ontariomom

Window seat or couch under window: please help me decide.

ontariomom
6 years ago

Hi Everyone. Here are a few images relevant to my indecision.

I really hope you can help with this dllema. I am very greatful for this forum and the kind people who help out here.

Our family of 6 in living through a total gut and addition project. The decisions are killing me. Last night it hit me that our planned window seat in the great room might not be as good an idea as putting a couch under the window. This great room is the only room in the house that can seat a big group of people. We also have a small sitting room/ living room that will have a window seat (the living room window seat is north facing). As you will see in the construction stage (ignore bed, yes we are sleeping here) the fireplace is already installed so it needs to stay in the corner (or at least the vent does). I don't mind having the fireplace installers return to scoot back the fireplace a bit if that is what we decide. Here are some pros and cons to keeping the window seat that I can think of. Are there some I have missed? Do you think I should stick with the window seat or replace the great room window seat with a couch.

Cons of Keeping window seat

1) Window seat allows comfortable seating for fewer people than a couch (window seat is best for one sitting sideways). If we replace the window seat with a couch, we could easily get seating for 7 in this room. If we stick with the window seat we can accommodate more like 5 (assuming only one sits on window seat). This great room is our entertaining room, TV room, and fireplace room.

2) With the window seat the fireplace sits out further from corner and the TV shelf needs to be deeper than we need to tie everything in. In other words it eats up more floor space. Perhaps you can see in the photo how much space is wasted (there is stuff stashed behind it at present given there is so much space behind).

3)This will be our second window seat as there is one going in our small living room.

4)It is a custom piece of furniture that won't be inexpensive.

5)I do prefer to sit where few people can sneak up and startle me. As the plan shows now I would choose the window seat as the other seats have their back to passageways, dining room etc. Maybe others would feel the same?

Pros to keeping the window seat:

1)The planned window seat in the great room is in front of a warm south facing triple pane window with a decent view. The other planned window seat is in front of a new double pane north facing window, also with a good view. We live in Canada.

2)The triple combo of TV shelf, corner fireplace and window seat do look good together

Other thoughts:

Could we move the great room window seat to the dining room window?

At the top are are some plans, sketches and pictures showing the planned window seat. I don't have any showing the couch as this idea is a deviation from what we were thinking. Thanks in advance for your thoughts on the best arrangement of space for the great room and if your vote is for or against the window seat.

Carol

This post was edited by OntarioMom on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 12:55

Comments (25)

  • caminnc
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I vote for the window seat. I have window seats on both sides of my TV unit that I store a lot of my Christmas decorations in and I love it. No matter what you store there you will appreciate having the extra storage. Can't have enough storage!!!

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks caminnc for your vote. I appreciate your opinion. Do you find when you entertain that more than one person sits on each window seat at a time?

    Carol

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  • madeyna
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think you need more seating for a family of 6. What happens when you have guest over? That said , my 13 foot window seat is heavily used by the kids to do thier projects on. Lots of doll cities have been erected there. I think my youngest like the light as well as having a realivly guite place to play while still being close to everyone not shut away in a bedroom. My older daughter used to spend hours sitting on that window drawing. When we had the pillows up there they both used to read there but the pillows molded up against the window so I removed them. The window seats are great storage. Both ours turned into giant toy boxs. Company doesn,t usually sit up there but I do when we have company . It looks like your room is big enough to have plenty of seating besides the window seat.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Madeyna,

    Thanks for your comments and input. Much appreciated! If we keep the window seat, how would we add more seating as per the floor plan? I am not good at furniture/room arranging, but the floor plan is the best I can come up with. I do agree that we need seating for more given we are a family of 6.

    Carol

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Can I replace the love seat with a couch or would that be too squishy? Also wanted to note that the peninsula in kitchen juts out further than shown on floor plans (it lines up with dining room closet). This might mean the natural walkway moves a bit to align with the peninsula. Any chance of placing furniture against the staircase?

    Carol

  • rosie
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    That's exactly what I was wondering, OntarioMom, and wondering how you'd feel about it. A couch there, for instance, would back mostly against wall, which you do need for your own comfort. The whole arrangement could shift that direction. This would set the windowseat somewhat in the background, open to it, but set back. Perhaps you could then another easy chair or two by it, which could join the main group or make a secondary conversation around around the windowseat as needed. ??

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Rosie,

    Thanks for your input and help!! So you like the couch against the staircase? At present we were going to do a railing down to basement stairs, but could consider going to a wall instead. I did favour the railing to open up and connect to the kids' rec room in basement more. There are actually two stacked staircases where shown (one down to basement, one up to bedroom level).

    I will try to draw up what you are suggesting. Not sure where the main passage way would move to as we need a route to use the staircase upstairs and around to the laundry room.

    Carol

  • Oakley
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I have a similar triple combo in the same position as your TV, FP and window. Except where the window would be, I have a long rock bench that extends from the FP. The large south windows are about 7 ft. away from the bench, on the same wall.

    Your room looks pretty big to where you would have space for both a sofa, loveseat and a chair or two without putting anything in front of the window. Do you know the size of the room?

    In the winter, a couple of us will sit on the bench to get warm from the FP, or we sit there when company comes over, even though we do have plenty of seating. It's very comfy, but not if you plan on reading. lol

    If you can get enough seating in the room without having to put a sofa in front of the window, then I'd keep the window seat.

    A window seat is also multfunctional. I love pretty house plants and you could easily take the cushion off the seat and put plants there, providing you protect the wood.

    I'm assuming the TV is on the east wall and the window is on the south wall? In the winter you will get direct sunlight midafternoon that will shine directly onto the TV, so make sure you have good window coverings.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Oakleyok,

    Thanks for your info and for sharing how you use a similar room. Your insights are very appreciated.

    It seems the consensus is the window seat should be kept, but we have to find a way to arrange other furniture so we have sufficient seating. The dimensions of the room are shown in this enlarged plan. The width of the room is taken to the far side of the french doors. We have to allow a clear passage to the entrance of the stairs which is near the outside wall on the east side. The back of the house on french door/proposed window seat side is south, east to the left (TV side) of plan, west to right (dining room side).

    Any more thoughts on how to bump up the seating space and how to better arrange the furniture?

    Thanks for your help.

    Carol

    This post was edited by OntarioMom on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 17:51

  • luckygal
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Before deciding on whether or not you will have a window seat you might decide what type of furniture is best for this room. I don't like (for myself) or usually recommend them but this may be the perfect room for a sectional. Measure the room leaving space for a walkway beside the stairs and beside the TV. A sofa table behind to the right and a coffee table will dispense with end tables which take space. I think that might make optimum seating for this room.

    While I sometimes wonder how much window seats are used, it seems it will be your 'safe place' so I would recommend it. Besides it can seat 2 adults or 3 children when necessary.

    I would not arrange a sofa or any furniture on the stairway wall or the passageway will be thru the seating area.

    BTW I read somewhere where low kitchen cabinets were used for a window seat. Topped with plywood and a cushion it could work and would be very cost-effective. You could even match them to the cabinets in your kitchen.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks very much for your useful ideas, Luckygal!! I do like sectionals as long as one would fit (I will go measure some when our Canadian Thanksgiving is over). We do own a love seat and two chairs, but I believe I can put the love seat and chair in the living room and a chair in the master. What about reading lights? I can see lamps on the sofa table as suggested. Should we worry about any special lights on the other part of a sectional? Currently there are pot lights roughed in with low voltage lights to go over the window seat.

    What do others think of the sectional idea together with the window seat?

  • lavender_lass
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If you have the space, I would move the window seat to the dining room. That would still give you a fun/cozy area to read...and to enjoy your pretty view.

    This is what I would do with the living room, if everything fit with the fireplace setbacks and french doors. Hope this helps :) {{gwi:1836597}}From Kitchen plans

  • pink_warm_mama_1
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What I wouldn't give to be able to have a window seat! Are you concentrating on guests, or are four of these six people children? If so, they love sitting on hassocks and lounging around, and hassocks can easily be moved to fit the situation. I even have an antique piano stool, quilted and covered to make a lovely extra seat.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Lavender_lass,

    Thank you ever so much for drawing in a possible furniture arrangement. I do like it! Before giving up on the idea of the window seat in the great room, I plan to try to place the L shaped piece and window seat in a U. I am not sure yet if there is room. If not, I think your idea is very, very user friendly. The window seat in the dining room, will sort of block the window to the left of the china cabinet, unless we do more of a back less or low back window seat. Again, I will try out a room arrangement in the dining room including a window seat to be sure we have sufficient space around the dining room chairs. The south side of our home (side with proposed window seat) is nice and warm which makes for a cozy spot for window seats. So, if the window seat does not go in the great room, the dining room would also have the same pluses.

    Thanks again for drawing out a possible arrangement of furniture. You rock!

    Pink,

    Thanks for the vote for keeping the window seat! We like them too, which was why we have put twwo in our plans. I just want to make sure we can still have enough seating.

    BTW, the 6 people include 4 children, DH and myself. However, my two oldest are teens, so close to full sized. I do think all my kids would enjoy the window seat (and we would too) I can see forward to when they will leave home and bring back spouses, children etc and we will want a big gathering spot for more than 5 to sit. In the meantime, it will be nice to entertain and have seating for sufficient people.

    Thanks again for your help.

  • Oakley
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What you could do is use a regular size sofa..nothing extra long though, and put it where the loveseat is, then put a love seat in front of the window. Plus keep the two chairs where they are. That will give ample room for the six of you.

    Does anyone really sit on a window seat to read? I grew up with one and we'd only sit there when guests were over. You can still look out the window from the sofa, and I just love my idea (lol) of putting some tallish plants on the window seat. I think the room would be striking.

    Keep the chairs where you have them in the mock-up. The ivisible wall will be the traffic area.

  • lavender_lass
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Probably would totally blow the budget...but what about a box bay window seat, in the dining room? It would give you all the advantages of a window seat, without losing floor space or affecting your side windows. Again, can be expensive, but very pretty :)

    Sarah Richardson's farmhouse remodel... {{gwi:1836598}}From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

  • rosie
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Funny. I had a very nice conversation while sitting on a piano seat that was pulled out into the room just a couple weeks ago.

    I like the sectional layout Lavender suggests for the fact that it is open to/facing people who come through, not turning its back on family to focus on the TV.

    Ontariomom, just to focus on it for consideration, would family members coming from up and down the stairs be such a problem if they went through the middle of a room devoted to family togetherness?

    Even if it might interfere with TV watching? Long before the days of TIVO, I did not allow my family to complain about someone passing in front of the TV; watching TV was not more important than everything else. And now we can just rewind if anyone misses anything. Plus, these days people are just (more?) as likely to be focused on their own hands or laps.

    I guess I've just entered a personal open-it-up era, or something, but I'm tired of closed furniture groupings that turn their backs on the rest of these large combination rooms, and I think it's worthwhile to consider how all possible layouts would function -- in far more depth than just TV sight lines and the number of derrieres accommodated -- before making decisions. What might our furniture arrangements indicate to sociologists specializing in these things, or psychiatrists? Beyond the obvious dominance of TV viewing on placement? (I'm typing from my favorite chair facing a TV that's on right now, BTW.)

    All possibilities would include alternatives to barrier sofas and sectionals that require people to walk around to get "in" and "out." Instead of just walking up and joining others. Barrier sofas that present the backs of heads to people who'd like to toss a comment into the conversation or catch an eye from the kitchen or dining room. They're not the worst thing in the world, kids tend to have very flexible necks, etc., but surely these open rooms have more to offer than a view of the TV from the kitchen?

    In any case, the window seat is totally charming, and I've fallen in love with it in your picture, but not having one would allow more flexibility in arrangement. I'd make various furniture pieces (everything possible) to scale and lay out every possibility from wall to wall. Included passageway, excluded passageway, passageway to side. Club chairs, sofas, sectionals, chaises, backless couches, smaller extra chairs, lightweight chairs that can be moved easily, ottomans, and piano stools.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks guys for your continued input. I am making a simple turkey dinner for the family (It is Thanksgiving in this part of the continent) so can't play around with furniture arrangements until later in the week or next weekend. However, I plan to rework the furniture arrangement multiple time with my little furniture cut-outs to see what I can do in both the great room and the dining room if the window seat moves there. I will post some alternatives later this week and hope you will come back to see them when the post pops up again. Here are few replies:

    Oakleyok,

    Your idea of placing a love seat in front of the window seat had not occurred to me at all. I will try out your idea with my furniture cut-outs. I agree that we should have room for a couch facing the TV if we lose the end table. The plant idea on a window ledge is great, although I tend to send plants into palliative care quite quickly LOL. I do see the family using the window seat for reading. Given we are in Canada it is rarely too hot or too sunny near a window. Thanks again for your help.

    Lavender_lass,

    Wow that dining room bump out is so beautiful!! Sadly, we won't be able to do that at this point in construction as the brick cladding is already on the back of the house. Also, we have a climber rather close to that side of the back now that the addition is done, and I wouldn't want to reduce the passage between climber and house any more. Yet, I will draw up a window seat in the dining room as I like that look. I was going to make a shallow shelf for decorative plates in the south/west corner of the dining room (top right corner). Maybe I can make some sort of combo window seat/plate shelf. I just have to find a way to accommodate that smaller dining room window on the west side. Thanks for your help and inspiration.

    Rosie,

    I am totally with you on disliking the "turn your back on family" seating arrangements. I do think Lavender's arrangement improves upon that problem. I am not worried about anyone walking in front of the TV. We don't even have cable, so mostly use the TV for movies once in a while. The kids use the one in the basement with their X-box a bit more frequently.

    I will do just as your aptly described to try every possible arrangement with a variety of furniture. Maybe the TV has to move so we are facing the dining room more rather than having our backs to it. Do you think we need a new spot for the TV?? I hate to think about moving that fireplace other than scooting it back a bit as the vent is installed through bricks, but if it has to move....don't tell DH just yet.

    Thanks ever so much for your kind help, Rosie.

    Carol

    P.S. Please come back everyone to see the various alternatives I post by next weekend. In meantime, if you have any more ideas I am all ears.

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I got a brainwave. What if we get one of those cabinets that hold a TV inside that pop up when needed (I know not cheap) and place it where we show the love seat in the first image. Then we can place a couch where we show the TV cabinet (east wall) and keep the window seat in the great room. If we shorten the window seat cabinetry there is probably room for a chair beside it between the window seat and french doors. I think we can have another chair facing the fireplace. I will post this version when I can. Thanks for getting me to rethink how much I dislike having the family with their backs to those in the kitchen and dining room.

    Carol

  • lavender_lass
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well, if we can move things around....you KNOW I want to put the table by the fireplace! :)

    With the TV in between the two small windows...what do you think? {{gwi:1836599}}From Kitchen plans

  • nanny2a
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My vote is for the window seat. There’s nothing more charming, IMHO, than a window seat, and the seating it provides can be useful. I don’t see why you couldn’t seat three people on it, if needed, when you have a large number of people using the room at the same time. On those occasions, you wouldn’t be sitting sideways - each person would sit facing out toward the room.

    I also don’t see why you couldn’t have a standard full size 72” couch opposite the window seat where your illustration presently shows the two chairs. That would seat three more people. The two chairs could be placed where you show a loveseat, or you could omit the two mismatched chairs and have another love seat in that position.

    An even better option would be to have an L shaped sectional placed opposite the window seat. Lighting for reading could be provided by a floor lamp placed at one end or the other. Or, if you were to place a sofa table behind the long portion of the sectional, the reading lamps could be placed on the sofa table.

  • lavender_lass
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Carol- Bumping this up :)

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Lavender_lass,

    Well I have to agree that swap of rooms has its advantages -- thanks for drawing it up for us to see. It all fits nicely. The only drawback is the travel distance between the dining room and kitchen. For that reason, we want to stick with the dining room in its original spot.

    nanny2a,

    Thanks for your good ideas. I have been able to use some of them in the design below. For now, I don't show the L shaped piece, but we way go that route.
    Thanks for your help and vote on the window seat!

    All,

    Thanks to all your input, I think I have arrived at a solution. I have posted below what I tried to describe in my last post. The key is we have eliminated the TV wall unit against the wall, and have instead placed two chairs there. I really like this as an option as I hate having all the seating where people have their backs to the other rooms. We have also been able to scoot the fireplace back right to the corner and not waste floor space now that there is not a TV wall unit.

    The other big change, is we are going to get one of those units that TVs pull out of (see link). This will go against the love seat to look a bit like a console table (it is currently labeled as console table but there is a TV inside it). The TV will be down inside the unit most of the time as it is not on that often. These units pivot so we can watch it while doing dishes, or while sitting at the dining room table if we wish. The hidden TV units are expensive, but it has solved the problem for us. Now the focal point is clearly the fireplace, but much of the seating is also facing the hidden TV. Let me know what you think, please and thanks? I would like to tweak this design as needed now so we can finalize the electrical rough in and get it done. We have to be exact with furniture locations as there will be wiring coming through floor plugs.

    Thanks again for your help! I look forward to any pros or cons you see with this latest room set-up.

    Carol

    Here is a link that might be useful: pop up TV

  • lavender_lass
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I like it! All the seating is based on conversation, not watching the TV. A little more expensive, but I think it's a great solution :)

  • ontariomom
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks for your feedback lavender_lass! I was thinking the debate of how to place both a fireplace and TV in the same room comes up here often. I think this solution to this problem might help others who are stuck with this re-occurring dilemma.

    As always, thanks for your help!

    Carol