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Expert Living Room Layout Ideas

November 18, 2014
Maximize flow, storage and seating capacity in your living room with these designer space-planning tips.
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Living Room Layout Ideas

The 26x15-foot living room of this two-story Atlanta house was designed to maximize seating and create easy flow in and out of the space. A mix of comfy slipcovered chairs, a chesterfield sofa and a pair of oversized coffee tables (in lieu of end tables) work together to keep the space properly furnished and proportionately balanced.

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Create Flow to the Kitchen

Open-concept living rooms allow easy dialogue between the family room and the kitchen. When arranging furniture in the family room, leave at least 36 inches of open space on each side of the sofa or armchairs. This will ensure proper traffic flow between the two spaces.

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Photo: Flynnside Out Productions. From: Brian Patrick Flynn.

Leave Space Around the Staircase

Furnishing a living room with a nearby staircase can present a traffic flow obstacle. Similar to hallways, it's best to think of staircases as high-traffic areas requiring at least 36 inches of clearance. Rather than outfitting the walls around a staircase with heavy furniture, try using them to showcase art or accent pieces, such as sculptural chairs or occasional seating in the form of ottomans or lightweight benches.

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Photo: Flynnside Out Productions. From: Brian Patrick Flynn.

Inspect From Multiple Angles

In addition to functionality, it's important to consider visual balance when designing a living room. As you arrange furniture, take a step back and look at the room from several vantage points, especially from nearby staircases and landings. What may appear properly balanced from below may look cluttered from above.

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