Deep thoughts on sofa layouts

When we moved into our house, we transferred the furniture from our apartment living room to the living room in our house, added a Milo Baughman parsons chair for extra seating and called it a day, knowing we’d come back to it later to refurbish.

We’re not quite ready to pull the trigger and need to make some bigger picture decisions around whether and how we’re going to open up our living room further, but for now we both agree it’s about time for a new sofa (or two!).

My biggest challenge is that I absolutely hate that from the front hallway, all you see of the living room is the back of the sectional. It’s so cut off, not inviting and just isn’t pretty. So, I’ve come up with two potential solutions.

To illustrate the situation (no, I’d never share this angle on Instagram, because I mean…)


And for the potential solutions:

Solution One: Go bold with the sofa

We keep the existing sofa placement and swap the sectional for a sofa with a stellar back, maybe even a patterned fabric. This layout is ideal for TV watching, but it still feels like it cutting up the space visually.

Some inspiration:

This toile sofa from Pencil and Paper Co. is just so fab.

Or look at the back on this sofa on the left (swoon), Jenny Keenan

Beyond the Southern etiquette, it's in the family room that the true personality of this fun-loving family shines. Joe needed a place for his music, and collection of rock 'n' roll...

Solution Two: Two facing sofas

We add two sofas facing each other, a narrow coffee table and a chair or two facing toward the TV. I’d go with a light solid color on the sofas and bring in color with the rug and pillows. I love the look of two sofas face to face, but I’m worried it’s going to feel like a lot of furniture in one not huge space. I did the math and the coffee table would need to be pretty narrow. Also two sofas equals $$. We’re definitely not opposed to spending it, if it’s going to make the room work, just an important consideration. I also don’t know if this is going to make the view from the dining room (and in the future, the kitchen, more closed off)

Some inspiration:

Ali Cayne’s Townhouse

Living room with two yellow sofas | photo brittany ambridge for domino

Though I’d probably go with a neutral – likely white.

Or mismatched, as in Jenny Kennan’s house

No TVs were allowed in the formal living room, where a more conventional floorplan set the tone for conversation and reading. While the furniture was kept timeless, punchy accents were brought in...

And I love these matching sofas in Paloma Contrera’s living room.


And because it’s worth mentioning, we’re opting out of a sectional because this is our only living room / lounge space and while a sectional feels like it adds a bit of space when it’s the two of us, it really doesn’t add much extra seating when you have company over (nobody REALLY likes to sit on that chaise… keeping it real).

Do you have a preference?

5 thoughts on “Deep thoughts on sofa layouts

  1. I found your blog via the instagram pic of your guest room (I literally CANNOT stop thinking about it…I want to duplicate it in my house 😉 ) Anyhoo, What if you do the sofa in front of the window, but on the opposite side do a second Milo chair (or two big comfy club chairs). That would give you flexibility in the future if you want to rearrange, allow for some variation in fabrics/textures, and give you good sight lines from the entry way and the dining area. I don’t think it would be any cheaper as nice side chairs can be $$, but maybe an option?

    1. that’s such a good idea! I’m definitely going to test out that arrangement with our existing furniture this week to see how that flows with the space. thank you!! (and thank you for the guest room love – it’s definitely our fave room we’ve tackled to date)!

  2. I love your living room! I think it would look great on instagram. But if you really don’t want to do the entire room in a photo, you should at least do snapshots or vignettes. It looks like you have a great wall gallery.

    As for the layout, I love your ideas. Either one could work well. But I also like Emmy Chaz’s idea. Maybe throw in a couple of ottomans or pouf for even more seating, if necessary.

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