designing a living room

Living room interior design: layouts and examples ready to use

Functional layouts with 3D models to download and useful planning tips: here’s the guide for architects to designing a modern living room

A living room is a multipurpose environment in a house that is largely used as an area for the family to gather together and for receiving and entertaining friends and guests. In this focus article we will cover key aspects to designing a living room and provide four different layout solutions to inspire your projects and also a video that shows how simple it is to design a living room with a BIM architectural design software.

At the bottom of the article you’ll find a Download section where you can download a 3D model for free together with various functional layouts, DWG CAD resources and a brief slide presentation.

Layouts and designs for a living room plan

A smart way to design a living room is to start determining a functional layout that meets your client’s needs. Here are some popular living room layouts:

  • with no entryway or foyer
  • with entryway (designed with the use of space dividers or partition walls)
  • open plan living seamlessly connected to the kitchen
  • with fireplace.

For each layout type there are certain factors to consider that strongly influence the perception of the environment to create. For example:

  • organization of spaces
  • selection of materials and colours
  • choice of furnishings
  • the lighting system
  • natural light
  • the heating system.

A living room generally consists of:

  • a large dining area
  • a sitting area where formal and informal functions of the house are carried out.

Living room with no entryway

Open plan living rooms have in the last years become a very popular design choice. This solution makes the most of the space available and avoids designing any corridor or hallway, which are exclusively used as walk-through areas.

Designing a living room

Living room design | Render of a living room with direct access

In the solution that we have designed, the house front door leads directly to the living room area.

The sequence of spaces are arranged, with respect to the entrance, as follows:

  • the dining room, with a large glass table
  • the relaxation area, with a curved sofa, that is comfortable also for receiving guests
  • an equipped wall which also includes a television.

The TV is positioned so that it can be seen both from the sofas and from the dining table. The environment is cozy and comfortable thanks to the parquet flooring (mounted with a herringbone pattern) and the boiserie that characterizes the equipped wall.

Living room with entryway

The second solution for designing a living room envisages a large living area with an entryway that separates the entrance from the living room and sleeping area.

It is not a real hallway but a transition space characterized by low furniture or partitions that gives you a complete view of the whole living area right from the entrance. This space is not a strong physical partition (there are no partition walls) and it is rather defined by the use of specific materials.

Specifically, the wooden slats used for the house flooring are also installed at the entrance to cover the false ceiling and walls.

Render of a living room with entryway

Living room design| Entryway render

The low cabinet that conceptually divides the areas also houses the television in the relaxation area, characterized by the large corner sofa and the floor-to-ceiling window.

Integrated kitchen-living spaces

If you prefer to have a living room seamlessly connected to the kitchen, yet keeping some privacy, you can opt for the project of an open plan with a partially integrated kitchen and living room, which is a perfectly flexible design solution.

Designing a living room

Living room design| Render with kitchen integrated

The kitchen and living area can, for example, be separated by retractable sliding doors or movable walls. The space thus obtained will be multifunctional and adaptable to any type of situation.

In our case study, the kitchen and the living room are separated by a wall which offers its support surface for the installation of the TV and becomes an equipped wall on the kitchen side. The two functions are contiguous and communicating but also retain a certain visual privacy.

If you’d like to know more about this topic, here’s the link to our previous article ‘Open plan kitchen and living room: useful tips and examples‘.

Living room with fireplace

The fourth layout solution distributes the whole space around a fireplace.

Planning a living room, layout types

Living room design| Render of a living room with fireplace

The fireplace wall is designed at the center of the rectangular floor plan and divides the living room into two areas: the dining area on one side and the relaxation area on the other. In addition, the sofas faces the fireplace wall where the TV is also mounted. The choice of the double-sided fireplace model brings significant advantages:

  • it separates environments in a creative way
  • it makes the fire visible from both spaces of the living area
  • large rooms are heated up more evenly
  • it furnishes the environment.

Designing a living room: furnishings, colours and lights

A living room is a part of the house where you spend a lot of time, so it not only needs to be decorated with style, but it also needs to be functional and comfortable.

Living room layout plans

Living room design | Cross sectione


Choosing the right furnishing is not an easy task.

There are seemingly countless interior design style types: eclectic, classic, industrial, rural, minimalist, Scandinavian, Mediterranean etc. It is advisable to choose a style that represents a constant guide to follow when it comes to make choices for each detail. The style adopted must represent the personality and needs of those who live there but also reflect the character of the home and the context in which it is inserted.

A juxtaposition of styles that mixes almost every design style together and combines old and modern pieces seems to be the latest trend.

Once the most appropriate style has been identified, you need to choose the right furnishings:

  • dining table and chairs
  • sofas and armchairs
  • equipped walls
  • shelving and container elements

It is important that the furniture combines style and functionality and that is arranged at the right places.


With regard to the choice of the colours to use, you need to consider that strong shades are useful for recreating sophisticated environments, while light or neutral tones generate a more serene atmosphere.

The study of colours covers a fundamental role in the design of the living room. Diversifying some walls through paintings with strong colours, wallpaper or covering materials helps to focus the attention on a specific point of the environment.


The management of artificial light through hanging or wall lamps, LED strips and spotlights integrated into the design of the false ceilings is also important to further emphasize the focal points of a living room project. Check our previous article regarding ‘Suspended ceiling design: the technical guide‘.

Artificial lights should be placed according to the size of the space and the presence of darker spots, while the exposure of windows and natural light will influence the furniture internal arrangement.

For example, areas intended for reading need good lighting. For the TV area or PC station it is rather preferable to avoid direct light. In all cases, it is important to adjust the natural light coming in using curtains, window films and sunscreens.

Designing a living room: download section

Download the 3D BIM model (.edf file)

Designing a living room: video

Presentation Slides of a living room plan