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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help in Family Room

tmandkidsJanuary 14, 2013
Help! We've lived in our house for 3 years and still don't know what to do around our fireplace in our living room.The large brick wall that only covers half the room... and a fireplace that isn't centered on the wall are challenges we are stuck on. We took out the old floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that surrounded it... but now can't decide if we want mantel-height bookshelves or some other type of storage or bench on either side. Do we try to incoprorate/connect what would be around the fireplace with the TV/Entertainment stand on the adjacent wall and have custom/built-in TV/storage stand?How do you work the corner without losing function/storage? Also, in parts of the house (including the connecting kitchen and entryway) we have arch details in the ceiling. Can we somehow incorporate an arch in the mantel or fireplace? I thought maybe it would tie the rooms together. We also will be adding crown molding to this room, as we have done in other rooms. Thoughts? Help! Thank you sooooo much! Our hope is to not go another year without finishing this room.
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Not sure where you took the bookcases from or where you would want placement of the television, but one option to consider would be doing built ins all along the wall next to the fireplace to the end of the wall and placing the television and equipment in there. I would consider painting it the color of, or using wood in the color shade of the lighter or sand color in your fireplace brick and going with that on the other walls to have it all blend in together. If you did want to use the television on the adjacent wall, I think I would go as shallow as possible so as not to impede the existing fireplace wall, go with a cabinet, and again have the color match as closely as possible the fireplace wall and wall color to have it blend in. Good luck!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Not sure why you removed the bookshelves, but I would suggest a built-in entertainment center to the right of the FP that would house TV, books, and have closed door storage too. I'd built it floor to ceiling and would tie in in with a new mantel that is much beefier and of the same wood. You could incorporate the arch if you like as in pic 1 & 2. I would match the built-in to the kitchen cabinetry and trim. Be sure to light it as well, or mirror the backs of the bookshelf sections to bring more light into your room.
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    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Design Organize
You are letting a TV dictate your room furniture arrangement and it is messing up the fireplace and the flow of the room. The picture that you have shows how heavy the left wall is: a TV, two chairs and most of the fireplace on that side of the room.

For an ideal furniture arrangement that will make your fireplace look great, you need to flank the fireplace with the couch on one side and two chairs opposite. No, don't put the TV between the chairs, but a lamp.

Behind the couch (to the right of the fireplace) put a sofa table with a lamp on it. Now your room is balanced around your fireplace (with the rug underneath a coffee table in between the furniture).

Do you have to have the TV? If so, I see a LARGE space in your room to the right of the picture. Take an extra chair or two and put it back there facing the TV (which could be on the wall to the far right of the fireplace). Now you have an arrangement centered around the fireplace (as it should be as its your most prominent architectural focal point).

With the size fireplace that you have, I would not have a mantel and all the accessories stacked on it. Put a large, terrific piece of art there instead. Your room needs color! all you have is brown, brown and more brown. Pick a color that you like that will coordinate with brown (blues look great) and get a large picture with blues in it. Then, pick some blue textured throw pillows for your couch. Add some blue accessories (large, not small) on your sofa table and coffee table.

If you need storage, put it in your pony/half wall or on the wall to the right of the two chairs with the TV... Leave your fireplace alone. It is heavy enough as it is without adding more to it.

Best to you! DesignOrganize.com
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:35AM
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It's so fun to get feedback/suggestions - thanks you! I should have noted that because of two walls of windows in the family room, we thought the TV would be best placed on the wall adjacent to the fireplace. But I agree with you both that visually it would look great on the same wall as the fireplace, like you both suggested. Hmmm... I'll have to keep thinking about that. :)
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Design Organize
But I also said to consider it on the wall to the right of the fireplace....(perpendicular wall)
That way, the fireplace is central in the room (as it should be) and the TV is secondary.
Too many rooms make an 'altar to the TV' and the whole room suffers. Your big architectural feature is the fireplace, not the TV. Put the TV off to the side wall if at all possible.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Hello tmandkids. Is the fireplace wood burning, and if so do you use it? We had a similar issue with our great room (lots of glass) and did not want to obstruct the views. It SEEMS trendy right now to mount these LCD TV's over the mantle/fireplace, but not a good idea (for us) since we use ours (heat and particulates). I don't believe the gas inserts cause those issues.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Hello! Yes, our fireplace is wood burning and we do use it a lot! I love the smell of a good 'ole fire. :) I wish our harth was bigger and/or we had a spot to place/store the wood that would still function/look good in the warmer months. I agree that the TV doesn't belong over the fireplace and it should be secondary to the fireplace. You are probably correct in noting that our current layout is putting the TV as the primary focus...but it is also true that this room is the only room in the house (until we finish the basement) that has a TV in it. We are a sports-loving, entertaining family (any reason is a good reason) that on average has at least 15 people over. So flow, seating, etc. is important. Thanks again for your continued comments - fresh eyes always see things that we've missed!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:14AM
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