Determining the configuration of furniture in a living room can be tricky. You may be struggling to figure out the perfect spot for your seating, television, bookshelves, desk, you name it, without having to part with any of your beloved pieces. And if you really can't think of another place to station your sofa than in front of the window, that's more than ok! "The wall with the window is sometimes the longest one in a living room, so it’s often a natural place for the sofa," designer Rosanna Bassford says.
When going this route, the secret to success is just keeping some key design tips in mind to ensure that your sofa truly shines in this space and isn't overly affected by sunlight. Below, designers share the main factors that you'll want to keep top of mind during the living room layout process.
Designer Brittany Farinas of House of One is based in South Florida, where many of the homes that she works on feature floor to ceiling windows. When placing a sofa in front of a window, as she does often in her projects, Farinas suggests paying close attention to a piece's height. "Aim for a couch with a lower profile as to not have much of an obstructed view," Farinas advises. Luckily, many low-profile sofas are having a major moment right now and can make a space look ultra contemporary and chic.
Be Mindful of Fabric Type and Curtain Placement
When a couch will be positioned in direct sunlight, fading may be a concern. "Ideally you want the fabric to be in a Sunbrella or fade-resistant material," designer Mary Jo Major notes. "Alternatively, if that isn’t an option, make sure you have proper window coverings like UV protectant shades."
That said, when installing curtains nearby, you will want to be strategic about their placement. "Curtains can make a sofa in front of a window look purposeful and well-styled," designer Sarah Cole says. "They provide a backdrop that makes the window look more to scale with the furniture and helps anchor it." However, Cole adds, you will want to leave sufficient space between the back of the sofa and the window. After all, she explains, "you’ll want draperies to hang nicely and not be compressed by any seating."
Even when the sun isn't shining, you'll be glad that you have curtains installed behind your sofa area, Bassford says. "This can be important for privacy at night as well as if you’re watching TV and don’t want the glare."
Try a Console Table
If space allows, you could also place a couch in front of the window but far enough away from it to allow room for a console table behind the sofa, too. Designer Kirsten Conner offers a few key tips for those who may be inclined to go this route. "For console tables behind a sofa, you want an eight to 10 inch depth," she comments. "The key is, it needs to be slightly lower than your sofa—never higher. Ideally, its width will match the sofa to provide balance with the sofa."
You can use this opportunity to create a charming vignette behind the couch, too. "[Console tables] are a great place to add lighting or accessories to make that side of the room more interesting," designer Mary Beth Christopher notes.
Positioning a console table behind the sofa can also be an optimal choice for plant lovers who are looking for a chic, functional way to display their green friends. Plants that thrive when placed in direct sunlight will thrive, and those seated across from the couch will be able to admire their beauty.
However, maybe the idea of including a console table behind the couch doesn't strike your fancy. That's ok, but regardless, you shouldn't press your sofa directly onto the window panes! "You always want to leave at least 12 to 18 inches between the window and the sofa," Christopher shares. "Visually, if it looks jammed up against the window it won’t look good, and from a functional standpoint, it doesn’t work either."