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.
The first step when lighting any room is to ask yourself: what happens here? Different activities require different types and levels of light. A well-lit living room will have three different types of lighting: general, task and accent. These are used at different times of day and for different purposes, and key to a functional lighting scheme it to know how and when to mix and use them. Not all homes have a ceiling fitting in the living room, and if you have lots of natural light during the day, you might not need overhead light at all. But if you have the fitting, a central pendant or chandelier helps to zone the space and create a focus. Similarly, potlights or angled spotlights will create a even layer of overhead lighting. In the absence of any overhead lights, a large, arced floor lamp will do the trick.
Too much symmetry and your living room may feel more like a place of formality – which is fine if that's what you're going for. But for most, the living room is where you should feel comfortable kicking your feet up in your PJs. Using angles to arrange your furniture asymmetrically can help to make the room feel easier on the eyes, and not so rigid as you glance around the room. Leaving a little room between different items of furniture (and space between furniture and walls) will give more of an illusion of space, rather than squeezing everything together. You might be able to “fit more in” but you do this at the risk of making the space feel cramped which in turns make the room look smaller. Empty space contributes to the illusion of more space.
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