Living rooms and sofas are a pair you don’t see broken up too often, but, seriously, WHY NOT? A decent couch is super-expensive most of the time, and if you live in a studio or a tiny apartment, your “living room” probably barely fits one anyways. We say, free yourself from the sofa if it’s not your thing. There are other, way more flexible ways to make your space somewhere you (and your friends) want to hang out. Interior designer Douglas Graneto, for one, is totally on board with going sofa-less, and when we asked him for his top alternative seating setups, he immediately gave us a bunch of genius ideas. We knew we had to share them, but first, we went one step further: We had virtual room design service Modsy create 3-D models of few of our favorite furniture arrangements, and they look so real we did a double take. Read on and forget sofas even exist.
A bench + chair
“A sofa can sometimes limit the functionality of a living room,” Douglas explains. “Using smaller furniture pieces, like a bench or a couple of chairs, allows for easy adjustments to fit any situation, whether that’s a party, watching a movie, or just rearranging for a fresh new look.”
“If your living room is a small, pull a group of four chairs around an ottoman of some sort. It will allow for a solo space to have a morning coffee, or a group space to play some games with friends in a warm and inviting environment—without feeling too claustrophobic,” says Douglas. Have a fireplace? Even better. “Place a couple of earthy chairs near the fireplace to create a cozy place for a chatty conversation or reading a book. If you want a bit more comfort for a longer sit, I suggest a nice pair of overstuffed club chairs.”
Douglas calls the daybed the perfect sofa alternative for entertainers. “It can create a room that’s not only great for napping, but for entertaining a larger group of friends or hosting overnight guests,” he says. So it doesn’t read too much like a bed, Douglas recommends lining yours with throw pillows to keep it neutral.
Whatever architecture is already in the room
“You may be able to use the actual architecture as seating itself,” says Douglas. Think your apartment’s bay window or a built-in ledge that could be turned into a bench. “It creates a multifunctional room, allowing for more large-scale parties. It makes your upholstery cleaning a bit easier, too!”
According to Douglas, “floor pillows offer the best variety; they aren’t bulky, they’re easily moveable, and they’re replaceable. Place some around a nice rug or in the center of the room for a light and airy space that’s still useful.”
A chaise lounge
Like the daybed, Douglas loves a chaise lounge for its versatility when you have guests over. Combine it with easy-to-move floor pillows, and your living room will be able to handle anything and everything.