Furniture Placement Ideas for an Awkward Living Room Layout — The Room Layout Doctor is In

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment, particularly a small apartment, this situation probably sounds familiar: you’ve signed a lease, you’re so excited about your new place, and then you realize—you have no idea where to put the furniture. And that’s where we come in. In this new column, we’re tackling the weirdest and most perplexing space planning solutions. Did the Room Layout Doctor do a good job of fitting everything in? You be the judge.

For this edition of the Room Layout Doctor, we’re looking at an apartment with a particularly tricky living room. Reader Erica, who sent this in, said:

I am moving into a new apartment in a couple of months and I’m really excited; however, the living room layout has me stumped. The kitchen counter is in a unique location, so it limits what my mind can conjure up for living room furniture placement. The obvious solution would be to place the couch along the long wall, but then there would be no place to put, or mount, the television, and that is a complete must-have in my world! So, considering the long wall is out for the couch placement, is there anything you guys can do to help me?

I always wonder what goes through the minds of the architects who design these things. How do they imagine that people are going to put furniture in them? But there’s got to be a way. There’s definitely a way, right? (For those who are wondering, the apartment’s front door is on the top right of the plan, where the grey box is.)

Solution #1:

This was the solution recommended by a lot of readers when this question originally ran as a Good Question a few years ago. Here, the arrangement of the living room takes a cue from the angled edge of the island, with the sofa (and the television, sitting on a console) both on a diagonal. There’s also room for a small workspace, on the upper right (or a corner with two bookshelves, or a storage piece).

Pros:

  • I think this makes really good use of the space: there are multiple entry points to the living room, and the diagonal placing gives the room a more dynamic feel.
  • There’s plenty of clearance here (about five feet) between the sofa and the edge of the island, so you could even add in a sofa table or short bookcase behind the sofa, or some bar stools at the island if that’s an option.

Cons:

  • That angled TV stand in the corner is awkward. Maybe place a tall potted plant behind it?
  • If you’re entertaining, and you’re in the kitchen, most of your guests (presuming they’re sitting on the sofa) are going to have their backs to you, which isn’t great.

Solution #2:

Here, the TV is mounted (or placed on a console) on the wall to the right of the window. A couch and a loveseat are grouped around it.

Pros:

  • This is a nice setup that provides seating for five people, and avoids the somewhat awkward diagonal setup of the previous one.
  • The study area really reads as a separate space here, if that’s your thing.

Cons:

  • There’s nothing about this that I really hate. The TV isn’t centered on the sofa, but I can’t see this being an issue unless you’re the kind of person who’s really invested in that sort of thing.
  • If you’re the sort of person who likes to watch television while you’re cooking, this may not work out so well for you.

Solution #3

This is plan #2, essentially, with everything rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. I’ve used a smaller sofa here, to make the living room layout work out a bit better. It’s based on DWR’s Bantam sofa, and is 7’2″ long. (The other, larger sofa in the above layouts is 8’3″ long, and the loveseat is 5’2″ long.)

Pros:

  • This is also a pretty efficient use of space. There’s room for a console or bookcase behind the sofa, and since the television is on a long wall, you could fit in a longer media center, if that’s your thing.

Cons:

  • I don’t feel like the desk setup works out so well here, so I’ve included a bookcase on that wall instead.

What do you think? Which layout is your favorite? Are there any other options I might’ve missed?

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