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How to Break Up and Style Large Living Rooms

Castlery|May 29, 2024

Large living rooms are a dream for many, but the reality can be a challenge. Sometimes, their expansive nature can lead to a feeling of emptiness or a lack of functionality.

In this guide, we'll delve into tips on how to split the space, creating conversation nooks, reading retreats, and stylish havens that maximise aesthetic appeal and usability.

5 ways to split and style a big living room

Group furniture together with a purpose

The key to effectively utilising a large living room lies in dividing it into distinct zones by grouping furniture together. 

You could then divide the space into a few separate areas - the first group could consist of a sofa and two armchairs around a TV or fireplace that serves as the main conversation area for family and friends. Use a console table placed behind a sofa to subtly separate this area from other zones.

The secondary area can consist of a chaise lounge or a reading chair and a small side table for quiet moments by yourself. 

You could even have a dedicated play area for your children - with plush rugs, toys, and a dresser or storage bins to store items. 

Two 3-seater sofas in a living room with a coffee table in the center.

@myhousefromscratch creates a functional conversation area around the fireplace with ample of seating space. Pictured: The Dawson 3-seater Sofa.

A leather sofa in a living room with children's play tent and wooden table.

With a leather sofa in @ourpnw_home's children's play area, adults can relax while the kids play! Pictured: The Lorenzo Wool Area Rug.

A round dining table with four matching bouclé armchairs.

@emm_interiors creates a cosy dining space off the living area with four Paloma Bouclé Armchairs.

When it comes to furniture grouping, rugs are key to help visually designate one zone from the other. Use at least one rug when it comes to furniture grouping to anchor the furniture and maintain a clear separation.

This segmentation fosters a sense of intimacy within the expansive room while catering to diverse activities that work for your lifestyle.

Intentional furniture placement can work magic

If you want to put emphasis on the expansiveness of your living room but want to prevent it from looking empty, ditch the perimeter and pull furniture inwards. 

Imagine the room as a conversation pit, where everyone can face each other comfortably and indulge in conversation. This configuration invites conversation and fosters a sense of connection in your vast living room.

Start with your main seating area, such as a large sofa or an L-shape sectional that provides ample room for guests. Instead of pushing it flat against the wall, position it to face the center of the room. 

Angle armchairs, 2-seater sofas, or ottomans towards the sofa to create a sense of intimacy and conversation. Anchor this central hub with a spacious coffee table that’s large enough to accommodate drinks, books, and decorative objects. 

A living room with a 3-seater sofa, two matching armchairs, and two stools surrounding a coffee table.

A U-shaped seating arrangement with the Hamilton Sofa and Amber Bouclé Swivel Chairs promotes intimate conversations in @beauxarts107's living space.

A 3-seater sofa and two bouclé armchairs surround a coffee table in the living room.

@edwardleefilms arranges the Lucas Performance Bouclé Sofa, Paloma Bouclé Armchairs, and Harper Sideboard infront of a window to ensure ample natural sunlight in the conversation area.

A large living room with tall ceilings and a structure suspended in the air.

@thextonsmith.interiors uses an area rug to create zones in this large living room. Pictured: The Sacha Performance Bouclé Armchairs.

Incorporate room dividers

A fuss-free way to split up your large living room is to use dividers. This can be in the form of bookcases, shelves, or decorative partitions. These elements not only serve a functional purpose but also add to the visual appeal of a large living room, breaking up the expanse of space and adding dimension. 

Opt for open-back bookshelves or translucent screens to maintain a sense of airiness while effectively segmenting the space. You can even make use of your sofa to act as a divider between zones. 

@ochre.home uses the Harper TV Unit as a makeshift room divider, creating zones within the living room.

A wooden sideboard placed behind a sofa to act as a room divider.
A large living room with two separate seating areas.

@thextonsmith.interiors uses the Marlow Performance Bouclé Armless Sofa to create two separate seating zones.

Use tall plants or hanging planters

If your large living room also has tall ceilings, using tall plants or hanging planters to divide the space is an excellent strategy that visually segments the room without creating physical barriers.

As the scale of the space can sometimes feel overwhelming, incorporating plants brings a sense of warmth and intimacy. They soften hard lines and create a more inviting atmosphere conducive to relaxation and socialising.

Place tall or large potted plants like a fiddle leaf fig or birds of paradise beside your sofa or in empty spaces to visually segment the area. Planters like ferns or cascading vines that suspend from the ceiling can also bring the ceiling down, making the room appear shorter without feeling small.

A person sitting on a 3-seater sofa in an open concept living space.

With the luxury of space, @iamdennislim creates a plant corner in the home for that burst of greenery. Pictured: The Jonathan Sofa.

A wooden shelf with plants surrounded by smaller potted plants in a living room.

@homebyheena creates an aesthetic plant corner by the Auburn Performance Fabric Sectional Sofa.

A person sitting on a curved bouclé sofa.

@evaacatherine places a tall potted plant beside the Marlow Performance Bouclé Curve Sofa to break up the space.

Create separation with accent walls

If you’re not keen on rearranging your living room furniture, another great way to break up your large living room is to have accent walls. For rental spaces, consider using wallpaper for an easy-clean and budget-friendly option!

Select different paint colours, wallpapers, or tiles for various walls to create distinct zones and define separate areas for different activities.

@lonefoxhome hangs a beautiful vintage tapestry behind the Marlow Performance Bouclé L-Shape Sectional Sofa.

A chaise sectional sofa in a living room with a vintage tapestry.
A leather sofa placed in a living room with a checkered wallpaper.

The Jonathan Leather Sofa works extremely well in @duvaldesignllc's charming living room with a checkered wall.

Warm, rich tones like deep blues or earthy greens can create a cosy atmosphere in a reading nook or entertainment area, while lighter shades like soft neutrals or pastels can brighten and open up the main seating area or joint dining space.

You could also break up the visual monotony of a large living room by painting or wallpapering one wall in a bold colour or eye-catching pattern. This instantly draws attention to a specific area or feature within the room. 

Transforming a large living room from a vast expanse into a harmonious, inviting space requires careful planning and creative vision. By implementing these strategies, you can unlock the full potential of your big living area and create a space that feels cosy.

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