How to create the perfect layout for your living space - no matter the size

Laying out your living space can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to think about, like lighting levels, storage, functionality and practicality. On top of that, awkward room sizing can add another challenge. Where should everything go to make the most of your space?

We’ve teamed up with expert interior designer, Sylvia James from HomeHow, to give you top tips on how to layout your living room, big or small, to make it the perfect environment for you and your loved ones.

Sylvia’s top tip is: “The sofa is the most important piece of furniture in a living room. It is the first thing people see when they walk in and is normally the focal point of a room. Its size and positioning are crucial to getting a room right.”

A smaller space:

Tip 1: Choose the right sofa

In smaller rooms, a sofa that is too large will make the space feel cramped, but you also need to make sure that you provide enough seating.

The sofa should fit into the room without blocking any of your walking paths, but pushing furniture against walls should be avoided, as this can eat up the space and make it feel more crowded.

Tip 2: Opt for light furniture and high decor

Mirrors are great for smaller rooms as they give the illusion of space. Also, consider keeping wall décor and shelving high up on your walls, as this will give the perception of height and depth. Your eyes will instantly be drawn to these high pieces making the space between floor and ceiling feel much bigger.

Avoid visual-heavy and chunky pieces of furniture as they will drain the light from your living room. Instead, you should opt for light furniture with thin frames.

Tip 3: Find a focal point

When it comes to spacing, position furniture around a focal point, such as a TV, fireplace, or window. These can all serve as the room's centre of attention.

Don't leave a massive space in the middle of the room. Although this might seem to make the room look bigger, it does the opposite. This is a common mistake that plenty of people make, so avoid this by pulling sofas and chairs away from the outer wall. By gathering the furniture in the centre of the room, it can help create a cosy conversation area.

Tip 4: Go for nudes and neutrals

Use neutral colours on your walls. This will help create the illusion of space. Choose variations of white, cream, tan or grey for walls and large pieces of furniture and bring in small touches of colour or pattern with accents on the accessories.

A larger space:

Tip 1: Divide the Space

Splitting the room into different areas can help break up the space. You may want to separate more formal arrangements, like in front of a fireplace, from relaxed areas for watching TV and having family time. Other popular living zones are features like a reading nook, a craft or hobby area, and a games area. Sofa groups that can divide up these sections are great for larger sized rooms, freeing them up for other activities.

Tip 2: Decorate to prevent that empty feeling

Sometimes larger rooms can feel empty and have an echo. By layering exquisite textiles and soft furnishings, you can make the space feel luxurious, while also creating an ideal acoustical environment.

Adding carpets or rugs to hard floor surfaces, installing drapes, filling the space with more items and hanging artwork, can all prevent echo and make your home look great.

Tip 3: Be generous with your spacing

Spacing is crucial in open spaces. The general rule of thumb is that things like side tables, lamps, chairs should all be an arm's length away from each other. The recommended distance is 18 inches, but with larger spaces, you can go a little wider. The aim is to have pieces that are close enough to feel connected and natural, yet far enough apart that each component has its own breathing room.

Tip 4: Add in smaller pieces

Adding extra side tables is a great way to fill in spaces. They make sense in the ensemble and will give your space a sense of togetherness. Floor lamps work well in this way too.

An open plan space:

Tip 1: Think of the whole space first

Looking at the whole space is key for creating a dynamic room that flows. The furniture doesn't all need to match, but it should mesh effortlessly. Think about your choices for paint colour, wood finishes, and furniture styles, as they should tie in together.

Tip 2: Define your areas

Open plan living eliminates walls in favour of connected spaces that flow into each other, so it's important to have various zones and define territories with an open floor design.

Incorporating a focal point in each adjacent space will also help define each space, whether it’s an arrangement of sofas and chairs in the living room, or a cosy reading nook by the window.

Tip 3: Get strategic with your furniture placement

Bring the sofa and chairs into a close arrangement and have them facing one another, instead of out into the room. This will help create the effect of a smaller, more inviting room within a large open space. You can further distinguish the living area by laying an area rug underfoot.

Tip 4: Maintain the flow

Painting your walls the same colour means you won’t disrupt the visual flow of the room and will help link the defined areas in the space.

Avoid having too much white, as this can make the space overly bright, and you want to maintain some sense of intimacy.

You can find the perfect pieces for your new layout in our range of sofas, carpets and furniture here.

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