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How to Choose Living Room Seating

As the most-used spaces in many homes, living rooms often need to multitask as open entertaining areas, cozy family rooms, and bold style statements. To meet different needs and lifestyles, living room seating includes couches, chairs, benches, and chaises. To take the anxiety out of picking the perfect piece, remember that the best living rooms focus on living. Use our furniture styling and arrangement tips to create spaces that add beauty and simplicity to your daily routine.

Size Restraints & Budget

When selecting living room pieces, the goal is to create a harmonious space. To ensure that sofas and chairs don't seem too large or too small for the rest of the room, avoid dramatic contrasts in furniture size. Couches and armchairs with seats about the same height from the ground will automatically look more coordinated. However, to accommodate large families or many guests, seating options of several heights and depths can make both tall and petite people feel at home.

To create clear walkways and plenty of leg room, leave space between each piece of furniture. While oversized, plush sectionals are great for making large rooms feel luxurious and cozy, consider furniture on a smaller scale for tight spaces. Groups of loveseats or armchairs can be a versatile and budget-friendly alternative to the traditional sofa. In open floor plan homes, backless benches are a great option to separate living spaces from dining rooms without interrupting the eye's movement across the room.

Choosing the Style

Living room seating comes in many shapes, sizes, and designs to fit any decor. Warm, inviting pieces with plush upholstery and curved lines complement spaces with a traditional feel. Less padding, cleaner lines, and exposed legs give chairs and sofas modern appeal. To relax like royalty, chaise lounges, S-shaped slipper chairs, or classic wingback chairs add drama and personality to formal sitting rooms. To instantly pull a look together, try adding symmetrical arrangements to create focal points. Position two identical chairs on either side of a fireplace or end table to draw the eye.

Picking Colors

For living room seating that is both versatile and full of personality, try mixing solid, neutral colors with bold shades or patterns. As the largest and most expensive pieces in most living rooms, couches are typically quiet, simple shades. These classic colors blend with any design scheme and continue to look great as fads change. Stylish poufs, stools, and accent chairs are great for adding loud colors, unexpected shapes, or contrasting patterns without requiring as much financial investment. However, don't feel constrained by these common combinations. Because they are so rare, sofas with bright colors and dramatic prints make an instant statement.

Selecting Fabrics & Materials

Leather is a common fabric choice for couches, chairs, and benches alike. Leather pieces with smooth finishes and clean lines give rooms a sophisticated feel, while those with natural wear and scuff lend charm and character to rustic decor. While less durable than leather, fabrics like linen, brocade, and microfiber offer more variety and, usually, a much lower price tag. Although they are less comfortable than upholstered furniture, wooden or metal chairs can add surprising details to ho-hum living rooms.