I talked last week about the best upholstery types for families with kids and pets. I’m going to expand on that and have a little convo with ya about seating arrangements and layouts. Should you go with a standard sofa? How about a sectional? Do I need side chairs? How many side tables, how big of a coffee table? All of these are questions that come up when you are looking at new furniture or looking at rearranging old furniture. So let’s take a little lookie loo at each shall we?!
Standard vs Sectional:
Ahh the age old question. The answer depends on a few things. 1. How big is your space? Sectionals work well in small spaces too so they aren’t just for large rooms! Just ask yourself, do you have a good flow of traffic around it? Is there enough room to comfortably move around the sectional into and out of the room without interrupting others who might be sitting on it? If so your room is big enough! You just don’t want the sofa to swallow up the space, or the peeps in it. (This goes for standard sofas as well!) 2. What type of seating do you want in the room? Sectionals are the quintessential family lounging, stretch out for movie nights and get comfy, take a nap type of seating. I love sectionals!! However they might not be the perfect fit for you if you are looking for a more formal type of feel. If that’s the case, def stick to the standard sofa and refer back to my tips on size vs space (tip 1 above) and upholstery choices here. 3. Are you moving soon? As in before you want to buy more new furniture? If so reconsider the sectional. What do I mean by that? If you are planning on moving before you want to buy new furniture it might be tough to find a room appropriately sized or with the right layout for a sectional. Standard or traditional sofas are easier to rearrange and maneuver in new spaces.
L shaped sectional from Ikea the Kivik Sectional
But wait! Why do you have to go with a standard sofa or sectional? If you have a small space or your living area needs to double as a guest space consider a daybed! I have a daybed that we built diy style in our basement and it’s the perfect hangout/lounge seating for my teen (who is now almost 6 ft) to watch tv, movies or just vege out. They are very economical and comfy, just double check the amount of space you have as daybeds are the size of twin beds, which means deeper than a traditional sofa.
Daybed (my son’s fave chill spot) on the left with a traditional sofa opposite
A traditional floor plan would look like this….. a sofa, coffee table in the middle and 2 side chairs with a side table in between opposite the sofa. You can do this if it works for your space and your style, traditional means tried and true! Absolutely can’t go wrong. If you are looking for something else that works think about chairs on opposite sides flanking the sofa, also a classic layout. But when am I ever traditional?! For awhile I was the latter layout with sofa, coffee table, and chairs flanking the sofa, each with it’s own side table. This is another great layout that works well. (see pic below) However! I have a large family that likes to stretch out with a 6’1 hubs and an almost equally sized 13 year old with 3 younguns coming up behind him. I changed to a layout of 2 sofas opposite each other with one big coffee table and a whiskey barrel doubling as a seat! The idea here is that a good starting point is a traditional or classic layout but play with it for what best suits for your home and needs! And consider using non-traditional items to stand in for side tables, coffee tables and chairs! It adds so much personality and flare. (for more tips on adding personality to your space!!
Here’s our old layout with sofa flanked by chairs on either side
These depend again on the size of your space and what kind of sofa you go for. A sectional with an L or U shape works best with a circular table. Why? Because there are no sharp edges to get snagged or scratched on (personal experience here folks) and it keeps the look balanced without being boxey. Traditional sofas can go either way in terms of shape of a coffee table, just make sure it is proportionate to the size of your largest piece (in this case your sofa). Also think outside of a typical coffee table. For example I use an old wooden trunk as a coffee table in our bedroom, and 2 side tables that fit together as a coffee table in my Mom’s Oasis. Coffee tables don’t have to be “coffee tables”! This is another way to bring personality to a space and that’s ultimately what we’re going for amiright?!
An overhead shot showing our family room before the most recent changes, but you can see the proportion of the coffee table with the 2 sofas.
Here’s the vintage wooden trunk I use as a coffee table in our bedroom!
They are totally dependent on what all is happening in the seating department. I like side tables flanking almost all seating. Why? When you entertain or just when it’s your own fam, think of when everyone is sitting around and has a beverage or snack where are they going to put it when they want to set it down? Side tables give you a surface other than the coffee table which may be inconvenient. I like side tables between 2 chairs, one next to each chair if they are on opposite sides of the room and next to sofas (if it’s a large sofa). Same concept goes for side tables as coffee tables and “chairs”. Think outside the box! Do you have a fabulous old plant stand? Use it as a side table! A super cool old cabinet that’s the perfect height and size to fit next to your sofa?! Use it!
Here you can see our family room as it is now. 2 sofas opposite each other with side tables flanking each and the whiskey barrel acting as a bench.
The name of the game here with all of these components of a living area is what works the best for you! The size of your family, your entertaining preferences, the size of your space, whether you are moving soon, practicality and budget. These are all aspects that play into the best layout for your home and family.
Hopefully I haven’t confused you further! But instead I hope I have given you some great points to consider when putting together the perfect layout (whether new furniture or not). The biggest being whatever layout works best for you, your style, your family and your home is the best setup for you!
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And feel free to shoot me an email! I love to hear from you whether it’s questions you have about decor or comments on the blog!