Is it okay to put a sofa in front of a window?

Is it okay to put a sofa in front of a window? This is a question designers and homeowners looking to redecorate their space go back and forth to. Many are firmly against placing the sofa in front of the window, are concerned about blocking natural light or views, cold drafts and simply look uncomfortable in the room, but ‘certain living room layouts mean that it is inevitable to change the sofa for put in a window,” rightly points out Dani Burroughs, of banking brand Snug. “This isn’t always a bad thing. The window is usually a welcome sun trap meaning it’s the perfect place to lie in the sun with a book and bask in the sun.”

When it comes to placing a sofa in front of a window, there are no hard and fast rules, but there are smart tips for making sure your sofa works to enhance the architectural details of your room and restore the atmosphere of the space and things. to give. to keep in mind. We speak to the experts to hear their thoughts on smart living room furniture ideas and ways to tackle this design conundrum.

Oonagh Turner

Oonagh is a writer and editor of experience houses and interiors with an extensive black book of contacts in the field of interior design. For this story, she spoke to a range of residential interior designers to find out their preferences regarding sofa placement and the factors to consider when designing a room with windows.

Should you put a sofa in front of a window?

Bench in front of but under a window

(Image credit: snug)

Although it is often disputed in the interior design world, the simple answer is that yes, it is okay to put a sofa in front of a window. Sometimes there’s just no way around it. But if you’re faced with this design dilemma, there are ways to make sure the overall scheme works well when you limit yourself to this placement. Think about the layout of the room – whether it’s a high-traffic area and how you can position your sofa so that there’s room to move around the room. Think about how you rely on lighting for the space, if your sofa placement is blocking a great view or natural light streaming in.

Also keep in mind the dimensions of your sofa and if nosy neighbors look in from the outside, they will just see an ugly back of a sofa. ‘Scale is always important,’ says interior designer Anna Popov of Popov interiors (opens in new tab). “If your sofa is going to shrink the window, think again before placing your sofa in front of it, because the aesthetic balance of your home will be disrupted,” says Anna. However, if your window has some space under the wall, your sofa can fit underneath.

Sometimes your window may be a statement in itself, interior designer points out, Rachel Usher (opens in new tab), so you may want to reconsider placement in front of the window if it detracts from stained glass or any other interesting feature. “If you have a historic property with a striking window, it would be worth considering if you could place the benches perpendicular to the window instead, so you don’t get in the way of a nice architectural feature,” says they.

How does natural lighting affect the placement of a sofa by the window?

A bench in front of a window overlooking the garden

(Image credit: Maker & Son)

Also think about how natural light coming in through the window can affect your furniture, or how a sofa can affect the light in the room.

“The main benefit of a window is the light it brings into a room, so by placing a sofa in front of it, you actively prevent this from happening,” said James Patmore, design manager at Soho Home. (opens in new tab).

If the house has floor-to-ceiling windows and the sofa is in direct sunlight with no trees or greenery to help spread the light, it’s also important to note that the back upholstery placed against the window will fade significantly faster than the rest. from the couch by the UV rays. ‘The darker the coating, the faster the fading – this is especially true for properties on the water – the reflection of the water accelerates the effect of the UV rays,’ says Anna. ‘With lighter, neutral tones, the difference over time is much less obvious. While there are several ways to protect your furniture from sunlight, these are important points to consider when designing your space.’

“If light affecting fabric is a concern, I recommend adding living room curtains,” said Nikki James, interior designer and studio manager for Ashton Woods (opens in new tab). “Not only do they make a beautiful backdrop for your sofa, but they can also help protect your furniture from UV rays.”

How far from the window should a sofa be?

A sofa in front of a window

Credit: Anna Stathaki

If you have the space, but the window is the only place your sofa can reach, remember to keep it away from the window. This doesn’t hinder natural light and views, and can really make your sofa stand out as a statement piece of furniture. “A sofa should be at least 6 to 8 inches from the window,” Shoshanna Shapiro recommends Sho and Co (opens in new tab).

“If foot traffic is expected behind the sofa, we recommend keeping at least one meter between the sofa and the window,” adds Anna Popov. “If not, about a foot or more is fine — you’ll want to leave an open space to accommodate any kind of window coverings or curtains and to protect the wall and sofa from damage.” But in the end we are in favor of positioning the sofa that looks and feels the best,” she adds.

“Measure and map out your space first to get an idea of ​​what you’re playing with and leave enough room on your map to move around comfortably,” suggests Dani van Snug, especially if you’re working with a small living room layout. “It can be snug, but no one wants it to be cramped. If you find yourself with extra space, a side table is a great practical and stylish addition. It is the perfect place for a table lamp, your favorite plant or as a place to put your cup of coffee.”

Where should you put a sofa?

A muted living room with a gray sofa


Each unique space in a home determines where the sofa should be placed – certain architectural lines will appeal to a sofa placement more than others, so pay attention to obvious corners in the living room that an L-shaped sofa would fit beautifully in, watch out for dado rails under a window where a sofa would fit well. Keep your sofa away from radiators and avoid doors and areas designated for traffic flows. “The flow of a room will help determine where to place your sofa — it should enhance rather than hinder movement in a home,” says Anna.

For others, the optimal placement can be set to encourage conversation. “Place two sofas parallel to each other to help with conversation and interaction,” adds Alex Epstein, chief interior designer Purple Cherry Architects (opens in new tab).

You also need to determine what you want the purpose of the space to be and how you want people to interact with the space as well as with each other, and then position your sofa to compliment this. ‘If you want to celebrate a focal point, a TV, fireplace or view, leave the couch in front of it; if you want it to be a place of conversation, place the sofa opposite some side chairs or another sofa,” says James of Soho Home. “You can rank these desires in order of importance, and then perhaps arrange the space so that you can serve more than one.”

What type of seating works in front of a window?

A lounger in front of a window

Credit: Olga Urbanek. Design: Takk Studio Berlin

A room’s window or bay window is often a natural space for seating, so if you want to incorporate seating in some form without adding a large sofa to the space, consider a window seat. By creating a cozy corner where you can read or watch the world go by, window seats have been built in. “A window seat should be six inches high,” Shoshanna says.

Dani also recommends going modular if you’re looking for seats that work in front of a window. “If you’re looking for something more versatile, think modular,” she says. “Find a bank that grows with you and your lifestyle as your needs change. This means you can turn your three-seater sofa into a corner sofa in the blink of an eye by simply adding new pieces, and move your sofa around the room as you chop and change.”

Also think of sunbeds in living rooms – a place to relax next to a beautiful view, but a simple piece that doesn’t block any light, just like this piece as used in this design by Thank you Studio Berlin (opens in new tab).

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