The Studio

The Seven Golden Rules of Living Room Design

12/21/2018

Living Room design golden rules

It’s a common tale: You’re a savvy customer and have scoured the market for the best design and unbeatable value. You’ve read the blogs and measured the walls, but when everything is delivered, it fits in your space but it doesn’t look quite right.

We’re here to help with the seven essential rules for designing your space so that it looks and feel feels like it hopped off the page of a magazine. Sourced from the top experts in interior design (plus a few additions from our own Design Advisors) these are the no-fail guardrails that will help you pull together the living room of your dreams.  

1. Rug Ratio

Sofas should have two legs on the rug and have between 6”-10” on either side from the edge of your furniture to the edge of the carpet. So if you have an 60” Sullivan sofa the width of your rug should be approximately 72” - 80”.  

Pro-tip: If you have an area rug you love that’s too small for your space, layer it over a perfectly-sized sisal or jute rug and the proportions will likely look just right.  

2. Get Cozy

The number of people that your sofa can comfortably fit depends on two things: the length of your sofa and the number of seat cushions on your piece. Typically, you should allocate one cushion per person, or 25”-27” of seating space. So if you would like a piece that can comfortably accommodate 3 people, opt for a piece that is between 75” and 81”.

Pro-tip: A bench cushion allows for more flexibility in seating, especially on pieces that will be family hangouts where the line is blurrier between "your" space and "mine". 

Living Room design golden rules

3. The Height of Style

The height of your coffee table should approximately match the height of your sofa and accent chair seats. Side tables should either match the height of the arm of the sofa, or be slightly lower.  

Living Room design golden rules

4. Screen Time

If you’re planning to mount a TV on the wall in front of your sofa, measure the distance between the seat of your sofa and the wall on which you’ll be mounting it and divide it by 3 to get the ideal size of TV. For example, if your sofa is 120” away from the wall, your suggested TV size is 40”.

5. Rule of Threes

When you’re styling your space, arrange decor items in groups of 3 or, at most, 5. This creates balance and harmony without looking overly symmetrical.

Pro-tip: when buying accent decor for your space, always look for contrast: two light pieces paired with a darker piece, glossy items with matte, varying heights, etcetera.   

Living Room design golden rules

6. Party-Ready

Don’t force guests to get up in order to grab their drink. When possible, each seat should be an arm’s distance from a side or coffee table - wherever your guest will be resting their beverage. But make sure that there’s enough leg room between the sofa and coffee table: 14” to 18” is usually the right amount.

7. Artful Placement

If you’re hanging mirrors, photos, or art, or a grouping of the two behind of your sofa, make sure that they are in proportion with the piece - the width of the piece or arrangement should be approximately ⅔ the width of the sofa.

Pro-tip: Art should be hung so that the middle of the painting is approximately 60” from the ground - based off of the eye-level of the average viewer.

Still looking for some guidance? Get in touch with your Design Advisor for personalized advice from the best fabric for your home to the layout that will be perfect for your family.

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