Today is Reader’s Day and Your Decorating Hotline responds to a question about a furniture arrangement in a den. Traffic patterns play a big role in furniture arrangement and especially in a small space as you’ll see.
What Can We Do With The Den?
Dear Terrie & Cindy,
The picture and drawing above is our den. The room is 10’ x 20’, and as you can imagine from the picture, it’s quite narrow. I’ve taken the picture from the kitchen doorway, looking into the room. The door to the backyard is on the left, and it’s the door we use for access to the house. Down that same wall is a huge picture window, probably 9.5 long, which looks out into the back yard. On the right is a fireplace that extends into the room 3’, so it takes up a lot of space. The TV is on the immediate wall to the right of the kitchen doorway.
This is the room we live in; we watch TV, have guests, and sometimes eat in this room. Other than the kitchen, this is our favorite room in the house. We have dogs, and one stays in the house with us, so the tile floor is great!!
We’ve tried a sofa in front of the window, and different chairs/recliners on the far south wall. We now have a small sectional that covers the window & the south wall, but it’s not comfortable, it’s merely serviceable, and it’s already breaking down, after only about a year & a half…
I’d love some suggestions on what we can do with the den; any recommendations would be helpful.
You’re On The Right Track
Freda, you’re on the right track with your furniture placement. You need to keep the traffic pattern uninterrupted to all three necessary doorways – and you’ve been doing that!
When you replace the deteriorating sectional, however, I suggest you select a large sofa centered underneath the window instead of a sectional pushed down into the corner. You’ve got room for an 8′ sofa - so take advantage of the space. In addition to seating more people, this size sofa allows you to balance the weight of the room by having more seating in front of the fireplace (the room’s focal point). Currently it looks like your lamp and end table are centered on the fireplace. The layout below has a chair and part of the sofa taking advantage of proximity to the fireplace.
The only caveat to using a longer sofa is checking to see whether or not you can get it in into the room due to the narrowness of the space. Make sure you can get it in and maneuver it into place before you purchase it! If 96″ of sofa can’t be moved in – select a sofa consisting of multiple modular pieces to solve this problem easily.
Since you use this room and the furniture in it everyday and for so many purposes, make sure you buy a good quality piece of furniture. It should not be deteriorating after less than 2 years of use. My guess is the frame on your sectional was not well made – be sure to check out the construction of the sofa as well as its visual appeal.
In addition to placing the sofa under the window, add a chair to each side of the sofa. I show small scale, 24″ X 30″, chairs on the plan. If you select swivel chairs for these pieces you can easily swing around in the chair closest to the door to watch TV and also have a table at hand for food and drink.
I’ve added a table to each end of the sofa for lamps and provide everyone a place to set a drink or plate. These tables do not need to match – in fact I show a larger table in the corner than by the door.
I also suggest you place two small matching chairs (21-24″ wide) or ottomans on each side of the fireplace. This will help visually tie that side of the room into the furniture arrangement. Plus, when you entertain, you can easily move those two pieces into the conversation area for guests or, if you choose small ottomans, you can use them for footrests when lounging.
Move your coat rack away from the door and things will seem less cluttered and more spacious as you enter. There is room for it on the fireplace wall in the corner next to the chair/ottoman.
You have the arrangement right and the traffic patterns unimpeded - but by increasing your under window seating and moving the end table closer to the door, the weight of the room will feel more balanced, you’ll gain more seating and you won’t have to view the TV from the other side of the fireplace.
Good luck on your redecorating project. Be sure to send photos after you’re done!
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