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Choosing the Right Living Room Furniture in 6 Easy Steps

Our home’s living room is where we relax and socialize. They are as varied and unique as we are, each a reflection of our needs and personality.

Living rooms can take the form of relaxing retreats, entertainment centers, formal sitting rooms, offices, and more. Despite all of these potential uses, a few essential rules, or guidelines, can help you get just the right furniture for your home.

Choosing the Right Living Room Furniture in 6 Easy Steps

With all the options available for living rooms, it can feel just as overwhelming when looking for a new piece of furniture as it is designing a new space from scratch. Every space in the home serves a purpose, but the function isn’t everything. You will want to select furniture that fits your lifestyle and personality.

If the space isn’t comfortable or inviting, you won’t want to spend time there.

No matter if you are redesigning an existing space or starting from scratch, keep the following steps in mind:

  • Identify any electronics and wiring you need to accommodate
  • Pick your essential furniture pieces
  • Consider storage and alternate needs
  • Determine the room layout and furniture size constraints
  • Select your furniture style
  • Decide on furniture materials

A little bit of forethought and prep at the beginning of a project can help your practical demands and style wishes come together seamlessly at the end.

1. Identify Any Electronic Constraints in the Room

The living room is one of the few in the home where you will need to pay a lot of attention to the layout of electrical components. Even a simple home entertainment center will need a wall outlet and potentially access to cable or internet lines. Throw in a more expansive sound system, gaming consoles, or a home office, and you suddenly have a lot of devices to arrange.

Take the time at the very beginning to figure out what electronics you need to place in or on furniture pieces and where they will need to sit in the room. You may find that you only have one or two walls available for running power cords discretely or wall mounting screens and speakers for open floor plans.

2. Consider How You Will Use the Space

Living rooms most often are places we sit and chat or kick back to watch TV, but that isn’t the only function they serve. They can also be where we eat meals, exercise, craft, do hobbies, or work. If you are moving into a new house, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll finally use the dining room to eat all of your meals. But if you already tend to eat in front of the TV, that habit is likely to continue.

Don’t force yourself to accommodate your home — plan from the outset for furniture selections that work with what feels comfortable to you.

3. Decide Your Essential Furniture Needs

One thing pretty much every living room has in common is the presence of a sofa, so go ahead and add that at the top of your list. If you plan on having electronics in the room, such as a TV or computer, as decided in step one, now is the time to determine what furniture you will need to accommodate those needs.

Complete entertainment centers can help hide away electronics and cables, but they can take up a considerable amount of space. A popular option is a TV stand. Whether you choose to wall mount the screen or sit it on top, these slim cabinets also add some additional storage to the room.

Implementing a home office will require at least a desk and chair, but if you have the space, maybe pick up a bookcase and filing cabinet as well.

Whatever furniture selections you decide upon, make a list. Keep the essentials at the top, but also think about other pieces you would like in the room, including coffee and side tables, side chairs, lounges, stools, ottomans, or standing light fixtures.

4. Plan Room Layout and Furniture Size

Now is the time to figure out what size furniture will fit in your living room and how you want it arranged. This is an easy and fun step to play around with different configurations. You can easily map out your new living room with graph paper or a computer interior design application like Sweet Home 3D.

Side tables can be placed directly next to sofas and chairs, and coffee tables generally sit about a foot from the couch. Still, otherwise, if you need to walk past or between a furniture piece, the minimum comfortable distance is about thirty inches.

Here are a few general tips and recommendations while experimenting with layout:

  • Arrange sofas and chairs facing each other for comfortable conversation
  • Allow a continuous pathway through the room that is three feet wide
  • Place TV screens on walls that don’t have sun glare if possible
  • If you are short on storage and space, builtins can help free up a lot of real estate in floor plans

By taking the time to plan your furniture layout thoroughly, you can get a more accurate estimate of the dimensions you can accommodate. Nothing throws off the design of a room like a furniture piece that is too big or too small. But don’t get too stuck on the perfect number when you finally go shopping. A few inches here or there won’t break the aesthetic.

5. Pick Your Furniture and Decor Styles

Gone are the days of having an entire matching set of living room furniture. While there is nothing wrong with a beautiful matching set of sofa and chairs, feel free to mix and match style, color, and textures throughout your seating, table, and storage selections. Antiques, contemporary, retro, and mid-century designs can all work together, with a little bit of forethought.

Settle on a unifying theme and carry that throughout all your selections. 

This theme can be as simple as a color palette or a particular type of wood finish that repeats across multiple furniture pieces or decor. You can design enclosed living rooms however you like, but open floor plans need to consider the other adjoining spaces.

You can make the living area distinct, but it shouldn’t be a jarring transition from the kitchen or dining space.

6. Consider Furniture Construction Materials

Wood is the standard when it comes to furniture for a good reason. It is a beautiful and durable material that can add a timeless look to any room. But wood isn’t the only fantastic option available when it comes to furniture.

Don’t be afraid to select a metallic option for the base. Steel furniture bases offer the highest durability and stability you will find. The inherent strength of solid steel construction also means you can get a much sleeker base than wood for larger pieces. Elegant, compact bases free up legroom and give the illusion of more space even in smaller enclosed living rooms.

The reasons to choose metal are many; its strength is unparalleled, and coupled with its near imperviousness to environmental changes, it will be with you for a lifetime. It also resists damage from pets the best.

You won’t be stuck with shiny silver either. Finishes for metal come in any color or texture you can think of. Metallic supported tables tend to feature a more comprehensive option of table surfaces and can give you the chance of swapping out the tabletop without buying a new base if you ever decide to change the style.

Just as important as the base of your furniture is the upholstery or topping material. You need to think about the level of use every piece will see, including if it will get direct sunlight, kids, and pets.

Every type of upholstery has its own set of pros and cons, but don’t skip on durability and the ability to clean up if you use the living room a lot. Your most common options will include:

  • Leather: Durable and easy to wipe up spills, but can crease and stretch over time. If you have pets, scratches can be difficult and expensive to repair.
  • Linen: Most durable of the natural plant fibers, it is easy to care for, fade-resistant, and can help wick moisture away.
  • Cotton: Heavy weave upholstery cotton is very resistant to pilling, making it great for heavy use seating. You can also find a wide variety of colors and patterns.
  • Wool: Naturally spill-resistant and hypoallergenic wool upholstery is highly durable but does require cleaning with a hot water extraction method.
  • Silk: Opulent and beautiful, this surface will need to be kept out of any direct sun and cleaned with care.

Cabinet and table tops also provide a variety of surface options. Consider opting for metal, ceramic, or glass if you want a unique table. These are highly durable materials that can add a distinctive style. They are easier to clean and maintain while providing superior resistance to water damage, general wear, and pets.

A Handcrafted Timeless Living Room for You

If you are looking for a stunning and well-crafted contemporary piece of living room furniture, check out our online catalog. We have been hand manufacturing steel furniture for over 40 years and pride ourselves that every piece is as much a piece of art as a functional piece of furniture. Each piece of Johnston Casual furniture is a unique item made to order for our customers.

We offer a wide range of metal finished and upholstery options for our pieces, meaning you can get a truly unique piece that will fit your home and style seamlessly. Find a furniture dealer near you to order a one-of-a-kind piece that will last you a lifetime. We ship all over the United States and internationally.


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