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4 Things to Consider When Planning Your Living Room Layout


Ahh, the living room. Where you savor your morning coffee, unwind after a long day, cozy up for movie nights, and everything else in between (think: kid’s play area, work-from-home space, entertainment hub… if you live in San Francisco, you know.) In multifunctional spaces like this, the ideal layout can feel like solving a Rubik’s Cube.

While the perfect furniture placement depends on your room’s specific shape and primary use, there are some things you’ll want to consider before deciding where to put your sofa…

1. Arrange Seating for Conversation

Your living room is the hub of connection, so you should arrange it like one. Sofas and chairs should be positioned so everyone can face each other comfortably for easy conversation. Don’t forget a conveniently placed coffee table for drinks (it’s not fun to precariously balance a martini). From family game nights to cocktail hour with friends, let your living room set the stage for unforgettable moments.

Pro Tip: Start by measuring your room’s length, width, and height. This will give you a foundational understanding of the space’s dimensions for accurate planning.coddington-design-bay-area-ca-how-to-plan-your-living-room-layout-conversational-living-room-marble-fireplace-custom-cabinetry-blue-sofa-chaise-lounge

Photography by Vivian Johnson

In our San Francisco Victorian Project, we positioned two sofas facing each other to create a cozy conversational setup.

2. Prioritize Traffic Flow

A smooth flow is essential in any room’s layout, but especially in the living room. Your furniture arrangement should be functional and frustration-free. To achieve this, place furniture away from entry and exit points for easy access and leave enough space between pieces to avoid the dreaded bottlenecks (no one likes a squeeze). Prioritizing flow guarantees an inviting ambiance, whether you’re entertaining guests or navigating your daily routines.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to architectural features like alcoves, bay windows, or irregular angles that may influence furniture placement.

coddington-design-mill-valley-ca-how-to-plan-your-living-room-layout-california-coastal-design-neutral-palettePhotography by Vivian Johnson

In our Scandi Modern Project, we strategically positioned a sofa with a pair of lounge chairs around a coffee table. Notice the distance between the door and furniture, allowing seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.

3. Identify the Focal Point

An effective living room arrangement always starts with a foundational focal point. This could be a fireplace, entertainment center, or even a large window with a picturesque view. By arranging your furniture around this focal point, you not only visually anchor the space but also create a cohesive flow throughout.

Pro Tip: Remember to consider natural light sources and desirable views within the room. These elements can influence the furniture placement to maximize your enjoyment of the space.


Photography by David Duncan Livingston

In our Beach House Project, we centered our design around the fireplace. This arrangement included a sofa paired with various accent chairs strategically placed to complement rather than detract from the focal point.

4. Embrace Flexibility

Your living room is versatile, so why shouldn’t your furniture be the same? Incorporate modular pieces that can be rearranged on a whim, storage ottomans that hide the chaos, and smaller furniture that can adapt to your needs. This way, your space naturally evolves with your life. Quiet reading lounge or Sunday soiree? The choice is yours…

coddington-design-tiburon-ca-how-to-plan-your-living-room-layout-custom-furnishings-built-in-bookshelves-navy-living-roomPhotography by David Duncan Livingston

In our San Francisco Style Project, we introduced a pair of angled accent chairs facing the sofa to add a dynamic visual element to the bold living space.

So, are you ready to embrace the challenge and get creative? If you’re feeling stuck, reach out to schedule a call. We’re here to help you bring your vision to life.



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