How-To Decorate When Your Front Door Opens Into Your Living Room

front door opens into living room

If you’ve had a living room where the front door opens into it,  you can appreciate the struggle of trying to decorate it. You want to create an entryway so guests don’t walk right into your living room, but you also want it to feel homey.

Most decorating advice suggests you position the back of your couch to run perpendicular to the outer frame of your front door. This layout uses the back of the couch to create a walk path for the flow of traffic and work as a divider between the sitting area and walkway. If you put a table behind the couch, you create the feeling of a foyer and a drop spot for keys and purses.

But what do you do if you have a situation like ours where the front door opens exactly in the center of the room?

front door opens into living room

Our Living Room Floorplan

living room blue door living

Determined to find a solution and ward off my husband’s suggestion to “get a decorator,” I scored endless sites and created a lot of floorplan options. The front door was the first issue to work around and next where to put the TV once the couch was in its place.

Couch Perpendicular To Door Frame

Dana from House Tweaking uses this tactic with her front door, and it can be a great solution. Wall hooks and a bench right by the door acts as the drop spot and the back of the couch and runner directs the traffic.

front door opens into living room house tweaking

And Molly from Almost Perfect uses the tactic paired with some awesome statement lighting facing the seating area to make it feel separated from the front door.

I tried this set up in our house first. With our front door being directly in the center of our living room, putting the couch perpendicular to the front door made the seating area too small. So I tried placing the couch next to the front door but facing the fireplace.

Dress Up The Entryway With A Console

If you have space for a walkway behind your couch, putting a console behind it dresses up the space.

Define The Flow Of Traffic With A Runner Rug

Behind the console, I put a bench to create a drop spot and a rug to direct the flow of traffic.

This layout didn’t really work because the couch was in the middle of the room so you opened the front door and basically walked into it. We set the room up like this for about two weeks to feel out the foyer and seating space, but I got antsy.

Explore Your Options And Plan For The Flow of Traffic

Next, I tried to build off of our one “good” couch wall aka the wall without multiple doorways and windows. The flow of traffic had to be open to the dining room so options 2, 3 and 4 don’t really work. The traffic splits up the couch area. Option 1 worked better but wasn’t ideal because the traffic still has to walk through the couch area to get to the room next to the stairs.

The other issues with these layouts was the TV. (A few people have asked what tool I’m using for the floor plans, it’s Floorplanner, which has been great to get an idea of the room and how furniture scales in the actual room measurements.)

After working through a few more options, I wasn’t really happy with any of them. There was really only one option that I even liked. I decided to our floor plan and challenge on Houzz. Have you ever used their advice section? I posted about my living room with my floor options and was overwhelmed with the amount of great input and suggestions I received.

Here is a reminder of what the room looks like with the front door opening right into it from the other side of the room.

The fireplace is behind us in this picture. You can see the blue tape on the floor of where I marked to see what the couch would look like perpendicular to the door…so not a fit.

And here is what the Houzz group came up with:

I am obsessed. Even though the door opens in and looks at the couch, it’s really the best set up to allow for a walk flow to all the doors that go in and out of this room. To get to the room next to the stairs you still have to walk through the couch area but the pairing of the couch and bench frame the space to give the seating area more structure. I have set the room up like this using the furniture we already had with a bench and our sofa instead of a sectional.


We have loved the set up so far. The chest by the door is where we drop off things when you walk in the door and the set up of the couch and bench makes the room feel structured when you first walk in but can be cozy at the same time. The TV is against the stair rail/wall, which works for where the couch is placed.

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  • How would you set up a living room like this: you open the door right into the living room. Wall on right of you, to your left living room with windows on door wall, fire place on wall to your left, open space to dining…..and at the end of living room, stairway to upstairs!