Two sofas facing each other - how far is too far apart?

lkplatowOctober 22, 2010

The short version of this question is this: if you are going to have two sofas facing each other, what is the maximum distance you can have between them without it looking stupid. My room is 13 feet wide and becuase the room has the most difficult layout ever, I can't really pull the furniture away from the wall without cutting off a traffic pattern or completely un-balancing the room. If I get 2 3-foot deep sofas and face them toward each other, I'll have about 7 feet between them. Is that too much? I can put a coffeetable or ottoman or something to take up the space, but I'm still wondering if that's too far and it will feel like you're shouting to the other side of the room.

If my 2 sofa plan doesn't work, I'm definitely going to have to post a floor plan and some pics, because this room has the most frustrating and hard to explain layout ever. We've lived here for 8 years using the furniture we had from our previous house (definitely not the best layout for the room, but it fit and we already owned it), while I've fantasized about the day I could get new furniture in there. But in 8 years of thinking about this, I still haven't come up with a layout that seems to make sense.

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How about putting a sofa table behind one of the sofas to bring it in a little closer to the other. 6 feet isn't so bad but 7 is kind of pushing it.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Long, narrow sofa tables are great for providing a convenenient place for a pair of lamps or a piece of art, but squeezed in between the back of a sofa and the wall, one would only look odd. And, of course, different people (and different cultures) have different opinions of what's a good distance for conversation--a former co-worker was under the illusion that it was less than a foot, and the day he retired was one of the happiest days of my life--but according to Architectural Graphic Standards the recomended head-to-head distance between two people seated in upholstered chairs (or sofas) with a coffee table between them is 84 to 108 inches, so at seven feet, you should be just fine.

I feel your pain about weird the layout of your room. These days, lots of new houses seem to have been designed from the outside in, with a specious "curb appeal"--rather than the comfort & the convenience of the inhabitants--determining the floor plan. I've been in falling-down 150-year-old workers' cottages where the layout was better planned than what I see in many new zillion-dollar houses. Ah, Progress!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 7:04PM
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We have a sofa and two chairs facing each other and they are almost 8 feet apart. I just measured it to make sure. It might seem far but it works and nobody has to shout. It's very comfortable to talk.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 12:29AM
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Thanks guys! You've reassured me that at least I have a backup plan that will work. (magnaverde - that picture cracks me up, LOL!) But I think I will try to post a floor plan w/ measurements and some pics at some point (can't do it today - have some family stuff to go to) and get your collective thoughts on what kind of furniture would work in here. Maybe someone here will have the brilliant flash of insight that's been eluding me for 8 years!

It's funny that you mention the weirdness of new house layouts becuase although our house is fairly new, it was built to look like a 200 year old farmhouse and many of the things that were added to give that antique charm are also what make the room so hard to furnish (a half-height stone wall along the back of the room, one entire wall taken up by an off-center colonial-styled paneled fireplace with built in closets to each side that hide the entertainment components, a good chunk of the flooring is very bumpy fieldstone - it serves well as a hearth for the fireplace but it's way too lumpy to sit furniture on, etc.) It all looks beautiful, but it really doesn't function for a family who just wants to hang out and watch tv.

I will definitely do up a floor plan and some pictures -- hopefully sometime this coming week. Our current furniture is circa mid-90s, navy blue, and overstuffed (ugh, what was I thinking?) -- it served us well, but now that the kids have outgrown the jump-on-the-furniture-stage, I can't wait to replace it. I'm sure I won't have the funds for a while, but it would be nice to have a vision to save toward.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:16AM
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I think it would work -- I'd just be careful to put a good-sized coffee table between them, not a little delicate thing. Maybe a nice round 36" or even 42" if you could find it? Or square... I wouldn't use the typical 24" x 48" rectangle.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:46AM
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I asked the same question recently about my LR, where the facing sofas are 6' apart. I was assured that it was fine. If you use a big coffee table the extra foot probably won't be bad. But do post pictures and plans, it's nice to get a fresh perspective from the helpful people here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous similar question

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:58PM
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While you can sit the sofas across from each other, I think it would be a good idea to put a couple of chairs on the side of the coffee table to make the seating arrangement more intimate and allow for more seating. The idea is that you can talk across the room like that for more stranger type guests but for family and close friends, it would be nicer to have more intimate seating.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 5:04PM
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