Re-Orient Our Living Room? - More Pics
Amy Jenkins
June 17, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Another question about our new home. The way the living room is set up feels awkward - with a weirdly placed tv (right now against a wall in a fairly unattractive cabinet).

We are considering a few changes:
1) re-doing the fireplace to replace with a gas stove and new look
2) putting the tv over the fireplace and re-orienting the room, so that the couches face the fireplace / tv rather than tv / windows
3) taking the space which now has an informal dining area and make it a play space for our kids with an easel, arts and crafts table and toy storage (2.5 yr old and about to be born). The breakfast bar would extend into this area so the kids would still be able to eat there or in the dining room (which would not be very formal anyway)

Our goal is for the room to look open, to be a good place to entertain and for our kids to be able to play nearby and be part of the action without having their toys everywhere.

I attached a photo and would love thoughts! Our goal is to do re-modeling / re-decorating fairly quickly so we can do it before the baby is born!

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A Crew of Two
Is there room to do something like this between the spaces to give them definition and 'hide' the toys?
0 Likes   June 17, 2013 at 4:10PM
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A Crew of Two
Is this room wide enough to turn the sofa to face the FP?
0 Likes   June 17, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Amy Jenkins
Yes - the room is actually around 13 feet across although we would need to leave a walk way on one or both sides, depending on if we do a normal sofa or an L-shaped one.. I should also mention this is not our sofa -- it belongs to the previous owners. So we are very open as to what type of sofa would look best. The wall where their sofa currently is is around 9 ft.
0 Likes   June 17, 2013 at 4:21PM
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A Crew of Two
It's a great it!
0 Likes   June 17, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Depending on your taste and what you have available in your area, I would float a sectional or two sofas in an "L" in the center of the room, centered on the window and an area rug. Your FP looks too high for comfortable TV watching so add a credenza and two swivel arm chairs on the wall opposite the window. You can mount the TV on the wall above it or set it on the credenza. Swiveling it is optional, but it would enable you to turn it toward the play area when cartoons are on. Flank your FP with a pair of bookcases and replace and extend the mantel to be the top of each of them. You may need to decrease the opening into the room on the bookcase side as it seems very shallow.
Living room
Brown Davis Interiors, Inc.
Lovely Living Room
Ideabook: 11 Area Rug Rules and How to Break Them
1 Like   June 18, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Pottery Barn Kids has some great toy storage systems that look like furniture. The Expedit from IKEA is very popular for toy storage and as a wall divider. It comes in a variety of finishes, sizes and configurations and is inexpensive. Costco of all places also has a good and attractive system. Land of Nod (Crate and Barrel's kid's line) has some wonderful play tables including some with adjustable height or built-in storage.

The thing I've learned is that the key to having a neat play room is to use a system that makes it easy for your children to clean up and identify what goes where. Young kids find open storage easier to use than closed storage such as cabinets and drawers. I like to use bins and baskets that are easy for kids to handle and label them with pictures of what goes in the bin. I also like to have larger floor bins on wheels that my kids can move for storing larger set and toys such as the large collection of dinosaurs and the large collection of Duplos.

I have a 2 and 6 year old and my biggest piece of advice I have since the room is open to the rest of the house is to decide which is more important: establishing a system that will be easy for your 2.5 year old to learn to maintain or a system that allows you to tuck away everything so it looks more grown up when company comes. If you want the first I highly recommend the IKEA Expedit with labeled bins or baskets. If you want the second I recommend the Pottery Barn Kids or Costco options.

Finally IKEA makes an attractive sisal-looking rug that is perfect for under an arts and crafts table. It's easy to clean play doh and paint off of it, it's very sturdy and it's reversible so if the kids trash one side you can flip it over. It's very cheap so you won't feel bad if you have to toss it. It looks much better in person than in the photo. We used one in our playroom and has held up over the years to lots of abuse during arts and crafts and play doh play.
0 Likes   June 18, 2013 at 5:50PM
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If your child has a growing picture book collection I also suggest a forward facing bookcase. Here's an example that can be customized by color. It's much easier for a child to find the book he wants and then put it back into this bookcase than in a regular. My older son had two forward facing bookcases until recently when he graduated to a full height traditional bookcase.
0 Likes   June 18, 2013 at 6:49PM
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Amy Jenkins
These ideas are all great. I think we don't want to separate the rooms, since we like the idea of the space as open as possible.

I like the idea of maybe flipping the room but wonder if the glare from the window will be a big problem?

We also may replace the fireplace with gas from wood pellet -- which in theory might mean we could have a lower place for the tv...

Open to other thoughts too!
0 Likes   June 24, 2013 at 1:05PM
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