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Living Room Furniture Buying Guide

Living room, front room, family room. Whatever you call it, some of life's best moments happen there. So, be sure to support the memories in the making with the right furniture for your living room. With key considerations and helpful hints, this guide aims to help homeowners create the ideal living room for their needs.


To accurately plan for your living room furniture, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Measure the height, length, and width of the spaces you're planning on using for your living room furniture.

  • Compare your measurements with the dimensions of the pieces you're interested in. You can find the exact dimensions on the product detail pages of our website.

  • If you're planning on adding a sectional, keep in mind that one ‘arm' of the sectional will be longer than its counterpart, so measure accordingly.

  • To help visualize how a piece of furniture might look in your living room, use tape to outline the exact dimensions.

  • Measure any doorways, hallways, stairs, corners, or any other areas which the furniture will be carried through upon delivery.

  • If placing a sofa in front of a window, ensure the sofa's height does not exceed the height of the windowsill.

  • If placing a reclining sofa or chair in front of a wall, leave extra room for clearance in full recline mode. Leave extra room with any objects placed in front of your recliner footrest as well, such as an ottoman or coffee table.

  • Place front and back bars in areas with low foot traffic. Ensure there's enough room in the front of the bar for stools. 


Next you'll want to think about what material is the best suited option for your living room seating. This decision really comes down to who will be using your couch or chair and what look you want to achieve.

Leather: From rich dark browns to classic patinas, a leather couch is an ideal choice if you want to pull off a look of complete sophistication in your living room. While more prone to the effects of wear and tear, a leather couch can last a lifetime if cared for properly. That's why a leather couch is ideally suited for homes with adult guests who aren't prone to spilling or roughhousing. Keep in mind that exposure to direct sunlight can increase the aging process in leather, so be mindful of where you place your couch.   

Fabric: Should your couch be pet and kid friendly? If so, a fabric couch might be the right material for you. Not only is it easier to clean and maintain than leather, fabric lets you tailor the design to your exact tastes. Customize your purchase and choose from a variety of fabric patterns and colors here at Watson's. 

Stationary vs. Motion

Stationary: Stationary furniture involves any seating that doesn't recline. Many find that motionless sofas and couchesare more comfortable to sit, lay, and lounge on due to the absence of hardware used for reclining. We often see people choose a sectional with a stationary chaise lounge on the end for the ultimate lounging position.

Motion: On the other hand, motion sofas and couches offer full reclining capabilities. Whether the reclining functionality is powered or manual, individual family and friends can recline at their desired comfort level. Do you anticipate hosting guests who stay the night? You may choose reclining sofas that convert into sleeper. But because the motion sofas are designed with individual seating sections, lying down across the sofa may not be as comfortable as a stationary option. Some reclining sofas need as little as 4” of clearance from the wall to accommodate for the extended foot and head rest, while others require much more extra space. Be sure to keep this in mind as well. Overall, we find that motion sofas and couches are popular options for those who like to put their feet up after a long day.  

Furniture Types

From living room seating to storage, there are plenty of living room furnishing options to choose from. 

Sofas, Sectionals, & Couches: Consider what type of couch you want. If you're looking for comfortable seating to accommodate several friends and family members (up to 7 adults), go with a leather or fabricL-shaped sectional. Sectionals are great for maximizing couch space. Though they can be difficult to set up because of their size, sectionals are often designed with individual pieces to allow for more flexible seating arrangements and to help make the installation process easier.

If you're tight on space, a more compact option, such as asofa or a loveseat, might be better suited for your home. Whether you want to accommodate 3 people on a sofa or 2 on a loveseat, these options make the perfect space-saving solution. Add an accent chair into the mix, and you've got a seating set fit for the whole party.  

Accent Chairs: Living rooms are an ideal space to add an accent chair to help maximize seating capacity. When choosing the right accent chair, first make sure the chairs are proportionate to your sofa or sectional; you can do this by selecting a chair with the same height or similar dimensions as your sofa. Our accent chair sizes range from wide and oversized to short and streamlined. Don't skip this step to make sure your living room feels properly balanced.

The next step is to find your style. You can add charm to your décor by pairing the style of your sofa with your new accent chair. However, the two pieces do not have to match perfectly. Accent chairs are a great way to add a pop of color to your living room. If your sofa is more neutral in design (such as a leather sofa), choose a bright color or bold accent chair pattern to create a standalone piece that's sure to draw attention.

Ottomans: Thanks to their unique square or rectangular shape, ottomans can double as an extra seat or footrest when placed in front of your couch. Better yet, add a tray on your ottoman to create a flat surface for holding drinks and other items, and your ottoman acts as a coffee table. Most ottomans feature convenient hidden storage spaces, perfect for housing blankets, remotes, toys, or games.

Display Cabinets, Bookcases, & Etagères: When it comes to living room storage and organization, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you have a variety of decorative accessories (i.e. clocks, figurines, trees and plants, vases), a display cabinet is the perfect way to not only show them off, but also to conveniently place them at a safe distance from the little ones.

Display cabinets come in the form of an étagère (a set of open shelves); without sides or a back, your objects can be viewed in a variety of angles. On the other hand, a bookcase features a set of enclosed shelves on each side and the back, making them ideally suited for – no surprises here – displaying a set of books. Both types of displays are fashionable, functional ways to maximize wall space and display your decorations and accessories.

Coffee Tables: When choosing a coffee table for your living room, pick one that's about the same height as your sofa seat cushions. It should also span no more that two-thirds of the sofa's entire length. When it comes to placing your coffee table in front of your sofa, allow for 2 feet of clearance on all sides. Keep in mind that coffee tables don't have to match the exact style of your end tables, but rather complement them.

Home Bar: Top off your living room with a home bar that will not only add a great aesthetic, but also provide space for serving drinks, preparing and serving hors d'oeuvres, and seating guests when you entertain.

For tighter spaces, choose a shorter, rectangular back bar with plenty of storage. A back bar will rest neatly against the wall, so leave plenty of open space in front of it to accommodate for bar stools. For larger living rooms, choose a front bar with a return for more counter space. Guests may stand or sit on both sides of a front bar, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Whether you want a front bar or a back bar with a mirror, you'll probably want to add bar stools. A home bar usually stands between 40 and 42 inches, so a stool with a seat height of 28 to 30 inches would be ideal. No matter what you choose, Watson's has a wide variety home bar styles to complement your living room décor.

Need Help?

Now that you know the basics about what to consider before purchasing your living room furniture, we'd be happy to help with any questions you may have. Get in touch with a Watson's design expert for more information about our living room furniture selection, installation process, financing options, and more.