Why The Decorologist Says “No” to the Sofa & Loveseat Combo

If you are in the market for new living room furniture, I urge you not to be a zombie.  You know, the zombie that follows the hordes of people that mindlessly purchase the ole sofa/loveseat combo. 

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Have you noticed that you don’t see a lot of sofa/loveseat combos in design magazines?  You only see them in furniture stores, where they are trying to hock them as a set (matching set = easy commission for furniture store salespeople).  The sofa/loveseat combination limits your furniture arrangement possibilities – the only way it looks “right” is to arrange them in an L-shape in a rectangular room.  And it still looks like something out of a newspaper ad for a bargain furniture store.

 

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It’s so much better to buy a pair of matching sofas – your arrangement options will be so much more flexible. 

Madeline Stuart

 

In a very large room, matching sofas back-to-back create two seating areas.  I love this arrangement with a sofa table and a pair of lamps in between the two sofas.

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The most flexible option is doing a sofa and a pair of matching upholstered chairs.  You can arrange them in so many more ways – chairs facing each other (like below), chairs across from and facing the sofa, chairs side-by-side to one side of the sofa . . .

 House Beautiful

 

When shopping in furniture stores, don’t rely on furniture store salespeople who want you to buy a matching set so that they make a bigger commission in less time.   Bring a trusted decorator with you to help you make the best design choice for your space and your individual needs.   Your decorator has a vested interest in the outcome of the design once you leave the store – the salesperson doesn’t!

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If you already have a sofa – loveseat combo, you might want to consider moving one of the pieces to another room and bringing in a few chairs to mix things up.

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If you want to have the matching-sofa-look with your existing sofa and loveseat, try this designer secret from The Decorologist:   place the sofa and loveseat facing one another, add a large side table and table lamp to one end of the loveseat so that the other end is in line with one end of the larger sofa.  This evens out the arrangement – then add in an odd chair, a fun coffee table, and a sofa table with a pair of lamps behind the larger sofa.  I don’t have a photo of this, but I did this in a client’s home and it worked great.

 

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Michelle at Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust
Guest

Here, here. Great article & I love the eye candy too!

Warmly, Michelle

Dixie Stine
Guest
Dixie Stine

Hi, I want to use two different sofa styles in my formal living room. Is that OK? Are there any rules for using different styles of vintage sofas in one room? I’m having both of them upholstered in white linen and having the wood stained the same color. What do you think of that idea?
Dixie

Katie
Guest

I love all of the photos! I will be shopping for a new sofa and chairs very soon. Once I can figure out how to keep my kitty’s from thinking my ” now sofa” is their very own scratching post! UGH…

Carole
Guest
Carole

Oh, the travails of trying to keep a house nice with pets are ones I know well. From what I understand from my cat rescue friends, the most important factor is a really good scratching post – the expensive ones with, like, seven different types of surfaces. That, plus liberal use of the spray bottle, plus catnip for the scratching post and that cat-repellent spray for the furniture, seems to usually work.

Meghann Wandrocke
Guest
Meghann Wandrocke

I got two new sofas in velvet microfiber…the cats can’t scratch it!

Mike
Guest
Mike

try SSSCat. It works wonders.

Carole
Guest
Carole

Ooh, I like this series of photos (and I totally agree with the post of course – nothing more boring than a bunch of identical stuff, plus you get tired of it more quickly). Since you’re starting on my living room design this week, I figured I’d pop in here to point out my favorites – the Madeline Stuart (3rd photo) is number 1; what a showstopping mantle! Adore the art and lighting, but I prefer a bit more color. The House Beautiful (5th photo) is my close second favorite – those particular colors aren’t my cup of tea but… Read more »

Carole
Guest
Carole

Of course you know all that about antique living room furniture, but I thought it was worth mentioning because new living chairs are kind of expensive. Just for the folks who may be thinking, “Yeah, but I could buy a new sofa with that amount of money.”

Speaking of which, I love your posts about decorating with antiques, mixing old and new, stuff like that. This reader wants more!

Danielle {fresh quince}
Guest

Totally agree!

Kelly
Guest

Your post is so right Kristie! My last client wanted a sofa and love seat. I talked her into loveseat and two chairs for her space. Much, much better! Great post!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Well said Kristie….I couldn’t agree more!
I’m loving your Blog!!

Jennifer Driver
Guest
Jennifer Driver

Sounds like my house! 🙂

Coley
Guest

Great post! I love how you gave examples with photos 🙂 Have a great week!

Barbara@TheTreasuredHome.com
Guest

I love this post! So true and the same rule applies to the dreaded sectional! And yes, I love mixing the old and new. I started looking around the house recently to realize that most everything is as old or older than me! I’m in good company!

nicole
Guest
nicole

Great topic – I made this mistake and have lived with it for too long. And now ready to move on. Any way while on the topic can you suggest a lounge seating layout that would work for say 10 couples when entertaining, ie pre/post dinner drinks and fire side chats?

karen@strictlysimplestyle
Guest

When we moved to our current home I had a friend who was a designer come over to give me her thoughts on what furniture pieces I should choose. She, like you, urged me not to buy a loveseat. Her words: They are a designer’s worst nightmare!

Stephanie@cre8tive
Guest

I would for sure rather see a couple of club chairs with a sofa rather than a loveseat, but that isn’t always functional for family living. When you have 3 kids, a dog a mom and a dad, have a sofa and a loveseat really meets their needs for lounging in front of the tv. I know I dread when I am left with the club chair and want to spread out on the sofa. So I agree, but not 100% {oh by the way, I am an empty nester, so now I get the sofa to myself 24/7!}

Lara
Guest
Lara

I agree! As nice as the love seat plus chairs combo looks, my husband and I are both tall people, and it is miserable trying to recline on a love seat while your feet stick a foot off the end. Is there a compromise? While the side chairs look smart, they aren’t very comfortable or practical.

Sally SMiles
Guest
Sally SMiles

I have just found your site – great advice and ideas here. I am with the idea to nix the matchy matchy of sofa and loveseat – ours is leaving this weekend! We will move another loveseat into an entry side nook. I like the look of chairs, but we are loungers and have to have something big enough to stretch out on, sofa or daybed (I like mixing old and new = eclectic) Empty nesters have opportunity to ignore some of the rules. My problem is a long room with lots of windows, one wall for tv and a… Read more »

sonia
Guest

Hello Kristie,
I love this post, being myself an eclectic decorator mix mach decor is my favorite!
Have a great day! xo

v
Guest
v

Thank you thank you thank you for this great article! I’ve been desperately trying to figure out what to do with my sofa-loveseat combo and you’re right…didn’t see one in any of the design magazines out there! I’d love to see a picture of the client’s house that you did the sofa-loveseat combo.

David
Guest
David

How do you arrange furniture in an open concept Kitchen/FR where the entire rear of FR and kitchen is a bank of windows. In FR specifically this window wall connects to a wall that has a Fireplace (which faces to the kitchen) and wall opposite of the window wall is blank. (blank wall is 19′ long opposite the wall of windows). Do we put TV arrangement on blank wall with sofa opposite? Now back of sofa is ~6′ off the windows not against the wall. Down side here is that when you sit on sofa your back is to the… Read more »

Barbara Smith
Guest
Barbara Smith

Not ALL furniture salespeople are just after the quick wam-bam-thank-you-maam sale when selling furniture. Some of us furniture salespeople genuinely care about the customer creating a room to be proud of and happy with in the long run. So, I think it would be fair to say that one should find a furniture store that cares about the customer and their needs, not just a quick sale. And sometimes a sofa and loveseat combo IS the best way to go in certain situations.

Bish Rolo
Guest
Bish Rolo

Do you have any pics similar using leather? I have a dark brown lether/vinyl coach and want to try two or three chairs?

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Okay…does this count for a sectional and large chair combo? I have a very large/long family room to furnish. I was considering a sectional with matching large chair (called chair and half) in addition to other non matching pieces. I thought this would help integrate/pull together the room. Needs to be family friendly and comfortable space, but would also like it to be attractive. I’m looking at the Crate and Barrel lounge sectional and chair. Is this a bad idea from a design perspective?

SHARON
Guest
SHARON

Well, this caught my eye. I have to disagree with the majority of you. Sometimes in a rectangular room with a wall of windows and a FP and TV wall, I believe a sofa loveseat makes perfect sense. I don’t want to have 2 lounge chairs, we both like to curl up on the couch while reading or watching tv. In an open concept room the corner design helps define the area. 2-3 more chairs help make it feel like a cozy, inviting place. When you have a crowd, there is plenty of seating. I have tried to use a… Read more »

Kim K.
Guest
Kim K.

I agree with Sharon! Our family room is small, so we don’t have the luxury of furniture-arrangement possibilities. Even a sectional wasn’t an option because it would block access in and out of the sliding door. The room is broken up by architectural features. The only blank wall is a 7-foot TV wall next to a hall opening. There’s also a longer fireplace wall with a window, and a wall of windows and a sliding glass door. To maximize seating, a sofa/loveseat combo is my only option. And because of the room layout, there is ONLY one place to put… Read more »

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[…] may already know I'm not a fan of the sofa-loveseat combination or most oversized sectionals.  A sofa and chairs are typically what works best and offers the […]

Brina
Guest
Brina

Michelle, I actually just purchased two loveseats and will be pairing them with two chairs in a small den for a cabin.  I am choosing this rather than the sofa loveseat and one chair combo for 6 folks which is the most common arrangement that you see.  Three couples are more comfortable sitting paired together or in their own seats rather than the threesome sitting close on a sofa and the odd man out in the chair.  You can still lounge on a loveseat as well when there are no guests.  I think this is the best arrangement for a… Read more »

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs
Guest

When we bought our furniture eons ago, I only wanted to buy the loveseat in the loveseat/sofa combo. The store wouldn’t break up the ‘set’ so we bought them both. I struggled for years to make it work out and yes, in our former home I had to do the L-shape because the living room was so small. However in our current home I did place them opposite each other and balanced out the line with an occasional chair at the end of the loveseat. It worked out quite well and looks very balanced. And truth be told, we do… Read more »

trackback

[…] What you do not want to get is a sofa/loveseat combination. See this blog for the reasons why: https://thedecorologist.com/why-the-decorologist-says-no-to-the-sofa-and-loveseat-combo […]

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Kristie, I really like this post, I came across it as I also can’t stand matchy matchy furniture! However I would really like your advice. I bought my first sofa 2 years ago, It is a three seater, neutral couch. I only bought the one piece as that’s all I had room for in my small apartment. I am moving to a larger home soon so I have been giving a lot of thought about my new living room. My colour scheme is very neutral with light greys and duck egg blue throw cushions. I have considered a contrasting… Read more »

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

I just thought I should add, the shape of my new living room is almost a perfect Square with a fire place in the centre.

Thanks

Ashley Martinez
Guest
Ashley Martinez

I was wondering if you can pair two matching sitting chairs with a sectional sofa. They would be the same color. I’m looking at the charcoal sectional and charcoal sitting chairs at world market. Do you think that could work? All I seem to find for inspiration is a sofa paired with chairs.

BillG
Guest
BillG

Ugh! This is so true! I wish I would have seen this post before we bought new furniture last week. We went with a super-comfy couch/love seat combo for our small living room and I’ve had a a heck of a time arranging them!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Hi! This is a great article – something I wish I had known a few years ago when I still owned my house! 🙂 Unfortunately, I’m about to move into a small apartment and purchased two leather armchairs (that are probably too big for my space) from Ashley Furniture. There was no matching sofa available. What sort of sofa options exist for someone in my predicament???

Thanks!

Syma
Guest
Syma

Is it ok to mix and match two different styles of Sofa in one room? Both are leather, one is traditional style, rounded arms and dark brown. The other is beige, straight lines, with tufting. Would love your feedback! Thanks.

Heather Wojteczko
Guest
Heather Wojteczko

Love your post! It totally confirmed that I will NOT be buying the matching loveseat to my sofa for my upcoming move into a bigger home. One question though. I currently have a couch and a club chair (in a vibrant fabric to add a little style to the room). If I wanted to add another chair for more seating, is it weird to place two chairs next to each other that are not the same exact chair? I was thinking of angling them towards one another and placing an accent table between the chairs. I’d love your opinion! Thank… Read more »

Amber
Guest
Amber

Hi, I love this article and the photos; its good to know that you don’t have to get a loveseat and couch. I have a question and a comment though. 1) I want a loveseat and couch, the loveseat is more of a theatre feeling, Palliser, with recline chair and a console (High Park from Sears), but we want to save money and not get the couch which is a recliner too… the question is, does the loveseat and couch “have to” match if you go for them? The loveseat is more boxy, modern, low to the floor, will be… Read more »

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I am looking at purchasing 2 chairs for my living room. I have a mod grey unpholstered couch. There is a chair that matches it that I’ve been wanting. I’ve also had my eye on a walnut chair with black/brown leather. My question is- should I get 2 walnut chairs or 1 walnut and 1 grey upholstered?? I can’t decide. I definely don’t like matching couch and love seat. Help!

Radhika Anand
Guest
Radhika Anand

Hi Kristie- I am so glad I found your site. I am in the market for a new living room and have recently bought a sectional from Pottery Barn- I am planning to keep twin chairs to go with the sectional. I haven’t found any decent chairs though- my sectional is performance tweed ecru color, please can you suggest what color chairs and rug will go best with the sectional? My living room space is not very big and it doesn’t get a lot of light either, trying to give the space a bright and airy look…your suggestions will be… Read more »

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

Hi Kristie!

I’m so thankful I found your site. I am buying my first place, and it is a cool, spacious loft. I currently have an apartment, and I have a cream leather loveseat and a red leather chair in the living area (it’s a small apartment). I don’t have the budget for a completely different living room, but would it be a good idea to buy a cream fabric sofa to go with the cream leather loveseat I already have?

Ntebaleng
Guest
Ntebaleng

Kristie,
I have a fawn fabric sectional and would like to pair it with a dark brown leather two-seater couch. Would this work? I have been seeing sectionals mostly paired with chairs. This is for an open plan TV room and the leather couch is to accommodate an eight year old, who I think will be uncomfortable watching TV from a leather chair.

miriam
Guest
miriam

Hi I want to go with the loveseat sofá combo but do them in different colores and bring them together with pillows and an Accent chair that has the colors of it all. In an open concept appt kitchen dinning and living only separeted by a bar or counter.

Jeanette Barnes
Guest
Jeanette Barnes

Hello. I am getting a oversize cream or maybe more of a beige microfiber sectional. I would love to add a pop of color. What color should I use as far as accent pieces? Also I would like to another chair in the room. What style chair would go? Can I mix it with a chair that isn’t microfiber?

Lori
Guest
Lori

I have a navy blue leather sectional and would like to add a love seat. Chairs will not work due to shape of room. My questions are: should the loveseat be leather and what color. And could a fabric loveseat work and what color
Thank you

Lori
Guest
Lori

Thank you for response. Believe me if I could do it over,I would do differently. Unfortunately, I can not replace my couch (which is a sectional). So any thoughts as to the loveseat, leather, fabric, color.

Leah
Guest
Leah

Heellllpppp!! I purchased a set that I absolutely love, sofa, loveseat, and chaise. Only to have it delivered and the sofa doesn’t fit through my foyer. I would love to keep the chaise and loveseat but I don’t know if I should purchase another loveseat, do the 2 matching chairs, our just return the whole set all together. I need some decorating advice, would should I do. Three walls I need cover, the sides of the fireplace and the front.

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

I have a small NYC apartment and my living/dining room is V-shaped. I use the widest part of the space for my couches, etc. The entire room is 28X13, but of course it narrows as you move toward the narrow ;art of the V. Anyway, I can’t figure out how to put a sofa and two chairs in the space without it looking weird where my dining room table is. Right now my dining room table is behind my love seat. I wanted to put two chairs there but couldn’t make it work because the space is not big enough… Read more »

getmotivated
Guest
getmotivated

I am working on family room. When you first enter the room you see a wall of windows with 2 computer desks and computers. To the right there is a sofa. To the left is the Tv and printer. Also there is a loveseat that faces the computer . Currently the sofa and loveseat and computer chairs are all black leather. I would like to move the sofa out and replace it with a fabric striped sofa. The stripes are black and beige. The carpret and walls are beige as well. Is there a way to have a sofa and… Read more »

Marilyn
Guest
Marilyn

I’m guessing this means a sofa with attached chaise combination is out too due to its lack of symmetry?

Marilyn
Guest
Marilyn

I’m guessing this means a sofa with attached chaise combination is out too due to its lack of symmetry?

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

I have a matching couch, love seat and chair. It brown leather I would like to replace the love seat ? Any ideas??

Sara
Guest
Sara

I found a new sofa I love for my living room. I am wondering if I should get the matching loveseat for the family room, which is right nextdoor.

John
Guest
John

Hi Kristie, we are just discussing furnishing our new living room and i would appreciate you advice. The current thinking is that we will get a wingback in a red and grey tartan pattern and then a chesterfield in grey, we will have space for another sofa should we get another matching chesterfield or go for a 3rd different style and fabric in the same room?

Amy
Guest
Amy

Hi, I need some guidance. I have a Restoration Hardware sofa in charcoal vintage velvet in my living room and I am thinking of adding a second sofa to face it on the opposite side of the room. I am seriously considering doing the other couch in linen fabric to mix it up. Will that fabric mix work for entire sofas? (I have seen it in accent chair combos and it looked nice but unsure if sofa mix works) If so, do the couches need to be the same style to look right or can I do a tufted couch… Read more »

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I am new to having my own home and have some hand-me-down furniture, the couch and the loveseat are a matching set and the pleather is wearing away. I was thinking of buying some fabric to re-upholster the two, for the time being. Would it work to find a brown or eggshell colored fabric for the couch and a patterned fabric for the loveseat?

Sheri
Guest
Sheri

Kristie, you’re good!!! I’m in the market for two sofas. I recently painted my walls Rainwater by Marth Stewart. I’ve been considering buying an off white sofa and a blue/grey color sofa. Hesitated, but now that I read your blog I’m feeling more confident with the idea. It has a fresh feeling. However, this is the first white sofa I’ll own, my concern is keeping it clean. Is it difficult? These sofas are for the family room….food, drinks, and sometimes my grandpuppy comes to visit. Also, not a huge fan of microfiber but something with texture. Is that harder to… Read more »

Jodi
Guest
Jodi

Hi Kristie,
I really like this blog. I just purchased a cream leather couch with espresso legs. I’m moving and debating on whether to keep my love seat couch for additional seating. Is is alright if the love seat in not leather? I was going to buy a slip cover for it but not sure what color to get either. Thank you!