When it comes to designing your living room and choosing your furniture, you need to make sure you have all the important measurements written down before making any big decisions. The last thing you want to do is order your dream sofa just to realise it doesn’t fit in the space you have. When picking out furniture and figuring out where to place them in your living room there are a number of things to consider:

Living room measurements and shape

Oak Furnitureland Brighton corner sofa in cream upholstery styling in a monochrome living room.

Brighton corner sofa | @lockdown_lifestyle

Before you start buying furniture and arranging your living room it’s important to first measure the dimensions of your room and, if possible, draw a to-scale map of your living room shape. If your living room is a particularly awkward shape you might also consider using tape to map out furniture placement on the floor so you can get a more clear depiction of how furniture might fit into that space.

You can then review how any existing furniture, and furniture that you’re planning on buying, will best fit into your living room using this guide.

How to choose the right size coffee table

Oak Furnitureland Burleigh weathered oak coffee table, console table and dark green Bramble sofa in a light-filled living room.

Burleigh coffee table | Burleigh console table | Bramble sofa

When choosing a coffee table it is important to think about it’s dimensions in relation to your sofa. For functionality as well as style ensure that your coffee table is no less than 5cm shorter than the seats of your sofa so that you aren’t leaning down to place drinks or eat nibbles from the table. Your coffee table should also be no more than 5cm taller than the seats of the sofa. This helps ensure nothing obstructs the view of the TV and that the room doesn’t feel cramped or disproportionate.

You’ll want your coffee table to be a half to two-thirds of the length of your sofa (if you have an L-shaped sofa then this should be a half to two-thirds the size of the longest seat). This gives the room a more balanced feel and should allow for everyone on the sofa to be able to make use of the coffee table.

Where to position your coffee table

When deciding where to place your coffee table you’ll want to allow between 35-45cm between the table and your sofa. This leaves you with enough distance for leg room but is close enough to be able to set down your drink easily or put your feet up (if that’s allowed in your house). In relation to the TV, your coffee table should be between 60 to 75cm away.

How to choose your sofa size

The sofa is one of the main focal points to any living room, so what sofa you choose and where you choose to place it will help to shape the rest of your living room. You’ll want it to be big enough to seat the whole family but not too big that it makes the space feel cramped. Make sure to refer to your living room measurements before you decide on your sofa size and shape, as getting this wrong can lead to your living room looking awkward or cramped. Make sure your sofa doesn’t stretch the length of a whole wall, and leave at least 45cm of space either side of the sofa before the next wall (this space can be occupied by a little table or lamp).

Where you should put your sofa in the living room

Oak Furnitureland grey Malvern corner sofa in a neutral living room with a cream rug and wooden coffee table.
Malvern sofa | @thelarchhome_10

The direction you face your sofa is important as it will emphasise whatever you’re pointing it at. Whether it is your TV, a fireplace or another sofa it will draw your guests attention to this point, so choose wisely.

To allow yourself and guests to walk through your living room with ease you need to leave at least 75 cm between your sofa and any walls or doorways or other large pieces of furniture (of course if you are positioning your sofa against a wall this isn’t relevant). The main walking space for entering and exiting the living room should ideally be around the perimeter of the room and not straight through it.

If you’re buying a sofa bed don’t forget to take the measurement of the extended bed, make sure it has enough space to extend comfortably before the next piece of furniture or wall (in most circumstances you’ll need to remove the coffee table to extend the bed).

Where to put your armchair

Choosing a combination of sofa and armchair is a great way to add personality to your living room, especially if you’re choosing a statement piece or something in a different colour or design. To keep the living room looking open and spacious, and allow room for movement, place your armchairs at least a 40cm distance away from the sofa and coffee table. Your armchairs can be different designs and shape to your sofa to give the room a bit of character and depth, but we’d recommend the seat of the armchair isn’t more than 10-15cm higher than the seat of your sofa (and vice versa) so that when guests are sitting down there isn’t too much of a range in height as this can feel uncomfortable.

As with sofa beds, if you have any reclining armchairs you might want to position them angled slightly away from the coffee table so that when fully reclined there is still space between the chair and the coffee table. You’ll also need to leave enough space behind the chair so that it can fully recline backwards without hitting the wall or another piece of furniture,

What size TV stand you need and where to place it

Parquet TV unit in a living room with an art TV placed above and houseplants to the side.

Parquet TV stand | @keepingkielder

When choosing your TV stand for your living room be sure to start by measuring the size of your TV. You’ll want your stand to be at least that width, or ideally a few inches wider, otherwise it will look top heavy and unbalanced. Large TVs also often have legs which stick out in front and behind to stabilise it from falling over forwards or backwards. Make sure you choose a stand that is deep enough to accommodate these legs.

If you plan to place plants, books or anything else on the stand next to the TV don’t forget to allow for that extra space. (Remember, when you buy a TV, the size that’s given is usually the diagonal length, whereas here we are talking about width so make sure you know that measurement).

As a general rule, the middle of your TV screen should be positioned at, or just below the eye level of you and your guests. So that everyone can see the television and watch safely, your TV should be at least 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal screen measurement away from the sofa. For example if you have a 50” TV you should place it a minimum of 75-125 inches (1.9m-3.2 m) away.

Getting furniture into the living room

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure you can actually fit the piece of furniture you’re buying into your living room.

Make sure you note down all of the following:

The size of the actual sofa. Measure the width, height and depth of your sofa and write these down. It’s also worth noting that if your sofa is going to arrive in a box you’ll need these measurements too.

The measurements of any stairs or doorways that you’ll need to move your sofa through to get to the living room. If you can’t open any doorway the whole way due to partial obstruction you’ll need to measure the narrowest point between door and door frame.

Any tight corners you’ll need to navigate your sofa through. Measure all hallways and corners at their narrowest point. The height of your sofa will need to be smaller than the width of these spaces to get through.

Consider if you need to use a lift. As long as the diagonal height of the inside of your lift is bigger than the height, width and depth of your sofa you should be able to fit it in fine.

Hopefully this guide will help you when planning your living room furniture and layout. At Oak Furnitureland we have sofas of all shapes and sizes to fit whatever your living room needs might be.