Heather writes, “We have lived in our house 7 years and we have always hated our living room. It seems like each year we try to change some aspect of it in hopes that it will seem put together and we just can’t seem to do it…
The space has three entries, three windows and an angled fireplace. It is probably 13′ wide by 18′ long – so not a space where you could float the furniture in the middle of the space (although I would love to). Another challenge is that if you center the TV or couch on the wall between the windows and center the alternate piece of furniture on the wall across from it, they do not line up, meaning when the couch is centered on the window wall and the TV centered where it’s at, the middle and right hand side of the couch is actually “centered” with the TV. I have a Type A personality and that drives me crazy, visually.
We have the green couch. We like the style but are tired of the color. We also feel like it may be too big for the space because we can’t seem to have more than one chair in the room or it’s too tight. We have two of the ivory chairs that you see in the picture but we moved one upstairs to give us more space…
Where We Are Right Now
…We would like to maximize what we have but know that may not be possible. We have been looking at changing the rug and coffee table and accessorizing to help bring it together…We have considered getting a sectional and taking out the chair and couch and hopefully the L shape will help deal with the center/non-center issue. Sectionals are pricey and somewhat limiting for rearranging (I like to rearrange once and awhile), but if the room looked great, I could learn to leave it.”
Heather went on to mention that the rug she was considering was the Pottery Barn Bridget rug included in the Nov. 9th post on Your Decorating Hotline, she would like to keep the ivory curtains and blue walls, and said she was wondering about adding orange to the room, maybe even a new orange couch.
I recommend Heather refrain from buying anything new until the furniture arrangement is fully determined. Adding pretty new things won’t solve the problem of awkward furniture placement and the non-centered wall driving Heather crazy. Let’s work first to find a more suitable furniture arrangement and then determine colors and accessories later.
I set three goals for Heather’s furniture arrangement:
- Provide access to the living room from all three entries but do not allow traffic to impede or interrupt the conversation and TV viewing area.
- Solve the issue of the non-centered wall that is such an annoyance.
- Create a better sitting area and view lines to both the TV and fireplace.
The Redesign Solution
This solution meets all of the redesign goals while also providing more seating for Heather and her family. As the floor plan illustrates:
- All three entries in the room are totally accessible and traffic flows around the seating area. TV and conversations will not be interrupted by anyone walking through as they were with the previous arrangement.
- By centering the TV between the two windows and floating the sofa so it is centered in front of it, the room feels much more balanced. In fact, when Heather sits on the sofa she literally turns her back on the non-centered wall so it should no longer be such an irritation. Additionally, when seated on the sofa both the TV and the fireplace can be easily viewed.
- Two chairs now flank the TV. The chair previously exiled upstairs because there was no place for it is back, adding an extra seat and also adding symmetrical balance to the furniture arrangement, along with the two floor lamps suggested with each chair.
I suggest Heather eventually add a small table underneath the window cutout between the living room and the kitchen. Adding a sofa table and a lamp to this area extends the living room space visually, spreads the furniture the full length of the room and also adds visual balance to the fireplace by adding weight under the window. If Heather stashed 2 small ottomans under the table they could be pulled out for extra seating when company arrives or be used to set a drink or snack when seated in one of the chairs.
If this arrangement works and Heather still wants to replace the sofa, I suggest selecting one with a low back so the room and traffic path seem wide open. If an “L” sofa is selected, I suggest the short leg of the “L” or the chaise end of the sofa would work best on the side near the window.
Heather could introduce the orange she inquired about – it would go with the blue since they are complementary colors. It would be best to select an orange with the same undertones as the red in her kitchen since the red is visible through the window cutout.
As far as new accessories, Heather might consider turning the non-centered wall into a gallery and showcase photos (she’s got a nice start with the ones in the photo) and art. She could introduce the orange she likes and also sprinkle it around – on the coffee table, the new sofa table and some throw pillows for the ivory chairs.
I hope Heather’s inquiry inspires you to take a look at your own living room. If it’s not working for you, start with the furniture placement – maybe rearranging things will provide a new outlook.