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How can I cram seating for eight into my tiny living room?

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The question

I have a small living room, but I need seating for eight people. Should I go with sofas, chairs or some combination?

The answer

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How many people really sit on a sofa? Do you ever see three men sitting on a sofa? If so, they look like the three wise monkeys: Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. Personally, I find they all look guilty of something and very uncomfortable.

With a group of eight people, imagine that you will get two per sofa, so you will need two sofas, scaled to six feet for your living-room size, and four chairs. Perhaps the chairs can be paired: two clubs and two armless (to save space).

A sectional might seem like the way to go, with the two-feet-perperson rule, but resist the temptation. What happens is that the corner-stealer and the sprawler take up most of the sectional and you end up stuck on the ottoman. Sometimes large just means underutilized – and when space is tight, you don't want to monkey around.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules, is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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