Home Furniture How to Choose the Perfect Furniture for Your Living Room

How to Choose the Perfect Furniture for Your Living Room

by Michael Blount

Selecting furniture for your living room can seem like an overwhelming task. Your living room is often the heart of your home – the place where you relax with family, entertain guests, and spend quality time. Choosing the right furniture is crucial to creating a space that is both stylish and functional.

When beginning your furniture search, it’s helpful to consider three key factors: size and layout, style and design, and comfort and durability. Keeping these elements in mind will help guide you in finding pieces that work beautifully together to create your ideal living room.

Sizing Furniture to Your Living Room’s Dimensions

The first thing to think about when furniture shopping is if items will physically fit and work with the size and layout of your space. Before even looking at styles or fabrics, take measurements of your living room’s dimensions as well as the location of windows, doors, and any built-in architectural features.

Measure Your Living Room

Use a tape measure to get accurate measurements of the length and width of the room. Be sure to measure any awkward nooks or unusually shaped areas as well. Having these numbers will allow you to map out your space.

Make a Floor Plan

Sketch out a simple floor plan of the room on grid paper, marking the locations of windows, doors, fireplaces, etc. Draw the outlines of the room and existing furniture. This visual will help you strategically map out ideal furniture placement.

Consider Traffic Flow

Look at the floor plan and think about how you and guests naturally move through the space. Mark walking paths and sitting areas. Avoid placing furniture in high traffic zones or areas that will disrupt movement. Leave enough clearance for opening doors and drawers.

Allow Room to Move Around Furniture

When choosing pieces, make sure to leave adequate space around them. Here are suggested allowances:

  • Sofas & Loveseats – At least 18″ clearance on all sides
  • Chairs – At least 12″ clearance on all sides
  • Coffee Table – At least 18″ clearance in front to allow leg room
  • Side Tables – At least 6″ clearance on all sides

Be Wary of Scale

Pay attention to the scale and proportions of furnishings compared to your room. Oversized items will dominate while pieces that are too small can look out of place. Measure furniture dimensions before purchasing.

Consider Traffic Flow to and From Adjoining Rooms

If your living room opens into other spaces like a hallway, foyer or dining room, make sure furniture doesn’t block or hinder the flow between rooms. Leave a clear visual path.

Account for Irregular Room Shapes

Make note of any irregularities in the layout such as alcoves, bumpouts or angled walls. Look for furniture that will fit or utilize these spaces well. For example, a corner sofa is great for a room with a bay window area.

Coordinating Your Furniture’s Style and Design

Once you know what will fit, it’s time to consider your overall interior design and decor. The style of your furnishings should complement your living room’s look and feel.

Decide on a Style

Figure out the style you want your living room to exude. For example, modern, traditional, contemporary, farmhouse, mid-century, coastal, etc. This will help narrow down furniture options to ones that match your desired aesthetic.

Combine Styles Artfully

Don’t feel like everything needs to be uniformly matched. Blending styles thoughtfully can add visual interest. Just be sure to look for cohesion in color palettes, materials, and silhouettes. For example, pair sleek modern tables with classic button-tufted leather sofas.

Choose a Color Palette

Determine the color scheme for your living room. Refer to throw pillows, rugs, drapes and other existing decor as a starting point. Select furniture in complementary hues that enrich your color story. Neutrals like white, black and natural wood tones are easiest to mix and match.

Consider Texture

Mixing textures adds depth and dimension. Look for upholstered pieces, wooden tables, metal accents, and rattan or seagrass accessories. Just don’t go overboard with too many competing textures, which can make a room feel chaotic.

Determine Key Pieces

Decide which furnishings will take center stage. Splurge on your sofa, comfortable reading chair and coffee table – items you’ll use daily. Choose statement pieces like an ornate cabinet or vibrant pouf. Build around these focal points with more budget-friendly supplementary furnishings.

Pull the Room Together

Tie everything together with cohesive design elements. Use similar architectural shapes and clean lines throughout. Echo chair and sofa legs. Repeat drum, circular or square shapes in tables and shelving. The room will flow better with a consistent design thread.

Style Tips by Furniture Type:

  • Sofas: Choose based on size, shape and visual weight that complements room. Sofa silhouette should fit wall length. Make sure sofa doesn’t dwarf the room.
  • Chairs and Ottomans: Select chairs that add flair, like an iconic Eames or Egg Chair. Complement with big comfy lounge chairs and stylish ottomans.
  • Coffee and Side Tables: Look for tables that relate well in size, shape and style to sofas and chairs. Mix materials like wood, metal and stone for interest.
  • Shelving: Choose open bookcases and display units that contribute to room decor. Floating wall shelves add style without taking up floor space. Curate shelves with books, sculptures, plants and collected items.
  • Rugs: Layer rugs under couches, chairs and coffee tables to define seating areas. Use a large area rug to anchor and pull together main furniture pieces.

Buying Pieces That Are Both Comfortable and Durable

Beyond style, selecting furniture that offers both excellent comfort and durability ensures your living room stays looking great while providing maximum relaxation.

Test Out Comfort

Never buy a sofa, recliner or accent chair without sitting in it first. Lie down, sit up, and shift positions to make sure cushions are soft yet supportive. Test out reclining and swiveling functions. Comfort is a top priority, especially for higher traffic areas like living rooms.

Assess Frame and Joinery

Examine how well pieces are constructed. Look for solid wood frames and joints held together by dowels, corner blocks or mortise-and-tenon joinery, not just glue or staples. These indications of quality craftsmanship result in sturdier, longer-lasting furniture.

Focus on Quality Cushions

Cushions should feel pillowy yet firm. For highest quality, look for sofa and chair cushions made with down alternative fill, high-density polyurethane or foam. Feather fill can flatten over time. Avoid loose fiberfill.

Consider Family and Pet Needs

If you have kids or pets, look for more rugged, easy-care fabrics that can handle plenty of wear like microfiber, polyester, cotton duck, leather or crypton fabrics. Stain-resistant treatments also help preserve upholstery.

Check Fabric Durability Tests

Look at fabric details like abrasion test results (double rub count) and stain repel ratings. These measures indicate how well a fabric resists pilling, color loss and damage from abrasion and liquids. Aim for 15,000+ double rubs.

Select Easy-Care Fabrics

For living rooms, performance fabrics that clean up easily are ideal picks. Microfiber, polyester, acrylic, olefin and linen stand up well to spills, stains and frequent use. Read cleaning codes on upholstery tags.

Choose Durable Materials

Opt for furniture made with long-wearing real wood, metal, leather, and synthetic rattan over cheaper laminate, Particleboard, and thin lacquered finishes that scratch and damage easily. The minor extra cost is worth it for resilience and longevity.

Look for Quality Craftsmanship

Examine furnishings closely for attention to detail and design. Hallmarks of a well-made piece are tight seams, neatly attached buttons, careful finishing touches, sturdy joinery, smooth operating parts like glides and hinges, and covered bases.

Consider Protection Plans

For expensive investment pieces, look into added protection plans that cover repairs and reupholstering a few years down the line. This can help extend useful life and save money on future maintenance costs.

Key Takeaways on Selecting the Perfect Living Room Furniture

Choosing furniture for your living room may seem daunting, but following a few guidelines makes the process much easier:

  • First, measure your space carefully and design a floor plan to ensure all items will fit comfortably in the room.
  • Next, select pieces that match your overall decor style and design aesthetic. Create a cohesive look through color schemes, complementary textures, and consistent silhouettes.
  • Lastly, prioritize comfort and durability. Test furniture in person, examine craftsmanship quality, and opt for family-friendly, easy-care fabrics and materials built to last.

Keeping size and layout, style, and comfort and resilience in mind when shopping will help you curate a living room with furniture tailored precisely for your space and lifestyle. By taking the time to find pieces that work beautifully together, you can create a warm, welcoming oasis for relaxing and entertaining.

To pull everything together into a harmonious space, pay attention to thoughtful details. Arrange furnishings conversationally, allowing enough room between pieces for circulation. Place your focal point furniture first, then layer in accent pieces around it. Use a large area rug to define the main seating zone and tie the layout together. Adjust table heights to complement your sofas and chairs. Lastly, accessorize with lamps, plants, pillows and artwork to personalize your living room.

Taking a methodical approach to laying out and styling your living room furniture will help you thoughtfully transform the space. Follow this process each time you add new pieces to maintain a cohesive look. Over time you can gradually upgrade items or switch out accent pieces for an updated but still coordinated feel. With the right furnishings tailored to your home and lifestyle, your living room will become a beloved space to unwind and connect with friends and family.

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