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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Family room layout condundrum!!!

kendikatJanuary 16, 2013
Hi everyone! I need help figuring out how to best lay out my family room. I have a huge problem trying to balance the corner fireplace with the MASSIVE TV we own AND the sliding glass doors (way too many focal points). And no, getting a smaller TV is not an option...haha. It is a 72" DLP which sticks out about 18" from the wall (it has a flat HD screen, but none of the flat compactedness most TV owners enjoy). It can't be mounted over the fireplace and I'm pretty sure I can't recess it into the wall it is on now (the other side of that wall has the sinks/toilet in the master bath). Not that recessing it into the wall would give me much more to work with, anyway. Demolishing the fireplace and/or the sliding glass doors are not options either =P To make matters worse, I have kindof an awkward amount of space to work within and the primary seating has to be AT LEAST 8ft away, ideally more like 9 or 10ft (you literally can't see anything and you get huge headaches if you're too close).

I've included a dimensioned layout of the space, to give you guys an idea of what I'm working with. I didn't draw the entire kitchen peninsula (that large rectangle on the right side); it angles off away from the family room toward the bottom, but it doesn't really matter for our purposes. What matters is that we have bar stools on the family room side of the peninsula, so there has to be space for seating there toward the bottom of the peninsula. Also, that 3'10" angled area is just a rough sketch of where everyone walks through the room. I think furniture can stick out a bit across the doorway at the top of the drawing and it's inevitable that bar stools will end up in that area at the bottom, but for the most part that walkway needs to remain clear. Also, where the wall at the bottom ends is where the dining nook begins, so basically anything in the bottom right corner is a void that is of no use to us for the family room. The sliding doors take up that entire bottom wall.

Previously, our couch was parallel to the wall on the left, somewhat out in the walkway. As you can see, that barely gets us 8 feet from the TV, if even (remember, it sticks out 18" from the wall). I always felt like the couch was in the way, so I tried moving things around a bit. Currently, the couch is set at an angle perpendicular to the fireplace, and I was hoping to try putting the TV in the open corner. This would get us much further from the TV, and it opens up the walkway more, but now the couch basically sits smack dab in front of the fireplace (we don't really use it, but it just looks weird with the couch in front of it). And with the addition of any side chairs, there is almost no room to get around the furniture to sit on it. And we only have a loveseat!

(continued in next post)
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So, I know my room is really, REALLY ugly in this state, but I really need to figure out the layout, type of furniture, and scale of furniture that I can fit into this room BEFORE I go out and buy (or build!) anything. I used the furniture we already have to get an idea of how much space seats/storage/tables will consume in the space (I DON'T plan to leave it like this forever). We need at least 4 spots for butts to sit. I'm thinking maybe a 4-seat couch (or sectional??) may be the answer (with one of those seats being a chaise), and no side chairs?? But I don't know which side the chaise would go, or whether any of it would block the fireplace, or whether it would block the walkway, or anything really....I really have no idea what will work. We prefer the TV on the long wall instead of in the corner, if possible (to avoid glare from the glass doors and to be able to watch TV from adjoining rooms), but that really pushes our capability to sit a proper distance from the TV. So first problem: layout, furniture types/scales.

My next problem is tying it all together and making it look nice. I want to paint the room, probably a light gray. I will add trim to the sliding door. I would like to build out a white surround for the fireplace (leaving the existing red brick in the center), with a white mantel that meets the walls, and white trim on the wall above it (though I don't know what do to about the arched pad on the floor). If I can build a media cabinet that looks built in next to the fireplace, that would be wonderful (hopefully it won't bury the fireplace with how deep it needs to be). Then there are colors. I like grey paint and white trim and white fireplaces and white cabinets. But I want to put white cabinets in the adjoining kitchen too, so there would be a lot of white... I want to add wood floors eventually. In place of the coffee table we have now, I'm thinking something round would be best (even though I love all the rustic rectangular storage coffee tables at Pottery Barn, a round storage ottoman is probably our best bet). But as for the couch, I think I need to stick with leather, and I'm not sure how I'd work with that (especially with a more modern one). My guy is allergic to cats, and we have 2, so we need furniture that cat fur doesn't stick to... I love all the neutral slipcovered couches at PB, but I'm worried the cats would shed all over it. Ultimately, all the furniture needs to be relatively casual and comfortable, because afterall, we're just going to be using the room to watch TV and play video games and eat dinner on the couch...we're not having any fancy tea parties or anything.

Anyway, so many constraints, huh? Can you see why I need help????? :(
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:34PM
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A few more pictures
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:36PM
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These are some images that inspire me...but most of these people have much more room to stretch out from the TV =/
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:04PM
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A few more inspirations... (keep in mind I'm mostly looking at the layout and scale, not so much the finishes...though I do really like some of the finishes too).
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Lastly, here are some images of layouts I want to AVOID. They just look so cluttered and cramped, the fireplace and media cabinet are practically choking on each other (yikes!), or the fireplace is swallowed whole (wait, where is it??) Ending up with a room that looks like one of these is what I'm most afraid of since I don't have a lot of room to get far away from the TV.
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:10PM
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studio | FORMA
It sounds like you have given this room a lot thoughts. All the photos and dimmensions you have provided are great.

Grey and white colors are usually a good combination that works well in a lot of rooms so your are ok there. However, before you go out and spend a lot of money on furniture and built-ins you may want to reconsider the TV. Having the TV 18" from the wall in such a small space is a huge amount of space to sacrifice, especially if you also need a good distance from the screen for comfortable viewing.

The good thing is that you are looking to declutter the space, which is great. The purchase of a sectional and a Flat screen TV would probably solve a lot of your issues.

Space wise. You don't have a lot of ceiling height and the current brick height is weighing down your ceiling. I would try to remove the brick and consider a stone veneer or sorts from floor to ceiling to visually carry your eyes up wards. You then would have the options of either hanging the TV on the wall or above the fireplace.

You would want to consider sectionals that you walk around in either direction, perhaps open chaises on both sides.

Here are several images for inspiration:
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:53AM
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studio | FORMA
Stone walls:
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:55AM
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Oops! What you are trying to avoid is what I was going to suggest! However, incorporating the fireplace into a corner unit with shelves for displays, your cd/dvd players, books, etc seems to be the only solution. If you paint it in white and choose the rest of your colours wisely, this should be beautiful. It will also allow you the 13ft from the TV; a little bit more if you position the tv in the unit between the fireplace and the glass doors. Bring in corner seating on the walls next to the walkway and get rid of the love seat!! The fireplace itself MUST be drywalled or something to hide that horrible brickwordk! And the halfmoon on the floor - take it out!!!!!
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 2:18AM
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studio | FORMA
I forgot to mention the half moon hearth and completely agree with "ashantombi", it needs to be removed!!
I did noticed that there are differences between the plan dimensions and the actual space. The plan shows an 8'6" wall to the left of the fireplace, if you are standing in front of it, however the photos show other wise, the windows go right up to the angled wall.

Are you planning to remove this window? or? In any case, this would be a good place for the TV, however being that it is the focal destination point and right in front of the arch as you come in from the front door foyer I would NOT hang it in that wall. The 13' wall is a better location and depending on what you end up doing with the angled fireplace wall you could hang it above the fireplace, although would rather you not.

If you absolutely need to have a ceiling fan in this room try investing in one that is mounted flush to the ceiling without any additional hanging lights, instead opt for a built in light like the one shown on sample picture below.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:22AM
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The Woodshop of Avon
I'm not sure how far you want to go with ideas...is it possible to remove the peninsula and replace with an island? It looks like the peninsula is approximately 15 feet from the tv wall and it does indeed limit the walkway. Chances are an island would move closer into the kitchen area and with barstools (perhaps with no backs) moved away from the arched opening it would change the flow and you would be able to have a sectional. An island would also help with access to kitchen without having to go around the peninsula. Just a thought.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:43AM
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