A living room is one of the most used and multi-functional rooms in a home and, as such, should reflect the needs of its users. But how does that inform the way it’s arranged? Living room plans can be as varied as the requirements of the space.

First, when deciding on your living room plan, you need to determine its purpose. Do you require lots of seating or will a few key piece suffice? Will it be a multi-functional space for relaxation, entertainment, working, reading, hosting? Should the space be casual, formal or a mix? Would you like the ability to change its formation easily?

Once you’ve decided its purpose, you will be able to better understand how the space should be configured. Circulation (the way one moves around a space), balance, emphasis and rhythm should all be considered next.

From small to large-scale arrangements, formal to informal ones, find out which of these fail-safe living room plans is right for you.

U-shaped Living Room Plan

U-shaped living room arrangements expand on the traditional L-shape by adding extra pieces or by incorporating a U-shaped sofa (as in the above room by Katharine Pooley). A variety of individual furniture pieces can make up this type of living room plan – a U-shaped sofa, two parallel sofas with armchairs or a bench at their head, a sofa with two armchairs at either side and many more.

Best for

The semi-enclosed configuration of a U-shaped plan encourages and facilitates conversation amongst larger parties, offers lots of seating and (in the case of wraparound sofas) is one of the most comfortable seating arrangements. The formation is used regularly in informal entertaining areas such as cinema rooms, dens and games rooms and is also a recognisable feature of Middle Eastern parlours (called majlis).

Use in

U-shaped arrangements work well in larger living rooms which can house such large-scale or so many pieces and where the desire is to draw attention to the centre of the furniture arrangement whilst being semi-open. U-shaped schemes should always bear their fourth “wall” in mind, working well with a room’s natural focal points – a beautiful window view (á la 432 Park Avenue), a killer fireplace or, in a media room, a cinema screen or impressive media cabinet.

Designer insight

“The U-shaped arrangement in this living area worked well as we wanted to ensure that the focus was on the bespoke lighting arrangement and coffee table. The U-shaped sofa faces a beautiful jamb arts and crafts marble fireplace with a large cinema-style television and AV system discreetly hidden behind a mirror above. U-shaped seating was chosen for comfort and to allow multiple [people] to watch TV in comfort together. In general, a U-shaped arrangement works best in areas where there’s lots of natural light.” – Katharine Pooley



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Symmetrical Parallel Living Room Plan

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Sims Hilditch

In art, design and architecture, symmetry has long been valued for its harmony, beauty and balance. Symmetrical parallel furniture arrangements are, as their name suggests, perfectly mirrored groupings. Two facing sofas, separated by a coffee table, is the most popular configuration although the same idea can be achieved with paired armchairs or chaises.

Best for

Symmetry exudes an inherent formality and a symmetrical parallel grouping will easily make a room look and feel more dignified. This is partly due to the aesthetics of symmetry but, also, how opposing furniture pieces interact. Sitters directly face each other which encourages direct interaction. The balance of a symmetrical parallel living room plan also offers a feeling of composure which can be enhanced with grand chandeliers and perfectly fluffed (and symmetrical) cushion arrangements.

Use in

The internet formality of a symmetrical living room plan makes the arrangement well-suited to formal homes or in the main reception room of larger houses. Its mirror-image aesthetic particularly suits rooms which have similarly symmetrical architectural features. Like a U-shaped arrangement, when placed in front of a focal feature such as a fireplace or a large window, it results in a grand parlour-like vibe although its facing sofas puts a little more emphasis on direct interaction.

Designer insight

“Rectangular rooms often favour parallel arrangements, particularly lateral apartments and townhouses. The positioning of furniture must be carefully considered. In a sitting room, we like to pair twin table lamps on top of a console table to mirror sofas and armchairs beyond. Accessories, artwork, window dressing and furniture each play an equal part in helping achieve an overall symmetrical look. Creating zones that have uniformity is so important. My top tip to do this would be to introduce parallel lighting at various heights and levels to add cosiness and cohesion throughout.” – Emma Sims Hilditch



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Asymmetrical Parallel Living Room Plan

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: A.LONDON by Accouter

An asymmetrical parallel living room plan is much like its symmetrical counterpart. It is similarly characterised by facing, parallel seating, separated by a coffee table. Its difference lies in the use of different opposing seating options such as a sofa and two armchairs, two armchairs and a bench or a sofa and two stools.

Best for

Like a symmetrical arrangement, an asymmetrical plan is well-balanced and offers a decent amount of seating, including personal seating options in the form of individual armchairs or stools. Because of its individual components, it is also flexible and offers further circulation paths. Asymmetry can also be slightly less formal, particularly if benches and casual chairs are used, so it’s a suitable option for spaces which require a composed but informal aesthetic.

Use in

Use an asymmetrical plan in spaces which would be crowded by two sofas or where extra pathways to seating (between two armchairs, for example) is valued. The arrangement is also a smart choice for multifunctional living rooms as it allows different users to effectively use the space simultaneously. Use the space between side-by-side armchairs for side tables or task lighting which may be needed for reading or hobbies.

Designer insight

“We wanted to keep the space fresh, open and inviting. Opting for two armchairs which are noticed upon entry, allows you to walk into the luxurious seating area and mirroring this is a beautiful detailed velvet sofa. The use of two brass-clad, free form occasional tables have created a sculptural central statement to the room, inviting anyone into the space to flow around.” – Katie Watkinson, A.LONDON by Accouter



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L-shaped Living Room Plan

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Natalia Miyar Atelier

L-shaped living room arrangements are formed by placing seating at right angles, usually anchored by a coffee table. The L shape can be as subtle as a single armchair at one end of a sofa or as pronounced as two sofas butted together. An L-shaped sofa can also be used.

Best for

Since asymmetrical arrangements are more casual by nature, L-shaped seating is best for channeling an informal vibe and the formation is often chosen because it encourages relaxed conversation. Open sides make L-shaped seating arrangements not only welcoming but extremely easy to navigate around, making it a suitable option for homes with children or elderly people.

Use in

Small spaces and corners are the ideal settings for L-shaped seating arrangements as it doesn’t take up as much space as other arrangements nor does it encroach on a room’s overall space. When flipped around, the back of the sofa can be used to divide a space into two zones which is particularly helpful for open-plan living room/kitchen spaces. Its open sides and informality makes this type of plan is a great option for bedroom sitting areas as well as living rooms.

Designer insight

“I am an advocate of an L-shape arrangement – it creates a relaxed and easy sitting area. Arranging your room this way suits virtually any size room [although] it works particularly well in smaller rooms, freeing the centre of the room for a coffee table or ottoman as a pretty centrepiece. [It] works well when pairing a sofa and armchair [and] I like to place something in the corner to complete the layout, for example, a large planter or a stylish tall lamp.” – Natalia Miyar



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Box-shaped Living Room Plan

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Finchatton


Best for

A box-shaped arrangement channels a certain sense of composure and intimacy. It also works best with cohesive rather than eclectic furniture collections. (Statement pieces may jar too much and fight for attention – the goal of a box-shaped space is to achieve harmony.) This is most often achieved through careful consideration of the colour palettes, textures and fabrics of its individual pieces. Since it’s the main anchor of the arrangement, a suitably proportioned coffee table is essential; too small and it won’t create any impact, too large and it will overpower.

Use in

As one of the strongest arrangements, a box-shaped plan is ideal for rooms which don’t have a particularly obvious focal point. The purpose of this space is to turn conversation inward and to create a secure place to relax or entertain. It also works well in high-ceiling rooms because it provides a focus in an expansive space. This arrangement also works well for terraces, outdoor cabanas or gazebos with a fire pit in the place of a coffee table.

Designer insight

“These living room arrangements work really well in larger open-plan spaces where you have the freedom to create designated spaces. You can even blend formal and informal spaces in the same room by having formal seating for entertaining in one area and perhaps L-shaped sofas and stylish comfortable armchairs in another for more relaxed family living. The type of seating and fabrics need to be balanced to create a sense of harmony, perhaps choosing colours from a similar palette for both areas to avoid the room looking too cluttered.” – Manoj Patel, Head of Design at Finchatton



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Circular Living Room Plan

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: A.LONDON by Accouter

Circular living room plans are characterised by a circular armchair arrangement, often grounded by a matching circular coffee table and rug. Curved sofas make for a streamlined alternative to a four-armchair circular living room plan.

Best for

Circular seating arrangements are two-fold in function. On one hand, they encourage conversation and interaction between sitters, offering a self-contained social area; on the other, their seclusive arrangement works well as a calm and restful private space. Since a circular arrangement of more than four chairs wouldn’t be suitable for a residential environment, it is by nature very intimate whilst the spacing between chairs and individual access offers an extra level of comfort for sitters.

Use in

Circular configurations are their own entity, anchoring themselves, and need no specific placement in a room. The arrangement enhances a room which needs flexibility as chairs can be moved easily to suit the needs of the users. Multiple circular arrangements can be used successfully in rooms with extremely large proportions.

Designer insight

“The armchairs were positioned in a circular setting to oppose the harsh lines of the building’s internal structure. We used rich fabrics and textures to create an inviting reading pocket. Hammered metals in earthy tones and mercury glass table tops were used to balance out the raw and opulence.” – Georgia Rose Ford, Knight Frank Interior Services



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