If you have quite a big living room or an open plan dining and living room, you can use the pathway to separate the different functional areas of the room. The focal point of a room should be suited to the room's function. Create too many focal points and your living room will feel visually cluttered or confusing. Arrange your furniture around the focal centre of the room (which doesn't necessarily have to be the literal centre of the room). I've reluctantly included a black marker for television placement in the living room floor plan diagrams below, as the television is typically the focal point of most living rooms today. To quote Joey from Friends, “You don't have a TV? What's all your furniture pointed at?”. But if you don't have a TV, (good for you!) you can replace this with a console table or artwork or whatever you like really to act as an anchor for the rest of the room. Even better if you have a fireplace that would make a great focal point for your living room.
If you want an intimate seating arrangement that allows your family or guests to converse with one another comfortably, keep the seating positions within an 8ft radius to ensure a natural distance (and volume!) between people for conversation. There should be an obvious surface that is easy to reach from every seat in the living room, in the way of side tables or a coffee table or both! Nothing's worse than sitting down in somebody else's home not knowing where to put down your cup of coffee. Just make sure that there is sufficient leg room when you have a centre coffee table. In the diagrams above, these simple living room furniture layouts show different ways that you can arrange furniture in context to where the room's entrance or entrances may be. A living room should welcome you in from the moment you step foot through the door, so ponder on that as you arrange your furniture. If you arrange your living room furniture asymmetrically, your living room will feel a lot more casual.
If you have an open plan dining area in your living room (as many new homes do), ensure about 4ft distance between the table and the wall, or the dining space will feel cramped and lessen the dining experience. If you want to unify the different components of different spaces in an open plan living room, such as the dining area or reading nook, you can use area rugs to almost create “wall-free” rooms within the large room. Experiment! Move things around, measure them, look at your room from all angles and picture it from an aerial point of view for an idea on available floor space. What's important is that it's comfortable and feels like home. Having the bookcase there allowed me to display some family photos and a few more decorative items that would otherwise just be stored in a box. It also works well because there's no back on the bookcase which allows the light to shine through and not close in the space. Of course I would love to have something that fit exactly and looked more built in but this is just a rental for the year and I'm all about making things work and look nice, even if it's only temporary.
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