Susie Novak Interiors
Interior designer serving Oakland, San Francisco, East Bay and Marin California.

Design Blog

How to Create Zones in a Large Living Room

Do you have an open concept home? Or maybe just a large living room where your sofa looks a little lonely all by itself? That’s precisely the challenge of a big space and why zoning is so important.

So what exactly is “zoning” all about?

Why are “zones” important to a large living room or open concept space?

In any home, it’s important to use furniture configurations and design strategies to help define the boundaries and flow of a space. You want each space to feel unique on its own but still cohesive with the rest of the home. 

In a large, open space, you won’t have many walls to help out with this. Creating functional, livable zones takes even more finesse.

So how do we do it? Check out these 5 go-to tips for getting it just right…

Tip 1. Bring in the Fireplace


The fireplace is an important focal point of any living room. Configure furniture around it to create a defined seating area. (Even better if you can mix and match the seating styles!) To create the boundary of this space, place your sofa at the farthest edge with its back to the space beyond. (source)

Tip 2. Make it cozy with seating and a cocktail table


Don’t underestimate coziness! In a big living room or open concept space (imagine a kitchen behind this space, for example), not every surface is going to look the same — that’s how we differentiate them. 

In the living room, cozy it up with plushy pillows, cushy seating and, of course, a place to set drinks! (source)

Tip 3. Ground the space with a great rug


I love this strategy for three big reasons: 1) it is the easiest way to create a defined zone in a big space, 2) a fabulous rug will elevate the look and feel of your space in ten seconds flat, and 3) high-quality rugs actually appreciate value over time! What’s not to love? 

You can either place your furniture configuration on the large area rug OR place your furniture so that two legs are on the rug and two legs are off. (source)

Tip 4. Create a place to read and have a nightcap


Okay, so you’ve got the central living space pretty much down by now, right? So what do you do with all that other space? Hello, reading nook + nightcap station! 

Having a small offset seating area is a great way to mix up the way you entertain a group or enjoy yourself in the space. They say variety is the spice of life, after all. ;) (source)

Tip 5. Flank sofas back-to-back for separate seating areas


Speaking of variety, another way you can create two completely separate seating areas within one large space is to place sofas back to back! On one side, the perfect place for an intimate nightcap by the fire; on the other, you’re ready to delight and entertain a small crowd. (source)

So, which is your favorite? Are you bursting with ideas for your space? These are all simple design strategies you can use, but with big impact for how you’ll see the space and LIVE in it. So really, we’re changing lives here. ;)

Ready to transform how you live and love in your space? Let’s talk, my friend.


Susie NovakComment