So, you want to host your book club, but who wants to sit on the floor? Little can cause more embarrassment than realizing as people pour in that you have nowhere for them all to rest. Someone will have to stand or leave.
You do not have to limit your people just because you have a small living room. A few simple living room seating ideas and principles will help you fill the space you love with the people you like without compromising your reputation as a hostess.
Remember the Purpose
You and your people, your family, live in your home day-to-day, so remember the purpose of the living room as you consider how to expand your seating options.
The living room was initially a place to showcase wealth as signified by ornate furniture and expensive knick-knacks. The radio came into existence and then the television, and families had a reason to gather in a comfortable room rather than around a dining room table.
The 1950s through the 1990s was the heyday of the living room, where families met regularly in the living room to gather around the television for regularly scheduled programming.
Internet and the Death of the Living Room
Then the internet took over along with smart devices, which changed the face of the living room. On-demand TV means people can watch what they want when they want on whatever device they want. Living rooms as we know them have become redundant.
But the living room appears to be having a comeback. Conversation pits, which seemed to have climaxed in popularity in the 1970s are now making a comeback in architecture.
Perhaps the comeback stems from the loneliness epidemic that is sweeping our world, thanks to the isolating nature of technology. Experts report a growing coincidence between social media usage and loneliness, which leads us back to the living room.
The need for face-to-face or shoulder-to-shoulder communication has made itself apparent. And your living room can encourage such interaction, regardless of the square footage.
Living Room Seating Ideas
If you own a small living room, you can make a few simple changes that will improve the ability to host a nice-sized gathering.
Modify Your Furniture
Individuals tend to pick a cushion and then own it when they’re looking for a place to sit. So your seating capacity depends, roughly, on your cushion count in your living room.
For example, if you have a three-cushion couch, three people will opt to sit comfortably on it. The fourth person would cause crowding, and then one or more people would have to breach a cushion and sit on the dreaded crack.
No one wants to sit on the crack; small snacks, jewellery, and loose change lurk there.
You can maximize your couch’s seating capacity by having a single, long, bench cushion.
Have you ever wondered why people could sit so comfortably thigh-to-thigh and shoulder-to-shoulder on a church pew? They had one big seat. No one had his or her specific space.
A single cushion works in the same fashion. More people will be willing to squeeze onto the sofa if the couch has no cracks or individuals cushions.
Plus, your sofa will stay cleaner with fewer cracks to catch the wayward cracker.
If you’re in the middle of designing your living room, do not just consider square footage. Think about design features that will maximize seating options.
When you put a fireplace in your living room, create seating by including a significant, wide ledge under the mantle. If you make the ledge right, just about anyone will be comfortable grabbing a seat there, low to the ground and right next to the most aesthetically pleasing part of the room.
You may even find yourself there curling up next to the fire on a chilly day.
If you’re building a home and designing your living room, consider including a window seat. Think of the traditional bay window or just the deep chair with the window.
The window seat will not just add extra seating for you or a guest, but you can add some personality to the room too with a funky cushion cover and curtains.
Much like the wide-ledge fireplace, you may find yourself curling up on the window seat to watch the snowfall or see colourful leaves drift to the ground.
Multi-Use Your Furniture
If you want to maximize your space, find as many multi-use pieces of furniture as you can find.
Ottomans as Coffee Tables
Coffee tables have their place, but they ultimately take up space you may want to use for seating. They look cool with those trendy coffee table books. However, ottomans are the perfect multi-use piece of furniture.
Tuck an ottoman into your living room. You can put it in the centre of the room as a coffee table, and when your book club comes over, you can scoot the ottoman away from the centre and give one of your members a place to sit.
Ottomans have storage capacity, both in where you store them and what they store. You can slide a small ottoman neatly under an end table and then pull it out when you need it.
Many ottomans also have storage capacity, where they double as a storage unit.
Some simple, classy cushions or ottomans also have the potential to improve the aesthetics of your living room.
If you have a medium-to-small living room but love to entertain, then never buy a piece of furniture you can use for just one purpose. Look for storage options within your furniture like what an ottoman can offer.
When we think of adding more furniture, we assume that our living room will shrink exponentially. However, different types of chairs give you options depending on the size and layout of your living room.
The Single Chair
Keep your dining room chairs in mind when you need an extra seat, but visualize where you can put it in a pinch first.
You could also seek out and purchase a single chair that will fit neatly into your current living room decor and layout. You can find some great finds at second-hand stores with unique fabric and designs.
Even if you find a particular style of chair you like but you don’t like the colour, remember you can always paint the hardware and recover the cushion to make it uniquely yours.
Garden chairs can easily do double duty when you need extra seating. They can add a fresh ambience to a dull room plus give you an extra ninja seat.
The slipper chair is an armless chair that sits low to the ground. The simple design gives owners the freedom to slip the chair into a room without compromising the traffic flow. No one will check their hip on the arm of a slipper chair because the arms do not exist.
Single cushions allow for more seating than multiple cushions. So a low bench with a single long cushion will hold as many people who are willing to sit on it.
Plus, a low bench can hide nicely under a coffee table or sit obscurely along a wall. It can also divide the room from another space when you have an open floor plan.
Folding chairs have come a long way since Nathan Alexander patented them in 1911. Today folding chairs come in a variety of styles and materials from the cool, classic metal folding chairs to warmer, rustic wooden folding chairs.
They all have one common element, though: you can stow them. You can stash your chairs in a closet or garage or attic and then pull them out when you need them.
Stools centred in front of a fireplace flush in the wall will make for a lovely focal point in the room. Plus, they give you a few more seats for guests. They also round out the conversational element of the room when you make the fireplace your focal point.
Putting your furniture in a circle or square, where seats face each other, will stimulate conversation.
We typically don’t think about offering our guests a piece of the floor, but in a pinch, this may be the only option.
With this in mind, keep floor cushions or bean bags stashed away under coffee tables or end tables or even in a closet or spare room.
Plus, kids will love them. Your youngest guests may even opt for the floor when you give them the cushion or bean bag option.
Bean Bags and Loungers
Bean bags continue to rise in popularity because of their mobility and simplicity, not to mention comfort. They have the potential to make your small space a place where more guests can hang out.
Since their inception in the late 1960s, bean bags have grown in both popularity and variety. No longer do you have the decision of just what colour do you want.
Bean bags have grown so much that some people are looking for bean bag options in their home office. The comfortable pieces of furniture have morphed beyond the teen’s bedroom and living room into nearly all rooms of the house.
We even are beginning to find bean bag options in traditional offices.
The bags are not just the shapeless lumps inventors first conceived. You can now purchase bean bag sofas and more shaped bean bag chairs with backs and support. Bean bags can offer you premium living room seating.
Your furniture is just one part of maximizing your seating in a moderate to small-sized living room. One more hack to creating more living room seating options rests in eliminating the space hogs.
Several pieces of furniture have the potential to hog space where you could put extra seating. Eliminate as many pieces of furniture that take up too much room.
Start With the Television
Mounting your television on the wall creates additional space with minimal cost.
You should also remove any unnecessary clutter in the room. Use as much multi-use furniture as can, so if you have something that can act as a table and a chair, use it. Or look for a chair or table that offers storage.
For example, take the traditional magazine rack. This cumbersome piece of furniture has one purpose: to hold magazines. You cannot use it for anything else other than to store magazines.
An ottoman, however, can function as a table, a chair, or a magazine storage bin, depending on its size.
Clutter may consist of books, electronics, and cords. Stow these things away. Look for an in-wall storage unit that will help you hide wires from your now mounted television.
Drop-leaf tables or coffee tables with hidden adjustable tops also work well to help you maximize space and create more room for guests to sit.
Make the Most of What You Have
The best living room seating ideas rest on basic principles. To include as many seats as possible, use single cushions, seek out multi-use furniture, and don’t be afraid to use the floor.
If you’re looking for comfortable seating options, contact us and check out the rest of our website.