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nadine33_gw

Who can help with this design challenge? (pics)

nadine33
15 years ago

I just found out I will be hosting Christmas this year and it's going to be a full house. Sounds like 12 adults and 3 children. Our house is not very large (about 1400sq ft) and I need to figure out how to squeeze as many people as possible into our living room. Our living room is long and narrow (about 20' by 10'). We currently have 1 couch and 2 recliners in there. Since this is our only living space we also have all the kids toys. The toys will go into the basement for the festivities but I"m trying to figure out how to get/arrange furniture to accomidate this # of people. We've been thinking of at least getting a new couch for a while and maybe rearranging the room so this is a good incentive. Of course some of it will be temporary for the day but I would like to see if there's someway to make better use of the room for longterm. (toys will come back in). YOu'll see we currently have our toybox in front of the fireplace which is fine as we don't actually use the fireplace. I Love the idea of a sectional but it just doesn't seem to work. ANy ideas on arrangements for short term Christmas hosting and/or longterm better use? Just FYI, there is an electrical heating element below the large picture window.

THe dimensions of the room:



Pics of the room (please ignore the messiness):







Comments (61)

  • ronniroo
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think that two chairs facing the fireplace would be a good use of that space, because otherwise she's just gonna have a bowling alley of furniture with no way of enjoying the fireplace. I agree that who ever designed the space was not thinking of furniture placement at ALL. If she has two chairs with a table in between, that would be about 6-6 1/2 feet, which would leave her about 3 feet on the end to walk past which should be sufficient, especially considering that the end of the chair isn't facing a wall, but is going into an opening. Because it is so tight, I think she should definitely try out the different arangements with the furniture she has, adding dining room chairs, etc. to mark positions of proposed additions so she can make sure it'll work before buying the pieces. And, I'll second the poster above who said to make buying the tv and getting the armoire out of the room the priority (and the added benefit of great tv viewing for bowl games, LOL).

    ~~Veronica

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here is one layout option I have mocked up using a free online space planner (there are dozens out there to use).

    {{gwi:1776263}}

    The room size and door/FP/window placement is to scale. The furniture is based on my visual estimates of the pictures posted.

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  • linley1
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Candice Olsen on Divine Design did a makeover on a room almost identical to yours. It didn't originally have a fireplace like yours so she added one with a flat screen tv above and built-in cabinets on both sides to add storage. She uses a large ottoman which can be used as seating or coffee table. It may not work exactly with your current furniture but might give you some inspiration if you want to buy some new pieces in the future. Here's some more information and a slideshow of pictures on the living room.

    Before

    After

    Floor Plan

    Her floor plan is a little different than the after picture. It shows one round ottoman and two dining chairs brought in for additional seating.

    {{gwi:1776266}}

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here is another reason why seating in front of the FP (of any kind) is a bad idea: Even with two chairs similar in size to the ones already in the room, there would be precious little space to get around.

    {{gwi:1776267}}

  • organic_smallhome
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great job, Miles! Looks so cozy, and not at all crowded. :)

    Good find, linley! I'm not a fan of Candace Olsen's, but that room really does have almost the same space issues as Nadine's.

  • happytobehome
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with Ronniroo. My living room is close in size to yours (20 X 13), with the fireplace, the window and doorways in the exact same places. We have divided the room into two areas. We have an armchair on either side of the fireplace facing out into the room. We have the couch centered in the room, across the 13' width of the room, facing the fireplace and the armchairs, with a chest behind it for storage. The second area is behind the couch by the foyer entry. In that area I have a piano on the wall where your armoire is, with a small chair next to it, and a small table and chair across from the piano on the window wall. When we have lots of guest, we pull in extra chairs from the dining room.

    I agree you may want to consider smaller scale furniture. I wouldn't crowd your home with furniture you don't need on a day to day basis. Unless all your adult guests are elderly, they probably wouldn't mind pulling up a big floor pillow to lounge on. They are fairly inexpensive at Target, or if you sew, you could make some.

    Good for you for getting a head start on this project. Good Luck!

  • mcu12
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think the Candice Olsen floorplan is the way to go in this room. The TV can go over the fireplace on a tilting mount. Some shelves on either side of the fireplace should be able to hold the cable box, dvd player, movies, and maybe even some large baskets to hold the toys in. The only things I'd change from Candice's layout are changing out the coffee table for a leather ottoman - durable, safe for kids, and provides extra seating. Also the corner she has a desk in maybe consider a console table that you can store 2 upholstered/leather cubes under for even more seating - they make them where the tops come off so maybe additional toy storage in there.

  • greenthumbfish
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with Miles, seating in front of the FP would be a traffic pattern disaster (yer jus' kiddin', right OS?)! The Candice Olsen room would work but again, you'd have to place the TV over the FP, and I'm still not sold on that idea in any room.

  • donnawb
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would see if the armoire would fit in the corner where the beige chair is. I would recommend that when you do buy furniture that you buy something that isn't so bulky and more streamlined. Don't think a sectional will work in that room as it is rather narrow. CO plan is nice but I don't see it with kids and toys going around as they like a place to play on floor. As far as Christmas I would pull up the dining room chairs as needed. My family room is larger and I don't have room to sit 12 people so I pull in the kitchen or dining room chairs.

  • dgmarie
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think you need to plan for seating 12 people at once--except to eat. I was wondering initially if your questions referred to where you were going to seat them for dinner, not for entertaining them.

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    nadine: what are the footprint dimensions of the armoire?

  • sarschlos_remodeler
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We have a room of very similar portions to yours. We have it set up with a sectional sofa against the long wall that is blocking the view of the fireplace (which is fugly, so no loss there) and facing the entertainment center. We then have a console behind the sofa (facing the fireplace), with a reading chair/ottoman next to the fireplace. When we have company, we pull the reading chair and another chair into the seating area, or add a small game table and second chair near the fireplace.

    This has given us an entertainment area and a quieter game/fireplace/reading area. If it doesn't look too much like a war zone, I'll try to take pictures when I get home from work to show you what I mean.

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was thinking along the same lines as sars':

    {{gwi:1776268}}

  • Mimou-GW
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In our former home, our family room was a little small. We added storage to both sides of the fireplace and purchased an ottoman that opened up and served as a toy box and extra seating. I couldn't find very good pictures but this gives you an idea.

    ottoman:
    {{gwi:1776269}}

    cabinets and shelves above
    {{gwi:1776270}}

  • mjlb
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How about a sectional like this?

    Arranged thus (same layout as other replies)

  • straitlover
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My LR is almost the same dimensions as yours, so I know how samll an area it is and what a pain it is to arrange! I agree that long term, the armoire needs to go. If the funds are not there right now for the flat screen TV, I would just plan on moving the armoire out of the room completely (along w/ the TV!) for Christmas, unless you're planning on watching sports or a parade as part of the festivities. I would just borrow or rent some folding chairs (or if you are comfortable in doing it, ask the relatives to bring their own).

    I can't wait til the day comes when I can get a flat screen! Sam's Club has a 32 inch for $529 that I would be buying if I wasn't starting back to school next week (need the $$ for tuition/books/etc).

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow everyone. Great ideas! I'm still sorting through them all to see which ones might work. I did a quick measurment on the armoire, it's 41" wide and 21" deep. I actually got it off craigslist about a year ago, so I'm not super attached to it, I just liked the idea of being able to close the doors and hide the TV! ANd the storage below was nice when most of the kids toys would fit in there. After last X-mas I had to buy the storage cubes cause we had no place left to put them.
    I'm not a huge fan of putting a TV over a fireplace, mostly because I can't really envision a couch across the room and I would prefer the couch facing the TV.
    DH and I are going to try and mock up some of the ideas tonite and see hw it goes. While I love the look of the CO room, I don't think that will work while still having to find a place for the kids to play. I do like the idea of incorprating some nicer storage pieces though.
    THere is hardwood under the carpet and someday I plan to pull it up, but right now the kids still like to wrestle, and play on the floor and the carpet and padding are being kept for safety/comfort for now.

  • sarschlos_remodeler
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Miles -- that is pretty much the exact set up we have (with the minor exception that we have our reading chair in other corner next to our entertainment center because of the traffic flow and a corner window set up next to our fireplace (hard to explain; think Brady Bunch 1964 California split level with weird gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows in the corner of every room). The one thing I have thought about is using a sectional with a chaise on the other side so that it doesn't block the view of the fireplace so much, but ... I like having the console table there to set a drink and our fireplace is OOGLY, so I'm in no hurry to replace my sofa. :)

    Here's what I absolutely hate about that Candace Olsen room (and she does this all the time): it's a TV room with the TV in an awkward location with no furniture facing it. The end result is that it is a TV watching room for 1 person, who must then lay down on the sofa and take up the majority of the seating, and the TV is too high to watch comfortably anyway. Blech.

    Singularly BAD layout for a busy young family. Where's the spot you can sit around the coffee table with your cheerios watching Spongebob? This would be a deal killer in our house.

  • terezosa / terriks
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's what I absolutely hate about that Candace Olsen room (and she does this all the time): it's a TV room with the TV in an awkward location with no furniture facing it. The end result is that it is a TV watching room for 1 person, who must then lay down on the sofa and take up the majority of the seating, and the TV is too high to watch comfortably anyway. Blech.

    I totally agree.

  • organic_smallhome
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've noticed this myself about her rooms. Not a big fan of hers, in general.

  • les917
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You mentioned moving the toys to the basement. Instead of redoing the LR for a temporary situation, would it be possible to use the basement for the holiday event? Put tree down there, rent or borrow some folding chairs and be sure the floor is covered with a comfy (but not expensive) area rug so that the kids and even some adults might sit there.

    Then you can expand your eating tables into the upstairs LR so that people can eat and relax, with a spacious and comfortable space that allows them to linger at the table.

    I would not make major furniture decisions based on a one-time hosting event. Your family still uses that space for play and mostly child-oriented activity. Leave it be until the kids are a bit older and don't need the floor space.

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Unfortunately the basement won't really work. The set-up is about the same. It is partially finished and it is split down the middle just as the upstairs is, so the "finished" room is basically the exact same size as the living room (just without the hallway) and it has a very low drop ceiling. Half the flooring is carpet half is vinyl and there's only one overhead light. Also since we don't have a garage it's mostly used for storage. We did clean it up a bit recently so we do have some space to put toys, but that's it. Definitely not a hang-out area for a holiday. I agree not to make any major decisions just for one day, but I was trying to figure out a way to make better use of the room in general. DH and I toyed around with the ideas, but it doesn't seem like we're really going to end up with anything better. Even removing the armoire doesn't really add much to the room. BUt I do love the idea of cabinets flanking the fireplace. Don't know if you can tell on the pics though, the fireplace itself doesn't stick from the wall much, would it look odd to have cabinets sticking out siginificantly further then the actual fireplace?
    I agree whoever desgned this house wasn't thinking straight! Our upstairs is almost as bad (huge landing, tiny bedrooms). Funny thing though, there are a bunch of houses set up just like this all over the place. I keep checking the real estate listings for inspiration, but have yet to find someone who knew what to do with this space. :)
    I do like the last set-up from miles, using the chaise but then we actually end up with less seating for normal TV viewing.
    I need a new house!!!!! Unfortunately we bought at the height of the market in '05 and in one of the most expensive areas (northeast) so we're trying to do the best with what we have.

  • neesie
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It's just family, relax and enjoy them! Beyond moving clutter out of the room and possibly having a zone in the kitchen for food and drinks, I'd leave it as is.

    My house is also small and I host an annual Mother's Day Brunch, Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. I have an awesome outdoor set-up but living in the frozen tundra doesn't help!

    My mom used to host events in her basement. It was not totally finished but we weren't totally uppity relatives! It was okay if a drink got spilled! She always had a tree up and a tree down. I think it is more important how you act and react with your guests and make them feel comfortable. They might not feel comfortable on a new couch in a newly redecorated room. Or they might not notice at all!

  • determined_sammie
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When you say the fireplace doesn't stick out very far...would it be possible to remove the fireplace mantle, and move the armoire in front of the fireplace without it looking silly? Not sure that would give you any more space, but it is an interesting concept....

    I love the angled sectional option

  • mcu12
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think its so much your current layout thats a problem as it is the scale of your existing furniture - the sofa, recliners & armoire are overwhelming your room. That is also why I wouldn't go with a sectional, it would be one large piece of furniture in an otherwise small room and it wouldn't provide any more seating than a long sofa and a couple chairs. If you got smaller-scale furniture I think the layout would be fine. The furniture in the pictures is Ikea just because their furniture seems to have a smaller footprint, but I just included it to give you an idea...

    {{gwi:1776273}}{{gwi:1776274}}

  • susieq07
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Put the Armoire across the corner where the toys are now, get rid of bookcase at side of fireplace, makes room for another chair, then you should have room across from couch for at least a loveseat.

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    {{gwi:1776275}}

    susieq- the problem with putting the armoire in the corner is that it creates a hazzard walking into the room. The corner next to the FP is simply too small to put even a modest chair and the space between two seating pieces flanking the room is less than 4' with no one really facing the TV comfortably.
    (My picture is done to scale using nadine's measurements.)

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wish I could start from scratch, but we don't have the $$ to completely re-do all the furniture, just maybe a couple of pieces.
    Funny, I got the armoire because I Thought I needed a larger piece of furniture for the long room...I figured a small piece or just a TV stand would look too small in it. Granted I hadn't given thought to a flat screen TV at that point either. We could always put a chair in forn of the bookcase for the day no matter what.
    I will say if we do decide to move I will totally stage the room like the CO room and just forgo the TV. That's the best a long narrow room has ever looked.

  • sarschlos_remodeler
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What other "public" living areas do you have in your house? Is there somewhere else you could put the TV and make this room a conversation/game type room?

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, in the long run, you need to embrace the bowling alley. In this mock up I DID put the Flat Panel over the open-arm couch. It would be beautifully framed so as not to appear too tv-ish while not in use. You then have a conversation area for 8-9, more if you bring in some folding chairs. While in use as the TV room you have direct viewing for 5.

    {{gwi:1776276}}

  • miles661
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Of course now I'm just having fun.....

    {{gwi:1776277}}

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    no other space in the house! The kitchen/dining room as shown is directly behind the LR and that's our whole 1st floor. 2nd floor is 3 bedrooms and bathroom. That's it. I believe the sq footage is a little under 1400. And don't even ask what we paid...I shutter everytime I think about our mortgage cost. The northeast here is just NUTS when it comes to housing prices. My brother just bought a house in Kansas over 2000 sq ft BRAND NEW and it cost him about HALF what we paid.
    In a few years we'll either move or add on. I may even make this room into the playroom if we stay and add on a real family room.
    Just for some perspective....

  • awm03
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ooh! Miles! I really like those last two renderings. They may not help nadine, but the last one would do wonders for my bowling alley LR. I like that concept: "embrace the bowling alley."

  • terezosa / terriks
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well Nadine, perhaps you can comfort yourself in knowing that in California you could have the same sized house for probably more money, but on a lot that is barely bigger than the house itself. (Everything is relative)

  • rhapsdy
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Miles - what software are you using for these mockups? It's great!!! We are about to purchase a home and I would love to play with the rooms some and make mock ups like these. :)

  • susieq07
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's an idea....rent a hall or lrg. room in a restaurant or club! LOL

  • ideamom
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You've gotten alot of great suggestions! I do reiterate though that the huge armoire has to go. It is taking up way too much space. I really like Candice Olsen's design plan for the room similar to yours! Show us the outcome when you have it all ready for christmas guests!

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So we played around with the room a bit last night. We couldn't move everything as the armoire is SUPER heavy and we didn't feel like unplugging all the elements till we're sure how we want things to go. But here are 2 mock-ups we're playing with. This first one incorporates all the furniture we have already. I don't have them printed here, but all the toys move to the end of the room by the fireplace area which is nice as they're all together and it *almost* seperates the room into a living area and a play space.


    This second one gets rid of the armoire and incorporates a flat screen over the fireplace. I added in a storage bench just to "balance" the room off. While I didn't think I'd like it, DH and I pretended to watch TV last night as if it was over the firplace and it really wans't that bad. Especially with the 2 chairs facing that way. The recliners are kind of big and bulky so it isn't the perfect furniture for teh design, but for now it's an option. Especially if we're not sure we'll be staying here long term.

    However, since we didn't move everything last night this is how it's currently set-up. SUre we can't see the TV with that one chair but let's pretend it's a "reading space". It really opens up the kids play space. And we're trying to get the feel of the room and see if it's worth investing in a flat panel TV. I love the armoire though. :(

  • peoniesandposies
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    All of you wonderful KT designers, would you please post some of the links to these online space designers? I feel woefully inadequate and would really appreciate the help.

  • work_in_progress_08
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Our L/R - D/R adjoin in a "bowling alley- type room" so I can relate to your dilemma with entertaining for the holidays. I also understand that you have kids, and this room looks like it is the room you've set up to have the kids' stuff live. Any chance of rethinking the kids' things in the main room used for entertaining?

    When DD was young, toys were stored in her bedroom with the help of great storage setup. Her room was not big at that time, and she had the toys, books as well as the kitchen set up as I see your DD has:)) It is amazing the amount of stuff kids accumulate! At times the L/R would get cluttered during the course of the day, but at the end of the day, the toys and books and such went back to her room. I didn't have a playroom either. Would it be possible to put all of the kids' things into their own rooms? Relocate the bookshelves that flank the fireplace into the kids' rooms?

    May I ask where you put your tree if you decorate one?

    It sounds as though you aren't ready to replace furniture and want to work with what you have. You have gotten alot of responses with suggestions of furniture placement, etc. Once all of the kids' stuff is picked up and out of the room, your room will look a bit larger. I would lose the armoire if you can possibly swing a flat screen.

    Would you consider rehabbing your fireplace into one that you would like to show as a focal point, rather than hide behind a toy box? I have read and seen many rehabs on this forum and for not much money and a lot of elbow grease (you've got lots of time before the holidays), you could have a great looking fireplace and a more streamlined look for your LR.

    When we finally changed out our initial L/R furniture (too large much like yours for the space), I purchased a 7 ft. sofa, two leather club chairs - all smaller scale which makes my LR look much larger.

    I've hosted most all of the family holidays in my home, and for years it was very difficult with the small child and the things that go along with having children. We utilized our foyer area, kitchen island and D/R. You have a very nice kitchen/dining space which I would make good use of. Does the kitchen flow into the LR?

    We still host (I love to do it despite the size of our space), DD is now grown, and while she doesn't have the "kitchen" and the like, she does have lots of stuff (in her bedroom). I do buffet-style set up which works well with a large number of guests and smaller spaces. I now have it down to a science. I set up a drink area in my foyer, hor de ouvers and the like on the island and cocktail table. I've purchased nice folding chairs over the years and pull them out when needed for entertaining. You can rent some folding chairs if you don't already have any.

    In closing, you are entertaining family and/or friends. Make only changes that you are comfortable with. Serve the best food you can, put on some X-mas tunes and relax and enjoy the day. Your guests are going to remember the experience rather than how your furniture is set up.

    Just a few thoughts from the perspective of a parent who loves to entertain despite the confines of a smaller home.

  • lyfia
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can see the challenge and I would only look at getting your room to work well for everyday living and not worry about the people for xmas.

    For xmas I wouldn't worry about having sofa/upholstered chair seating for everybody. For xmas I would just push the furniture against the walls and then pull in the chairs from dining to add more seating. This works just fine and nobody expects you to have a fancy arrangement that would make everybody fit. I'd just concentrate on having a good time and I'm sure everybody will enjoy xmas.

  • susiq
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Occasional visitor to this forum--AND, I can't write a short post! This one is VERY long!:

    As work-in-progress asked: Where do you usually put your tree?

    If you use one, that item needs attention first. Where does it go? What do you move/get rid of to set up your tree?

    I agree w/ everyone: lose/move the Armoire. It could go in the basement or upstairs, either forever, or at least til after the holidays. Hire some local high school boys to move it for you, and you'll have that chore done pronto. Or else, re-sell it on Craig's list and let someone else worry about it. Craigslist and regular retailers are full of alternate (and possibly cheaper) storage pieces.

    If you move it upstairs or down, you haven't lost the piece or the storage, you've just moved it elsewhere!

    Something I don't think anyone's mentioned yet is putting the sofa on the Armoire wall, (w/o the Armoire, of course), and putting the yet-to-be-bought table-top flat screen tv on one of the low double shelving units I've seen at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, IN FRONT OF the Windows. Glare aside, it at least gives you a different option.

    When my kids were small, I once moved our round kitchen table OUT of the breakfast nook, and into the immediately adjacent living room. My toddler twins could better play w/ legos/building blocks on the flat kitchen carpet (egads, but eventually removed), and I could SEE them from my work area in the kitchen. The table ended up just a few feet away from the nook area, in front of the sliding glass doors, and w/ visibility to the TV. Soooo, you may want to do something WAY out of the box, somewhat like one of Mile's drawings: put your dining table INTO the living room!!!

    Move the sofa into your (former) breakfast area, facing the kitchen bar area. (It looks like there's enough room). Let the kids have some of their toys in the breakfast/kitchen area, (but like someone above mentioned, put/keep most of the toys in their rooms, or give some to charity).

    I've seen homes (much bigger, but still) w/ sofas in their kitchen/eating areas and it is SO coooool! Guests and family can sit in comfort and watch you cook/serve. (or panic, depending on your cooking/hostessing skills & prep!) I was even able to do that in my previous home. Looked great.

    Put the (hopefully small) Christmas tree in front of your living room windows. (if you haven't put the tv there.) Center your table in the living room space, and place it perpendicular to the Fire Place wall. (short end of table parallel w/ FP wall.) Starting at your window wall and coming into the room, it would be set up as:

    Window, then tree, then narrow walkway between tree and DR chair, then DR table, then DR chairs on the opposite side of the table (aprox where Armoire is now), then narrow to slightly wider walkway behind those chairs. Once Christmas is over, you could push the table towards the solid wall.

    For daily or Christmas meal eating & floor protection, throw down some shower curtain liners under the kid's area! (Not pretty of course, but WAY practical!)

    I do understand that putting the table AND tree in the living room might create narrow walkways, but for Christmas, at least, it's not permanent. I've been to or seen countless Christmas/Easter functions in TINY dining rooms w/ very narrow walkways, and the guests & family all do fine.

    If you've bought and installed an over-the-fireplace tv by Christmas, then guests can sit at the DR table & watch the TV from there. Clean off the dishes and they can have coffee (or other beverages) on the table. Those that don't want to watch tv can come help you in the kitchen or sit on the sofa in the nook and visit while you clean.

    If you have counter space, (and budget) buy an inexpensive counter-top TV, so the ones in the kitchen can watch the same or different from the other tv fans, but in the semi-privacy of the kitchen.

    If there's a cable/antenna hookup in the basement, let the tv watchers go down there w/ folding chairs to watch games. You could even move one or more of the recliners down there. Football fans won't care if there's clutter and limited seating, as long as there's a working TV!

    And, for REALLY OUTSIDE the box thinking: consider buying one of the outdoor propane heaters and putting it on-in what looks like your deck. Make that deck be a part of the Christmas entertaining areas, too. Add a tree, some lights, some folding chairs, and the heater, and then there's at least a few minutes worth of alternate space to use for you and your guests.

    In general:

    Until you can move or enlarge your home, you can't afford the space-taking-up-ness of large furniture (and big toys for the kids). Just because you bought it (even at a bargain, or at full price luxury retail) doesn't mean you have to keep it. Ikea was mentioned as a place to get smaller furniture, and stagers/designers for small size show-homes get their small furniture from somewhere, so start asking around for ideas.

    Think in terms of the Japanese or Shaker ethic. NOTHING in the home, (it seems!) and work up from there! (Says one of the original clutter queens!). Imagine what you'd toss if you had to move to an even smaller place, and get rid of those things.

    Inspiration and "Ah HA's!" will strike at the most unexpected moment (hopefully well before Christmas!), and you'll have the perfect answer for your situation.

    Good luck and HAVE FUN! Unless your family includes Martha Stewart or people like her in your family, then I'm guessing most families will be thrilled w/ paper plates and an empty spot of floor.

    susiq

  • anele_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The main obstacle in your room isn't the size . . .it's the TV. My own LR has similar obstacles, and I realized that it comes down to decorating the LR the way I want (which would mean moving the TV out or into a corner) or the way the rest of my family wants (which is to make the seating appropriate for viewing TV). We DO have a 2nd room (a small and narrow family room) where the TV would be just fine . . .everyone could view it well . . .but DH says NO to moving it. We have a flat panel, and for me, that really doesn't solve any problems unless you mount it over a fireplace, which to me is generally not ideal for many reasons.

    Anyway, my LR will never be in any magazine, but I am working to make it its best given what I have to work around and my incredibly small budget. I think if you start working on:
    (1) decluttering a bit
    (2) losing the armoire (even if you don't get a flat panel, a used TV stand from CL will be just fine; you can even paint it to get a custom look . . .just make sure to anchor the TV)
    (3) giving a cohesive look with color. You have so many different elements going on in that room, but if you stick to a simple but pretty color palette (I like the green and brown you have going), I think you'll be very pleased.

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the feedback.
    We've decided to try and get a small corner stand for the TV.
    I agree with trying to get a more cohesive look, we stuck with comfort when purchasing the recliners, and the couch was from our previous house where it fit in great with the loveseat. We'll probbaly stick with these for a few more years until the kids are a little better at controlling spills though.
    So we'll be trying out the set-up above (TV in left top corner) so that all the toys are on the fireplace side and all seats can view the TV.

    Here is a link that might be useful: TV stand

  • anele_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Check out Craigslist for a corner stand . . .if it's not an emergency, I am sure you could find one within a month or two that you like for much less.

    As someone with both small children and a small budget, I completely understand why you want to keep the recliners. What I suggest you do is use this time to figure out what you REALLY like, not "Band-Aid" solutions for things you like but don't love. Magnaverde suggests looking through old (really old) design books/magazines to help you see what is truly timeless, so you won't be stuck with things that are outdated within a short period of time. (I think those of us w/small budgets need to stick with timeless!) Visualize your final picture of what you want to see at the end, so that when you see that perfect item at the perfect price, you can get it, slowly creating a room you'll love, hopefully for many, many years!

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So I've been doing a bit more deisgning and Craigslist looking. And I've come up with a new plan and want to see what people think. I've added 2 bookcases on the left side of the room that can hold just about all the kids toys along with books and knick-knacks since they have some height. I've been checking out smaller chairs and like this style from Ikea and have found a couple locally through craigslist to help the budget. I currently still have the armoire for now, but will again consider a smaller corner piece at some point. I also added in a entry bench for additonal storage and seating and also to help conceal the heating element. (it gets super hot and I don't like the idea of my kids being able to touch it. I tossed in a half-moon table to the left of the fireplace cause I coulndn't think of anything else to fill it, but the X-mas tree would probably go there, and maybe some of the kids xtra toys in the meantime. What do u guys think?

  • mjlb
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Definitely moving in the right direction! Love the new chair choice, and the paired tall bookcases will add some needed height to the room. Good luck!

  • robin_DC
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nadine--

    I'm curious--now that the holidays are getting closer, what did you decide to do/purchase, and are you happy with your choices? I found your thread interesting as most of my living room is long and narrow with openings to other areas that have to be worked around (although the fireplace isn't there; it's in our long narrow dining room!).

  • roorezzi
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was wondering the same.. Nadine - what did u do with your room.. I can't wait to see it.

  • nadine33
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Everyone,

    SOrry for going MIA, but X-mas prep kept me quite busy. I don't have a great picture of the set-up but here goes. We did get rid of the armoire piece.We bought a flat screen TV but just put it on our coffee table that we've made into a make-shift TV stand. We put the cube storages on either side and it looks a bit more like an entertainment set-up rather then just random furniture. We kept the couch and chairs the same way as I never got to buying new furniture.
    The christmas tree went in the top left corner.
    Here are a few pics to help describe:
    1. Here's the tree in the corner, the kids table next to that and then the cube storage (the tv is next to that)


    2. More shot of the TV set-up

    3. The basic TV set-up.

    The cubes work so well as storage I dont want to get rid of them quite yet. I know it doesn't look pretty but it holds the kids toys really well. The room was packed at X-mas but we made the best of it. I'm still looking at actual TV stands but haven't found anything I really like yet.
    Hope that helps.....

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