Three Simple Steps for a More Functional Living Room

Of all the rooms in your home, none is as dependent on furniture as the living room. Think about it: besides the fireplace (more on that later), living rooms are generally large, blank spaces which depend completely on furniture to make them functional for you and your guests. Of course, it's not enough to simply place the furniture along the walls like you would in a bedroom or office; instead, you need to arrange the individual pieces so that everyone in the room can easily interact. Luckily, you only need to follow three simple steps to get a space with plenty of form and function! Whether you're staging your home to sell or just want to maximize its livability, every homeowner can benefit from smart design when it comes to arranging their living room furniture. 

Step #1: Identify a focal wall

An eye-catching focal wall will not only increase the aesthetics of your living room, but also provide a visual and functional anchor around which you can arrange all of the room's furniture. The focal wall will usually be the one with the fireplace and/or TV on it, since these are the two items inside any living room which command the most attention from occupants. Take extra care to make sure that the decorations and surfaces on this wall are clean and neat. Additionally, you will want to angle any seating to at least partially face this wall.

Step #2: Remove clutter

Many homeowners make the mistake of cramming unnecessary pieces of furniture into their living room in an attempt to fill space. Rather than improve the room, this strategy will only make it feel cluttered and cramped. Instead, every piece should serve one of three purposes: seating for occupants, storage for rarely-used items, or surface for often-used or decorative items. Identify any furniture which isn't actively contributing toward these goals and remove it. For instance, an empty corner might seem like a reasonable place for a small table, but if the surface isn't actually needed for anything, then it simply represents a trap for dust and clutter.

Step #3: Prioritize the couch

Now that you've identified your focal wall and removed excess furniture, it's time to arrange your seating. The largest and most important piece within most living rooms is the couch, and therefore it should take priority over any other item. Start by placing the couch into a spot where it aligns with the focal wall. Next, arrange any medium-sized seating, such as love seats, around the couch. Make sure to maintain a spatial relationship between these items and the couch as you place them by giving them views of both the couch and focal wall. After all, the people in these seats will want to either face people on the couch or face that wall! It might sound obvious, but many homeowners still insist on placing seats in far-flung corners or in totally pointless directions. The only exception is for small seating elements such as individual chairs; these can be placed in a corner or simply stored away, since they can be easily moved to accommodate crowds.

There you have it! By following these three basic steps, you should be able to greatly improve the flow and feel of your living room. For more design tips, head over to