Choosing Living Room Furniture

Consider fabric, function and style when selecting furniture for your remodel.
CI-Ann-Lowengart-green-blue-pillows-living-room_s4x3

CI-Ann-Lowengart-green-blue-pillows-living-room_s4x3

Photo courtesy of Ann Lowengart

Photo by: Dacian Groza

Dacian Groza

Photo courtesy of Ann Lowengart

By: Julie Cole Miller
Related To:

We've all seen cold rooms with furnishings lined inelegantly against the wall. Yes, the floor space is preserved wide and open. Yet the room doesn't appear larger or more inviting. It isn't conducive to conversation or drawing closer for a chat. The best rooms are not static boxes. They include furnishings that can be pulled up, dragged over or gathered around.

Designer Ann Lowengart says moveable seating is key. "We love swivel chairs that can face a sofa, the television or the outdoors," she says. "Other favorites are stools and benches that can be moved around to create extra seating or facilitate intimate conversations. Moveable pieces give a space versatility — that's why we love them so much."

Every living room has a focal point. It's the spot that begs attention when we first enter the room. Designers Alison Vanderpool and Ariana Villalta of The Elegant Abode suggest starting there. "Make sure you always start with a main focal point and begin placing furniture from there," says Vanderpool. "Don't be afraid to have your furniture placed in the middle of the room. A decent-sized area rug will ground it and create a more comfortable feeling."

Vanderpool and Villalta begin with upholstered pieces, first and foremost, to delineate a pleasing seating arrangement. They like to use either two matching sofas facing one another or a sofa with two armchairs to encourage interaction and engagement with others in the room. To ensure there's always room for more, "ottomans can also be a great addition to seating and can easily be moved around," says Vanderpool.

Design Behind the Living Room Sofa

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Ottomans, coffee tables, occasional tables and other portable surfaces lend the room a congenial atmosphere, ensuring that there's always a surface nearby for a book, drink, lamp, tray or vase. These are the pieces that catch all of our stuff — the worthwhile things that engage us and encourage us outside the rush of day-to-day commitments.

"Focus on the living part," advises designer Andrea Brooks. "Make these rooms livable, with comfortable, deep upholstery pieces and snuggly but durable fabrics. I love using chairs that swivel when you have multiple seating areas. And I love my overscaled ottoman — it's moveable, inviting to sit upon and you can put your feet up when you want to."

So play around with the placement of your furnishings. Pull up a chair, put up your feet and find an arrangement that encourages living in your living room.

HGTV Home Sofa

HGTV Home Sofa

This Park Avenue sofa has a stylish track arm T cushion. Seatsand backs are loose and reversible.

Photo by: Photo Courtesy: HGTV HOME Design Studio at Bassett

Photo Courtesy: HGTV HOME Design Studio at Bassett

This Park Avenue sofa has a stylish track arm T cushion. Seatsand backs are loose and reversible.

Sofas

Styles: Bridgewater, camelback, Chesterfield, club, Knole, Lawson, midcentury modern, slipper, tuxedo

Fabrics: Cotton, linen, wool, microfiber, velvet, cotton/poly blend, faux suede, leather

Keep in mind: Stain resistance, durability, pets, loose or attached pillows and cushions, filling (often foam wrapped in polyester or down)

Additional options: Loveseats, sectionals, sleeper sofas, chaises, settees

Lagoon Oliver Chair

Lagoon Oliver Chair

The Oliver Chair's comfy, rounded shape and scaled-down proportions help to create intimate, conversational settings in open areas or small spaces.

Photo by: Photo Courtesy of West Elm

Photo Courtesy of West Elm

The Oliver Chair's comfy, rounded shape and scaled-down proportions help to create intimate, conversational settings in open areas or small spaces.

Occasional Chairs

Styles: Armchairs, barrel-back, club, slipper, wing

Fabrics: Cotton, linen, leather, microfiber, silk, velvet, wool, cotton/poly blend

Keep in mind: Comfort, stain resistance, durability, pets

Additional options: Rockers, recliners, swivels, gliders, chair-and-a-half

Ottoman

Ottoman

This chocolate ottoman features micro-fiber upholstery, removable tufted top and faux leather vinyl base.

Photo by: Photo Courtesy: MBWFurniture.com

Photo Courtesy: MBWFurniture.com

This chocolate ottoman features micro-fiber upholstery, removable tufted top and faux leather vinyl base.

Upholstered Ottomans, Benches and Stools

Styles: Rectangular, square, circular

Fabrics: Cotton, linen, leather, microfiber, silk, velvet, wool, cotton/poly blend

Keep in Mind: Storage capabilities, portability, stain resistance, durability

Additional options: Small portable poufs

Warrenton Console Table

Warrenton Console Table

This Warrenton console table is constructed with plantation hardwoods and Cherry veneers and features a rich Cherry Chestnut finish.

Photo by: Photo Courtesy: Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc.

Photo Courtesy: Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc.

This Warrenton console table is constructed with plantation hardwoods and Cherry veneers and features a rich Cherry Chestnut finish.

Coffee Tables, Side Tables and Accent Tables

Styles: Rectangular, square, circular, oval

Materials: Wood, Lucite, glass, metal, woven fibers, shagreen, mirror or some combination thereof

Keep in mind: Storage capabilities, shelving, durability, portability

Additional options: Trunks, garden seats, stools, nesting tables, multiple small tables in place of one large coffee table

Keep Reading

Next Up

Living Room Built-In Shelves

These custom storage solutions maximize every inch of space, adding function and style.

Remodeling a Living Room for Resale

Get tips for choosing renovation projects that pay off.

Add Interest to Your Ceiling and Walls

Learn about details that pull a living room style together: beams, molding, wainscoting and trim.

Do-It-Yourself Living Room Projects

With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can take on these minor living room updates.

Top Living Room Flooring Options

Learn the pros and cons of wood, stone, concrete and carpet, along with buying tips.

Living Rooms: Splurge vs. Save

Allocate your living room budget wisely, for the best and most beautiful results.

Design With Multipurpose Furniture

Learn how experts use storage and get tips to outfit your living room with function and style.

How to Begin a Living Room Remodel

Do your research and think about what you'll need before starting your living room project.

Living Room Layouts and Ideas

The right layout makes your long, open or square living room attractive and user friendly.

Determine Your Living Room Needs

Before you begin your living room remodel, think about what you need to lounge, entertain and work.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.