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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently bought a cottage and I LOVE all of it -- except the living room! Unfortunately, the living room is the dead center of the house and the true "heart of the home" so I really need to make it work.<br><br>
Part of the problem is we don't have a family room or a sunroom (we do have a deck, but it's not closed in and too cold to use in the winter) and we have a combined kitchen / dining, so the living room has to work on many levels and be 1) child-friendly 2) acceptable as a "sitting room" 3) functional as a media center.<br><br>
Anyway, here are some photos and I welcome any and all input! (Oh, and you can see we're still in the midst of decorating and I didn't bother tidying this morning as the kids and I are all sick and I'm just not up to it at the moment.)<br><br>
One side of the room is the main thoroughfare of our house so I've just lined it with books and really don't want to put any furniture there. I love the library effect anyway.<br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08983_1_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08983_1_1.jpg</a><br><br><br>
The opposite side of the room is a bank of windows, and then this weird diagonal corner wall where an old fireplace has been bricked up. Due to the angle of the space and the mantel over it, it sort of demands to be at least a modest feature as it looks strange when we just try to ignore it and put a chair there or something. So I put this cabinet there. It houses the TV (I don't like looking at technology) and I use the top for fresh flowers and candles. There's actually about 4 feet between the end of the sofa and the wall, so I'm thinking I might put a desk there that we can use as an end table as well? Or I could put an armchair at a right angle to the sofa? Or take down the curtains and put some kind of low kid's craft or toy table / window seat / bookshelf?<br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08982_1_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08982_1_1.jpg</a><br><br>
Here's the wall you see when you enter the room from the front of the house. We put the sofa there as it's a big sofa and has a lot of visual weight. So if I put a desk there as well, it would be on the right. And the door on the left leads into our kitchen.<br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08980_1_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08980_1_1.jpg</a><br><br>
This last shot shows the 4th wall, which currently houses 2 bookcases with all our CDs and stereo / DVD player. I should add that the only power outlet in the room is here, so anything else is running on very long cords!<br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08981_1_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08981_1_1.jpg</a><br><br>
Now as you can see, there's currently a big chunk of floor space in front of the coffee table. I wanted to put a 2-seater there, but there's not enough space as the end of it blocks the TV from view. I did have a single lounge chair there, but when I drew it up to the coffee table, it seemed to be blocking up the whole room. So then I pushed it back near the bookshelves and it looked lonely, and there was nowhere to put down a drink or anything.<br><br>
So I'm trying to figure out what sort of seating I can put in there that will 1) allow a person to chat with whomever is sitting on the sofa so we can actually face each other without having to turn sideways and 2) possibly rotate to watch TV. And I'm trying to find an arrangement that will be nice if it's just my husband and I sitting opposite each other, or say, hubby and I on the sofa with another couple facing us for coffee. So then I was thinking 1 armchair, with the desk chair (if we get a desk) brought over? Or maybe a chaise longue parallel to the sofa?
 

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What if instead of against the wall, you put the couch across the center of the room, with the back to your three bookcase wall, creating a hallway of sorts, then got a pair of arm chairs maybe and put then in the corner? Then the couch would have a good view of the tv, but good conversation angle to the chairs? I'm not sure size wise if that would work or not though from your pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. We actually tried that but then one side of the sofa winds up about 3 feet from the TV. It also really boxed up the room and felt a bit yuck having our back to the rest of the action IYKWIM? So I'm pretty sure I want to keep the sofa where it is but the chunk of space opposite is tripping me up because anything I put there is either too far from the coffee table or blocks the TV (in the case of a 2-seater).
 

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What about changing out your coffee table for a couple of upholstered "blocks". If they're not too cushy they make for a good coffee table when need be but can still be comfy to sit on.<br><br>
Or instead of a chaise or two-seater an upholstered bench of some sort. Visually it wouldn't block the tv.
 

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Does the couch fit on the "fire place" wall. I would be tempted to start over and put the couch there just to see. But I like rearranging furniture.
 

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first let me say i think it's looking great so far! it looks like a calm, light, happy space.<br><br>
i think a chaise or upholstered bench opposite the couch, on the other side of the coffee table but not up against the shelves of course, would be perfect. here are some possibilities:<br>
bench<br><a href="http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod1347009&navAction=jump" target="_blank">http://www.restorationhardware.com/r...navAction=jump</a><br>
bench with storage<br><a href="http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2590068&navAction=jump" target="_blank">http://www.restorationhardware.com/r...navAction=jump</a><br>
chaises<br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49839592" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49839592</a><br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79848364" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79848364</a><br><br>
next to the couch, i think even a small desk would feel crammed in there . . .<br>
instead of putting something next to either end of your couch, you could put a long, low, shallow table or cabinet under the windows:<br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70115187" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70115187</a><br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40115023" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40115023</a><br>
and almost use that a desk, or at least to store your "desk" things.
 

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The TV cabinet looks low enough that you could put it under the windows and then put a small chair or loveseat facing it.
 

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What about putting the couch at a slight angle on the wall it's on and the window wall with a little plant behind it? Don't try a total triangle angle but a gentle one. Then would those media holders fit next to it? The room would feel more open.<br><br>
Another idea is to pull the couch off the wall and put the media storage behind it.<br><br>
Would it work to put the couch under the window and put the TV on the other side of the room?<br><br>
You know, it's really nice like it is right now too.<br><br>
Please give us pictures when you're done, I really want to see it.
 

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I LOVE your wall color. You have done great with that!<br><br>
I would put something tall (an armoire?) in the former fireplace location. And put lower doors on the IKEA shelf unit if you can ... for a more formal-ish look. Maybe an "L" shaped sofa, though I have never had much luck with living room sofa selection.
 

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Personally, I'd try to find a way to consolidate and get rid of the smaller of the book shelves. Put the desk where the bookshelves are now and a chair under the window to the left of it.<br><br>
You could also place the sofa at an angle across from the TV. You wouldn't be able to mimic the exact angle as you'd cut off the walkway, but something just askew from placing the sofa across from the window. This would keep the room from being closed off, yet it would make the space more intimate.<br><br>
Or<br><br><br>
Put the larger of the two book cases behind where the sofa is now. Cram the sofa right up against it. You'd lose some storage space where the sofa is, or you could use it to store stuff you only need once or twice per year. Move the smaller bookcase to where the large one was, plop the desk there, and put a chair under the middle of the window.<br><br><br>
It is a rather difficult space, we had one of those once and I never felt right about it.
 

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I think a long low shelf under the window might work. Could you cull your media and use it for a media shelf?<br><br>
If it's any consolation our living room has less walls than yours and one of the two full walls has two windows in it. We just put a couch there under the windows and there's a couch on the one solid wall that adjoins it. The two other walls both have big open doorways in them leaving a small 4ft x 4ft corner where the TV is and a large upholstered rocking chair is kinda half in that corner and half in the large open doorway to the kitchen. We have no bookshelves in there. We used to have two large tall sets, but painted recently and moved them and I'm loving the minimalist look of that room. Those bookshelfs were such clutter magnets so now they're collecting clutter in another room. We have a coffee table left in the living room that often collects clutter, but at the moment is blissfully free of it. (I went on a cleaning spree Sunday).<br><br>
We have Tivo so most of our TV media is stored on it. We do have a few DVDs we just keep elsewhere and the CDs are downstairs in a large built in cabinet there. That's where the music equipment is anyway. DH mostly downloads tunes these days, though.
 

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<a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08981_1_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08981_1_1.jpg</a><br><br>
What happens with a comfy chair where the wicker basket is in this picture?<br><br>
And does the space need to hold toys? If so, a window seat/bookcase would be nice (basically long low bookcase with a cushion attached.<br><br>
Honestly, other than there only being the couch for seating, I think it's fine.<br><br>
(I recently moved from a house where the living room had ONE wall. Sooooo aggravating.)
 

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I love the bookcase wall - it's very good use of that space (sonce it is actually a hallway).<br><br>
I'm less enthused about the media shelves. I think if you took them out of the picture - either put them in another room, or find another way to store media - you would see more possibilities in the room. They do fit well on that short wall, but they aren't totally necessary (if someone really wants to watch/listen to something, they can go elsewhere to find it!)<br><br>
I'm thinking of the couch under the window, the TV where the media shelves were, and a couple of armchairs opposite the couch. I don't think they'd give you the same boxed-in feel as having the couch opposite the window.<br><br>
I love your floors too!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I love the bookcase wall - it's very good use of that space (sonce it is actually a hallway).<br><br>
I'm less enthused about the media shelves. I think if you took them out of the picture - either put them in another room, or find another way to store media - you would see more possibilities in the room. They do fit well on that short wall, but they aren't totally necessary (if someone really wants to watch/listen to something, they can go elsewhere to find it!)<br><br>
I'm thinking of the couch under the window, the TV where the media shelves were, and a couple of armchairs opposite the couch. I don't think they'd give you the same boxed-in feel as having the couch opposite the window.<br><br>
I love your floors too!</div>
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I agree about the media shelves. But then, I hate the look of CDs and videos displayed, it's just a lot of visual clutter to me. I'd figure out another way to store them (enclosed, like in a chest or storage ottomans) and get a couple of armchairs for the room, as described above.
 

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Your living room is actually very similar to mine. I have a loveseat where your couch is. There is room for a small desk on that wall. Ds has his computer there. We have a shelf unit with sliding doors on your bookshelf wall. We keep the toys in it. In the past, we've had a rotating upholstered chair someplace to one side of the loveseat or the other. Right now we don't. We have a rocking chair which is usually facing ds' computer desk but which can be adjusted for conversation. A small table under the windows can be nice for the kids. We have a low dresser with an upholstered top and sides (used to be a built in) which we use for media storage, train track storage, and extra seating. It is either next to the tv where your media shelves are or under the window. We just keep a few books in the living room. The rest are in the bedroom.<br><br>
We don't have a coffee table so we have more floor space. When we have a coffee table, it is actually a kids height table (now this is ds' desk). I mess around with our layout a lot, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks so much for all the replies! You've all given me heaps to work with.<br><br>
As it happens, we had a matching loveseat in another room that didn't fit in the last living room configuration, but we decided to try it again since rearranging the furniture, and now it fits. So that's gone under the window, which I'm very happy about as it means more people can actually sit in the room.<br><br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08985_3_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08985_3_1.jpg</a><br><br>
I really envisage this as a relaxing family space, so I basically just want seats for bums, and little places to set down cups of coffee and whatever. So now that I have 2 sofas, I think I'm going to leave most of the rest of the floor space open and just put a slimline rocker / glider there (where the adorable infant is sleeping ATM!).<br><br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08984_r1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...SC08984_r1.jpg</a><br><br>
And I totally get what everybody was saying about my smaller wall of books / media being a bit of a visual overload, but we used to have all our media neatly hidden in albums and drawers and found that we never listened to any music, so now I prefer having it super accessible. Those boxes in the bottom left corner BTW, have the kids' puzzles and other coffee table activities like matching games / cards etc... So I think I might get a couple of little footstools or ottomans that they can drag up to the coffee table to work there. Although now that we've moved the second sofa out of our study, I have room to put a craft corner next to my computer desk, so I'm hoping we can all hang out a bit there too.<br><br><a href="http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j86/whirlwinder/DSC08986_2_1.jpg" target="_blank">http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j8...C08986_2_1.jpg</a><br><br>
Anyway, thanks so much for all the suggestions -- they really helped me get my head around the space!<br><br>
Oh, and it's winter where I live -- hence the heater and fuzzy blankets. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Your floors are gorgeous,as is the babe in the seat<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
do you have any more pics of your house to share<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">: I love cottages!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Aw, thanks! The shame about the floors is that they are COLD and the wind comes right through them in the winter, so we have rugs everywhere anyway. But yes, I'm a sucker for hardwood myself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
My style isn't tremendously cottagey but I am hoping to finish organizing decorating soon so I can post in the clean-and-neat thread -- right now we still have a bit of a clutter, ironically because we moved from a small apartment into a big house and had no stuff, so it's taking a while for us to figure out how to make the best use of each room IYKWIM?
 

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The addition of the loveseat really helped the situation. I don't mind the wall of media as much anymore, now that you have a complete seating arrangement. (It seemed like the focus was on the media, now that has shifted with the addition of the loveseat, IYKWIM) I think the idea for a small glider or rocking chair where the baby is would be fantastic. Great Job!!
 
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