When buying living room furniture, FORGET the LOVESEAT, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead

Loveseats versus Upholstered Chairs, which one(s) should you buy

Each person has a personal comfort zone. By this, I mean a set amount of inches of space between one person and another while having a friendly conversation. For most people, I feel it is the distance of an outstretched arm.

When you go to the movies or the theater, the arms of the chairs physically and psychologically define your space and the space of the stranger sitting next to you. The chair’s arms give you a comfort zone.

When selecting furniture for a living room, family room or great room, a person should try to figure out what is the maximal number of people who can really sit comfortably in that space for a holiday party or special occasion.

When you think about it, a three cushion sofa only sits two people. People who have just met like to have a bit of distance between themselves and the next person while sitting, it’s a personal comfort issue. A three cushion sofa will sit three people only if they are related or close friends; those people have already developed an intimacy with each other.

The loveseat is one piece of furniture, I feel, that should never have been invented. A love seat will only sit a husband and wife, mother or father and child, boyfriend and girlfriend, or two people who are intimate with each other. Otherwise consider it a large chair for one. Two people just meeting / newly introduced to each other at a party will not feel comfortable sitting next to each other on a loveseat.

A much more practical alternative to a loveseat is a pair of club chairs, wing chairs, or slipper/occasional chairs positioned next to each other a few inches apart.(The slipper chair is an armless version of a club chair). The two chairs next to each other will take up about the same amount of floor space as a loveseat, and together they will provide the needed separation two people just introduced need. The pair of chairs can also be separated and easily moved around the room as needed, to make seating groupings for larger numbers of people.

So when it comes to buying a suite of living room, great room or family room furniture, opt out on the loveseat, and instead buy two additional arm / upholstered chairs; your guests will thank you for it, because you psychologically provided then with comfort zones.

My advice to you now is to start looking through better interior decorating magazines. Notice that very few professional interior decorators use love seats in the rooms they design. If the trained professionals and famous of the design world don’t use them, why should you.

Companion Posts
Arrange Living Room furniture so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging furniture TWELVE different ways in the same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging furniture around a Fireplace in the corner of a room 9-29-2012′
Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room 2-5-2014,
It’s Easy to arrange furniture in a Square Living Room 11-29-2013,
Arranging Furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom 1-24-2016,
Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011,
Pick (Use) Four Colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
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22 Responses to When buying living room furniture, FORGET the LOVESEAT, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead

  1. Kathy w. says:

    Hi Fred, I think you are absolutely right.
    I wish we had bought 2 chairs for the
    Great room when we bought the couch,
    Instead of the love seat. Oh well!
    Always enjoy your blog. Kathy

  2. Kaite says:

    I totally agree as well. Loveseats are uncomfortable for two unless they are wanting to be on top of each other(hence the “love” part of the name I suspect).

  3. thanushka says:

    My husband and I love cuddling up when watching TV, so we thought of getting a love seat or a sofa directly in front of TV. But we have a hard time figuring out furniture for our living room.. Our living area is a part of an open floor plan, (but we do have a separate dinning room in another area so we don’t ‘need’ a dinette, so there is about 10′ space left there). Our living area is 16′ long and 14′ in width. We have a very nice slate fire place with a white mantel on the right wall of the room with 2 windows on each side. On the left is a french door leading to a study. The TV is on the north wall and on the south side is the kitchen. The sofa I like is 92″. is that Too big for the space? If we have a love seat facing the TV, will it be awkward to have a sofa facing the fireplace? This is our only living area so we need some seating too. Do you have any advice for me on what kind of furniture will work on a room like that? Thank you in advance…

    • Hi there Thanushka, I tried drawing your living room on a piece of paper, and if I got your floor plan right, I think you should have an “L” shaped sectional sofa floating in the center of the room with an extra chair put to the right of the TV.

      When people send me questions about their rooms, they see it perfectly in their minds eye, but I just have to guess because I am not seeing the space in true life. If a person has a 16 x 14 foot room, they have to give me more specific details. I am guessing that the fireplace is on the 16 foot wall, with windows flanking the fireplace. I am also guessing that opposite the fireplace on the other 16 foot wall are the French doors. To the right of the fireplace, on the 14 foot wall, I’m guessing the kitchen is there, and opposite the kitchen on the other 14 foot wall is the TV.

      I say, go out and look for furniture you like. Get the exact dimensions for height, width and depth, and take news papers, and tape them together to make templates that you can lay on the floor of the living room to see how the furniture is taking up space in your room. That way you will in one minute know if what you want is worth buying or not. Good luck with your decorating project ;-}

  4. thanushka says:

    The floor (kitchen and living room) is a dark hardwood called rustic heritage brown sugar, (if that matters when selecting furniture..)

  5. Katherine says:

    Hi Fred – I have a living/dining room that is a rectangle room, 27×13. The layout is most like Illustration#9 (from https://fredgonsowskigardenhome.com/2012/09/15/arranging-furniture-twelve-different-ways-in-the-same-room/). The difference is that there is a fireplace where the one “DC” is located in living area of layout and the windows are next to the fireplace (on each side). My question is, even though I have a long rectangle dining table on one side of the room, for the living section, what do you think of having two sofas facing each other in front of fireplace? I was tossing around the idea of two sofas facing each other, a large square coffee table, and two ottomans on the opposite side of the fireplace. Your thoughts and suggestions would be TRULY appreciated.

    • Hi there Katherine, Sorry to not get back to you until now, I have had a summer of just too many projects that have taken me away from the blog. I hope to be getting done soon, and will be back to posting articles and answering questions.

      As for your question about the two sofas facing each other, a room 13 foot wide is kind of narrow, and with two sofas in it, facing each other, there might not be much room to walk around/by them. If you have your heart set on the two sofas, go out and look for ones with small arms, that are not too wide. Find the ones you absolutely LOVE and get the exact dimensions of those sofas, and go home, and tape together newspapers to the exact size of the sofas, and lay those patterns/templates on the floor in you living room and see how much room they take up. If you think you have room to easily walk around the room, by all means buy them, if you see the space is small, rethink your plan. Also do the same thing for the ottomans and coffee table. Something that looks small in a 10,000 square foot or bigger furniture store, might look massive in your home. Good luck with your project.

      • Katherine says:

        Fred, Thank you SOOOOO much for this great advice. Your website is truly educational when it comes to design. I felt completely lost until I found your website; learned so much from your articles (room layout, lamps, armchairs, windows, etc). Look forward to reading more articles. Hope all the projects are going well 🙂 Again, many thanks!

  6. Ann says:

    I like my loveseat and plan to buy a new one soon, slipcovered in white. I never have company (my place is sort of a cat rescue–enough said) so how many it can sit comfortably is never a consideration. I agree that at a gathering, strangers don’t like to fall into each other in an oversized, pillow-adorned sofa of any size. One exception is a party where all women attend. I’ve sat butt to butt with many women I didn’t know at a Chocolate and Gold Party, for instance. Those ladies who cannot handle the closeness seek out chairs, of course. Men just don’t know how to squeeze one more in!

    • Hi there Ann, thanks for your comment. If you love your loveseat, than that is all that matters. The tag line for this blog is “Your eyes deserve to view beauty” so if a loveseat smiles at you, that is all that matters.

  7. Elayne says:

    Yours is the first decorating site I have found that makes intuitive sense to me, the uninitiated.
    I think it’s because you talk about balance. Could you say a bit about balance in colour…..Ie if using blue and red in same room……same or different tones, etc?

    • Hi there Elayne, first of all I want you to read my post Pick (use) Four colors when decorating a room.

      When working with color and even pattern you want to keep it moving throughout your space. If you have any one color, or pattern, just in one spot in a room your eye will land on it and stay there. By having it in multiple places in a room it keeps drawing the eye around the room. When working with color and pattern you want to have it at different levels in the room. Think of color on the floor, up on a sofa, chair or bed (as in a pillow or throw), used as table accessories (knickknacks and collectables), and brought up higher in the room with wall color, or wallpaper, drapes and even in your artworks.

      When thinking about tones of color, I would say get a paint color strip with the exact color of, in you case red and blue on it, and any of the other lighter and darker tones of the red and blue that, on that single paint color strip, would work perfectly with the color you have. On a paint color strip the darkest color on that strip is the tone and the lightest color is called a tint. The colors between the darkest tone and lightest tint are made by adding different amounts of white paint to the darkest color. All of the colors on one single paint color strip are from one exact family of that paint color.

      Color comes two ways, there are yellow based colors and blue based colors. Red that is yellow based is more in the tomato-orange range (red + yellow = orange), and reds that are more blue based are in the direction of burgundy claret, etc, with more of a purple color background (red + blue = purple).

      Here is a list of other articles that I wrote that might be of help…
      How to pick paint colors that go with an Oriental Rug /Carpet,
      Paint a room a Dark Color , then add Light Accents,
      Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating used on Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting,
      Interior Decorating..Looking at the Different sizes of Patterns used on Wallpaper and Fabrics,
      Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns,
      The color Blue, the Next Decorating Trend,
      Color Theory..When Interior Decorating a room REMEMBER Wood is a color too.

      Elayne, I hope my past posts and the quick explanation help you in some way, thanks for your comment;-}

      • Elayne Harris says:

        Thank you so very much, Mr. Gonsowski.

        I will read and read all very carefully.

        When I have read and absorbed more, I would like to ask you more questions.

        I have a very plain rectangular one-story bungalow (late 50s/early 60s) with too much wallboard, and cheap carpet over plywood floors, new windows, and faded furniture in a community of a cold northern climate that I will live in for a while. I will not be able to spend more than $5000 in next year. The biggest windows are easterly. Supplies there will be limited and I am unlikely to have paint shipped in!!!!

        Having lived in this house before, I know it is downright depressing, especially in dullness and poor light. My goal is very modest….make it not depressing with paint and creating as much harmony/balance with what is already there in furnishings. I have quite a bit of original art (high quality limited prints), so using it strategically will be the tactic over buying for this house. This is not a project of glamour and style….it’s more one of mental health.

        I had used red and blue as examples of colours only, as in reality I usually avoid reds, but very much like blue. However, I took special note of your comment re yellow bases and blue bases in both….. is that true of all colours???? For example, does green have both a yellow base and blue base?

        How very fascinating, not to mention enlightening (no pun intended).

        Again, thanks for your kind, even if quick, reply.

        The grateful…

        Elayne Harris

      • Hi there Elayne, first of all I want you to read my posts about hanging pictures/artworks, they are…
        Picking and Hanging the right size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace,
        It’s Easy to make a Grouping of Pictures,
        Making an interesting Arrangement of Pictures,
        It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall,
        Hanging Pictures Around a Room,
        Step-by-Step instructions for Hanging a Gallery Wall,
        It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a Tall/High Ceiling.

        When it comes to color look at the color wheel that I show in my post Color Theory, When interior decoration a room, Remember Wood is a color too. You will see how color progresses around the color wheel. On the wheel you will see that yellow is followed by yellow-green (which is a warm version of green, because the yellow is added), then you have green which is made using yellow + blue. After that you have blue-green which is a cool version of green (because it has a lot of blue in it, which is considered blue based/a cool color), then you are at true blue which is considered a cool color.

        When it comes to color theory you are supposed to be able to make all colors using just three colors; true red, true yellow, and true blue. Looking at the color wheel you will see that all the colors on the left side of the color wheel, from red-orange all the way through yellow green, and even true green are probably considered yellow based warm colors. All the colors on the color wheel from blue-green to red violet are all blue based colors and considered blue based cool colors.

        If you want to add warmth to you home, I would say look for yellow based colors, as they have yellow in them which is naturally warm. If you like cool versions of colors, don’t use them in rooms on the north side of your house, as north light, coming in through north facing windows, never has the warmth of the sun in it.

        Look at my post Picking Paint Colors for a Small House, Condominium or Apartment and The Right way to hand Curtains and Drapes, there might be something in those two posts that will hopefully also inspire you.

        Look at the word Categories that appears on the right side of the screen, you will see the different kinds of topics that I’ve written so far, by clicking on them you might see other topics on decorating that could help you. Elayne, come back any time to ask a question, hope I can in some way help you.

  8. Elizabeth Marie says:

    What a treasure I’ve found in your website. Thank you! Elizabeth Marie

    • Hi there Elizabeth Marie, glad to have been an inspiration in some way. Make sure you look at the Companion Posts that follow the articles, and also look at the word Category that is on the right side of the screen, there you will find the titles of different topics that might interest you, click on them and you will be able to open the files with many posts. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Tracie says:

    I live only with a best buddy of a dog who doesn’t mind stealing a spot on our loveseat. 🙂 I don’t mind. Sharing with her is not a problem. I was given a loveseat free and have an oversized cozy armchair and a small armchair. There isn’t enough space in the apartment for a full sofa. My loveseat is basically a large chair for one, as you point out. When my boyfriend is here on a date, as a big former football player, he likes the big armchair with elbow room and not the loveseat by me. He gravitated right to the big armchair and nicknamed it the ‘Andy chair ‘ after himself, he likes it so much. 😉

    Now for any situation besides my living alone with my dog, a loveseat plus two chairs combination wouldn’t work right for company or a family day to day. There are basically 3 comfortable seats, or 4 seats with 2 people feeling too close, especially a guy built like my boyfriend. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to sit with me, but we are both tall and with his build, he needs more room, too.

    In the future, I will keep the loveseat but with (later on) marriage to my boyfriend, the loveseat will be moved to probably the guest bedroom, or my personal space where I work on my artwork and relax/read (woman cave!).

    My dog will likely still steal a spot on it in the future. She likes cuddling up with me on it when she is in the mood to. And she sneaks up on it when I am at work, I suspect. 🙂

    • Hi there Tracie, would ever think about, when the time comes, about buying a 3 cushion arm-less sectional/ modular sofa, so you would have the seating capacity of a real sofa, but without the arms that would take up space. Something to think… Thanks for your note ;-}

  10. MARTA DANSIE says:

    All I have to say is BLESS YOU, Mr. Fred Gonsowski! This is the best beginners guide to interior design I have ever come across. I’ve searched hundreds of youtubes, blogs and magazine guides and I am grateful for your thoughtful and frank blog topics to help those of us hunting down the right size of lamps, colorways and more for our designing. I can tell you know your stuff and truly have a passion for it!! Most other guides seem very biased on the item they are selling or sponsored by, which is truly annoying for those of us who just need a little basic guidance. I’m revamping my own living room and am having fun designing it up with the furniture I’m hoping for in Photoshop so I can see the colors, shapes and sizes come together. It has helped me not overbuy or purchase the wrong thing. I love how you advise us to let the colors and patterns dance across the room. I also opted OUT of a loveseat and got the square arm Tyler chair from Pottery Barn which is streamlined yet comfy for our small home. Thank you for your great blog and keep at it!! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, talents and expertise!!

    • Hi there Marta, Thank You OH Soo Much for your kind comments. Have you looked at the word Categories, on the right side of my blog page, under that are titles of topics that I’ve written about. Click on the titles and under them will be all the related posts on the subjects, so you can quickly access them. Again Marta, thanks for your glowing praise.

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