lcox11

Our living room is driving me crazy. Please help!

Laura
December 28, 2013
This room was one of the reasons we loved this house when we moved in a year ago, but we're finding it really difficult to figure out the right arrangement for our furniture. We spend a lot of time in this room relaxing and watching tv, so we want the room to be cozy and comfortable, but stylish. We also have three kids under five, so we need plenty of seating. We're open to investing in different furniture over time, but I'd like to come up with a plan so we have something to work towards. Right now we're just kind of lost. Once we have a plan for furniture, we'll tackle the decor. The room is 14x19 and pictures are attached. Thanks for your help!!

(And please ignore the mess - we're in the middle of taking down our Christmas decorations.)

Comments (874)

  • Christy Bell

    Just have to say I love your rug - looks great with the furniture! So glad you put the shelves back in the built-ins! You'll work it out. We found the best way to see how our house was working is to have people over - they really tell you where they are comfortable!

  • Laura

    Thanks, Christy. We'll see how it goes. We're hosting a birthday party on Saturday and it looks like perfect porch weather, so we'll definitely put this arrangement to the test.

    I had a neighbor over recently and she preferred the floating couch because she thought having the TV lower would be more comfortable and she didn't think it felt crowded. She just kind of shrugged when I asked her about whether it felt like the doors were blocked - she didn't think it was a problem. It's always so interesting to hear others' opinions. :)

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  • kimberlysc
    Would two sofas facing each other work?
  • Laura

    Thanks, kimberlysc. We recently purchased a sectional for the room and we're just trying to decide if it stays against the wall or floats in the room.


  • CassidyZ

    When I see them side by side like that, I like the first arrangement (against the wall) better.

  • Laura

    Thanks, CassidyZ. When I see those pictures, I think the first one looks better, too.

  • abbyjean

    My vote goes for the sectional against the wall. I really liked it there.


  • tgb1
    abbyjean! I've been wondering about you and missing your comments!
  • Ann

    Hi abbyjean! I've been wondering where you've been!

  • abbyjean

    Sweet comments....thanks! Summer is crazy, huh? Just had soooo many projects that we were working on and then took the three oldest grandkids on a little vacation and now we have the two younger ones for a staycation. Life is good....but busy....just the way we like it.


  • Laura

    Great to hear from you, Abbyjean!! Sounds like you're having a great summer!

    My only hang up with the original arrangement is the TV over the fireplace. After our company leaves, I'll try to pull the TV down and prop up some art (and get a picture with better light) to see if that changes any minds.

    I hope you all have a great weekend! We're celebrating my sweet two year old today. :)

  • Laura

    Hi Everyone!

    So after living with the sectional turned to face the long wall, we decided it didn't work. We had the doors opened to the porch last weekend and it really felt closed off. I also found I didn't like facing the wall when we're visiting and not watching tv - makes the room feel really small and closed in. So...

    I started to move the sectional back to its original position, but decided to give CDR's suggestion to turn it to face the back wall a try. I have to admit, I almost didn't try because I thought there was no way I would like it. I was wrong!

    This leaves the doors open, gets the TV off the fireplace wall, we don't have to walk around the sectional to sit down, and it leaves us with room for a cozy seating area by the fireplace. The one negative is that it blocks the fireplace. Ignore the art and decor on the shelves - I was just trying to cover up the TV mount, which we haven't moved yet.

    What do you think?


  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Exactly......and the fireplace looks even more like a focal point, even though the tv is gone from there. Also, the sectional does not feel like a huge blockade, as you enter the room.

    Tweak:

    -remove the end table from the sectional

    -move the sectional towards the tv.

    -put C tables at both ends of sectional

    -allows for more room for fireplace chairs and fireplace will be more visible.

    -rug still needs to be tweaked

    Finally.....you could also consider (leaving sectional where it is), but moving it to the wall. Even though foot traffic would be walking in front of the sectional, the compromise might be worth it.

  • groveraxle

    Well...I like everything except this view:

    I'm not sure two chairs will make me like this part of the room. If you keep this arrangement, I do think the sectional needs to move forward leaving more space in front of the fireplace. You want it cozy, not crammed.


  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    I agree. You'll need to either

    -move sectional forward or

    -use a bench instead of chairs or

    -use nothing behind sectional

  • Laura

    You don't like my lawn chairs back there?!

    I would love to be able to fit two small chairs back there to create a spot to sit comfortably by the fire. I also like the idea of a chair because the cabinets on the left house a computer desk and office supplies, stationery, etc. We've just kind of ignored that, but I'd love to be able to pull over a chair and use that area as a writing desk.

    How much space would I need to comfortably fit a couple of small chairs? There's currently 5 feet from the fireplace to the back of the sectional (I think the angle made it look smaller that it actually is.)

    Thanks!!

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    If the chairs are small and you don't angle them, with 5 feet, you could do something like photo below. Chair height should be less than the height of the sectional.

    You could also consider moving the sectional to the wall and then placing the chair to face the "desk". (one chair only)


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  • Laura

    Thanks, CDR. That's kind of what I was thinking. I'll try it on the wall and see how that works and go from there. We're both really surprised at how comfortable this feels. Definitely the most comfortable of everything we've tried!

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    So glad you like it! Reimagining the possibilities is what it's all about.

  • groveraxle

    I thought about a bench. It would look good, but it's not very user friendly. How about a one-armed chaise?

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  • Laura

    Carolyngarland, could you clarify? Do you think this arrangement is odd? Thanks!

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Just showing a general idea here, not your style. Given your situation, I think the best use of space would be 2 chairs on casters and a small table. I would set them up as in the bottom photo (chairs facing each other). There would be the flexibility to view the tv, fireplace or even move one chair over to the desk.

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  • Ann

    I'm struggling a bit with this arrangement. I do like where the TV is, but it feels strange to have the back of the sectional to the fireplace. When you walk in the room, it seems like it might appear that half of the fireplace is cut off. Maybe if the whole sectional can move quite a bit more toward the TV, so there is nice room for some kind of chair/table set up near the fireplace, it would seem more reasonable. But, not sure how much room you can create near the fireplace?

  • Laura

    I had a feeling opinions would be divided. ;) I had friends over the other night who have the same floor plan (which is the same as most of the homes in the neighborhood). One loved it because she thought it made the best use of the space and that it was more inviting than the original layout. The other kept saying that she didn't NOT like it, but she was having a hard time wrapping her brain around it because she hasn't seen anyone else in the neighborhood flip it like that. Lol.

    I think I can pull the sectional forward another foot or two, which would give us about 7 feet between the fireplace and back of the sectional. I think the photos I posted make it seem tighter than it is.

    The set up CDR posted is pretty much what I was thinking. I've attached a picture I've had in mind for a while and was grappling with whether something like this would work with the sectional is its original position.

    I'll post updated pics later with the sectional pulled forward and against the wall to see how that works.

    Thanks so much for the input!


  • marrymaid
    This arrangement seems a little off to me. I think the original layout might be better. Odd to block the fireplace and I think people might enjoy the fireplace and watching TV or visiting. It is always nice to move furniture around until you find what you like.
  • Laura

    So I scooted the sectional up about 2 feet. If I needed to, I could probably buy another six inches or so. Just so I understand what I'm going for here...am I pulling it forward to make room for a seating area? Or moving it forward enough so it doesn't cut the fireplace in half? Both? In these pics the back of the sectional is 7 feet from the fireplace, so plenty of room to have a small table and chairs and move around comfortably. I pulled in two dining chairs and a patio table and set them up similar to what CDR suggested just to give an idea of the room back there. Any better? Or still not feeling it?


  • griffsma

    So now place an arching lamp to the left of the table/chairs, a little plant on the table and I think you're good! Oh and maybe a little rug in front of the fireplace.

  • Laura

    Thanks, griffsma. You don't think backs the the fireplace is off?

  • Laura

    To the fireplace...

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Hi Laura. There's ample space by the fireplace now. As griffsma indicated, you need to make it cozier. To allow you to better feel how it could be, I would

    -hang a large piece over the fp (right now your eye goes to the firebox)

    -use the porch chairs (they were more along the lines of what you might use

    -add a rug

    Finally, as an alternative, try moving the sectional all the way to the wall. This would give a very open feeling to the room and you could still have your seating area by the fireplace. I would move the tv to the right side of the cabinet. The left side can easily be filled with black and white art or vases.

    Then, the lamps can be used by the sectional.


  • Laura

    Thanks so much! I pushed the sectional to the wall to see how that works and it does feel roomier. With that configuration, the seating area by the fireplace extends past the end of the sectional. That's ok, right?

    (I pulled on some furniture from my office just to get a feel for scale).

  • Laura

    And I was just looking through my ideabooks and realized this is pretty much the exact set up in one of my favorite rooms (although their floor plan is much more open).

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  • tgb1
    I never would've thought of this, but it seems to be a workable option. Does this seem to work better for your tv viewing? The room is certainly big enough to handle this set up.
  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC
    Huge winner! Love it! When you are ready, turn the rug the other direction to include the fireplace venue.

    Absolutely fine that fp seating extends beyond sectional.

    Adult guests do not like sectionals. Now they have a second option. I see family members using as well for many activities.
  • abbyjean

    Never would have thought of this arrangement and heaven only knows you have tried it all!!!! Love that about you!!! I always feel badly when I see fireplaces being ignored as in our home, it is one of our favorite parts of the room, but I can see how you have struggled with the tv in here, too. I do like the idea of having two comfy chairs by the fire for a nice little glass or two of wine and a place to curl up with a book. Would the table and ottoman changing places be an option? Or that taller table back? Then there could be a place for your computer or a puzzle or just placing the morning coffee.


  • Laura

    Thanks, everyone. We're really liking this - and I'm totally surprised, too. I never thought it would work, but it's the most comfortable arrangement we've had for watching tv and allows us to enjoy the view. We have a pond in our yard and we can actually see it from in here with the furniture arranged like this. Pushing the couch to the wall makes it feel like the seating area by the fireplace is intentional - with the sectional centered, I was a little afraid it would be lost back there. I think we have a winner! Finally! Lol.

    Abbyjean, the furniture by the fireplace is just there to give me an idea of what would fit. I'm going to need to shop around a little for the right pieces. I'd love to lose the brown ottoman entirely, so I don't want to move it to the fireplace. We need to talk about what would be best for a table/ottoman. I'm liking the idea of a taller table so we could play games or do puzzles, but then I also like the thought of an ottoman so I could put my feet up by the fire.

  • beckysimpson1

    It was so fun looking at this whole project progress in just 30 minutes (for me). If you haven't decided yet how to place the sectional, I vote for having in the original position against the wall. Having it float with it's back to the room makes a barrier that makes the room look unapproachable, and having it float in front of the fireplace is more inviting, but gives a long distracting look at the wall and baseboard across from the windows. I really liked those yellow pillows.

  • Amin Mneina

    if you could make a plan view sketch of it with dimensions. i'd be pleased to module it and send you my suggestions.

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  • Laura

    Hi Houzz friends,

    We've been focused over the last month or so trying to figure out the best window covering in here. Now that the leaves are gone, we really need something for light control in the morning and privacy at night (the trees have us covered much of the year). A while back, we discussed plain white panels that could be pulled all the way open. I thought a track rod system (http://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/70188683/) might be a good option, so we went to ikea and got what we needed. We picked out a light gray panel and brought them home and...blah. The gray looked terribly dark and depressing with the light in here. We exchanged the gray for plain white and quickly realized the stack back for the number of panels we need to cover the windows/doors wouldn't work (especially on the left where we don't have much room). So now we're thinking about ditching the track rod idea and using a regular rod with four panels - two that would pull to cover the doors and two that would cover the windows. We thought the white felt a little cold/sterile (especially behind the red chair), so I've been looking at other options. I found these copper panels at pier 1 and thought they were interesting. I'm wondering what you think of the color - does it clash with the red chair? We're definitely going for a more modern style, so am I getting too traditional with panels hung this way? Thanks for sharing your opinions!

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  • carolyngarland
    Don't mind the color. Actually looks great with the rug and seems ok with the chair. Problem, hung too high, should be no more than 1/2 inch from the floor. Also you need them to be fuller. Two to two and a half times wider than the window. Rings on a rod allow for a smaller stack back. So you should have at least two more panels, if not more. Just an opinion.
  • Laura

    Thanks carolyngarland! They're not actually hung - I just have them hanging on nails until I decide if I'm going to keep them. :)

    Where would you place the additional panels? On the outsides or between the windows/doors?

  • griffsma

    If you lower the rods that fixes two problems: The rod right now is too high and the drapes are too short (or are hung too high). Drapes should be either JUST above the floor or puddle on the floor. And I agree with Laura that you should double them up so they are fuller. Otherwise I think that's a winner!

    Did you rearrange the furniture? I love how it was arranged in your July photo!

  • Laura

    Thanks, Griffsma! I'm glad you think the color works. We like the color they bring to the room, but I was second guessing my judgement on whether they clashed with the chair.

    (And we are flipped towards the fireplace right now because we needed to make room for our Christmas tree and we haven't flipped back yet - which is why I tried to avoid showing the rest of the pulled apart room. :))

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    I think the copper color can work well. I would add some copper in other areas of the room. I can't remember if you've decide on pillows or art, but this would be a nice place to add the copper. Also, keep in mind that the window side of the room will look heavy and you'll need a bold piece of art on the other side of the room to visually balance the drapes.

    An alternative would be to choose drapes a color similar to the wall paint.

    As others have indicated, you need more panels. Hanging the grommets directly on rod will give you a nice stackback. The Pier One photo below shows panels that are too skimpy. You want them tight.

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    While grommets will give you a full look, opening and closing daily with grommets on a rod is not the ideal situation. it's been awhile, I don't know if you've considered blinds on the windows/doors.

    Did the room work well for you with the July arrangement?

  • avery2pt0

    @Laura, as the others have commented, the copper color looks great.....I love how it seems to add that layering in of another complementary warm color.....that yes I agree looks great with the rug! :-)

    Finishing touches such as drapes isn't my forte....but I agree with everything CDR Designs and the others have suggested too. Also agree that thoughtfully layering in more of that copper color elsewhere in the room will just help tie it all in too.

    Have always loved your space Laura! Good job!

  • Laura

    Thanks, CDR and Avery! The layering was what I was going for - just wasn't sure I could pull it off. :)

    Right now, we have a couple "for now" pillows from home goods that are sort of a faded red, so I'll definitely look for pillows with the copper color.

    We still don't have art because we're holding out for something we love. We have a friend who paints and we're considering having her paint something for us - but we can't decide if we would want it in here or in our office, which is the first room you see when you enter our house. We also go back and forth about the placement of art over the couch. It almost seems "wasted" there because you don't often get a good view of it the way you enter the room. If we had copper in the art above the fireplace, copper in pillows, and a mirror (or something reflective) above the couch, would that help balance the drapes, CDR?

    Also, do I need 2 more panels or 4? We've definitely considered blinds. We have cellular shades on most of the other windows and really like those, but we can only do an outside mount on the windows and I don't love how that looks in here. Or are you suggesting panels on the outside just for decoration with the blinds providing the function?

    Thanks for the help!

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Suggesting drape panels for decorative purposes only, with blinds providing function.

    You need to determine the furniture setup first, then art, then drapes.

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