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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Can't figure out great room setup

NickNovember 12, 2012
We have a great room that has a high vaulted ceiling (approx. 16-20 ft), but the room is only 16x14 ft. - we are having a terribly difficult time trying to account for the furniture/flow. The lighting is also difficult to figure out. Ultimately, we are in agreement that we need different furniture but we're at a loss for the best setup for this room, as we spend a lot of time in it.

If someone could help us out we would greatly appreciate any input/comments. Love this site and all of the contributors!

Nick & Julie
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Emily Hurley
HI there, Is the space where the table is a separate dining room or the eating area for the kitchen? Hard to tell for sure from the photo. Would love to see a pic with your back to the television looking toward (I think) the kitchen?
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Emily, I believe the opposite of the TV wall is the stairs/hall and passage into the kitchen.

Nick and Julie, I think the dividing beam and columns look a bit out of place. If they're non-structural (looks like they aren't), I would take those down and open up the room to one big dining/great room. Then, you can shrink your large dining space and expand your living area.

A floor plan with dimensions would be very helpful for determining furniture placement.

Will the piano stay?
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Drapes need to come down to the floor. A ;piano should not be placed in front of a window - for sound reasons and to protect the piano. Those classical columns are very strange looking. Can they be removed, or are they structural? If structural, use theme for a "theme" - Roman ot Greek so to speak. Use a chaise longue and a sofa with legs in white. Gold framed mirrors. Build TV into wall. Get rid of little lamps and install track lighting with a few whimsical pendants. Use an interesting wall color - mauve - or cafe au lait. Keep your rugs bvery simple.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Drapes need to come down to the floor. A ;piano should not be placed in front of a window - for sound reasons and to protect the piano. Those classical columns are very strange looking. Can they be removed, or are they structural? If structural, use theme for a "theme" - Roman ot Greek so to speak. Use a chaise longue and a sofa with legs in white. Gold framed mirrors. Build TV into wall. Get rid of little lamps and install track lighting with a few whimsical pendants. Use an interesting wall color - mauve - or cafe au lait. Keep your rugs bvery simple.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Hi thanks for the responses. Attached are some more pictures based on your request(s). The beam is structural (drywalled around), the columns are not (as I understand a neighbor w/ similar house does not have them). The columns sit on small storage cabinets which we currently use. The table is in a dining room which is adjacent to the kitchen (see new pictures).

We are looking at rearranging the room to maximize the flow/space and the piano is used quite often and is best suited in this room (nowhere for it to go). I agree about the drapes. We are looking at getting floor to ceiling ones as currently they only go about 2/3 of the height of the wall.

Ultimately I think we need some smaller scale furniture, but I do like the idea of somehow expanding the space a bit into the dining, if possible. I am only concerned about losing what very little storage space we have currently.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Let me see if I can get a floor plan too to upload. I am sure that is very helpful as you have mentioned. Thank you again.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:27PM
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HI --- The first big thing I would do is remove that pillered divider - the room does not need it . Now you have a mixture of furniture styles so if you can start getting some furniture that will work better for you and the room. The furniture you have is also too big . Will the piano fit on the stair wall ? If so that is a better spot ,other than putting it in another room . I think you need to work on putting in a entertainment wall that has bookcases and a TV space and storage . Look at what IKEA has for that . The book cases you have look too weak and not that well built . Your TV is hung way too high and looks out of place ,- so that wall needs work . Then if you could get a more contemporary sofa and have that where the sofa is now but set a little closer to the TV wall . Then if you got two smaller scale lounge chairs and have one at each side of the sofa . OR you could have a smaller scale square sectional placed with the one side backed to the window and then have one swivel lounge chair where the floor lamp is in photo 2. OR have a sectonal or 3 seater contempoary sofa backed to the wall where you have the TV now . Put the TV on the stair wall with a small storage console under . Now with the sofa on the big wall you will have room for two (swivel) chairs , two sofa side tables and lamps and an accent table or two for beside the lounge chairs. Now you can have art over the sofa and a modern coffee table . I think this is the best arrangement but you will have to find another place for the piano. Don't concern about the wall height above the 8 ft. mark but if you remove the divider wall section then think about adding some ceiling beams . I would update the dining room with some full wall drapes in white and new furniture etc. Also the same style drapes on the front living room window and make them fuller on a bigger rod . Hope this helps.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:36PM
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That beam really bugs me. Is this your lifelong house? If so, I would consider having an architect/structural engineer take a look at it and give a plan to remove it. One large column where your small partion wall is at the entry to your kitchen would support the room above your kitchen and open the space up quite a bit.

But the way it is now, your furniture layout looks functional and about all you can do with wall space and piano. Get a smaller scale couch and chair.

The TV is mounted way too high. Get a closed cabinet storage media center and put your TV on it.

I would also seriously declutter. Ditch the plants, the vertical blinds and wallpaper border in your kitchen.

You could also put in hardwood into your living room to visually expand the space.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:54PM
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Thank you for the help - most likely won't be here for more than 5 more years; expanding family. But the combined need for aesthetic pleasure and resell value are of interest to us. All comments were helpful. The living room actually has wood floors underneath but the owners before us put new carpet over them (not sure why). We haven't torn up the carpet since it's still in good shape, but agree that it would look nice (especially if the division between living and dining rooms didn't exist).
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:03PM
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You didn't say if you are planning on any new pieces of furniture, so I am going to assume that there are no big purchases planned. If taking down the divider is too much now, I think you might consider painting it to match the TV wall, maybe even the columns. Next, put the two bookcases together so that they have a heftier look. Look in magazines or online for help with arranging them. If you can buy anything right now, I think it should be something substantial to house the TV equipment with the TV hung over it. Then the bookcases could be put together on the same wall but in the dining room. I agree that the curtain rods should be thicker and use fuller stock curtains either in a white or an ikat (sp?)pattern with white and the greens in your sofa and wall paint. Make sure they hang to the floor and use them in the dining room as well. Hang them just like you did in the dining room.Could the piano go where the trunk is in the dining room? You could then move the sofa closer to that window wall to give you room to put a small to mid-sized end table. Then you can put a lamp on it. Pick something you really like, such as, mercury glass and spread it here and there around the living room, dining room and kitchen. Remove the table cloth and place a slightly oversized vase on it( maybe in mercury glass?). Remove the rug in the LR. Is there another place with for the grandfather clock? It is pretty, but the room is small. Maybe it can go where the floor lamp is now. You have a lovely home.
    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:36PM
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If the columns are not structural then the best thing you could do to this room is to remove them and the carpet to make one large living/dining space. You will then be able to do so much more with the room which will improve your quality of life and the resale value of the property. Don't worry about losing the small cabinets as you could easily replace this storage with a tall unit on the wall by the kitchen and/or a low unit under the kitchen hatch. Paint the wall opposite the stairs white the same as the beam as the green is nice but makes the beam very intrusive due to the high contrast. Make the most of the beam and use it to incorporate some lighting, you could do ambient lighting with LED strips on the top of the beam and direct lighting with directional spots on the base or sides.

Move the piano from under the window and add floor length white curtains at both ends of the room and it will be so elegant. Use the current rug under the dining table and buy a larger cream rug for the sitting area or if the existing carpet is good have it cut down and the edges bound to make a large rug.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:50AM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi fusebox7, Marie here.

The best advice I can give you would be to go to a local furniture supplier that offers "FREE" in-home design advice. They will come and measure your space and help you with a space plan. (I used to do this, so I know there are furniture stores out there that do) Like Ethan Allen for example.

Then, use that space plan to shop for the pieces you want...good luck!
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I wouldn't get rid of the columned room divider before you try a few other options. Right now it provides a much needed reference of scale for your very high empty walls. You could add a line of crown molding lined up with the top of your bulkhead to continue that line throughout the space. Actually rather than crown, you might just use a 1x trim or something (it would function similarly to a 3/4 height chair rail visually) The horizontal line running across your really tall walls will help break it up and add an element of appropriate scale to the heights of your furniture etc. Then you could even think of painting the wall above it white to match the ceiling if you like that idea.

I would also encourage you to look into some new furniture (particularly tv shelf and bookcases) that have a bit more visual weight to them.
Master Bedroom · More Info

Great Room · More Info

The Seligman · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:03PM
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whiskeyrobot very interesting thought, I like it! That could add some much needed heft to the room.
many great ideas for the space to try, Here are a couple more. Start my clearing out the whole room,I'm thinking to rethink the space and re-use what you have(budget friendly) move the 2 bookshelves closer together and place the trunk under the TV,Crown molding can be added to the bookshelves to beef them up. OR re-purpose the china cabinet for a TV cabinet.Lowering your TV will be a huge improvement. The clock could be moved to the left of the window, pretty white floor length curtains would be pretty. Move the piano to the wall where the china cabinet was (if you re-purpose it) otherwise on the wall under the stairs.
resizing and binding the carpet in the living room to show off the hardwood floors will add value to the house as well, the rug there is there is too small. get rid of the recliner all together. Plants are good to air quality in your home so if you keep them, place the floor plants on the floor. Your "tree" lights can be better placed in the room, not just in the corners, they would make great uplights instead of shining on the floor and walls. One question I do have: The way the room is arranged right now do you feel comfortable in it or a bit uneasy ? Feng Shui in this room seems really off to me so I'm curious. Hope you have those handy little "furniture movers" to help move the furniture around, cause you are going to want to try all these great ideas from houzzers, keep posting pictures can't wait to see more.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:00PM
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You guys are great. I'm glad I posted! :) Definitely has an uneasy/cramped feeling as-is. Would love to somehow replace the current furniture with a nice sectional that is smaller. Loving the trim/moulding ideas. Thank you!
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:13PM
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shvan dolamari
i think from my point it will be very unique if you mixed the style btween the classic walls and the post there with modren furniture but in a condition do not let the room to be boring choose diffrent color to give the room sense of life
    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:21PM
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