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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need Help with Living Room Design

ElisaJanuary 21, 2013
Hello my dear friends,
you have helped me in the past and I keep coming back for more. While I will have some nice "after" pictures of the kitchen you've helped me with, I now need some advice for the living room.
It's a decent sized space, with an arch that separates it in two (but not really). I am struggling even to figure out the best place for the couch. The way the area is divided by the arch, makes one area smaller than the other one (almost as bad as an L-shaped room).
It's the usual colonial we have around here, where I'm not sure if at one point the smaller part of the living room was a porch, or outdoor something that got enclosed at a later date. Or it could be that it was a design flaw from the beginning since a lot of houses around me are like this.
So we originally put the couch and the tv one on front of each other inside the smaller area, which left the bigger area empty and a bit useless.
I hope you can see from the pictures and get an idea. The couch is currently where the picture shows it, inside the smaller area, a bit behind the arch. The problem I have with this is the nice windows behind it that I lose access to. The TV is all the way across the room. I don't know if I should keep it this way. I like that it opens up the space and my daughter has a lot of room to play. Which brings me to my next question, should I buy the matching love seat to position under the other window, at a 90 degree angle from the couch? Or should I go with two armchairs that will leave more room for play?
Any other ideas or suggestions are always welcome.

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I suppose your front door is opposite the stairs. I would put the couch facing the wall opposite the stairs. I would put the tv where the small dark bookcase is between the windows. I would put a chair in the porch area and perhaps one across the room from it. A built in on the wall where the tv is now could be fitted with baskets for storage of toys and books. Later when your daughter is older it could be used for photos and pretty pottery.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:24PM
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I would put the couch either with its back to the stairs, creating a transit path behind it,
or floating perpendicular to the stairs and the windows with the tv across from it. In either case get a pair of chairs that match each other (but not the couch necessarily) and flank the couch with them , creating a u shaped seating area. Leave the window nook for another reading chair, lamp and ottoman and space for play. Tie the couch and 2 chairs together with an area rug. Get a generous coffee table for the middle. You can even hang a drape under the arch - leave it open most of the time - to visually separate the spaces. Can be used as a theater for your daughter"s playtime.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Here is a rough floor plan, hopefully is clearer.
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:51AM
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Get wto accent chairs to put in the porch alcove, angled with a round table and lamp between them. The small bookcase on the 8 foot wall. Turn your sofa around to face them, sitting perpendicular to the window directly across fro the stairs. Put the large shelf system between the doors to DR and Kitchen. Set the upholstered bench against the stairwell. The TV can go between the windows - just ignore the arch and support. Put a colorful area rug so that the chairs and sofa are partially on it. I'd get new lamps. Use an arc floor lamp for the sofa and a similar styled table lamp between the two chairs.
Swoop Upholstered Accent Chair, Georgeous Pearl · More Info

Darine Fabric Accent Chair - Orange Brick · More Info

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IMM · More Info
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 11:31AM
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@decoenthusiaste: Thank you! Lots of great ideas. The only issue is the couch with the TV. The way you suggest, the couch would be with its back to the doors to DR and Kitchen. Is that ok? And the tv, you say to put it where? Between which windows? The two windows on the longer wall? Hmm... I don't think we would be able to fit it all like this because the couch is pretty long and then the tv would be perpendicular to it. I would have to move them around. Let me try it. (my husband hates me these days lol)
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Manon Floreat
I'd consider the attached furniture arrangement. It will involve some new furniture, though. It includes a smaller scale sofa like the Klyne sofa below and two arm chairs. It also includes a console table with shelving for media components and space beneath for a couple of ottomans for extra seating. A bookcase is in the position Deco recommended.

I think this arrangement will be functional for entertaining, TV watching and for play time. You could play around with what you have and see if it works.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:57PM
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@Manon Floreat: Here you go! :)

I'll try it out for a day or two, even if I feel that the couch is too big for the space and the TV is too much of at an angle.

I had this arrangement in mind, so when you suggested it, I just jumped on it and moved things around.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:25PM
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first bring the sofa out of the dining room..Put 2 chairs and small table with a lamp on it in the front window if you do not want a dining set there and now that is one sitting area and then put the tv on the far wall cented in front of the window and please put some drapery at all of the windows JC penney's have great sales... you need more lighting like lamps and a coffee table to. Just always but things that will fit the space smaller. But it is a nice home space. My living room is the same size..good look
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:36PM
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@shirleynewit: the sofa is not in the dining room. you're suggesting putting the tv where the sofa is in my last picture, but where do you put the sofa? In front of it? The curtains will come soon, hopefully this weekend i can do some shopping. Thanks.
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:44PM
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@pamrhess: where would you put the tv?
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Manon Floreat
Wow, Elisa - you've been busy! I'm glad you tried it. The sofa is too large for the room. When I made my suggestion there was the caveat that some new furniture would be involved, ie: the apartment size sofa. The smaller size sofa would also work in the original position with two arm chairs.

For now, try pulling the chairs forward a bit to square off the seating arrangement. Also, try the tufted ottoman in front of the sofa to simulate a coffee table.

There are two places for the TV, from what I can see: where you currently have it (which gives all seats a view) and on the 8' wall in the sunroom area.

I do think you're going to have to seriously consider a smaller scale sofa, regardless of which furniture arrangement you choose.
    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Melanie Hon
I would treat them as two separate areas, a living room and an office space, much like you had originally. Let's assume the doors to the dining room/kitchen are north. Leave the couch the same orientation as before just put it closer to the TV so its north of the arch. I would also suggest getting the matching Expedit bookcase in 4x2, put on its side behind the sofa. (or just get a second 2x2?) This way you can use it to help divide the two areas, put lamps or small plant on it for the living room area, and use it as a bookcase or toy storage for the office area. (This way the toys are still accessible but hidden away behind the couch when you want to present a grown-up space.) I don't think I'd leave that tall bookcase in the corner, but instead I'd put the rocking chair there with maybe a little table and lamp next to it. It could be a reading nook. Does the ottoman work as a coffee table?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Blinds Direct Canada
The blinds look like 1'' metal blinds. I would replace the blinds with a Roman Shade its a more modern look and will really give you that pop of color.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:32AM
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First of all, let me say your house has great bones, meaning your house has character with a great staircase, great wood molding and trim around doors and windows. I bet your interior doors are even solid wood! My concern is the lighting and overall effect the carpet has on the room. You want to create a good first impression when guests come through the front door. Are there hardwood floors under the carpet? Also, plantation shutters or even 2" wood slat blinds would help with adjusting the natural light at different times of the day. The sofa placement is better along a wall versus cutting the room in half. The television is fine placed between the two doors, but I would find a cabinet for it so it could be closed off when not in use. From the front door, you don't want people to first see a black box when they enter. Also, if you need a desk in this same space, I would at least consider another chair versus the typical black swivel desk chair. Also, plants can soften hard angles. Baskets that can fit into your existing bookcases help keep clutter under control. Design books that show older homes getting updates but keeping the integrity of the style home will provide inspiration. "This Old House" on pbs can help. Enjoy your diamond in the rough!
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:52AM
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@merngirl: thanks for your compliments. I think so too, this house is pretty and it has character. It just needs a little help. :)
While I wasn't crazy about it at first, I think I'm sticking with the couch by the wall as opposed to having it cut the room in half. Any new comment helps strengthen this opinion.
I will have two chairs by the windows, just not sure what kind yet, because the hubby wants a recliner, so I don't know if we need two matching recliners or can we go for mismatched. We can get the recliner that matches the sofa, but then will the other chair (no matter what it is) look out of place?
I also have two bookshelves that I don't know where to place yet. You can see one of them in my second picture above, I had each one of them at the corners with the windows in between, but I don't think it works. And to make things harder, today they delivered my daughter's dollhouse that has to find a place in here, too! hehe
I'll have a new picture up soon (when I'm done building the dollhouse)
Thanks again,
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 10:48AM
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@merngirl: You inspired me! Thanks! Your comment about not having the black box as the first thing people see made me try something else, and I think I like it! Considering I'm not planning on buying a different cabinet right now, I worked with what I had: my two bookshelves. Now, having the tv at a bit of an angle, to face the sofa better, doesn't feel as weird because its back is "protected" by the bookshelf.
Doesn't this look a little better?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:16PM
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I think you are doing great! Trial and error is the way to go. You might try a plant on top of the tall piece and bookshelves can be for books, decorative items, and small framed pictures. Mix it up with a mix of textures. pottery, even architectural pieces like an old finial. If you sew, find a fabric you like and make some pillows for the couch. Pattern on one side, and then use a solid (less money) on the back side. Sometimes you might find decorative pieces in other rooms such as the kitchen or bedroom, and by bringing them into this room, it might provide inspiration. Such as an interesting bowl from the kitchen(like pottery or stoneware) could hold a plant. Prints from another room may work to fill a space on the wall, maybe above the couch. Looking good.
    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:36PM
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