Decor Score

Why Are Loveseats So Loveable?


By Rose Bennett Gilbert
Photo by Trel Brock

Our living room is fairly large but narrow, so the sofa can only go against one wall, which leaves the room open to the entry hall through a wide arch. How can I make it feel self-contained and cozy, not wide-open and breezy?

It’s all about your seating pieces and how you arrange them. Ideally, you should trade your long sofa in for a smaller loveseat, which could sit at a right angle to the walls, turning its back to the open hallway and thereby creating a physical and psychological divide.

Designer advice: Except for afternoon naps, a full-size sofa is a waste of space. No one likes to sit in the middle—it’s rather like watching a tennis match! Observe your own guests at your next holiday party: I’d bet they’d rather perch on the arm of the sofa than be the cheese in the sandwich.
A loveseat solved the arrangement problem for designer Chris Madden in the serene living room we show here (borrowed from her book, The Soul of a House, published by Rizzoli). Chris backs the loveseat with an all-purpose sofa table (“loveseat table?”) that holds both necessities—the two lamps—and decorative accessories—flowers, books, family photos.

The table also garages a hassock that can be pulled out for extra seating in this crowd-friendly space. Actually, Chris has created several different seating areas, including a quartet of easy chairs around the fireplace and a separate settee (unseen behind the oak door on the right).

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