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1. A sense of entry. I absolutely love this room. I imagine walking into the house and seeing this view from the front foyer. I love that the furniture isn't blocking me visually, with a sofa facing the fireplace or the too-typical formal layout with two sofas flanking the fireplace. The path leading right down the middle and the two distinct seating areas make this feel more like hotel lobby or restaurant lounge than a living room; fabulous for entertaining.
2. Intimacy. When you have a large space, it's important to place the furniture in small groups to create a sense of intimacy. A good rule of thumb is to not set furniture so far apart that you have to lean in across the coffee table to hear the person you're talking to!
3. Multiple seating areas. Furniture arrangement can be challenging, but this is a great example of how to pull off a room with double seating areas. An open console separates the two seating areas while two sisal rugs clearly define each space. I like the runner and the second rug layered on the sisal rug in the foreground. Layering mismatched furniture and textures help the room to feel more like the pieces were collected over time and less like a store showroom.
4. Downplay the TV. Even if your living room or family room usually has the furniture laid out for television viewing, think about moving it around for a party. Ignore the TV and arrange furniture for conversation. I love how the two sofas are placed back-to-back to create two seating areas. Most people think they don't have the space for this, but give it a try; you might be surprised!
Back-to-back sofas with a skinny sofa table in between also works with contemporary styling. This one feels like a modern ski lodge's spa lounge.
6. Circulation path. If you don't have the room for two seating areas with sofas, try placing a few armchairs at one end of the space and the sofa with additional chairs at the other. The two mismatched traditional rugs work well to tie the space together. They also create a clear circulation path from the front door.
There are so many ways to think about arranging furniture for entertaining. Throw the rules out the window and get creative. You might even find you prefer your living room laid out this way all the time.
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