Monday, November 4, 2013

Living room furniture arranging

I have yet to come up with a good furniture arrangement in the living room.  I'm laying out some options I've been contemplating.

Our front door opens into a diagonal cut-off foyer that steps down into a sunken living room.  The living room is long and narrow, with charmless and detail-lacking windows that need replacing, a brick fireplace that is off-center, and super gross carpet. (The flooring will be a post in itself for later in the week).

The biggest problem, however, is the furniture layout.  The room is adequately functional at the moment, but the furniture layout is less than optimal.  Essentially, there is nowhere to put a television that does not force you to crane your neck to see it, or have the furniture obstruct the fireplace.  Trying to figure out the best furniture placement for this room has baffled me since the day we moved in.

Currently, the tv is in a corner.  The tv is a bit too large for the corner.

The sofa is about ten feet back.  I would like to move the sofa up a foot or two closer to the tv, but this means that the sofa would be smack in the middle of the fireplace, whereas now it just encroaches upon the fireplace about two feet.

Thus, between the sofa/chair/ottoman grouping and the tv exists a six foot chasm of empty space.  Its not the worst furniture arrangement in the world, but it could certainly be better.

For a while I thought perhaps a sectional sofa would solve these problems, but it doesn't.  I discovered that sectional sofas are enormously large.  Most sectionals have a short arm that measures at least 90 inches, and this means that the short arm would block access to the dining room.  Just for giggles I had the Mister move our family room sofa into the living room and I mashed it against the living room sofa to pretend it was a sectional.  And I tried it in every configuration I could think of.  A sectional just won't fit in this room.  Boo.

I see two solutions here.  In both solutions, the large tv that we currently having the living room would move back to the playroom, and that room would become our tv viewing room.  I know that a while back I said we had pared back to only one tv in the house....but....after a few sleepovers where the adults wanted to watch tv while children were playing video games, and a few instances of three children fighting over whether the limited tv time would be spent watching an episode of Yu Gi Oh Zexal or Strawberry Shortcake, we reinstalled the second tv in the family room.  (Now you know my dirty little secret.)

In solution number one, if I keep a tv in this room, it would stay where it is, but I would get rid of the two Expedits along the window wall, and replace them with two long, low yellow Besta Burs that would run under the window instead of blocking it.  I'd also bring the smaller 32 inch tv that we own, instead of the 42 inch one that is going back to the playroom.

I'd hang our Botero on the left side of the window.  The smaller tv we already own would be on the other side of the window.  I would pull our red chair in front of the Bestas, facing the sofa (not blocking the tv).  This allows for occasional tv watching and video game playing but is not the main viewing room.

(Although I haven't painted it yet, I included a black painted fireplace and a painting over the fireplace in the moodboard.  Painting both the fireplace and the painting will happen in November.  The board also contains our current rug, red chair, sofa and a similar ottoman.)

Problems:  1) those Bestas aren't cheap.  I could achieve the same function with Ikea Vittsjo tv tables or a single layer Expedit on its side, but they would not have the visual impact of the yellow glossy Bestas.
2) would I leave the curtains as is? They would be hanging  behind the furniture (or hemmed to the windowsill).  It feels...I dunno, roman shades would work better in that scenario but new 70 inch custom window treatments are not in the budget.

Solution number two: pull the tv out of the living room completely.  This totally solves all my furniture layout problems, because the furniture is oriented around the fireplace instead of the tv.  I can easily put two sofas facing each other on either side of the fireplace, or a sofa facing two chairs.

In this instance I'd put an Ikea Vittsjo shelving unit painted yellow to the left of the window, and the Botero over a bar cart to the right of the window.  (The wall to the right of the window is seven inches shorter than the other side, so there isn't enough room to do symmetrical Vittsjo units on either side.)

On the bright side, this option costs us only the cost of a Vittsjo shelving unit and a bar cart from craigslist that I haven't found yet.  It is cheap and easy.

Problems: this is sort of a dumb problem, but this means that this room would become a formal space that we never use.  We aren't big entertainers since moving to California, since we can count our friends on one hand.  So...pretty but unused space, seen by people who come to our front door.  We use the garage entrance so we'll never look at it.

Second problem, I'd really like to have a second television. I realize this is a first world problem; feel free to roll your eyes at me.  I think that if I went this route, we would sell our second tv which is 32 inches, and buy a tiny tv that would fit on one of the bottom shelves of the Vittsjo.

Hold on! In searching the Ikea website for other long, low options, I saw this:
I could put the tall shelving to the left of the window and run two of the tv tables under the window, so the unit stretches from one end of the wall to the other, and the smaller tv would go on the far right side of the window.  I'd spray paint the Vittsjo (probably yellow) before putting it in.  This has possibilities and is affordable!  The furniture remains with the sofa on one side of the fireplace, and a chair on the other side of the fireplace facing the tv.

I'm still stuck with the "do I leave the curtains behind the furniture" problem with this option.

Also this house is turning into an Ikea showroom.

Breaking news: the Mister has vetoed the third option.

Your thoughts?


  1. hang the tv over the fireplace?

  2. As Jesst suggested, hang the tv over the fireplace. (Not usually a fan of this, but I see it as a really good option here.) Is the brick real or just façade? If real, perhaps you could enlarge the mantle for the cable box or dvd player. Not the prettiest, but certainly a solution.

    1. Its a good idea that we have considered, but we don't want the tv over the fireplace because a) it is really high and uncomfortable to watch, b) the fireplace is real brick, so it would be a pain, and c) that means that in order to watch tv without turning your head to the side, such as if we have a sofa and two chairs facing each other on either side of the fireplace, the sofa will have to face the fireplace and block off entrance into the room from the foyer.

  3. Place the sofa opposite the tv mirroring the same angle. Place a chair to either side of the sofa. This allows for viewing tv as well as fireplace.

    1. on a diagonal? The back of the sofa would be facing the stairs?

  4. If there is room place a narrow sofa table at the back of the sofa.

  5. Nothing wrong with the back of the sofa facing the stairs, especially if it improves the use of thte room. Can you fit some sort of sofa table behind it?


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