How to Arrange a Chaise in the Living Room

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Whether you are looking to furnish a small space, or add extra seating in a large room a beautiful chaise lounge is a unique piece of furniture that can add visual interest to any living room layout.

A few years ago, when we completed our kitchen renovation, we decided to upgrade our family room furniture as well. Because it is a smaller room and very narrow, it is hard to come up with a seating arrangement that allows for a conversation area.

So, we decided to break from the norm of a sofa, loveseat type combo and incorporate a chaise lounge. We are so glad that we did, because it has become a focal point and has also made our small room feel much more open.

Now, I am not an interior designer, but I know what worked for me, so today I will give you a tour of our living space followed by some tips on how to arrange a chaise in your living room.

photo of living room with sofa on one side and chaise lounge on the other

The Challenges of a Small Living Room

When it comes to furnishing a living room, the popular option is to go for a huge sectional sofa – you see them everywhere on Pinterest. 

But when you have a smaller living area, standard living room furniture doesn’t often fit. 

You might also use the room for more than one purpose – like a living room / dining room combination.  In my case, I use a corner of my living room for my home office as well. In either case your seating area can’t dominate the room because you need to fit other furniture, like a desk or dining table, in the same space.

This was the challenge that we faced.

Our living room is a longish narrow room with the entrance on a short end and a fireplace on the opposite short wall. There is a long wall adjacent to the entry and large windows (by way of a sliding glass door) across from the long wall.

I know it’s hard to visualize so I created the following room plan (which is totally NOT to scale – but it will give you the idea).

living room layout on graph paper

The one long wall is ideal for a traditional sofa. 

But you can see that if we used an L-shaped sofa sectional, we would end up blocking off either the fireplace or the entry.

The Benefits of a Chaise Lounge

a beige chaise lounge with black accent pillow and a small side table in the foreground

Having lived in our home for over 20 years, we have tried to arrange different styles of furniture in this room in so many configurations.

We have tried accent chairs, loveseats, chair and a half style seating, and recliners.

Nothing really seemed to work.

And then one day, I saw a photo of a small living room in a furniture store brochure. This room was so similar to ours! It featured a sofa on the long wall, and a chaise lounge facing it on the opposite wall. In the corner they placed a round table with a chair as well.

When I saw that picture, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had never considered using a chaise lounge before, but at the time I thought – “hey, this might just work!”.

You see, a chaise lounge does not have a back like a sofa or a loveseat. The “back” – meaning the part that you lean up against when sitting, is actually on the side where a traditional armrest might be.

This backless design allows for seating without obstructing the visual openness of the room. It also gives you really nice bed-like seating to curl up and read or just lounge on (hence the name chaise lounge).

It was perfect for our space!

How I Arranged Our Living Room

To make the chaise lounge work in our narrow room, I put our sofa along the long wall across from the window wall. And I placed the chaise lounge across the room facing the sofa next to the sliding glass doors – jutting out in front of the fireplace.

This allows for a nice conversation seating arrangement because the person sitting on the chaise will be facing the persons on the sofa.

You might not think about it but using a chaise is also a great way to provide ample seating for even more people, if you use it like a bench instead. 

When we host parties, we can fit two to three people on the chaise lounge comfortably, when sitting side by side.

In addition to the chaise, I also added a round table in the empty corner of our living room (similar to the photo that I saw). We don’t often sit here, but I find that it is a great place for things like a charging station, a table lamp, and a basket of random electronic cables and such.

I purchased this table in the Washed Gray Taupe color. I like it because you can drop either side or both if you need to fit it into an awkward space. Since our corner is pretty tight, I usually keep both sides dropped, but will pull the front side up when I need to work in that area.

Clydetta Drop Leaf Solid Wood Pedestal Dining Table

This 42 inch round drop leaf dining table is perfect for fitting into tight awkward spaces. Keep both sides up for a round table, or drop one or both sides to make it more compact.

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I also placed a rectangular coffee table in front of the sofa as well as a circular end table next to one arm of the same couch. The one that I got is from Pier1 but is no longer available.

On the other end of the couch, I have a small wicker chest that I use for storing a throw blanket or two. And on top of that I have a basket for storing throw pillows. 

I really like this arrangement because it keeps the pillows from ending up on the floor when not in use.

Chaise Lounges Can Be Hard To Find

Since chaise lounges are not as common as other types of furniture, they can be more difficult to find.

I purchased mine at Bassett – but I no longer see it on their website.

The one pictured above is a similar one that I found on Wayfair.

Things to Consider When Using a Chaise Lounge in Your Living Room

The following tips may help if you are considering purchasing a chaise lounge for your living room.

Consider the Layout of Your Room

The first thing that you want to consider is the traffic flow in your room. The placement of the chaise should not obstruct the natural flow of traffic in the room.

Since we placed our chaise towards the back of our room, this was not an issue.

However, I will admit that it is a little cramped behind the chaise as there is not much room back there for movement – especially when we use the fireplace.

The good news is that we can easily push the chaise towards the center of the room when we need access behind it because it really isn’t that heavy.

Be Sure to Measure the Chaise Lounge

When it comes to chaise lounges, there is no standard size – so be sure to measure both your room and the piece that you are thinking of purchasing.

Of course, you want the chaise to fit well in your room – but you also want it to be comfortable to sit on.

Our chaise lounge came in two lengths. I ended up choosing the longer one because I knew that my husband (who is quite tall) would be using this seating and I didn’t think it would be comfortable if his feet were dangling off the end.

Beware the Limitations of Choosing a Chaise with a Back

You might notice that some chaise lounges have a small “back” to them – like the one pictured above. The idea is probably to make the seating more comfortable – and it might actually be so.

But if you decide to go with this style of chaise, be aware that you might be limiting the placement possibilities in your room.

With an “open” style chaise, you can place it on one side of the room or the other. But a chaise with a back is sort of one directional. 

For example, we placed my chaise lounge on the right side of the room facing the sofa. If we change our mind, we can also place it on the left side of the room next to the sofa. There are no issues with placement because the chaise does not have a back.

If we had chosen a chaise with a back, it would be awkward to place it next to the sofa because the arm side would be opposite and if someone was lounging on the chaise, their feet would be uncomfortably close to the persons sitting on the couch.

Make Sure It Will Be A Functional Space

Since most chaise lounges don’t have armrests you want to make sure to enhance both comfort and style by using accent pillows for back and side support. 

It is also a great idea to place a small table next to the chaise to provide the perfect place for a cup of coffee, a good book, or a laptop/tablet.

And don’t forget about lighting.You may need to add a floor lamp near the chaise if there is no space for table lamps.

A Chaise Lounge Might Be the Solution that Your Living Room Needs

If you have a tricky room to furnish, consider breaking from the norm and adding a chaise lounge.

It can offer additional seating while keeping an open feel in the living room.

Be sure to consider your traffic flow and add details like lamps and accessories to create an inviting and cozy space that you and your guests will love.

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