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Fit More Seating in Your Living Room Without it Feeling Crowded

Solve sofa squabbles with these neat solutions for adding extra seat space for family and guests

Having enough seating is key to living-room harmony – and it’s got to be comfy. No one wants to be the one stuck on the hard-backed dining chair when everyone else is lording it up on the sofa. Whether you have a big family, love to have friends round or live in a house-share with lots of people, there are plenty of ways to add extra options without making the space look like a doctor’s waiting room. Browse through these ideas for making everyone feel like they have the best seat in the house.

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Fill the space
The most obvious suggestion is to get as large a sofa as the room can take. This L-shaped sofa is huge – and it has an integrated footstool that can be pulled away for use as an extra chair, too – but its low height, unfussy shape and raised metal legs all help to make it seem less imposing.

In a long, thin room like this, it makes sense to go as long as you can with the sofa, as there isn’t much scope width-wise. Cleverly, the armchair by the window is in a contrasting finish to stop the room from feeling too sofa-dominated.

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Get perfect placement
Finding the right position for furniture is key when fitting in a generous-sized sofa, as seen here. Putting it against the wall, with the L-section on the right means the view out of the glass doors is clear, making the space feel bigger. A narrow-framed wooden chair provides an extra perch but, similarly, does not block the view.

Other neat styling tricks on show include the green rug that visually links the space with the garden, creating the illusion of a bigger room, and the smart shelf behind the sofa. A sideboard would take up valuable space needed for seating, but this neat ledge leaves the floor area clear and uncluttered but still provides a place to create a lovely display.

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Mix up colours…
To stop a large, modular sofa from looking too ‘blocky’, how about choosing a mix of components, as the owners have done here. Different-coloured sections, all in the same muted tones and pattern, provide interest without having to introduce any separate armchairs, which could make the space feel too busy.

The coffee table on castors can be rolled out of the way to change the look of the room, and because it’s modular, the sofa can also be reconfigured in lots of different ways.

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…Or stick to one shade
In a small room, using one pale colour is a tried-and-tested space enhancer. Here, everything is white or neutral, so the extra-large sofa appears to blend into the wall. Coupled with the comfy coffee-table-cum-pouffe, this compact room would comfortably seat seven people.

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Spread the love
If a modular sofa isn’t warming your cockles, then a carefully curated selection of chairs is another way to go. Here, a backless daybed is joined by two similar but not matching wooden-framed armchairs, with cushions and blankets in plentiful supply for creating a lounging area on the rug.

Keeping to a neutral colour palette gives the room a calm, airy feel, further enhanced by the open-framed designs of the armchairs.

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Formalise things
This room provides lots of seating options but maintains a very clean, ordered feel. The same idea of using coordinating furniture is on display here, but this time the look is much more traditional. A straight-lined sofa is teamed with a long upholstered footstool and a pair of matching slimline armchairs.

Taking note of the architectural features of a room – here, the angular fireplace and the elegant, narrow windows – and working with them, can be a sensible way to get the most out of your space.

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All pile on
If you’re feeling experimental, you could eschew the sofa altogether, and go for an enormous daybed in the middle of the room. It might not be all that suitable if you regularly have the vicar round for afternoon tea, but a similar idea in a sociable house-share could work brilliantly.

Mainly neutral shades are enlivened with a couple of jewel-bright accent colours on the cushions and other chairs, so the overall look is thought-out rather than thrown together.

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Match in pairs
It may sound like the sort of problem most of us wouldn’t mind having, but filling a large space with the right seating can be just as tricky as trying to pack everything into a small one. To avoid people having to shout at one another from opposite ends of the room, try creating separate seating zones, and to keep the look considered not chaotic, double up the designs, as seen here.

Clustering the sofa and a pair of chairs creates one zone, while matching pouffes breaking up the dead space in the centre of the room forms another. Using tonal shades of velvet on all the furniture helps to link the pieces, and, when required, the chairs and pouffes can be easily moved and regrouped to accommodate more people into the social hub.

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Add a window seat
Utilising the space in front of a window, especially a bay window, creates a perfect extra seating option. Upholster the seat pad to coordinate with your colour scheme, and add scatter cushions behind to create a cosy nook.

If you need a big sofa but don’t want it to overwhelm the space, take inspiration from the one here. Its pale colour, long, low shape, short, neat arms and raised wooden legs all help it to blend into its surroundings.

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Live on the ledge
No place for a window seat? How about building in a low-level ledge-cum-lounge spot instead? In this open-plan living room, squishy cushions on the ledge in the corner form a cosy extra seat, and its position snuggled next to the wood-burning stove would make it a popular spot on a chilly day.

Making the most of unused wall space with a seating ledge is a fairly straightforward job, and it creates a much neater look than a pile of cushions directly on the floor.

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Pick one colour
Neutral shades certainly help a space to feel bigger and less cluttered, but if colour is your thing, sticking to one main shade may be the best way to go. This bold red sofa is complemented by two matching red-and-white herringbone footstools for additional seating, and a cheery, cherry-red lampshade completes the look.

A nest of tables is the ideal accompaniment to multiple seating options, as they can be placed around the room when you have guests, but neatly stacked away when not in use.

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Make it practical
OK, this room doesn’t provide masses of extra seating (although two or three children would easily fit on the big orange stool, freeing up the blue sofa for the grown-ups), but the clever over-arching coffee table is a great idea for keeping a space from looking crowded. This movable two-in-one design removes the need for a separate table, and is also much less precarious than trying to balance the chips and dips on a piece of upholstered furniture.

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Give it a spin
Who says chairs need legs? Teenagers would love this swinging bubble chair – it might even lure them down from their bedrooms to enjoy a bit of family time… For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the deep, roomy sofa and pretty leather pouffe provide plenty of extra seating.

How do you provide seats for everyone in your living room? Share your ideas in the Comments below.

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