6 Things to consider when designing a perfect classic living room

By Jelena Raicevic
11 August 2022

Interior Design Items, Furniture


The living room is the most 'lived-in' room in the house, the one in which we spend most of our time, and the one that generally has the greatest impact on the appreciation of the entire home, although functionally it is the least 'specific' (it does not have a precise function like the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom).

In fact, the living room is the 'multi-functional’ room of the house, the one in which it is possible to carry out very different activities: reading, watching television, playing games, relaxing on the sofa, and it is the place where we generally welcome our guests.

One of the main problems in living room design concerns the arrangement of furniture.

It is not enough to push a sofa against a wall or line up a couple of chairs to create a coherent, harmonious and functional layout. The arrangement of furniture requires precise planning, especially if we are designing a living room furnished with classic Italian style furniture, often mighty and large.

When arranging traditional Italian furniture in the living room, it is important to take into account the proportions and available space: create a clear path so that people can move around the room easily.

For a perfect design of a traditional style living room, it is therefore essential to plan the arrangement of classic Italian furniture according to their proportions, in relation to the available space.

Here is a simple and comprehensive guide to help you create a comfortable, functional and stylish environment.

6 Things to consider when designing a perfect classic living room


1. Starting to design the perfect living room: choose the focal point

Try not to start planning from a detail.

Too many people fall in love with complementary elements such as cushions, lamps, paintings or suchlike, around which they decide to “construct” the perfect living room, using these features as a yardstick for the choice of style.

It would be as if an architect plans an entire building based around the bathroom or a builder constructs placing the roof tiles together. It is not so much a rule but a matter of good sense: when it comes to designing the perfect living room the first step is planning.

Planning means asking yourself certain questions:

  • What activities and moments of the day will take place in the living room?
  • How should the space be developed and divided based on its use (sofa area, eating area, reading area)?
  • Where should the furniture be placed?

In a classic or modern living room, never underestimate the power of a focal point. Whatever your focal point is, make a decision and stick with it. You’ll want to arrange furniture around it as much as possible.

The focal point is a kind of 'eye-catalyst'. There are no precise rules about this: it can be a particularly original accessory, a painting, a coloured wall, a design piece, a grand piano or any other element that attracts people's attention when they first enter the room.

Stealing the show in a classic-style living room can be a luxurious dining table, a sparkling display cabinet or one of the precious classic Italian furniture from Arredoclassic collections: you'll be spoilt for choice!

Not to mention the sofa, which almost always plays the leading role in the design economy of the living room, as if it were an unavoidable focal point.

And here we come to the second step of our guide: how to design the conversation/relaxation area with classic-style sofas.


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2. The linchpin of the living room: the sofa

When you start planning your 'perfect living room', think immediately about the role the sofa will play. If you envisage a starring role, the best thing is to build the furniture design around it, so that it is the focal point of the room.

It doesn't matter where you place it (against a wall or in the middle of the room), but how you will be able to enhance it and bring it out in the overall picture. The sofa will dictate the style, atmosphere, lines and colour palette.

For 2022, the style trends speak of a return to soft, enveloping seating even for classic-contemporary living, in stark contrast to the minimal, squarish shapes of previous years.

Green light, then, to sofas with sensual, rounded lines, such as those from the Melodia collection.

With their curved silhouette and precious upholstery embellished with pleated work framing the backrests, the Dolce Vita sofas will give your home a mix of class and warmth, elegance and homeliness, in line with the excellent quality of the Italian furniture-making tradition.

Sofa is a particular element in the living room that is able to delineate and function as a linchpin for all the other pieces of furnishing: it is the supreme furnishing piece, the king of the living room!

Functional in terms of the entire room, it not only radically changes the look but also dictates the line.

You must not scrimp when it comes to the sofa: quality, comfort and resistance over time are essential features at (almost) any cost.


The linchpin of the living room: the sofa


3. A key factor: lighting

Lighting is a "macro-structure" in the economy of design of a living room as it is for the entire home.

A priority aspect that you should consider from the outset to understand how to make the most of small and large spaces, highlight colours and how to experiment with mirrors and materials that can reflect light.


Vary the types of lighting in the room

There should be lighting for reading, TV watching, and parties. Avoid the single light fixture overhead. Getting your living room lighting just right can be a challenge, but it can also pull the whole look together.

We suggest a combination of various sorts of lighting, that includes overhead (though a living space with an abundance of natural light may not need this).

In the design phase, you must therefore think about what light source is suitable to the rooms: large and central or small and scattered in predefined areas. It always depends on your aesthetic requirements, based on how you wish to arrange the entire furnishing and that which are the most illuminating features: or how to enhance the beauty of the living room through natural and artificial light.

Make certain every seat has access to light and a table. Every person can then read and have coffee in comfort.

If your living room tends to be lacking in light (due to poor sun exposure or few openings), you can adopt a few small tricks and stylistic devices to increase the level of brightness.

One of the most effective is to place mirrors in front of the windows so that natural light 'bounces' into the room.

An interesting idea is also to exploit another 2022 trend for classic-style living rooms: mirrored surfaces, and shiny and reflective metals.

Emblematic of the union between classic precious materials (gold, brass, bronze, silver, marble, copper) and contemporary, gritty metals (steel, glass, aluminium) are the Allure and Atmosfera collections by Adora.

Another expedient to increase natural light is to choose clear, neutral and 'bright' colours for walls and accessories, avoiding dark, deep colours or fabrics in overly elaborate patterns.


Vary the types of lighting in the room


4. How to define the room with rugs

Rugs is a mixed blessing for the designer.

It can be exploited for its intrinsic capacity to “define an area” of the room but it can also ruin an entire space if badly used.

Apart from questions of taste, who likes them and who don't (perhaps because of allergies), carpets can dominate the living room, conferring different personalities if chosen in the right size (and of course well combined with the rest of the furnishing).

Their main quality is their capacity to define different areas in the same room. A classic example: positioned under the dining table and the chairs to highlight the eating area compared to the rest of the room.

Do make sure that all the pieces of classic or modern furniture fit on the rug.

Ideally, all four legs of major pieces should be on it, but if this simply isn't possible make sure to fit at least the front legs on the rug (the back legs can be off). But all the legs of smaller pieces should be on the rug whenever possible.




5. Reflect personality: accessories and art

Give free reign to imagination and your “aesthetic” side. The living room is that which is best suited to customisation and in general to reflect that which makes up your character.

You could opt for a wall bookcase if you are a book lover, or cover every centimetre of the wall with art (even if not advisable as decidedly heavy on the eye).

Do choose your most expensive or favorite item and decorate around it.

Accessories, artistic objects and furnishings are elements that differentiate and inspire. Given that the living room is the most lived-in part of the home, it is also worth defining these apparently corollary aspects to create a space in which you are even more at home, in complete comfort. 

Add striking accessories to your room. Smaller accessories look better in groups, but avoid bringing in too much. There is a fine line between accessorizing and “clutter-izing” the room.


Reflect personality: accessories and art


6. Every object has a purpose

The last aspect that you must acknowledge before starting to design the perfect classic or contemporary living room relates to the functionality of every element inside it.

The golden rule in that every item has a purpose (and so a place).  Then a better solution is to use architectural details, as well as furnishings, to delineate a space. Room dividers, columns, and floor elevations can all serve to define a room.

It is not just about order or disorder, that is important nonetheless, but concerns the very essence of the objects in your living room and so the functional, aesthetic and emotional value that they hold.


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Jelena Raicevic

As part of the commercial department, Jelena Raicevic loves to discover different cultures and trends, mainly related to the furnishing worlds.