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Does Your Living Room Need A Couch? Is It Necessary? Alternatives?

A living room with indoor plan and chair.

I’ve lived in houses with full suites of furniture. I’ve also lived in tiny apartments that offered little space for a sofa. I’ve lived with camping chairs, bean bag chairs, and outsized cushions on the floor of the living room. No, a sofa in the living room isn’t necessary.

Your furnishings depend on the space in which they’ll fit. While a full living room suite of furniture complete with coffee and end tables is the norm, it’s fun to play with the space available to you. Today’s furniture manufacturers have an answer to any space problem, so let’s examine some of them.

The Many Faces Of Chairs

A woman sitting on a blue chair.

Saucer Chairs

My grandmother once had a saucer chair in her living room. It was a bright orange into which she placed fuzzy black pillows. I was a teen at the time, and I folded myself into that comfy saucer chair, and it felt like I was wrapped up in orange arms. I loved it!

A woven saucer chair with foam.

Saucer chairs come in every color. They’re covered in faux fur, leather, velvet, rattan, and dozens of other incarnations. They’re usually great in dorm rooms, but they can offer seating to anyone without space to place a full-sized sofa.

Hanging Chairs

Sometimes called hammocks or egg chairs, hanging chairs mean extra space while offering the coolest seating for guests. Check with a home improvement professional or an architect before you hang your chairs. You’ll need to know if the structure can take the weight.


Ottomans are round, square, oblong, and all the shapes in between. They’re made of wood and covered with velvet, leather, woven materials, faux fur, and tweedy material. Patterns include everything from stripes to geometric shapes to dots, solids, and cow patterns. Strew some around your living room, and watch your guests have a blast!

Cushions Have Been Upgraded

A room with pillows and carpets.

Furniture Cushions

Who says you need the furniture to use the cushions? Grab some cushions for patio furniture, sofa cushions, futons, or any other cushions that appeal to you. They can be arranged like a sofa and chairs around coffee and end tables, they can line the walls, or be arranged any way you wish. Have some fun with it!

A living room with folded foam and pillows.


Futons come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and materials. Fold them over to make a loveseat. Stack them up to make a small sofa. Fold them into chairs. Combine sizes and colors to make your space pop and express your personality.

Chaise Longue

Luxurious red Chaise Longue.

The chaise longue has evolved from pool-side tanning to eye-catching living room seating:

The Fainting Couch

This is what the chaise longue was all about in the days of Downton Abbey. They’re shaped in all sorts of ways, from straight fainting couches with rolls to couches with Victorian backing. You can get them in all colors. Most of them are made of velvet.

The blue fainting Couch and a flower vase.

The “S” Curve

This is sometimes what you see pool-side. They’re made generally from rattan, some kind of light wood, or plastic. The cushions you can put on them come in all colors and are mostly made of water-proof fabrics.

Couches in a resort near a beach.

Straight Up

Chaise longues are also shaped straight instead of curved. You see more of this pool-side, some made of plastic and some with cushions. Either way, a chaise longue doesn’t take up much space and would look smashing as living room furniture.

Bring The Outdoors In

wooden log chair and table.

Who needs a couch when you can seat your guests on the greatest benches ever?

Wood Stumps

Pop some eye-catching cushions on these babies, and watch how much fun your guests will have!

Porch Swing

Porch Swing an outdoor chair near a tree.

Who says porch swings only belong outside? Slap a colorful cushion on one or two of these, and they’ll perk up any living room.

Make It Modern

Modern public benches come in all kinds of cool configurations. Choose one or two that express your personality. Toss some pretty cushions on them, and brighten up your space.

Use Pallets

A 3D render of wooden chair.

Even if you’re not the handy type, you can stack up pallets, paint them in wacky colors, slap some comfy cushions on them, and arrange them in any way your space dictates. Need a sofa? Not a problem. Nail a pallet to the back of a stack of them, paint them, and place your cushions. In the market for chairs? Same idea. Go ahead, you got this!

Get A Daybed

A loveseat with cover and bunch of pillow.

Daybeds have evolved just like other types of furniture if the above picture has anything to say about it. If you need a daybed the size of a loveseat, there’s an app for that. Want something Victorian with draperies around the four posts? Got you covered.

How about a round one, surrounded by rattan like an egg chair? Sure thing. The point is that daybeds are now made to fit any space, any shape, and all kinds of fun.