How Living Room Layouts Vary Around the World


They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, (we’re not exactly sure who they are, but presumably their pantry is packed with wine and tasty comestibles, as opposed to say, expired tins of sardines).

Although it might be somewhat biased of us, we actually think the living room is a hot contender for the role of heart of the home, too. Here in Britain it’s the number one place to relax, socialise and watch rubbish on the television (but not ‘The Kardashians’ – we can never condone going that far into the realm of trashy TV).

It probably comes as no surprise that the living room is also a popular room in many other countries too. However, despite some similarities when it comes to comfort and style, it seems each nation has its own unique ideas when it comes to living room décor. With that in mind, we thought it might be nice to take a trip around the living rooms of the world to see if inspiration takes hold…



French Living RoomImage by Soffie Hicks

The French certainly have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ when it comes to style, both in dress sense and décor. We don’t think it’s an accident that the very word décor has a French origin. Think French decoration, think Marie Antoinette, opulent designs and plush furnishings – and, of course, no true French parlour is complete without a chaise lounge.

The best way to create French chic at home is to find some key original pieces, or modern furnishings that have been designed in an appropriate style, to add authenticity to the space. Look for neoclassical items (the Marie Antoinette era was all about Egyptian and Greek style with an added flair) or search for ‘Louis XVI’ style when shopping.

Golden hues were popular during this period, as were light pastels, so try adding some gilding to existing frames or paint your walls, or even ceiling, in a baby blue. Alternatively, go for stripped back painted cabinet furniture for a more rustic French farmhouse look. Accessories such as candelabras and chandeliers are also a simple way to add a French feeling to a room, and just a couple of items can really make an impact.



Japanese Living Room

If you’d like a place of absolute calm and tranquillity, then you could do much worse than opt for a Japanese style for your sitting room. A typical Japanese room is minimalist and clutter free, with plenty of space that really helps to clear the mind.

To get the Japanese look at home, opt for neutral colours on the walls and use screens to divide up the space. Traditional Japanese homes feature screens that can be moved at any time, rather than walls – excellent if you’re having a party and need the extra space. The flexibility of being able to move these screens is fantastic, and an important aspect of Japanese décor.

For a truly Japanese feel, the key piece to choose is a low level table for the centre of the room complete with floor cushions situated around it. Grab a few bamboo lampshades or paper lanterns, and perhaps a bonsai tree or Japanese tea set for decoration. Now all you need is some saki to calm you down…

For some further advice on Japanese décor, check out this article.



Scandinavian Living Room

With Scandinavian shows being watched in living rooms across the UK, it makes sense that the interior décor style is making its way ever further into our homes – especially when it looks so inviting and comfortable. Perhaps it’s due to the cold weather outside, but Scandinavian homes can have a truly comforting feel that is difficult to beat.

Scandinavian style is characterised by a wonderful blend of warm cosiness and efficiency – the two ideas shouldn’t go together, but somehow the Scandinavians make it work. Practical storage solutions and carefully chosen accessories make for a minimalist, yet inviting space; usually one that is filled with loveable quirks, too. You certainly can’t say that Scandi style isn’t innovative.

Opt for furnishings in cool greys and blues to contrast with white walls, and try to find a way to incorporate the great outdoors in your design; for instance, get a few stools made from tree trunks, or even just place a simple vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table. A fireplace in the corner of the room is typically Scandinavian, too (for obvious reasons) – they’re usually in the shape of a column or cylinder.

The main thing to remember is that each piece needs a worthy reason to be there. This article on incorporating Scandinavian style into your home décor is really useful if you’d like to find out more.



Indian Living Room

There is a luxury about Indian décor that cannot be matched elsewhere. The rich colours and textures are sumptuous, and Indian furnishings can make any home feel like a palace. Think elaborate ornate heavy wooden cabinet combined with plush deep coloured fabrics.

For an authentic look, try to find some handcrafted Indian furniture that features an intricate design, or opt for a silk throw in a jewel-like purple and some throw pillows in pinks and reds. Wall hangings are also popular in Indian interiors, and animal motifs play a big part. Look for elephants and tigers on cushions or other accessories for an instant injection of Indian opulence.



Arabic Living Room

Arabic décor is lush and stunningly beautiful, and it’s easy to see that it’s the inspiration for many popular Mediterranean styles such as Greek, Italian and Spanish. Whether you prefer the rustic Bedouin style or something a little more lavish, a la an ‘Arabian Nights’ palace, it’s a look that can instantly make your home feel warmer, more inviting and more stylish.

If your room is big enough to handle bolder colours, try a warm terracotta on the walls – if not, a more neutral beige can still work with the right accessories. To go truly authentic, eschew your traditional furniture for low-level seating and floor cushions, and choose accessories in turquoise blues and emerald greens.

Mosaics look fantastic in a Moroccan setting – consider giving your fireplace some flair by adding some tiles and creating your own unique pattern; or you could even attempt to create your own mosaic coasters. Blues, oranges and reds are the most typical colours in Arabic décor – think the hues of the sea and sunset – so try to incorporate them where you can.



British Living Room

Image by Gatsby

Yes, we Brits deserve a mention too. In stark contrast to the minimalist Japanese and Scandinavian styles, the traditional British look is all about ornaments, with interest wherever you look. In days gone by, the traditional British stately home would have featured centuries’ worth of antiques, curiosities and sentimental items that had been collected over a number of decades, telling the story of a family and impressing guests.

To get a stately home feel in your abode, you’ll need to look for dark wood furniture, heavy curtains and plenty of ornaments. Table lamps can add a touch of elegance and class to proceedings with little effort required on your part, particularly if you place a matching pair at opposite ends of a piece of furniture such as a mantelpiece or bureau.

And of course no truly British living room would be complete without an iconic chesterfield sofa. While a quality chesterfield is usually a bit of an investment, it will be a head-turning centrepiece in any living room, and with the proper care and attention, can last you a lifetime.

Posted in Uncategorized on 11th Sep 2014


6 comments on “How Living Room Layouts Vary Around the World”

  • what, so every living room in those countries, are laid out exactly the same! don't be bloody stupid!

    Andy posted 24th Nov 2014 at 12:47 pm

    • Yes, in fact living rooms in all countries are absolutely identical nationwide lol. In all seriousness, we just wanted to take a look at traditional living room trends in different countries - you're right though, living room trends span across all borders nowadays!

      SofaSofa posted 10th Dec 2014 at 3:59 pm

  • So the world is just composed by French, Scandinavian, Japanese, Indian, Arabic and British...I suggest updating the map; many more countries have been discovered since and I believe most of them have people who have houses with living rooms with various styles of living arrangements.

    Edna Cordero posted 2nd Aug 2015 at 6:27 am

    • Thanks for your cheeky comment Edna ;-)

      Unfortunately we only had time to compose a short piece detailing a select few living room styles from around the world. However, you do make a good point! Perhaps we should look at updating the piece in the future and adding more styles?

      Are there any international living room styles that you're particularly fond of that you'd like to see included in an expanded edition of the post?

      All the best,


      SofaSofa posted 5th Aug 2015 at 3:10 pm

  • Oh wow! Just stumbled upon your blog and let me say that it's great!! Really like it, think is useful and very inspiring!! :)

    Arkitalker |
    -- A blog of architecture, art and culture and a travel diary --

    Arkitalker posted 13th Aug 2015 at 3:09 pm

    • Thanks Nancy, really like yours too! Perhaps we can work together at some point? Feel free to drop me an email at anytime :)

      All the best,


      SofaSofa posted 18th Aug 2015 at 11:54 am

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