“A living room without a sofa?!”, I hear you gasp in a state somewhere betwixt confusion and shock.
The (arguably) most important item of furniture in your living room turns out to not be quite so essential as one would rightfully assume.
“But what do you arrange around the television?”
Minimalist home owners are opting to do without their sofa suite, and instead replacing the iconic living room seating with over-sized floor cushions around a low coffee table. This allows for flexibility in seating bums on cushions, as they are easy to move around and even store away so you never have more out than you actually need at the time. A plush area rug in front of the fire (or, more realistically, the TV) can help to define the lounge space, making it feel more cosy, and anchoring the living room arrangement in a way that may be lacking were you to simply remove the sofas.
This can work especially well with smaller living rooms, eliminating the bulk of a full sofa suite and making the room feel brighter and airier. Lining the edge or edges with the large, plush floor cushions to provide back support can give you all the comfort of a traditional living room sofa without visually blocking out half of the room.
In fact, not having a sofa in the living room isn’t considered to be so strange in many other parts of the world. Notably, the Japanese tend to have items of furniture closer to the floor with cushions, legless chairs and low dining tables placed on tatami mats.
A quirky but fun alternative to living room sofas are beanbags. Though not for everybody, their ability to mould around your body may make them even more comfortable than your sofa. You can also find them upholstered in all sorts of respectable fabrics, if you’d like to rock the beanbag seating but feel more grown-up about it.
Photo by Glenn Beltz
If this sounds like it’s all getting a bit too bold for you, and you were only interested in substituting your sofa for a similar, less space-consuming alternative, then why not consider the traditional armchair?
For the brave, you could even mismatch your armchairs for a stylishly unique look. And if the main appeal of a sofa is to have somewhere to put your feet up when you’re lounging in front of the telly, then you could have reclining armchairs or an ottoman that can also double as an extra seat for guests.
A backless daybed or a romantic chaise longue can fit the requirement of a sofa, without having its back rudely toward the entrance for smaller living rooms. They work great as a room divider too, and can be accessed from both sides, making the room feel more open while creating social seating areas. With living rooms getting smaller and smaller, this is often the most common complaint when it comes to furniture placement: how can I arrange my sofa so its back isn’t facing the door?! It’s certainly not the friendliest of welcomes…
We don’t need to give you permission to completely forgo the living room sofa, but just know that it is a choice. You do not have to bow to tradition!
(And let’s face it. Nobody likes the middle seat. Three seater sofas were designed so that tall people can lie down on them…)