The Antidote to the Sofa Loveseat Combination

It’s probably no surprise that I contemplate interiors more than most.  It’s as important to me how a room feels as how it looks, and I’m always trying to understand why it makes me feel a certain way.  

pastel colors interiors


I have often spoke about how much I dislike the  sofa – loveseat combination because it is both a lazy default and an option that is very limiting in regard to arrangement.  At a recent speaking engagement at the international Real Estate Staging Association, I  dubbed it the “lofa” and discouraged it’s use whenever possible.  


Say “no” to the lofa . . . 


Last summer I worked in a client’s living room where I chose new paint colors and rearranged her existing furniture.  That’s when I realized that I like her sofa – loveseat combination.  But WHY?  Well, I believe it’s because it’s not a matching lofa combination –  they are instead two different sized sofas upholstered in different fabrics.  

mismatched sofa and loveseat

The Decorologist


I haven’t really stopped thinking about that room.  I find myself drawn to quirky loveseats that I find at estate sales.  I am also drawn to rooms decorated in a European salon-style with multiple sofas and seating areas within one large room.   I love my living room but find it difficult to seat more than five people in the space, which pushes me to think about seating alternatives on a continual basis.   

yellow loveseat

The Decorologist


My home is my laboratory – it’s where I do all kinds of design and styling experiments, without worrying about what other people think.  Last year I purchased a vintage loveseat at the Bella Rustica sale for my daughter’s bedroom – long story, but it ended up in our downstairs studio and hasn’t really been used much.  So it hit me – what if I did something cray-cray like try to work it into my living room conversation area?  Of course, I had to talk my 13-year-old into helping me drag it up the stairs and into place . . . 

2014 paint color trends

new living room seating arrangement


I’m totally in love with the resulting arrangement.  We had company on Sunday afternoon, and it was awesome to be able to comfortably seat several adult couples in the living room.  I think I may have stumbled upon the perfect seating arrangement:  a mismatched sofa and loveseat + a pair of matching chairs.

designer living room arrangement

The Decorologist 


Above is the view from the entry of the room.  This arrangement really widens the long, narrow room. And it looks good from every vantage point in the space.  You can take a look at this room the way I had it arranged before here.

mismatched sofa and loveseat

The Decorologist


While both sofas are tufted, that’s about all they have in common.  My blue tuxedo-style sofa from Merridian Home Furnishings is larger and has exposed legs, while the shorter vintage loveseat is upholstered in yellow terrycloth-type fabric and sports a skirt and small arms.  

mixing sofa styles

The Decorologist


Finding the right mix is obviously the key – but it helps if you like a bohemian, collected look. The yellow chevron sofa pillows tie in with the sofa, but the sofa is a more vivid version of buttery yellow of some of my casegoods in the room.

living room furniture arrangement

The Decorologist


Did you notice the new unicorn with its glittery horn?  My youngest daughter is currently obsessed with unicorns, so I got this for her for Christmas.  She likes that I hung it in the room where we spend most of our time as a family.

vintage portraits in designer living room

you can find your own unicorn here


In my house, moving the furniture usually results in a reconfiguration of tabletop displays and accessory placement. It’s what makes me happy! 

arranging tabletops

tabletop display 


Do you think you could handle a mismatched sofa and loveseat combo, or are you still a fan of the lofa?

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43 thoughts on “The Antidote to the Sofa Loveseat Combination

  1. Debra says:

    I’ve been hanging onto a loveseat, for years, that I no longer have a place for. I love the piece and am hoping that an opportunity will turn up so that I can use it again. Maybe I should drag it out of the basement and see how it looks with my sofa!

  2. Deb says:

    I still like the “lofa” I Would Like a sectional in my family room, but my room configuration doesn’t allow it so I feel the lofa is the next best thing.

    • Deb says:

      After sleeping on it, I do really want to overcome my lofa. Heading to meet with a designer to help me today! My FP and wall mounted flat screen are on adjacent walls – so I have the 2 focal point problem. Currently, loveseat faces FP, sofa faces TV, with chair in the corner between FP and TV at an angle towards the lofa. Thinking about 2 more chairs to replace love seat. Perhaps then, I’d have some options for rearranging – especially in the winter when I love a chair on each side of the FP.

  3. Jenny B. says:

    I love mismatched furniture! I desperately need more seating in our living room, but can’t for the life of me figure out how to place anything more than a sofa and a pair of chairs. We have a corner fireplace and several traffic patterns. Sigh…

  4. Pamm says:

    Where did you put those gorgeous chairs that were by the fireplace? (They made my heart pound!) New arrangement looks fabulous!

  5. Anette says:

    Hi Kristie,
    I am thinking that the small love seat is gorgeous but…..I think it would look striking in the room beyond the living room where the white and turquoise chair is. It looks way out of scale in the living room. I also think the sofa and bucket chairs are the same height and this causes the eye to see a line around the room. I was thinking that the 2 yellow high backs fit better and look cozier. For more seating why not put the yellow chairs back in place, the yellow sofa in the room beyond, and the white turquoise chair in the living room just to the left of the blue sofa when sitting on it, angled to the center, similar to the bucket chair you have now only at the other end of the couch. Remove the bucket chairs. Would these chairs fit in the entry with the round table between them? Just some ideas…….have fun! Thanks

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I had the bucket chairs around my entry table since Christmas – I did like them there, but they seemed a bit small and kind of disappeared there. I have used those yellow wingbacks literally everywhere – I do move them a lot! The yellow sofa can’t go in the sunroom beyond, because I have a white sectional in there (you can’t see it in the photo – sorry!) I could (and planned) to use the yellow sofa in my daughter’s room – I still may at some point, but I’m enjoying the living room right now. Thanks for your ideas!!

  6. Jula Cordeira interiors says:

    I think the yellow sofas scale is too small in relation to the sofa and chairs. I do like the layout though.
    I would suggest a good sized club chair instead

  7. Edith says:

    Hi Kristie,

    Whenever I look at photos of your home, I expect Doris Day to appear with a Martini in hand. It’s a very girly Tea Room like space and I often wonder how many men would feel comfortable in this environment.

  8. Apple Hill Cottage says:

    We have a long narrow living room with a fireplace on the side too. I currently have a chair and a half at right angles to the couch, but I’d put a loveseat there if I had one! I like it. And I also like the fact that you ignored the big doorway behind it. The room says “Sit down, relax, don’t just walk through…” 🙂

  9. Nancy says:

    The visual flow and interest of your LR seems even more inviting now!! It was truly beautiful before, but wow! The little yellow *sofa* is just darling and your new sofa doesn’t high-brow it one bit. Instead big sofa says, ‘come on over here, you little cutie, and snuggle up to me!’

    What I like most about this post is that you fessed up to an altering of your thinking about something. You did not leave your *public foot* stuck in concrete when you discovered that you could go for a little ‘lofa’ yourself at times if the matchy-matchy, same-same, component was removed.

    I’ve said before that I appreciate your honesty. Most often it’s something perceived but you’ve shown it right here. So many are afraid to grow and change, and if those in home design don’t grow and change we end up with homes newly done looking twenty or thirty years old design wise. All is wonderful if it’s the period you’re after, not so fun to pay for the past when you want the present or something uniquely yours. I’ve seen it happen; sad-sad, same-same. I like that the homes you do look unique to them.

    The evolution of your own home continues to inspire me. The blessed-better-air inside our home has finally let my mind clear enough to awaken me to cleaning. What I found when the air cleared of sewer gas truly hurt. We love this place. But I’ve been an organizing-cleaning-happy-fool of late. And better days are ahead. We hope to get the gardens worked, then see about some painting this year. I will be back to be inspired by your work all the while.

    Keep growing, and please keep sharing your growth. You are amazing.

    Nancy Stinson,
    White House, TN

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you for your input, Nancy! When I think back over all my decorating “stages” over the years, all the styles I’ve explored, I see so many changes but feel I have always been moving towards a home that feels more and more like ME. And that’s what home is, right? It’s our special place where we get to choose how we want to live and what we get to surround ourselves with.

      I really don’t expect everybody to like it. There are probably very few people who would want to decorate their own home like I do, and I don’t expect them to. My home is very personal, very quirky, very colorful. Sometimes I find myself hesitating sharing my own home on the blog, because I don’t want people to fear I’m going to wave my crazy wand over their rooms and turn it into a copy of my own. I hope that I am able to help other people find their own little slice of personal happiness in their own homes, whatever that means to them!

      I am so glad to hear things are better in your home – I am hoping for lots of blue skies and happy homemaking in your life this year 🙂

  10. Gwen says:

    Have the mismatched sofa/loveseat combo in my family room. Same as you, one skirted, one leggy. Have always loved this combo. Now others know the secret. Great job!

  11. kelly says:

    Like you, I have not liked the lofa for some time now. One reason is because it takes up so much room and only one person can sit comfortably.
    Your home is beautiful Kristie!

  12. Diane says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I know what’s wrong with my living room. I LOVE the mismatched seating. Time to head to the furniture store…

  13. Merri Ann says:

    I think your room is really beautiful! However, my neat and orderly brain would never be comfortable with this arrangement :0) I would forever want to put all the decorative items away behind a cabinet door to clear off the surfaces. It’s funny how I like the look of this type of room but I can’t do it in my home.

    The thing that keeps me coming back to your blog is your ability to do something different for every client. If we can ever get past repairing our home (neglected by the previous owners), I would love to hire you to help me make my home as beautiful as yours

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Merri Ann,
      I admit, I love all the little details! It’s a lot easier to edit other peoples’ homes than my own. I’d love to help you with your home someday, and I promise I won’t wave my crazy wand over your rooms 😉

  14. Francie says:

    People that come to my house get to hear all about your influences on my décor and furniture arrangement so I am very proud that the unicorn I told you about made it into your house 🙂 I like how you’re always trying out new things and agree having enough seating is a constant challenge.

  15. Amy White says:

    Would it be possible to put slightly taller legs on the loveseat? It looks a bit out of scale with your beautiful Meridian sofa. Also perhaps a horizontal pillow to add width visually? Popping pillows on the yellow will give it some weight to stand up to the big blue.

  16. Carol says:

    I like your combination because I am not a matchy matchy person. I did want to ask if the rug you have in your living room, that I think really brings it up to date with now decorating, do you think those patterns are going to be a trend? I have seen them and would like to purchase one for an update to my house but am afraid it will go out of style and I lean towards very traditional things. My sister was also trying to tell me with my style of room I needed certain lamps shades, because I have been wanting to change mine for a fresher look to the new straight ones. She was telling me they wouldn’t go with my traditional room decor. What do you think? I just wanted a few budget friendly updates to bring me into 2014. If it is a reasonably priced update then it can be changed out with the next trend??? Help!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Great questions! The quickest and least expensive way to update a room without changing the furniture is inserting updated lamps (drum or barrel shades) with fabulous bases (go bigger than you think you should) and adding updated pillows to sofas and chairs. Buy a few pairs of lamps and pillow combination from HomeGoods and try them out – you can easily return them if they don’t feel right in your space. As for the rug, YES – the geometric pattern is a strong trend right now. I chose one that’s not as trendy as the chevron and ikat, but it will date itself eventually – as most things do. The good thing is – this rug was very affordable, so if I tire of it in a few years I can replace it without feeling too bad – or maybe use it in a den or child’s room. I hope that helps, Carol!

  17. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Hi Kristie, I love the fact that you THINK about how a room makes people FEEL, not just how IT LOOKS.
    That’s your basic psychology background kicking in! That depth of thought is what attracted me to your site in the first place….that you care about people….not just things.
    This mindset will bring you blessings–unexpected! Have a great day!

  18. Kathleen Steenson says:

    BTW – love your new arrangement with the new chairs and loveseat – I think the room breathes better, if you can understand what I mean.

  19. Terry Murphy says:

    I have a very large living room (both long and wide) with a fireplace at one end. I actually have two full-sized sofas facing each other and centered on the fireplace. One of the sofas sports a tapestry pattern, and the second sofa is velvet in a shade that picks up one of the colors in the tapestry upholstery. There is a large, round glass coffee table between the two seating pieces.

    I love this look, which allows for seating up to six people. There is also an armchair on each side of the fireplace. These chairs can be moved forward to accommodate seating for up to eight people in a conversation “pit.” At the other end of the room there are occasional chairs that can also be moved into the arrangement.

  20. Roya says:

    I like both the “lofa” and the mismatched sofa you utilized. The carpet looks so “typical” though. I think your living room would look better with a Persian-type rug underneath.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Interesting thought. The reason I have that rug is because I have so much “vintage” in this space that I felt it needed something more contemporary to tamp down the old-lady vibe. You don’t think so?

  21. Jenny B. says:

    I’m revisiting this post. Just love your blog so much! So glad I found it!!

    I am so drawn to that portrait of the woman near the unicorn. Is she someone you know, or was it an antique find? It reminds me of portraits that hung in my grandmother’s and great aunt’s homes. 🙂 I have a hard time with art. I’ve bought several things I like at flea markets, but figuring out where to place them on walls is tough for me.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I found that portrait in a local antique store. I love it because of all the pink – that’s pretty rare for a portrait, I think. I have portraits of my parents in this room, on either side of the sofa, made on their honeymoon in the 1960’s. I’m drawn to portraits done around that era, probably because I’ve always loved those. Thanks for hanging out, Jenny!

  22. Joey says:

    I know what you mean about the lofa, and I’ve read many times about how you despise(d) it. I can see how it can be tricky to make the lofas work in a space, but we love ours still. They’re a shade of steely light gray and very comfy. We downsized to these from two over-sized sofas (we have a large family.) Personally, I don’t like sectionals. I find them limiting, and can keep guests standing for fear of being squashed into strangers. I always place some chairs when entertaining, but two houses in, I’m happy to say, my lofa has given me no trouble at all.
    I love the happy yellow addition to your living room — it’s where I’d want to sit!

  23. Pingback: The New Neutral for Sofas is COLOR

  24. Maria says:

    Hello Kristie.

    I am in the process of fixing my house now and trying to decide the colours and the style of the furniture in my living room. My house is in a greek island and since i am in love with the mix and match style, i found your post while searching for mixing sofas. I love you living room by the way, all of it!

    I am not sure i have the imagination to be able to match different patterns and colours, but that is why there are blogs and websites like yours, right 🙂 ?

    Can i ask you something, what kind of different sofas you can mix? My mom has one sofa from the seventy’s, the ones that used to have velvet fabric and the wood was carved, and i am thinking of renovating this sofa and matching it with another one, more contemporary, afterwards. Could that work?

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