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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with the placement of furniture in the open living room.

Rita S.November 2, 2012
We just bought a house and I have a design dilemma with this long and open living room. How would I place the couches. Should I go with a sectional. Do I break it down into two zones? I am confused about this room! Any help is appreciated.
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Anta Design Studio
do you have floor plan or dimensions?
1 Like    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:27PM
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Surely this room is intended as a living/dining room, no? Is there another space you're not showing which is clearly a dining room? I'm guessing that hanging uplighter is intended to be centered over a dining table which would at least somewhat make sense although it seems a bit away from the wall. Perhaps on that wall (the right-hand wall, perpendicular to the wall of windows) it's intended to have a china cabinet, and also I suppose, access to that door has been preserved.

If the above seems about right, then what's left for a living room is everything to the left of the dining table. Is that a TV plug on the left-hand wall? If so, what I see is a sofa at the edge of the living room 'zone' with its back to the dining table, facing the left-hand wall on which you'd have your TV. To either side of the sofa you'd add arm chairs, or if you prefer two sofas, you'd replace the one armchair (the one facing the window) with a second sofa, that is, perpendicular to the other sofa. In the middle of this grouping you'd put a large coffee table, and you'd add lamp tables with lamps or floor lamps as needed.

One thing I don't like is the staggered uplighters on that 'TV wall', not that you asked :-)

This is potentially a very nice room by the way!
    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Rita S.
Anta Design Studio: I have a floor plan I will upload soon, thanks! Meanwhile, I am also wondering about window treatments. Do these glass doors or center window require curtains? Would they look odd? Roman shades for center window maybe?
By the way, the dimensions of the living 'zone' is about 15x34, quite narrow and long!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 1:21AM
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Rita S.
annoulaxeni: thank you so much for the tips! There is a defined dining area but not under the uplighter you mentioned from these pictures. I will add that to the pics. The dilemma is that the living 'zone' is long and narrow and I can't divide it into living and dining, so with the placement of sofas to the right of the center window, there is quite a bit of empty space left in the room. The china cabinet would also need to be narrow so it doesn't get in the way of the glass doors.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 1:26AM
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Anta Design Studio
I think you will need curtains, but sheers, since you have nice view outside, use curtains on all of them and pull on sides for doors.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Rita S.
Defined dining area
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:27AM
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It doesn't look like you need curtains for privacy but maybe light control to protect your floors and furniture from fading or "spotting". If you intend to have a lot of upholstered furniture, I think woven wood blinds would be beautiful. [houzz=
Dining · More Info

Also, area rugs will help define the different spaces and protect your gorgeous floors.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:34AM
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Rita S.
Thank you for the ideas! If you noticed, the glass doors and the center window are not on the same level. That creates an awkwardness in placing the curtain rods if I were to use them. Could you just install one long rod or three separate ones for each?
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:18AM
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Personally, I would celebrate the difference in their heights, that's what makes the room interesting! For me, I would not install one long rod but three separate rods instead.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:23AM
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Hmmm, interesting. Thanks for posting that other photo. While I agree that that space is probably intended as the dining room, I see no reason why it would HAVE to be the dining room. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself: what room functions are you in need of? For instance, you have a little girl in one of your photos, perhaps your daughter? Do you have need of a more casual family/TV area, or do you have that covered already? Do you have need of an office/hobby area? Do you need a music space?

I ask because it seems before you actually start aligning sofas (or purchasing them for that matter) you'd be well advised to give a little thought to what you need. I'm taking a guess but I somehow doubt you need that entire living room space for just hanging out with friends or with family and watching TV. And it's just silly to fill it up with zone after zone of seating (how many options does one family need?!) or alternatively, to spread it all out to reach the corners such that you have to use walkie-talkies to converse :-)

Back to that 'dining room' -- it would make a very nice office space, I'd think. Nice and handy if you want to cook and browse Houzz within the same hour, for instance. Alternatively, it could make a somewhat more casual kids' zone, especially if they're young and you need to have your eye on them. I know it's a bit open plan, but that could easily enough be remedied ...

Any other photos which would help us make sense of the place?

Oh, and three rods, definitely :-) although, again, not that you asked.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:33AM
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Rita S.
@annoulaxeni : you are full of great ideas and you were right on - I do need some office space and there are no nooks in this open plan and no extra rooms. To the right of the living room are two small bedrooms, and to the left there is a master bedroom. There are stairs that lead to a pretty big attic above the garage (an add-on room), which we plan to turn into a bedroom/playroom for my girls to share. I'll attach the picture of the attic. There is also a huge unfinished basement (about 2000 sq ft) that my husband wants to use as a game room/playroom/media room and office. I don't envision spending much time there during the day though, so some kind of office space upstairs is badly needed.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:01AM
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Oh good, glad that sounds like it might work! I don't know about you, but my office is always messier than my dining room so of the two, the one I'd prefer to be slightly less on display is obvious. And aside from the fact that a living/dining room combo is perhaps a more common combo than a living room/office combo, with that lovely big balcony out there, I'm taking a guess that in warm weather you'd eat out there, no? In that case, orienting all the dining areas -- winter and summer -- in the same direction for some reason makes sense to me.

Besides, I like the dining and entertaining to face off the street for privacy. I can imagine having some lovely soft lighting outside on the balcony or beyond, and enjoying that in the evening from the living room or from the dining area. That would be nice for an office as well, but of the two, I guess I'd prefer it for the dining room.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:08AM
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Rita...see photo for how to hang drapes.

I recommend against a sectional. Two sofas and a couple of club chairs will work much nicer.

Divide the room into distinct 'zones' that are tailored to the room's uses. Use furniture and rugs to divide the spaces. You will need to define an entertainment area, an office zone, dining/game area and a storage zone (this will be used for games, art supplies, etc.)

Placing some of the furniture on the diagonal will keep the room from feeling boxy and try to focus on that gorgeous view!
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:44AM
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Rita S.
Here's the floor plan and dimensions! Note that there are 2 sets of double doors in the living room facing out onto the deck, but the floor plan only shows one set.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Anta Design Studio
see attached 2 options of your space layout. it looks like your floor plan did not show some wall partitions around dining area, but I hope I figured it out based on photos.

first of all I would not suggest to have office wright at the entry in to the hose, (if I am not mistaking from layout.)
Second you should keep space free of clutter in front of your doors and walk ways and keep space flowing.
if you want to have small office corner one of the options shows where you can arrange your small writing desk and shelving.

when it comes to curtains, it is proven to be most effective to keep upper line of curtains on same level. even so your window header is higher than doors, mount your curtain rods at highest level and this way your doors will appear taller than they are and you room will look less elongated.

if you have questions regarding plans, post them here or post question on my profile and I will be happy to assist you.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Rita S.
@Anta Design Studio: Thank you for the detailed description! I like the first option. However, regarding the partition, there really is no partition. If you look at the defined dining area picture I posted, there is only 1 corner wall of the dining area. The entry is an open space, you walk straight into the living room, though you could walk in through the dining area as well. So I don't see how the office nook would work there. Would it be wrong to place a small desk somewhere in the dining area?
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Rita S.
Here's an update of the floor plan with the partition positioned as best I remember it. We've only viewed the house once so far and its over 300 miles away :). We move next week.

The partition doesn't block the pathway into the living room, and the "dining room" is offset from the front door by its own partitioned entryway. Do you think given this "flow" that the dining room might work as some kind of office space?
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:31PM
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maybe you could use the console table behind the right sofa in floor plan 1 as a desk. If it had drawers along the top or could even be a smaller desk. Then the smaller partition wall in your floor plan could have a bookcase with cabinet doors on the bottom half to hide the office stuff.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Anta Design Studio
here are updated plans with correct wall placement.
in first option you can still fit 4'-5' long desk with upper shelving.
in second option I placed desk in dining room, but most likely it will be really small 3' desk. it still can work, but may not be best for dining space.
third option shows office space in dining room and moving dining in large living room. it looks interesting, but I am placing furniture not really knowing exact dimensions and if you decide to go with this plan you have to carefully measure everything, since your living room is becoming more tight , and new office will be little too big for it's new function
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Rita S.
The plans look nice and proportionate. We move in on Nov 10, so we'll have to reassess the space. It seems to me that the TV should be the focal point somehow. Maybe the plan with the sectional is the way to go. Still not sure how because of that center window.. The dining area could possibly be used as home office/music area.
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Maria A.
thanks for posting your photos and floor plans! It helps me a lot, as our new Living Room would be about the same size (34x11) and we have same high ceilings like you - just ours has a massive staircase in the middle of it, so it would be much easier to divide if we decided to keep the functionality as "living room". However, we are taking a completely different turn with this, and at the moment seriously considering turning this space in play/gym area. See my thread here: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/235320/Turning--Living-Room--into--Home-Gym- For your floor plan it makes sense to keep the room traditional and pretty :)

I don't know how often you have guests over and how large your parties are, but if it was my house I'd keep the dining area as is so we have space to seat everyone when we have guests for dinner... And, I'd get one of those desks that hide the mess (I think IKEA has something like that)
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:19AM
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I still think that first and foremost you need to determine the most likely/ most desirable-to-you use of the space and then the answers to a number of issues will resolve themselves. You're obviously intrigued by the idea of an office in this space, but I think you need to define what "office" means to you. Do you just need a secretaire and a side chair as a place you can shove bills and stash your laptop? Or do you need a truly ergonomic office chair and a computer and peripherals, as well as filing drawers, bookshelves, a bulletin board with clippings and that sort of thing (I'd even add in a small armchair with a footstool, a soft throw, and reading lamp -- what a nice place for a child to curl up if visiting mommy in her office!).

The former would work beautifully with Anta's layout (which is, admittedly, very elegant and really helps that center window to make sense). However, if you have the latter, you need more space to spread out and I'd still vote for the living/dining room in such a case.

Some details: can you draw an 'x' on your plan where that ceiling light is (okay, once you get there and have a moment, that is)? Also, judging by your initial photos, I think your partition is 'off' -- there's clearly a doorway cutout to the right as you enter, and that would suggest that the wall going toward your partition continues in some way. Do you perhaps have an 'L'-shaped partition instead? What a nice place for a chair :-)

Also, between the partition and the kitchen where you might wish some further partitioning, what a nice place for an Ikea Expedit (or something more upscale, of course). See http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qYrk0IpSy9E/TQaQwQPgbZI/AAAAAAAADAw/v2t59SG0sJg/s400/divider.jpg

Back to the TV: if this will be a real family living room and not a formal space set aside for guests, a TV is usually a reality, and in that case, your seating needs to orient itself correctly. That's what makes me prefer Anta's second arrangement even though it isn't quite as neatly symmetrical. Can you (she) try combining that with her third (or 5th overall) layout which has the living and dining rooms together?
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:57AM
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Rita S.
@annoulaxeni: The dining area is defined by an L-shape partition, you are right. There is an arched opening in that wall perpendicular to the living room as well. Hopefully in a few days when we are actually in the house, I will be able to test out all the design suggestions made here (Thanks to all!) and find a solution. Meanwhile, your ideas are welcome!
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Rita S.
We just moved into the house a few days ago, so excuse the mess, please. I hope you can see from the photos what the big dilemma is. The room is an odd asymmetrical/oblong shape. It starts out wide, then gets narrower where the breakfast bar starts, from almost end of the center window to the back of the room. There is a separate dining area, which I want to leave as is. I just need to figure out what kind of furniture/couches goes in this room, how I place it (for now it is on the diagonal) to make it feel cozy. And we would prefer the TV to be the focal point. Does that sofa seem too long two place on the diagonal? Do I put to loveseats instead? I am still lost with this arrangement!

Ideabook: New house design dilemma · See Ideabook
    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Hi again Rita -- and congratulations on putting your move behind you!

The extra pictures are a great help to understanding this space and I have several suggestions for you to mull over:

-- Try your sofa facing the TV -- perpendicular with the window wall. I like the idea of a console table behind the sofa. I'd align the far edge of the console table with the right/back edge of the center window. Pull the sofa/console group a bit away (a foot or so?) from the window itself.

-- I'd like to see that tall curio-cabinet shaped bookcase where your ivory armchair is now and nothing in its place. I think the space either side of that center window should be preserved (and may be needed for drapes later on).

-- the ivory armchair would be nicer oriented as it is but pulled forward to be part of the sofa/TV grouping, with the pathway from the entrance or bedrooms/bath on the left running behind the seating area (rather than through it). I picture it quite close to the sofa, perhaps sharing that square end table which you have to the left of the TV now?

-- I find the TV wall a bit crowded. Can you try moving the tables on both ends elsewhere, and loosening up those speakers? It's a nice wall -- I'd like to see some 'white space'.

-- Personally I think you have one too many armchairs in this space right now. If you're replacing this furniture as you've suggested you might be doing, I'd go for a large sofa and one or two matching armchairs, both to be positioned as I've described the ivory chair above, that is, aligned perpendicular to and to the left of the sofa (so that the open end of the U-shaped grouping of TV, chairs, sofa is the balcony door). From what I can deduce about the dimensions of the space, you'd have enough room to space the furniture out nicely so that you could get into the seating area, but also not so spread out that it loses coziness or the TV is too far away for comfortable viewing.

-- As for the thought of adding in an office corner to the dining room, I think it depends on if you ever want to have quite formal dinners in which case I think it would be inappropriate. The space also doesn't really look big enough for the table, extra chairs, probably some dining room storage, AND an office nook.

-- What might be nice is to zone the main area into a sort of major and a minor zone, the major being the above seating/TV area which together with a console table would just go to the right/back edge of that center window. That would leave you that narrow area you find troublesome but it looks to me as though that would be very nice for an office corner, specifically against that wall between the balcony door and the entrance into the laundry area. It looks deep enough to hold an adequately deep desk surface above which you could add several shelves ...

-- Alternatively, in the same space, you could put an armchair (the big dark one if you're keeping it) and the floor lamp and a footstool and make a corner for reading which would be at least somewhat away from the TV without being completely isolated from the family. It would slightly impede the full use of that door, but you could work around that fairly easily.

Curtain ideas another day!
    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:20AM
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Rita S.
annou.. Thanks for the great suggestions. I rearranged to test the look and I'll attach the pics, let me know what you think. I think it looks nicer, somewhat more symmetrical at least, without looking too cluttered. Do you think a piano would look good in that spot where my brown recliner is? What about the rug? Should i get a square, or bigger rectangular one and maybe a square coffee table? I don't have a console table so I improvised with some folding tables temporarily :) Is the rocking chair looking out of place? Here are the dimensions of this room. The length is 29'8". The widest part is 16'. Where the diagonal breakfast bar starts it narrows down to 13'2". End of diagonal bar - 9'8", and the narrowest part where the brown recliner is - 8'9" (where the kitchen cabinets end).
    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Jeez, do you love Houzz or what?! What fun to make suggestions from halfway across the world and then see them implemented in photos the next morning. Wheeeee!

Okay, down to business: I'm pretty happy with the changes! I certainly think it's an improvement as it does look less cluttered (fine, I understood completely that you'd just moved and hadn't done a tidying for the photos -- your house looked very nicely 'real' however). And personally, symmetry makes me happy: it seems quieter and more peaceful for some reason. I know you have that diagonal edge to the kitchen breakfast bar, but your flooring makes a very strong feeling of movement perpendicular to the window wall and I like this arrangement which doesn't seem to fight that movement.

Your questions:

What size piano? Something small in the maybe-desk/maybe-chair area? if it would fit (and it looks like it would just fit ... or just miss) why not? is that your most pressing need? [If you decide to go with it, maybe an electronic would be a good idea as whoever's playing can use headphones if needed while you and your husband watch the news, for instance. (Of course you can't supervise practicing that way ...) Mine's a Yamaha Clavinova measuring 139 cm (um ... 55 inches?) right smack-dab in the middle of my living room and the headphones feature is wonderful.] Any larger piano -- a baby grand, let's say -- would be kind of incongruous with the kitchen right next to it, I think. And never mind that it looks to me like it would be a bit of a tight fit.

(Sorry, tangent.)

Rug? Rectangular, and, yes, bigger. And also laid the other way, that is, the long way running between the sofa and the TV (although I see your point with orienting it the way you did with the size of the current rug).

Coffee table square? I'm neither here nor there on that one -- either would be fine. I was wondering about getting one with a lower shelf or drawers perhaps as you did have a box file showing in one of your older photos which I guessed might have magazines, TV guides, that sort of thing in it. I guess just think what sorts of things you need to store in that area (remote controls, coasters ...) and think if you want to see them or hide them?

Your folding tables mock-up works fine for me! It confirms that I like that look: somehow it feels like a more solid 'back' to that grouping and of course is another possible storage spot depending on what you actually purchase. If you go with the chair-in-the-corner idea, you might want a low, wide bookcase there. (Otherwise, thinking of that piano idea, that's actually where my piano is: at the back of my sofa like a console table. I have a couple of nice soft lights on it which help illuminate the center of the room, and it finishes off the back of the sofa nicely.)

Surprisingly enough (to me), no, the rocking chair is NOT looking out of place. Surprising because I thought it DID look out of place previously. For one thing, the similar color unites it with the rest of the grouping, but also, now that you've freed up space on the TV wall, that chair over there looks particularly nice! My only suggestion would be to push it back a wee bit: no-one's going to watch TV from that chair in any event, and I'd like it just a wee bit less in front of the door (we're talking a foot or a bit more).

Thanks very much for the dimensions but I'm mostly useless with square footage unless I'm actually making a SketchUp model or something. I prefer to eyeball when I can.

Ah, and finally, that brown recliner now over in the corner. Personally I like it because it starts to show the potential that corner has for being cozy. However, with neither a rug nor window covering, "cozy" isn't the first word that comes to mind! (I'm assuming you have nice tight double or triple glazing so that it's not physically cold over there.) If you go with this idea and finish it off, it would be one of the first places I would be drawn to to read or even snooze :-) ... although second would be at about the same position on the sofa -- curled up at the end by the window.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:30AM
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Rita S.
No kidding, this website is awesome! Thank you, Anna, for the ideas, and tips and tricks. Regarding the bigger rug - wouldn't placing the rug like you suggested make the room look even longer? Should I put the couches on the rug completely or just the front two legs?
I am ready to start thinking about curtains too but I can't decide if I want dark/light or heavy/airy? There are no draughts by the doors and window so it stays pretty warm with in-floor heating. Since the couch and chair are a light color, should I go for a patterned look and find matching cushions? I like a few of Ikea's curtains: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80173916/ (like the pattern)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90155002/ (like this pattern too)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60239008/ (heavier drapes maybe just for the cold months, we are in Alaska after all)
Seems like the previous owners had curtains just on the doors as I can see the drill holes.
    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:36AM
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Yeah, okay, twist my arm: I'll do up those dishes later :-)

Depending on the exact dimensions (and the pattern) I suppose that a rectangular rug could indeed make the room look longer. And if that really doesn't appeal to you then I'd agree that a rug which squares out that area might help optically widen it. However, if you're thinking of a purchased area rug, more often than not those come in rectangular rather than square dimensions (I think). If you're thinking, however, of getting bound carpeting or having a rug made or something like that, of course square's perfectly possible ...

But let's say you go with rectangular: if you were to put the sofa (and maybe even the console table) on the rug, the remaining part which would be visible would be square-ish, especially if the rug were wide enough to plunk the chair(s) on it as well. To me that would be the coziest look, and the one that best 'defines' that zone.

For practical purposes otherwise, I know that if I don't have at least the front legs of my sofa on my rug, we tend to trip over it and/or the sofa tends to slide back, both irritating.

As for what to put on the windows, it can look deceptively easy but especially if you have privacy issues and windows which swing inward (your doors counting here), I think they're remarkably difficult (elsewhere on Houzz I'm battling a similar problem). IMHO you definitely need to figure the functional aspect first, including the psychological need for a cozy/heavy winter look. For instance, I looked through your ideabooks for the living room and saw a curtain solution (with the dark tops ...) which I thought was really neat and might help with the odd height of the central window, however, I didn't know then that you are in Alaska (of all places! My probably-inappropriate advice comes to you from sunny Greece :-) ). I have a thing about cozy and in my houses (don't get the wrong idea ...) when winter rolls around I want something other than flimsy sheers. But that's me.

The curtains on the door idea certainly works the best IF the functioning of the doors is your only -- or primary -- concern. But how about if you want the view in the daytime, and in the summer want the doors wide open for the breeze in the evening but need to preserve privacy? See -- not so easy!

Roman blinds (or another type) would work fabulously for your center window, but wouldn't be at all ideal for the doors. But you don't have a lot of either stack-back or stack-up space where you need it, or, rather, you do on the far left, but you don't have the same amount of space on the far right. You've got some built-in challenges, in other words. Can you first decide what aspects of those windows are the most important to you? Ventilation, privacy, view, easy functioning of the door/window, etc. Then I'd be happy to leave the ironing :-) and wrap my brain around it if you'd like.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:21AM
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Rita S.
OK I think I am ready for your curtain ideas :)) I think I'd like something for privacy in the evenings and plenty of sunshine and view during the day. I am not worried so much about the functionality as I won't be using the doors, especially the ones close to the TV, regularly in the winter months which is the majority of the year (7-8 months). I plan to use the doors on the right when summer comes, for grilling on the porch, and the kids will definitely be going in and out to play.
I still don't like the fact that my doors are shorter than the center window but maybe I could hang the rods at same level as the window, in which case there is a bit of wall showing.. I've thought of maybe putting sheers on a double rod for the center part and heavier drapes on either side of the door? And I have no idea wha to do with the center window other than Roman shades but what kind? Should I match the drapes? Thanks'!!
    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:50AM
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You've worked hard and it is looking better. I'd like to see a larger rug that your furniture could actually sit on. Have you checked out Hunter-Douglas for window treatments. They have a shear fabric with a blind inside - pretty cool. Take a look.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Hey Rita!

By the way, didn’t mean to hijack your thread and hope others out there aren’t feeling they can’t add their two cents’ worth in too!

However, as I’m never short on opinions :-) and you’ve asked for them, here we go:

Privacy when it’s dark plus | in/out on the far double door | only in warm months | and when you or the kids are already outside. Okay, that adds up to pretty standard curtains/drapes to me (we’re talking your doors here, not the center window yet) as they tick both the important boxes: allowing full functionality of the door when pulled back, but also (depending on the fabric, however) preventing outsiders from looking in when drawn.

Specifically, I think you need to consider that far right wall space, the chunk just to the right of the door, in terms of figuring the length of rod needed for both windows (so that they’ll match which I’m assuming you’d like – I think the symmetry of the arrangement calls for it). You have far less there than on the left of the same door, or on the left or right of the other door, so if they’re to match, you need to start with the smallest space available.

And then you have some other options to choose from. The first is whether you want a single fabric panel at each door stacking back in one direction, or if you want two panels at each door, each stacking back to their respective sides. So much depends on your fabric choice here: the heavier the fabric and/or the fuller your gathering, the more stack-back space it will require. And, obviously, if you stack back to one side only rather than to two sides, that will require all the stack-back space to be on that one side.

From what I can see in your photos, it’s the left-hand door which opens first on the left door, and the opposite on the right door. Just a detail, but if you were to go with the stack-back-on-one-side option (which I think would be nice only if your left door curtain stacked back to the left and your right door curtain stacked back to the right rather than them both cluttering up the center window) the functioning of the doors would potentially be compromised. Again, this goes back to the fact that you just don’t have much wall space to the right of that right-hand door and most likely a single-direction stack back on that door wouldn’t clear the door completely. It would also somewhat compromise your views out (pity with lovely views to have curtains which don’t completely clear the window glass).

(Phew! I continue to be surprised by how complicated it can be to get window treatments right!)

So! That means that if you were to go for two-fabric-panel curtains at each door, your maximum curtain rod length would be the width of the door plus the width of that wall space to the right of the one door, times two. Make sense?

As for the different heights: I see in your photos that you’ve drawn the shade you now have on the center window up so that the bottom of it is the same height as the doors. I assume that’s deliberate and I like it! It gives your eye that nice uninterrupted line across the whole wall of windows, even if there’s a chunk of additional center window above the line …

The center window is so much easier to deal with than the doors because you don’t have the opening/closing issue to such a degree. The combination that immediately comes to my mind is a shade or, preferably, a roman blind, within that center window. That is, the stack-up to be ON the window itself rather than above it (you don’t have much stack-up space anyways, and of course if you were to stack above the window, you’d only accentuate the problem with the height differences). It's a good rule usually to fully clear the window glass, but in this case not clearing it wouldn't really compromise your view significantly (of course a roller blind would block much less glass).

If you were to place the curtain rods for the doors at the height of the center window (or approximately so: there are a couple of options in terms of what lines up with what), that would give you a nice line all the way across that wall. Then with the curtains you could either leave the wall between the rod and the top of the door as is, exposed, when the curtains are open, or, alternatively, you could add a pelmet. You’d want to get the length of the pelmet the same as the height of the roman stack-back. Does that make sense?

Should the fabric match on all the windows? To a large extent I’d say yes. At least they need to coordinate. A heavier roman matching with pelmets would do. My problem with sheers alone, that is, without heavier drapes on top, is that they don’t give you full privacy at night. As well, psychologically, I don’t think they’re terribly cozy, although again, depends on the exact fabric used.

Okay, Rita, enough for one day I think. As much fun as this is, I really should be useful elsewhere :-).
    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 2:37AM
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Rita S.
I should probably start a new discussion but I do have a question about curtains for living and dining room. My dining room window is almost exact opposite the living room center window. Since it is an open floor plan, should I go with the same exact curtains I plan to hang in the living room. I am thinking to hang these grommet-top panels (in the picture below) over the doors with sheers underneath, and I haven't come up with a design for the center window yet. I may or may not do Roman shades. If not, I'll probably add a 12" pelmet/valance for the top of the center window, and leave the blinds on. Any suggestions/ideas?
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:54PM
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