Living rooms typically have a sofa or two, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only way it could ever work. We’ve gathered our favorite examples of living rooms that take a different approach with seating for conversation, culture, and cuddling.
Ever hear of triclinium? It is an ancient practice that dates back to ancient Rome that was based on bordering a central table with daybeds or chaises on three sides when hosts and their guests would eat semi-prone, propped up on their elbows. Here, three armless loveseats are designed more for upright conversation than recumbent dining, but they follow the triclinium’s shape pretty faithfully.
Sure, sofas are the perfect furniture piece for plopping in front of the TV or a fire, but if your goal is to spark a conversation, spacing four chairs around an ottoman or coffee table is a better choice. If your room is large enough, you might even face four Eames Lounge Chairs with their ottoman, like the ones pictured below, toward one another for a relaxed conversation that invites people to linger.
Without a TV or fireplace, it’s easier to come up with alternative seating arrangements. Instead of compromising seating space just to mount a TV on a parallel wall, you can create a “cuddle pit,” to add a spark and romance to any room. Two chaise lounges can be pivoted away from each other to provide a venue for shared naps or admiring a view like the one pictured below.
Another possibility is to create a spatial arrangement that can please both TV watchers and those looking to minimize screen time in their life. You can do this by placing a TV prominently on the wall, but having none of the ample seating faces it. This way, those in your home can pay attention to it when they want, and easily tune it out when they don’t.
A living room composed of floor cushions isn’t for the faint of heart, or those with bad hips, creaky knees, or achy joints in general. But for the adventurous youth, living life on the floor feels quirky and bohemian, with a touch of the avant-garde. Of course, there is a robust precedent for floor seating in other cultures. Tea drinkers with a purist’s heart and modern nomads who can do without the weight of traditional furnishings will appreciate floor cushions as an alternative to the sofa.
Are there other seating arrangements you can think of that don’t need a sofa to work? Have you put this into practice in your home? We’d love to know what you think!