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How to Arrange Your Furniture in an Open Concept Living Room

August 26, 2022

Est. Reading Time: 8 Mins

Open concept spaces have become more and more of a popular design for homes and apartments. 

Since the 1980s and 90s, home designers started to ditch the idea of adding walls and doors to divide rooms. Instead, they left everything open, providing a more welcoming and inviting living environment.

However, some houses are still built with a traditional layout. You might be someone who has lived in a non-open concept environment, but what if that’s changing? Perhaps you are moving out of your old place and into a new place with an open concept space.

Magaly del Castillo, an interior designer at La-Z-Boy Cyrville, says that a floor plan will dictate how you arrange your furniture. A furniture layout will vary depending on if you have a closed floor plan or an open concept floor plan.

If you’re looking for tips on arranging your furniture in your open concept space, you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide you with the helpful tips you need to properly place your furniture in your open concept space.

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In This Article…

  1. Make Sure Your Furniture Doesn’t Look Too Big or Too Small
  2. Decide On a Style
  3. Define All of Your Spaces
  4. Use Furniture to Divide Focal Areas
  5. Use Area Rugs to Divide Your Rooms
  6. Be Careful of Where You Place Your Furniture
  7. Don’t Add Too Much Furniture!


1. Make Sure Your Furniture Doesn't Look Too Big or Too Small

Small Furniture in Big SpaceIf you’re moving from one place to another, you might already have furniture that fits your previous living room. 

However, depending on if you’re downsizing, upsizing, or moving from a place that had a closed floor plan, your existing furniture might not fit the scale of your new home. Some of your furniture might appear too big or too small for your new living room. 

You might be thinking to yourself, how can you tell if a furniture item is too big or too small for a room? Well, you might already know the answer just by looking at it in its new environment.

A furniture item like a sofa can look too big if it takes up too much space or looks overcrowded. A sofa can also be too big if your seating arrangement isn’t at a proportionate distance away from your TV.


To ensure your seating is at a proper distance from your TV, homeowners should use the following formula: 

[ Length of Screen (in Inches) ] x 1.5 = Proper Distance Between Screen & Seating

If your furniture is too small, you might notice the opposite feeling of the room being overcrowded. You might feel as though your living room is empty or not furnished enough. 

Your apartment-sized sofa might’ve worked in your smaller living space, but now that it’s in an open concept living area, it might not be as functional.

The best way to ensure that your furniture is the right size for an open concept space is to take measurements of your space and your furniture. 

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“Measuring your space is the absolute number one thing everyone should do before adding new furniture into a room,” Magaly says. “That way, you can properly see if a furniture item is too big or too small.”


2. Decide On a Style

After figuring out what furniture pieces you should add, the next thing you should focus on is figuring out what kind of design style you want in your home.

There are many different ways to style your living room, Magaly says, but choosing one style that fits you can be hard.

The best way to figure this out is by looking at what speaks to you. Choosing furniture pieces that both match and perfectly showcase your personal style to a T.

Magaly also says that the architecture of the space also plays a factor when choosing the furniture style. Most places are more on the generic side and can fit multiple looks, but some places go better with certain styles.

For example, say you were to move to a loft setting where vents and metal bars were exposed. Magaly says that an industrial furniture aesthetic would best compliment this space well, rather than something out of the ordinary, like French Provincial.

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With knowing where all of your furniture is going to be laid out and placed, it is important to maintain a consistent style of furniture that compliments the space.

Magaly says to create a colour palette of at least 3-4 main colours in the room and then add an accent colour that complements the palette well.  

Open concept spaces, although divided into “rooms,” everything must stay consistent so that everything is satisfying to the eye.


3. Define All of Your Spaces

When living in an open concept space, the idea of having multiple rooms becomes more abstract. Since there are no walls that build up a divide between rooms, your living room can be as large or as small as you want while not having too much empty space, of course.

Magaly says the usual measurement of a living room in an open concept space is 10 x 10 ft. “This is, of course, if your house is big enough for that measurement. If not a 7 x 10 layout can also work well.”

A 10 x 10 living area allows people to socialize without feeling too far away from everyone else. The area is big but still intimate, according to Magaly. That way, you won’t be yelling across the room!

Once you set up camp with your living room furniture, ensure that your rooms are well defined with a concrete purpose. This means ensuring you know what that part of the room is meant for. 

For example, is your living room meant for socializing? Watching TV? A little of both? Once you know what your living room is meant for, the easier it’ll be to place your furniture around that central idea.

You might also have other parts of the room meant for other things, like the dining room, your children's play area, or office space. Those areas also need to be distinctly defined as well. 

Once you perfectly define each part of your open concept area, the easier it’ll be to divide your rooms.


4. Use Furniture to Divide Focal Areas

Open Concept Living RoomIf you’re still having difficulty dividing up areas in your open concept space, Magaly suggests dividing the areas with furniture that serves unique purposes. 

This means creating invisible barriers by putting two furniture pieces back-to-back to define a living space. 

For example, say guests were confused about where your dining room starts and where your living room ends. You can easily place your sofa facing your living area and then place a dining buffet facing your dining room table. 

That way, there is a clear distinction between which side of the room is the dining area and which side is the living area. While doing this, however, make sure your furniture is somewhat the same size. That way, one isn't smaller or bigger than the other, creating a cohesive look. Otherwise, it might look awkward. 

The architecture can also play a part in dividing your rooms. Magaly says that most of the time, you can see where things might work or not work, but there can also be an obvious answer to dividing your rooms that already come with the house.

For example, there could be a post in the middle of your space that’s there for support. You can use that post for anchoring your living room furniture and other furniture items to help divide the room better.


5. Use Area Rugs to Divide Your RoomsArea Rug in an Open Concept SpaceAnother way to divide those open-concept rooms is by placing area rugs around each area.

Area rugs help define a room even more than just using furniture. Each selection, depending on the room, adds a new dimension to an already existing colour palette. 

These accent pieces can not only give your room the proper cherry on top that it needs, but they can also be great dividers of looks and vibes that you want to create in your defined areas.

No matter what room you want to place an area rug, you can. They can even be placed in a Dining Room, depending on the dining furniture you have.

Be warned, however, because Area Rugs can be expensive, it is important to choose a retailer that fits within your budget while also creating the divide your room needs. 

If you want to learn more about La-Z-Boy’s Area Rugs, check out this article, as well as the Surya Rug Review.


6. Be Careful of Where You Place Your Furniture 

Magaly also warns that furniture placement can be right or wrong, depending on the room.

When it comes to placing living room furniture in an open concept house, you can place it relatively anywhere that has free space available. However, Magaly says, “You should place your furniture in a setting that feels warm and cozy.” 

This means that your living room furniture should be placed in a welcoming part of the layout where guests won't feel “closed off” or “cold,” in Magaly’s words. For example, a kitchen is an environment where not much socializing really happens unless you’re helping cook and exchanging recipes.

A living room should feel like all conversations with all types of people are welcome. Creating a warm environment can be as easy as placing your furniture close to a wall that has a window instead of a corner that lacks traffic flow. 

“Every house has a different layout,” says Magaly, “but, you’ll know your warm and cozy part of your house when you see it.”

7. Don't Add Too Much Furniture!

You can add as much furniture as you want to your living room. Open concept spaces encourage you to be as bold as you wish with your furniture choices.

However, try not to get too overwhelmed with furniture. “There is such a thing as not enough furniture, but there is also such a thing as too much furniture,” Magaly says.

Sometimes, in bigger homes, open concept spaces can make you feel as though there is too much space… openness! Magaly says to avoid thinking about how open your space is and focus on your furniture placement instead. 

“Always start small!” says Magaly. “Start with a couple of chairs and a loveseat and then work your way up to adding other items to make your space seem more full.”

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You also want to make sure that you leave room for traffic flow. Magaly recommends keeping 3 feet of space between furniture items that encourage traffic flow at all times.

What's Next?

After reading this article, you now know how to arrange your furniture in an open concept space properly.

Magaly leaves us with some words of wisdom: “please clean your furniture, especially in an open concept space!”

La-Z-Boy knows all about keeping your furniture looking clean and well cared for. Make sure to check out this article on Furniture Care Tips to stay informed on how to clean all types of furniture!

La-Z-Boy has a wide selection of furniture to choose from. You can start shopping by visiting one of our local showrooms located in Ottawa or Kingston. You can also schedule a visit online before coming in.

Our design consultants are always eager to lend a helping hand. Take advantage of our interior design services to see how our furniture could fit in your open concept space. 

If you want to learn more about Designing an Open Concept Home, learn more by checking this article.

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