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Advice for Homeowners

Small Space Layout; Sofa and Two chairs vs. a Loveseat

By 11/30/2009January 3rd, 202325 Comments

Space Planning. It seems like such a simple offering on a designer’s list of services; however there are many people that go without furniture for years because they don’t know which pieces to buy and don’t want to make a mistake. Space planning then becomes critical and highly worth the designer’s fee.

Interior Design by Samantha Pynn


So, if you are not sure which to buy? Here’s the tip of the day:

Only one person can comfortably sit in a loveseat so unless you only have room for a love seat and two chairs, buy 2 chairs and a sofa instead. Or two sofas and two chairs, or one sofa and four chairs.  Also easier if you are renting, and move to a new place. You can always move one chair into a bedroom if you run out of space but if you have a loveseat, it has to go!

Start browsing designer living rooms on Pinterest. You’ll never see a love seat in House Beautiful. 

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  • Karena says:

    Great tip Maria! It is most important for you and your guests to be comfortable!

  • Candied Fabrics says:

    You're so right – why DO they make loveseats anyway? 😉

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Thank you, Maria! I say this ALL the time!

  • Bethany Christensen says:

    Good Point! It is interesting when you look at how many people can actually sit on a love seat vs. sofa vs. sectional. It is hard to add additional seating to a room. I like to add functional – transitional pieces (ottoman, bench, or parsons chair) that you can pull into a room when there is a party. Bethany

  • Marlo says:

    That's so true Maria.

    Loveseat has a pretty name but that's about it; poor thing needs to retire. Not only does it seat one person, or two very chummy people, the majority of spaces I've seen are small and it's difficult to create a pleasing arrangement with the trio – sofa, loveseat & chair. Two chairs work best.

  • Sarah @ Dream In Domestic says:

    What a great point and a great picture to prove it! I never really thought about this, but it makes sense and I think it helps to think of future homes when renting where chairs would be easier to do something with than a bigger piece of furniture.

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Maria, I wrote a comment on designer's fee link, but it's not there. Just a thought, but it would be great if you post it again… it's such a good one.

    Enjoy your trip to NYC.

  • Easy Does It Redesign and Consulting says:

    I'm so glad you brought out this point. It is so true. In fact this was a recent topic I addressed with a client. Old habits die hard as she had her loveseat for years and years. Finally, logic won out and she heeded my advice. Can we say "money better spent and more flexible layout options?"

    As always, love your posts and pics.

  • Tara Dillard says:

    The same holds true creating outdoor seating.

    You are wonderful saying it in a pithy sentence!!

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • Carol Ann says:

    Sofa/Love…is a habit that should go away with white ceilings…

  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    I agree with you but all depends on the space available, sometimes a sofa does not fit (we have smaller and smaller condos).
    Have a wonderful trip and report everything to us!

  • Lauren says:

    it cracks me up because i was remembering my old loveseat and all of the photos taken in it & it totally looks like the ppl on it are cuddling… and we pretty much were!


  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Brilliante,
    Well my point was really about love seats and replacing them with 2 chairs, obviously if you don't have room for a sofa then you should get whatever is appropriate! Thanks for pointing that out, it may not be obvious to everyone!

  • Annie, bossy color says:

    Maybe THIS is why I always cringe whenever a client says, "And of course, we'll get a sofa and a loveseat…" Even if you HAVE the space, I think they look too matchy matchy these days. Bring on the separate chairs and stools, if you need more seating! Thanks for another great post, Maria.

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    2 chairs and a sofa is much more conversational and cozy. A loveseat is a total waste of space in my opinion. I tell my client's that it will give them a crick in their neck if they have to sit in a loveseat and have a conversation with the person next to them each time they entertain (ha).

  • DesignTies says:

    Totally agree. Loveseats are awkward — too much space for one person, not really enough space for two people. Plus chairs are more versatile — you can move them around or just just turn them to face another direction if you need to.

    Yep, we saw DesignTies mentioned on House & Home 🙂 But we're still nowhere near as famous as you!!


  • Riviera Boardwalk says:

    I know you are right about the loveseat. But to me it is like a piece of art. It is sculpture to me. I am in love with it. I even made a slipcover for it and have Liz Claiborne Breda Nectar orange velvet fabric to make another one for it. Sorry Imjust can't toss it.
    love to you,

  • DDF says:

    Well, I must say I disagree! I think it depends on the space and sometimes it's just cosier or a better fit, to have 2 chairs and a LOVE SEAT!! I mean, really, how many people want to sit on a 3 seat sofa anyway? Usually 2 – no one wants to be the person in the middle, it's just not comfortable! Love seats can be 60" wide and with a nicely tailored arm, can be very comfortable for 2 average sized people to sit on.

    Just another point of view!

    • Kathryn K. says:

      That’s completely true this is what I think as well, when people sit on furniture they like to have at least one arm and if you’re the person sitting in the middle on a sofa you’re not going to have any arm, plus it’s just awkward talking to the others sitting on the sofa because you have to turn so much sideways and moving your head sideways. I personally have a loveseat with 46″ between the arms which is plenty for two people to sit and I have two rocker recliners across from the loveseat.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear DDF,
    Context is Everything Always!! I need to be careful of my posts sounding to "It's this way or the highway" that was not my intention!
    Thanks for your opinion,

  • Treesa55 says:

    Hi Maria,

    I agree with you on the love seat vs. 2 chairs. And I might add that people like about 4' of personal space and chairs really do accomplish that unconscious need.

    • Kathryn K. says:

      People like 4′ of personal space?! LOL Who are these people?? Unless I really dislike someone I don’t need 4′ of personal space in any type situation!

  • Donna says:

    Great idea Maria..and so true! This is a good post to link to tomorrow. On to my search for more!


  • Donna says:

    My experience was that neither the teenagers or visitors enjoyed sitting two to a loveseat. We got a sectional..and it seats five or more, whereas the loveseat was being used almost exclusively by one person and the best seating we could get from the loveseat sofa combination was four.

  • Kathryn K. says:

    That’s not true that two people can’t fit comfortably on a loveseat, lol, my loveseat for example has 46 inches between the arms that’s more than enough for two people! When a person has limited space and their building isn’t designed the greatest to get long sofas moved in a loveseat is a better option. The general thought is that three people won’t sit on a sofa because people sitting on furniture like to have an arm or arms and people sitting on a sofa more than two you have to strain to look at each other you have to sit more sideways, it’s just not the greatest. Unless people are obese if people are height weight proportionate two people can sit on a loveseat.

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