Impossible Living Room Layout!
ec2444
June 20, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Hello! First time user and would absolutely love opinions and ideas! Just moved in and have been at an absolute loss as to how to organize our living room layout. The front door opens directly into the living room, with the fireplace on your right. The shape is kind of like a rectangle, or a wide hallway. There is no entryway space. The fireplace is gigantic and very close to the door. If you have your couch centered and facing the fireplace, with a coffee table in front, you are basically walking right into the coffee table. I've attached the layout that someone at Room & Board put together, but when we tried centering our couch directly across from the fireplace, it felt like when you opened the front door and walked in, you were immediately hit with furniture. Thank you so much for your ideas!! http://roomandboard.icovia.com/default.aspx?projGuid=B4DB5B9A-5C61-4E9E-A2DB-DBCB79B72CAB
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nansdrew
Your furniture pieces and walls look lovely though. How deep is the room, and what's on the other side? I wonder if it would simplify your life to create an entry centered around the fireplace (unconventional, I know, but doable), then create your living room beyond that.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 20, 2014 at 1:48PM
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ec2444
Thanks! I forgot to mention - that furniture is the staging company's furniture so not ours. It is approximately 18.5 x 12.4 for the dimensions. If we were to create our living room beyond that, and move the couch along the wall, the couch would be facing something like the patch of wall between the fireplace and the window, and part of the window. Would that be weird to have the couch facing that space? Thank you!
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 1:52PM
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nansdrew
The dimensions sound deep enough. However, a photo of the other end would help, because it sounds like you may have some doorways that need to be clear. That is, it sounds like you can't move the couch to be centered and face the window and 2 chairs shown (right?).
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 2:14PM
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nansdrew
Oops, sorry, I just noticed the link for the Room & Board floor plan. I was thinking of something like the attached image. It doesn't look like you have a sight line directly looking at the center back of the couch to notice that it's partly facing the wall between the fireplace and window, so I think it should work. I wasn't sure if the furniture shown were ones you had already, so I took some liberties with adding a console table by the entry and a round coffee table. A pro could probably chime in as well.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 20, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Christine
I like nan's suggestions. I would also try the couch in about the same position as the suggested floor plan from nansdrew but rotated 90 degrees, facing the french doors, with a chair or set of chairs facing picture window and a sofa table behind the couch. If it will fit, place a small chair and table to the left of the door- creating a little corner nook. Another option could be back to back love seats- one near fp and facing frenchdoor and the other backed up to that creating the beginning of a new seating area in the back half of the LR, with another couch placed on the diagnal in the corner or against the pic window. Such a pretty room with great light! Good luck.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 20, 2014 at 3:13PM
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ec2444
Thanks so much for your suggestions! Thank you, nansdrew, for the floor plan. My only worry with that is - would we need a smaller couch then? I have no design experience so I'm not sure what it would be like to have such a large couch floating in the middle of a space that is not very large. Also, I remember Nate Berkus on American Dream Builders not liking the furniture placement that one of the designers did because the couch was similarly positioned, although in their case, it was facing a wall rather than the window. Do you think that would be problematic? And we don't have the furniture shown in the picture- that's from the staging company, but I appreciate you taking the time to add in some more detail pieces!
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 7:02PM
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ec2444
And thank you, Christine, for your help as well! I'm trying to envision what it would look like with the couch rotated 90 degrees, facing the french doors - I think it would actually be partly covering the fireplace then. Unfortunately, things look a lot better on the floor plan but when we try moving our furniture around, the space seems smaller and the furniture pieces seem to take up much more room! I would love to understand more of what you mean by the corner nook by the door - that sounds like an interesting idea! And same with your last idea with the back to back love seats - could you please describe it more? (Sorry, can't seem to piece it together to visualize). Once again, so thankful for your input!
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Christine
I was wondering if the couch could be placed perpendicular to the large window and so facing the front door, so that you have a view of the fp from the couch. That could frame out your main sitting area. You would then have space in front of the fireplace and could play around with a reading nook at that end of the room- possibly where the floor lamp is in your pic. I looked at the dimensions of the space and the back to back love seats probably wouldn't work- take up too much room. The room does appear very spacious. Another idea is to add an upholstered bench- placing it perpendicular to the end of the fp (furtherest from the door). That will unite the fp area with the seating area more toward the back of the room (meaning back away from fp). A sofa with modern lines, not oversized, will probably help. The link below might help with out of the box thinking in terms of furniture placement- don't be afraid to try placing sofa at angle or pulling things out from walls.

div>Contemporary Living Room by Brooklyn Architects & Building Designers CWB Architects
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 7:31PM
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Christine
[houzz=
] trying again to post photo
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Maraly
What about a table on the wall to the left as you come in the door. This can create a foyer-like setting. Then an ottoman and couch in front of the fireplace. You can create another sitting area where the upholstered chairs are with an added table and lamp. It is a beautiful room. Embrace it!
0 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 8:02PM
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groveraxle
?
12 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 8:05PM
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ec2444
Thanks so much everyone for your comments, this community is much appreciated.

I wanted to attach more photos because the prior photo is from the listing, which is probably stretched out and why it looks so spacious. In reality, things are a bit tighter.

The first two photos, I'm standing right at the front door and wanted to show how close the coffee table that's directly across from the fireplace is to the front door. The last photo, I'm standing in the dining room facing the front door.
0 Likes   June 21, 2014 at 10:43AM
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nansdrew
I definitely think moving the couch further away from the front door would be an improvement, so you don't feel like you'll be running into the coffee table upon entering. Try groveraxle's or my suggestion. We both used the same couch size you had in the floor plan program, and it fit fine. If you don't have too much furniture, it won't feel crowded and small. By trying something, you'll get a better feel for whether the walkways around the seating is sufficient, which is my one concern.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 11:19AM
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PRO
Andrena Felger / In House Design Co.
This is a lovely space with lots of potential. Beautiful floors and lots of nice light. I agree with the Room and Board designer about placing the sofa opposite the fire place. It helps to anchor the space, and adds to the feeling of balance. One suggestion would be to replace your existing cocktail table with a lucite one, such as the Peekaboo from CB2. Since it is clear, it will take up less space visually. You may want to consider removing the rug from beneath the table, as this is drawing attention to the fact that the table is "in the way." Adding a chair to the far right corner will help round out the space. Have fun!
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Noelle Walker
This is just my opinion and I'm not a designer or anything but what I would do is put a bookcase beside the fireplace closest to the doors and store all the stuff you have on your mantle on it, then I would place the tv on the wall above the fireplace and move the couch down a little bit away from the doors and put a small table with a lamp beside it. I would also switch out the rectangular coffee table for a round one. Then I would place a chair where the window is in the corner with a small table beside it and a swing arm lamp behind it(that would make a nice separate reading area). I would suggest finding another place for the tv unit, maybe your bedroom or basement? :)
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 11:40AM
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erinsean
Could you put the couch in front of the window, with the TV across from it, not centered on the wall but nearer the door (to the bedrooms?). Then where the couch was, put a chair with end table and lamp turned so you can see the fireplace and conversation with the person on the couch. I am not liking the TV being half in front of the window. You could use your coffee table and maybe put a floor lamp on the far side of your couch nearest the dining room. An area rug going from the legs of the couch, under the coffee table and reaching to the TV would look cosy.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 11:49AM
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ec2444
Sorry, first time using Houzz Advice so I probably should have been clearer. We just moved in two weeks ago so everything is randomly placed (for example, the stuff on the fireplace mantle won't be there normally), and this furniture was just random stuff we have that we will be getting rid of and replacing. So basically, feel free to ignore any of the pieces you see in the photos - we are starting from scratch and just looking for a good way to lay out the room so that we know what pieces we will need to buy! So sorry for any confusion!

Thank you everyone for the suggestions. We will play around with them and report back about how it all looks! Thank you!
0 Likes   June 21, 2014 at 11:56AM
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sarainitaly
"Also, I remember Nate Berkus on American Dream Builders not liking the furniture placement that one of the designers did because the couch was similarly positioned, although in their case, it was facing a wall rather than the window."

HAHA! I remember that! It was very narrow though, without a TV or anything.

I feel your pain..that is a difficult room to configure. It is so pretty though.

Maybe try the couch/room like one of these ways:
3 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 12:11PM
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flyr4fun
I think the plan in the post above, #2 makes sense. I was thinking along those lines except for instead of the two cube stools, an upholstered chaise or bench. Anything low like that would do. Something always feels wrong to me when you enter a room and are faced right away with the back of a couch. Nice house, hope you come up with a creative wonderful solution!
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 12:50PM
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groveraxle
You didn't tell us a TV was going in this room. That changes everything. Seriously, is there another room in which the TV could go? In this room, it can't go over the fireplace--way too high--and it should never go in front of a window, which leaves the wall opposite the fireplace. That produces a traffic pattern straight through the middle of the room--no way around it--and that is almost as much of a no-no as the previous two.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 3:01PM
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groveraxle
If the TV must stay in this room, then I think the second plan from sarainitaly is probably the only way to go.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 3:04PM
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nansdrew
Agree with comments above regarding inclusion of TV. The 2nd plan works, but I may remove the side table from couch to move seating towards the window more and free more space to the left of the couch (upon entry) for traffic.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 21, 2014 at 3:50PM
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sarainitaly
Just fyi, the sizes for furniture are just random, based on average sizes. I would definitely recommend pieces that fit the space, if that means shorter couch, or smaller chairs, etc. One thing i learned from my long narrow room is that you can fit a lot more into a room than you think you can, based on what you see on a planning program. I think the tv definitely needs to go on wall opposite fireplace.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 22, 2014 at 7:50AM
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ec2444
Hi everyone!

Thank you again for all the suggestions! We tried moving around furniture yesterday to see what all the different floor plans would look like in real life. These are just stand in ikea pieces we have - we plan on getting new pieces but were just using this to help visualize placement. We also don't have an entry table yet so couldn't use anything for its placement. I'll separate the posts so we can differentiate the floor plans.

#1 - back of couch in front of door (there should be an entry table right against the back of the couch but we don't currently have one)
0 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:15PM
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ec2444
#2 - very similar to option 1 but we moved the couch a little bit further away from the front door entrance
0 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:17PM
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ec2444
#3 - couch to the side facing wall with window
0 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:19PM
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ec2444
#4 - couch facing front entrance door
2 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:21PM
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ec2444
#5 - couch beside fireplace
2 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:22PM
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stepi
This is really tricky! Just to make sure we w're thinking in every direction: is there a chance to change the entrance!? Maybe a mud room at the back side?
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 12:35PM
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ec2444
Hmm...I don't believe there is a way to change the entrance at the moment. This is what the front of the house looks like. That door is the one that opens directly into the living room with the giant fireplace to the right. Thank you!
1 Like   June 23, 2014 at 12:37PM
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oleigh
Not sure about the layout of the remainder of the house, but would there be the option of moving your 'TV room' into the dining area I see, and having the dining room move into this space? You could have a beautiful dining area, as well as staged entrance area in this space. Of course I don't know the size and layout of the dining space above so this might not be an option.
5 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 12:39PM
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er612
Did you try sarainitaly's second layout with the TV?
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 12:40PM
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edithsmom
#4...sofa facing door. As grover suggested, can the TV go anywhere else? By the way, you have a charming house and this looks like a lovely room, and is, until you try to place furniture. Loveseat maybe and two swivel chairs?
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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er612
Where's the TV in #4? Just want to see how tight it is with a couch and TV console. I don't know much about construction but is it possible to change the opening of your door so it opens to the right rather than left. Then the R&B layout would work and you could install hooks or a small console to the right of the fireplace for a drop zone.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 12:53PM
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ec2444
We forgot to put the TV in #4 - we'll try that later tonight and upload photos. I can't recall exactly but from the photos I have so far, it seems as though the space is already quite tight in terms of a walkway so I'm not sure if that will work but we will try!

Why would the R&B layout work if we changed the opening of the door? (Sorry, still new to interior design so can't quite understand). The biggest problem with that layout was that when you walked in, you basically walked straight into the couch/coffee table, since it was centered across the fireplace that is also very close to the door. Thank you so much!
0 Likes   June 23, 2014 at 12:58PM
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er612
Instead of walking into the couch, you'd be walking into the fireplace (still the living room but you could put your shoes off to the side without having to first close the door). If you can put your TV about the fireplace, then treat the window AND fireplace as the focal point (as opposed to one or the other).
2 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 1:25PM
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ohrelax
Why not lose the coffee table? You can use a small end table next to the couch instead.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 2:31PM
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ohrelax
I would find a great loveseat, rather than a couch, and go with the R & B plan or #4 or #5. You have a great room with a nice fireplace and beautiful light -- and the joy of buying new furniture. Enjoy the process :O).
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 2:39PM
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groveraxle
You're right: this room is impossible. Improbable, at least. I wouldn't have any of the arrangements that put a chair or sofa blocking the fireplace. Which means the only solution is the one below. What is that rectangle in the back of the room? you ask. A lift cabinet, of course.
2 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 3:06PM
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ohrelax
Grover, brilliant!
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Debbie McMahon Carr
Can tv go in the corner next to fireplace, then use #3 layout in sarainitaly plan.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 3:32PM
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nansdrew
Great work with #1-#5! It's so much easier to visualize what can work. I hope you can see some hope for the space. I think #5 works for the TV and entry best, but #4 looks nice (except I can't figure our where the TV can go).
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 4:42PM
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jhill58
I would
Flip the sofa facing the entryway with a desk or sideboard table behind the sofa. Place small chairs at an angle facing sofa.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 23, 2014 at 5:27PM
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sarainitaly
er612 and groveraxel - i like those layouts. I can see the couch back facing the door is NO good!

Although, I must say, I am loving oleigh's idea of swapping the dining room and living room. I can see the dining table in the half of the room by the window, and then a sitting area by the fireplace and an entry area near the door. The dining room can become a cozy tv/family room...

That might allow you to keep your front room a little more on the *formal* side, and then your tv room can be more casual, and user friendly, since it won't be the first thing you see when you walk in the house.

Would that work, size wise?

For the love of god, why didn't the builder flip the fireplace and window?! haha The finishing on the house, and details are so cute, but they really screwed you on layout!

Never fear, though, there IS a solution...we just have to find it.
2 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 6:09AM
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sarainitaly
OK, i tried this... With an entry table and large floor mirror to reflect the fireplace wall.
3 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 6:43AM
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sarainitaly
also a pretty bench is cool.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 6:45AM
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sarainitaly
Entry table mirror opposite fireplace
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 6:46AM
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sarainitaly
Some more ideas. Round table in entryway, with flowers, and a cool bench or accent chairs to the left, and the floor mirror.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 7:15AM
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sarainitaly
more
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 7:22AM
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sarainitaly
oops, forgot one.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 7:35AM
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sarainitaly
The more time I play with this, the more I am convinced you should move the dining table to the living room, and set up a seating area and entry way. I love it! (of course, it is your house...) ;O)

You could also add another set of the glass french doors between the dining and living room, to close off the tv room. If you found the right chairs for the fireplace area, you could enjoy that area on rainy days, and a good book. But, the living/family room moved into that back room would, as I said, give you a nice cozy tv/family room, perfect for watching tv.

OK, have to run, or I could probably play around with this all day!

Good luck!
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 7:48AM
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ec2444
Hi all,

Thank you so so so much for all your thoughts! I truly appreciate every comment - we are complete amateurs to this so really value everyone's opinions!

I've attached a photo of the dining room - once again, this is the staging company's furniture so we no longer have that but will be looking to buy a dining room set. It's not a very large space; here are the dimensions and a Room & Board layout: http://roomandboard.icovia.com/default.aspx?projGuid=364304C1-9EF2-46CA-8549-52AD1F71FA9F
There is not much wall in the space because of the french doors going into what is currently the living room, the giant window to the right, doors to the backyard, and a large opening to the kitchen on the left.

As you can see, it leads into the kitchen on the left, which I think makes it convenient as a dining room if you are hosting (you can go back and forth to the kitchen very easily to bring food out, etc.).

I kind of like the idea of a more formal dining room space like in the attached photo, with a nice chandelier, darker walls, and moulding - would that work if we were to move the dining room to what is currently the living room?

Thanks so much for being willing to help me brainstorm this space - I really really appreciate all of your guys' help!
1 Like   June 24, 2014 at 8:49AM
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joycealaina
my first thought is to try the sofa facing the entry and fireplace on a diagonal. the corner of the fire place and front door would need to become one visually. maybe with plants and pictures and of course colors and shapes from the fireplace as well. You might even accomplish this with a large splash of deep color paint for this area alone. i.e. painting the area from outside the fireplace traveling to the other side of the door. Just play with it for awhile, giving each idea both time and space so you can see what it needs and what it does for your inner sense of design.

That window is gorgeous! as are all your moldings. I would grow tired of looking at the other house, however. you might decide to add soft whispy sheer curtains to soften and obscure the view of the house. If you have any land outside this windows, I would add soft flowing trees right next to the window, so you could see your own focal point instead of the house next door. I think birch trees grow fairly quickly and are a pretty backdrop for a window this size.

If you had a corner of shelves or an exquisite piece of furniture also on a diagonal opposite the sofa, it would add a new focus to the room.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 24, 2014 at 9:12AM
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sarainitaly
You could arrange the dining area something like the attached, with the couch under the window, and either a wall mounted tv or a corner cabinet on the wall near the kitchen.

I think the dining room in the living room would definitely allow you a formal dining area, and it would even have a fireplace! :O) You could have a very lovely Christmas dinner in there, with the tree, and fireplace. So cozy. (if you celebrate Christmas.)

Also, like my other diagrams, I think this arrangement would give you three seating areas, instead of just two; TV room, Dining room and cozy corner by fireplace.

You can always try the swap, with the furniture you currently have, just to get a feel for it, for a few days. Swap the furniture you have, and live with it for a while. If it is horrible, no harm, no foul. If you love it, then you can buy furniture that suits the spaces.

Do you have a space in the kitchen where you eat breakfast or lunch or is the dining area your only eating space? If you utilize the kitchen for casual meals, the tv room connected to the kitchen feels very open concept to me, which I like.

I try to really think about how I *live* when designing my spaces. Do we have formal meals, do we eat in front of tv, do we need spaces for studying, computers, what is the flow in the house? Are people constantly coming and going? If so, will having the tv room out of the front room be less annoying for those watching tv? At meal time, most likely traffic is not coming and going, so perhaps having the table in the front room will work well. Are there people in the house who prefer to read, thus would enjoy the space near the fireplace for reading, working on laptop, etc, while others are in TV room...all those kinds of things are things to consider. We all love beautifully staged rooms, but how you live is what is most important, IMHO.
1 Like   Thanked by ec2444    June 25, 2014 at 5:20AM
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ec2444
Thanks so much, Sarainitaly! We unfortunately have no space to eat in our kitchen, so we would just be eating at the dining table every night. We'll try to move around the furniture like you suggest and see how that goes! I think it's hard for us to envision opening the front door and seeing the dining room right away; it seems as though usually, you'd hit the living room first, but maybe we just need to think outside the box to make this space work. Thank you!
0 Likes   June 25, 2014 at 7:20AM
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sarainitaly
you're welcome!
I think if you can do a front sitting area like one of the ones I suggested, you hopefully will have that be the first thing you see, and not your dining table... :OS

The house I am in currently is actually long and narrow and the kitchen and then dining area are the first things you see, with our living room further down. Lots of homes here have their dining table in the living room, not a lot of separate dining rooms (unless you are in a large villa).

*shrug* it might work, you might hate it. just an idear. ;O)
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 25, 2014 at 7:28AM
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groveraxle
Now having seen the kitchen and dining area, I would not switch the dining and living. If you don't need much seating, you might get away with two small areas: small sofa facing the fireplace, and perhaps two comfy chairs in front of the window facing a TV on the opposite wall. Or perhaps all chairs would work better. Then if you have company, they'd be easier to rearrange.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 25, 2014 at 8:34AM
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groveraxle
.
0 Likes   Thanked by ec2444    June 25, 2014 at 8:48AM
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joycealaina
what a darling exterior to your home! I'd take it too. and the interior treatment of the molding is wonderful. Just keep moving things around, open to even what may seem would not work, and be surprised at what really works for you. you'll get there!
0 Likes   June 26, 2014 at 10:13AM
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sarainitaly
So...what did you end up doing? :O)
0 Likes   July 14, 2014 at 10:08AM
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