sofas

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAUREY W. GLENN; STYLING BY KENDRA SURFACE

The living room of our 2022 Idea House in North Carolina proves that two truly are better than one, with designer Charlotte Lucas placing two Schumacher-fabric-wrapped Highland House sofas opposite each other, allowing for easy conversation. 

Add a Pair of Chairs

Laurey W. Glenn; Stylist: Matthew Gleason


This recipe for seating success relies on the dependable balance of the twin sofa layout mentioned in the previous setup, but rather than a couple of couches, designer Laura Hodges’ formula for our 2023 Idea House called for a pair of matching chairs opposite the sofa. The effect feels a smidge more casual, but just as suited for entertaining. 

Opt for Twin Tables

Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Elly Poston Cooper

Rather than choosing one larger coffee table for her inviting den and library, homeowner Hanna Seabrook dialed up the character—and allowed for more flexibility—by placing a pair of smaller ones in front of the cushy sofa instead. 

Skip the Chairs

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins


No need to clutch your pearls: This chair-free arrangement by Allison Allen still offers plenty of comfy places to land, thanks to the sofa on the back wall and a pair of windowless, skirted loveseats that face each other in front of the fireplace. A low, narrow coffee table in front of the couch, as well as a larger coffee table between the loveseats, keep the furniture from feeling like it’s floating or untethered within the space.

Create a Drop Zone

Dane Tashima, STYLING: Buffy Hargett Miller 


At their Pass Christian, Mississippi, retreat, homeowners Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold designed around the fireplace, centering it between a pair of mismatched rattan chairs and positioning a sofa opposite, with a coffee table in the middle. The subtle star of this layout, though, is the upholstered bench situated directly behind the sofa, which serves as a laid-back catch-all or an easy perch to slip on shoes.

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