The bedroom formula might not have been something your math teacher taught you in school, but it’s a blueprint we have all come to know and practice. The standard layout procedure typically consists of a bed frame against one wall, a dresser in the corner, two matching nightstands, and—if you’re really feeling adventurous—a small bench at the foot of the bed. Once every step has been thoroughly completed and triple-checked for accuracy, your dwelling is primed for an A-plus. But don’t hand in your paper just yet: There’s an opportunity for bonus points on this test.
While we tend to think about seating in terms of the spaces we share with others, we’re here to make a case for more chairs in the bedroom. No matter how small or large your place of slumber, the addition of extra seating—be it a chaise, pouf, swing, or sofa—can drastically change the way you interact with your space. Suddenly, you have a place to read, relax, and recline that doesn’t require slipping on your PJs and retreating under the sheets.
To help you carve out a mini living room all for yourself, we break down the arrangements that work for every standard size bedroom: small, medium, and large.
Arrangement 1: The Little Nook
Try: the stool + wingback combo
The same sloping walls that won over Claire Thomas when she first bought her retro cabin in Big Bear, California, also proved to be her biggest design challenge—particularly, in the master bedroom. Tucked under the A-frame roof, the lofted space is deceptively small. Choosing her furnishings wisely, Thomas decided to echo the verticality with a high-backed armchair. When not in use as a footrest, the matching pink velvet stool can serve as a landing pad for laundry, books, and other daily gear. We love this versatile pairing because it offers flexibility without soaking up precious floor space. The combo looks best in a corner or, if you’re lucky enough to have one in the bedroom, a cozy vintage fireplace.
Arrangement 2: The Straight and Narrow
Try: the family-size sofa
Once home to L.A.-based designer and HGTV star Leanne Ford and now home to Lana Del Rey, this quirky cabin in Echo Park is a lesson in mastering the shotgun layout.
While the master bedroom boasts enough room for the whole family, its long and narrow footprint called for a not-so-obvious furniture arrangement.
The space takes place in three consecutive stages. Along the furthest wall is the master walk-in closet, which Ford cleverly disguised with a “sliding door situation” that now doubles as the headboard for the second stage: the bed. Following the visual footprint of the wood-to-stone flooring transition, the final set up is a separate sitting zone complete with a slender sofa and equally slim coffee table. While the three major pieces of furniture (bed, couch, and table) dominate the room and leave little space for much else, the visual alignment creates the sense of two separate rooms.
Channel this setup with a classic, streamlined couch from Restoration Hardware and a vintage coffee table sourced from your favorite flea market.
Arrangement 3: Square and Spacious
Try: swapping the bench for a chaise
In larger spaces like designer Veronica Hamlet’s exceptionally boho bedroom, there’s more opportunity to test out different arrangements. One classic setup is the conversation zone—created by taking two matching accent chairs and placing them near the foot of the bed or along a parallel wall with a small side table in between them.
Another idea we love is this luxe lounge arrangement. In the place of a storage bench, Hamlet opted for a generous velvet chaise at the end of her canopy bed. Designed for additional lounging, this arrangement leaves enough room to continue to walk about but also serves a living and lounging moment in its own right. A small Moroccan table and chair in the corner can be brought over to create additional space for guests when need be.
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