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Where Should the Sofa be Placed?

Your sofa is usually the biggest and the most expensive purchase in your living room – which is why it deserves to get the perfect spot.

So what are the factors to consider here and where do our interior designers choose to place their sofas? Let’s find out.

Meet the Experts

Cristina Chirila,
Senior Interior Designer at FCI London
Ricardo Jarjoura,
Architect & Interior Designer at FCI London
Lauren Austin,
Content Manager & Interior Designer at FCI London
Benjamin Ibanez,
Senior Designer & Business Manager at FCI London

1 – Facing the Room’s Main Feature

“Most living rooms have the television on the main wall, and it makes sense for the sofa to be facing it. For living rooms without a television, this could be the wall with the window, the fireplace or a bookcase,” says Ben.

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“For my Knightsbridge project’s living room, the feature wall had the television along with the fireplace, so naturally, the sofa had to be facing it. But since the client wanted extra seating, we went with an L-shaped sofa. Once you’ve set your sofa placement, everything else starts falling into place quite naturally. In this project, we used a matching ottoman that can also work as a coffee table. Then facing the sofa, we also added an armchair with a footrest, keeping with the overall cosy aesthetics of the room.”

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2 – Best Sofa Placement for Small Living Rooms

“When I’m working with smaller living rooms, I usually go for smaller sofas and set them up next to the walls as this increases the floor space in the middle, making the room feel open and airy. It also helps clear the flow of traffic which is a major concern in smaller rooms as you want all entry and exit points of the room to be easily approachable without people having to squeeze through the furniture or even have the slightest feeling of awkwardness.”

We can see this concept work out pretty well for this living room below from a project that our design team worked on.

Instead of having one big sofa – a modular sofa has been broken up into two parts. The chosen sofa is also shallow in depth so as not to waste up any of the valuable floor space. The choice of a white sofa, along with the white walls and symmetrical furniture placement, gives this room an overall very calm and orderly look.

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But in the absence of any colour – this exact setting would have appeared very boxy so the designers added a throw pillow on each sofa, some artwork on the wall, a black chandelier and a black coffee table along with other accessories to bring texture and visual interest to this room.

Also note that despite having a sliding door, the designers left some space between the sofa and the door for easy traffic flow and to avoid the room feeling cramped.

As a general rule, it is preferred to have a gap of at least 30 to 35 inches between the sofa and the door and a distance of at least 15 to 20 inches between any two items in the living room, for example, between the sofa and the coffee table or between the sofa and the armchair.

If you still haven’t figured out your coffee table placement, you can go through these tips on choosing the best place to put the coffee table.

3 – Setting Up the Sofa next to the Window

According to Ricardo, “For most living rooms in the UK, the ideal sofa placement is with its back against the window. I really feel like this helps the sofas shine to their full potential, thanks to all the natural lighting that they get to enjoy. There is often a concern amongst clients that setting up sofas near windows would affect their colour or lifespan – but trust me, if you’re investing in a high-end, good-quality sofa from a reputable brand – this will never be an issue.”

View Our Luxury Sofa Collection

We would like to share examples of sofa placement from our Valley Road project.

The designers set up two living rooms in this project – in both cases, the sofa was set up next to the window, but for one – they went with an L-shaped, sectional sofa and for the other one, they chose a 2-seater with a chaise lounge.

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You’ll note how despite a similar colour scheme and a similar set-up (with the backs of the sofas facing the windows) – the final look of both the living rooms is quite different and yet equally enchanting.

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If you’re still unsure about this setting – here’s a detailed guide on the pros and cons of putting a sofa in front of a window.

4 – Dealing with the Gap Between the Sofa and the Wall

“There’s no single rule that will work for all rooms as it depends on how big the gap is and what kind of sofa and room we are working with,” explains Lauren. “But if I had to pick one strategy that works best, in my opinion – it would be using a console table. Just like sofas, consoles too come in many different sizes and shapes these days, so we can find one that perfectly fits the gap and then accessorise it with different items such as planters, vases or even lamps.”

Now, this strategy is a win-win because the console doesn’t just cover the gap but also gives you an opportunity to enhance the room’s aesthetics.

We recently saw this in our Telfords Yard project, where we had to consider the doorway in our sofa placement strategy. We had to leave some space behind the sofa because of the doorway – this gap was covered with a console that was minimalistically styled with table lamps and a scent diffuser.

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5 – Create a Feature Wall for Your Sofa

For living rooms without televisions or where the sofa does not naturally get placed next to the window, it’s a good idea to create a feature wall.

“This can be a wall with wallpaper, or artwork or even both of them. You just need to make sure that the colour scheme and style all work together and the wall does not overpower your sofa,” explains Ben.

Here’s an example from the Knightsbridge project, where Ben collaborated with our frequent design partner, Rina Vastu. This beautiful green leather sofa was placed in front of a wall with grey wallpaper and they even added complementing artwork.

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6 – Styling Sofas in the Middle of the Room

In some instances, the shape of the room leaves you with no other option but consider the middle for your sofa placement.

“For living rooms like these, I prefer to play around with geometry and use organic shapes to make the set-up feel natural instead of forced,” says Cristina.

This doesn’t just have to do with room layout as it can also be practiced in any living room that is big enough for you to give the sofa some breathing room since it is both; a functional and aesthetic strategy. You can also try this to create conversation areas or when you need to use the sofa as a room divider.

Here’s an example from our Bushey project where the designer went for a round sofa and coffee table:

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7 – Use Bespoke Rugs to Define the Area

Our designers love working with bespoke rugs that are specially designed for their projects. “Particularly when working with larger living rooms or open plan spaces – a rug helps bring the sofa and other items together to define that zone. You have the option of either placing all the items on the rug or at least the front part of all the main furniture,” says Lauren.

We can see this strategy work out perfectly in many of these projects, including the Coulins project, where Ben once again worked with Rina, who personally designed this rug.

Once we had the design from Rina, we had the rug manufactured in premium quality materials from Knot & Loop.

The final results were stunning and in line with the client’s brief – a modern, bold, but playful game room.

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Summing up, here’s a list of things to consider before you finalise your sofa placement:

  • The size and shape of the room.
  • The size, shape and type of sofa(s) you’ve chosen
  • The flow of traffic
  • The placement of other furniture items like the coffee table, television, fireplace, etc.

We are hopeful that the tips shared above will have pointed you in the right direction. But should you need any more help or if you would like to buy any of our products shown above, just book a free design consultation and our expert designers will be in touch.

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