Formal Living Rooms

Create an inviting room with our seating arrangement ideas.


[BLANK_AUDIO] Hi, I'm Jennifer Kopf, Home Editor at Southern Living. The living room is often the most beautiful room in the house, but it can get a bit of a bad rap. It's frequently thought of that formal space that is off limits except when guests are around. But your living room should be more than that. It is called the living room after all. Don't think of it as a special occasion space but as a pretty and inviting place where you can sit and enjoy conversation with friends and family. Or escape to by yourself to engage in a favorite book. The most common living room seating arrangement includes a sofa opposite two matching chairs. This gives lots of seating options and allows easy conversation because everyone is facing each other. [MUSIC] If you want the arrangement to feel more relaxed, angle your chairs instead of arranging them straight. The result is more open, but still has a pleasing formality. [MUSIC] If your room is very rectangular or tight on space the two chairs can be moved completely to the side to create more of a U-shape. [MUSIC] If you feel confident mixing fabrics and furniture consider using mixed not matched chairs. Just be sure to choose chairs of a similar scale. [MUSIC] And if you have a big space or often entertain large groups add additional chairs as singles or pairs. To ensure that the room does not feel too heavy confine fully upholstered pieces with chairs that have exposed wood. [MUSIC] Another arrangement option is to forego the sofa altogether and use only chairs. Group four matching chairs or combine two pairs. [MUSIC] If you're lucky to have a fireplace in your living room, you have two good options. One is to think of it as a side accessory and arrange your sofa and chair so that no one directly faces the fireplace. The other is to give the fireplace more prominence and place your furniture so that the sofa is across from it and the chairs flank it. Both work well and the choice is completely yours. [MUSIC] No matter what your furniture placement, a coffee or a cocktail table in the middle of it all keeps your arrangement grounded. Choose a rectangular or square shape for a look that's orderly and geometrical. The hard edges of the table are a nice counterpoint to the rounded edges of the upholstery. Around our oval table is a good option to balance upholstery with squared arms. It also feels a bit friendlier and works well when people need to walk through, not around your furniture grouping. [MUSIC] As a general rule the tables length should be at least half the size of the sofa. And the height should be comparable to the height of the sofa seat. [MUSIC] If you want a look that is less conventional, consider bunching a couple of smaller tables, or using a bench. There are many choices in materials, including wood and metal. [MUSIC] An upholstered ottoman is also a fun choice that give your room a softer look. It's a great way to add additional color or a pattern. Treat it just as you would a regular coffee table, using a tray as a surface to hold drinks or a vase. Once you have the major pieces in place, fill in you furniture arrangement with additional furnishings Things, including side tables and lamps. For more great decorating ideas pickup a copy of Southern Living Magazine and visit [MUSIC]
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