The foundation of any good living room design is not just knowing the dimensions of the space but also knowing how to utilize the square footage you have in the best possible way. Whether your living room is small, large, or open concept, this guide will provide you with several tips you can use to create the ideal space and layout for the best interior design. Read on to learn more about the basics of living room dimensions, including how to measure, examples of different layouts that can work for your unique lifestyle and needs, and more.
How to Measure Living Room Dimensions
Before you start shopping for new living room furniture, it’s vital to get the exact dimensions of the space so you know what you’re working with. Start by making sure that the room is empty or that you can at least get from one end to the other easily. Using a tape measure, determine the length and width of your living room in quantities of feet. Write this number down since you’ll need to refer to it later.
Once you have your room size recorded, simply multiply these numbers, giving you the total square footage of the living space. To measure the perimeter of the living room, add the two numbers together instead of multiplying them.
Not all living rooms are square or rectangular. So, how do you record the room dimensions for an unusually shaped living room? Start by measuring the shortest length and width of the room, then multiply those measurements to get the main area of the room. You can calculate the dimensions of recesses (like a bay window) by measuring the length and width of them.
Add all of these different measurements together to get the exact square footage. The same process applies to T- and L-shaped living rooms. Draw the shape and corresponding measurements on a piece of paper to help you plan your living room layout design. A good rule of thumb is that a large living room takes up approximately 15 percent of the floor space in a large home and approximately eight percent in a smaller home.
While you’re measuring, it also can’t hurt to figure out what your living room ceiling height is. Living rooms with high ceilings tend to feel larger and more open, while those with standard-height ceilings might feel a little more cramped. This can also help you determine what type of overhead light fixtures you want to add and how far down they should extend if you’re installing pendants or chandeliers.
Think About Functionality First
Once you know your room size, it’s important to think about how you plan to use this space. Will it be a family room where you’ll be watching television, afternoon napping, and reading, or will you use it mostly for entertaining and socializing with guests? The type of layout and furniture arrangement you choose will vary depending on your specific plans for this room.
For example, a layout with a large sofa and loveseat creates a nice conversation area for family members and guests, while a minimalist layout works great if your living room is mostly for show. Choose the furniture styles and sizes carefully so that your new design is conducive to your plans for how you want to utilize this part of the home.
While not all living rooms are the same, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when determining the size. Here are some examples of common living room sizes to help you create a floor plan and make the most out of every square foot.
- Average: The average size of most living rooms is approximately 15 feet long by 12 feet wide. This provides ample space for a standard-size sofa, a loveseat, a coffee table, and an accent chair or two.
- Very small: Many apartments, especially in older buildings, tend to have very small living rooms with an average dimension of around seven by 10 feet. This ensures that a smaller space can still accommodate a loveseat and table as well as two smaller chairs. A full-sized sofa could make very small living rooms too full and crowded.
- Small: A small living room is typically around 10 by 13 feet and gives you a bit more space for accent furniture like side tables or a console table you can put behind the sofa.
- Medium: A medium-sized living room is usually around 12 feet long by 8 feet wide and can easily accommodate a standard living room set with a sofa, coffee table, loveseat, and chair.
- Large: A large living room is typically around 20 by 15 feet and usually has about 300 square feet of space or even more. These dimensions mean you’ll have plenty of space for a nice sectional if you choose, or you might even be able to break up the room into separate areas using smaller-scale furniture or shelving. You can create a multipurpose space with a separate area for a desk, a gaming area, or a reading nook. The larger the room, the more options you have in terms of overall layout and design.
Designing a Layout: Helpful Tips
If you’re starting entirely from scratch, it’s always a good idea to get the actual dimensions of your new furniture before you make a purchase. This way, you can be sure that the new sectional you’ve been eyeing will fit nicely in the room. Take some time to jot down different measurements of various furniture items you want to bring into your living room. If you’re just updating the space with existing furniture, it’s a good time to play around with a few different layouts until you find one that works for you. You might need to get rid of some furniture or replace a few pieces with something new (and smaller or larger) that fits better.
Here are a few examples of layouts you can try based on your living room dimensions:
- Create a layout based on furniture types and things like sofa sizes, grouping large seating pieces together. Place them in front of a focal point, such as the TV or a fireplace to create a welcoming conversation area. Approximately 10 feet in diameter of the living room should be reserved for the conversation area.
- Take your time when designing a living room layout. Draw a few different scenarios on paper to help with placement. This will make it much easier to set everything up when you’re actually ready to bring the furniture, rugs, and home décor into the room.
- A pair of matching chairs placed at an angle with a round table between them makes a great seating area for a small living room or in a cozy corner.
- Design a reading nook by placing a comfortable chair in a separate area with a floor lamp and a small side table next to it. It’s a perfect spot where you can sit back and enjoy reading a good book at the end of the day.
- If you have an open-concept living room, separate each area using area rugs and furniture. You can also place a longer sofa with its back facing the adjoining room or use bookcases to create a division between the two spaces, like a living and dining area.
- Always make extra room for a walking path between your furniture, regardless of the living room’s size. Make sure that there is plenty of room between each piece of furniture so people can easily move around without bumping into it.
- Remember the design concept of scale when you’re working on a living room layout. Furniture that’s too big for the space will make the room feel cramped, while furniture that’s too small can make the space look and feel hollow and empty.
- Use multifunctional furniture in small living rooms, like storage ottomans, nesting tables, and sleeper sofas to help you maximize your square footage. Consider using poufs or stacking chairs whenever you have guests over so you can put them away later and free up floor space.
- Consider attaching your television to the wall to free up space, especially if you have a small living room. A TV mounted above the fireplace gives you two focal points in one while also maximizing your living room’s square footage.
- Utilize both natural and artificial light to make any living room feel larger. Open windows and blinds during the day to allow artificial light in, and choose bright lighting to make the space feel bigger both day and night. Mirrors can also do wonders to help make living rooms feel bigger than they are.
- Keep décor and clutter to a minimum in a small living room. Instead, focus on the main pieces of furniture like the couch, table, and chairs. You can always hang up a special piece of wall art to give the space some personality but don’t overstuff shelves or pile too many decorative objects on tables.
- If you enjoy eating meals in front of the TV, try a lift-top coffee table that can be converted to a dining table, or bring in some folding TV trays so you can eat and then put them away when you’re finished.
- For a smaller room, look for wall-hugging recliners, loveseats, and sofas that won’t jut out too far and get in the way. The seat height also matters when shopping for the right size for living room furniture.
- You can place furniture completely on top of an area rug or just put the front legs on top of it. How you design this portion of the living room depends on the rug size and the room as a whole.
- Vertical storage pieces like tall, slender bookshelves help you maximize space while also helping your living room look slightly larger.