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Front Door Opens to Living Area: Furniture & Area Rug Placement

6 years ago

Hi! Here's the background on my situation: my husband and I live in one of our city's historic districts- think craftsman style bungalows and brick roads. We had to replace our floors about a year ago, so we took the opportunity to do some painting, organizing, redecorating, etc. My combined living/dining area is still unfinished, however, and I blame that on the weirdness created by my front door literally opening up to the only place to put sofas and other living room furniture. I haven't felt 100% thrilled with any of the million ways I've tried to rearrange that furniture, rugs I've purchased, fireplace looks, etc.


In fact, this issue is the reason we decided to redecorate and get new furniture to begin with; our first sofa was a sectional and WAY too wide for the space. It was so comfy, but it swallowed the room up and basically left us immobilized in that area- my husband SERIOUSLY misses it. A designer we consulted with recommended we purchase two identical sofas and place them parallel to one another with a rectangular coffee table in between.


We followed through with that- I don't dislike the setup... I like the symmetry...BUT, it was nice to be able to sit on the same couch as my husband to watch movies. I've never posted on a forum like this to get feedback, but I'm sick of the area feeling unfinished and not as cozy as it used to be. I would appreciate any suggestions for these few things I am having trouble getting past and can't make decisions on:

  • Living Area Furniture Placement: our original, oversized sectional sofa I mentioned was positioned parallel to the "path" you'd take when walking in our front door, with the front facing the fireplace and the back creating a divide between the "entryway" and our "living area." To say that made the space a little tight is an understatement; the back of the sofa seemed to be in the way when you walked in the house, but if you pushed it closer to the fireplace/TV, you'd be straining your neck to see anything. Because of this, I was very open to doing the two identical sofas facing each other instead... but these sofas are SIGNIFICANTLY thinner and more modern/sleek than our original one... so I don't think it would be as overwhelming in the same position. My question is...is it better to walk into a house and immediately see the sides of sofas or the back of a sofa? We definitely don't have space for end tables if they're positioned parallel, nor do we have space for anything behind a sofa that would face the fireplace/tv. I've considered positioning one of the sofas facing toward the fireplace, replacing the rectangular coffee table with a round one, and doing two big cozy arm chairs on either side of the fireplace, in front of each window. I've also considered sticking with the parallel look, but replacing one of the sofas with two arm chairs. I haven't made any moves on that project because I do honestly like the identical, symmetrical look the two sofas offer. Help?
  • Rugs: I also have had a terrible time coordinating area rugs in this space... not just because I have two of the worst shedding dogs known to man (haha). Every rug I've tried either seems too close to one in another area, causing some serious clash... or weirdly placed and random, making it look bare. I had a runner, but it felt weird next to an area rug under my living area furniture. I had a rug under the living area furniture and under my dining area furniture, but because they're so close together, it feels really busy to me. It's most important for me to have one under my living area furniture... I feel like that makes it very cozy. Where else would you recommend placing one (or not placing one)? And if it's best to have one under both sets of furniture, is it better for them coordinate (made of the same material) as opposed to being different styles? My OCD is strong with this situation haha


Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to offer advice or their personal solutions to similar situations! :) ALSO- please excuse the unfinished fireplace, multiple rugs, two different dining tables, random decorative objects, etc... proof that I have been trying lots of things out! haha.













Comments (21)

  • 6 years ago

    You have a lovely home and a tricky layout! We have a small space and using two sofas facing each other has worked well.... but in your case it seems too tight, especially with the size of the TV. At minimum, you need to figure out how to widen the space that you've allotted for the living area.

    One other point: you need some color! Right now you have dark wood floors, mouldings, and tables, plus dark colored sofas, with what appear to be light grey walls and white dining chairs. The overall effect seems bland. Check out this other thread for some visuals of a craftsman-esque home with great use of color.

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  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Just jumping in the say that my house is set up very much like yours, except that mine is smaller (me entire living room, kitchen & dining are in the 25x12 first floor). Here’s how I handled it, after many permutations.

  • 6 years ago

    I love the character of your home, but as with most homes of the pre-TV age, there's little space for it, given the windows, front door, and fireplace.

    Since it's one open area ---

    Have you tried placing your dining room in the fireplace area? Will your dish hutch fit in the corner where you have art?

    In the dining space, is there room for a large sofa along that window wall, including at least one end table? Will the TV fit on the wall where the hutch is now located?

    The overhead light fixture and fan could be switched-- but not until you've thoroughly tried living in the new layout.


  • 6 years ago

    My first thought was the same as dyhgardens-to switch the LR & DR. It would give you a full wall to place the tv with a console underneath.

    Also, you didn't mention this......but, the black trim around the windows & FP seems to chop up your space. Have you thought about changing it to your baseboard color?

  • 6 years ago
    Thanks for the helpful responses everyone!!!! promise im going to add color when I figure out the area rug, decorative pillows, and furniture- I dont even have any of our true decorative items out or any other means to make some nice colors pop. I am definitely not opposed to the window frames being white again if it would help, but I do like the doors black- would that still work? Also, I have definitely always thought about switching the setups and yes, the furniture would definitely would switched up. Do you think it’s weirder to walk in to a dining area first then living area?? Or not necessarily? Because I would say that is probably the idea that is resonating with me most right now. Also, any thoughts on the area rugs? Do I need one in both spaces? Or if I switched the spaces, could I do a runner from the front door, nothing under the dining table, and then a colorful oriental-Esque one in the living area? Thanks again for helping me!!
  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Love your house. I like the dining area switch idea very much. When you walk into the house, your eyes immediately looks to the back of the house. I don't think it would be odd to see the tv area there.

    I'd probably do a rug in both places. What you get depends on how you want to place your color and pattern through the space. I think I'd do a natural rug and runner in the fireplace/dining area and the oriental in the living space. The pattern of the rug will help draw the eye to the living area.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ha! I was going to suggest switching the dining room with the living room area! We did that (house is a different style, but dining room was small for extended, relaxed meals). Love it and love having a fire there when we have people over or if I am just drinking my tea and reading the Sunday paper at the table!

  • 6 years ago
    Stay tuned!! I’m going to move some stuff around with the new suggestions and would love a tiny bit more feedback about the new arrangement! I appreciate the responses, again. This has been more helpful than the designer we consulted with a year ago lol
  • 6 years ago
    Oh man- switching the two areas was an amazing idea. Don’t mind the mess- I am cleaning the sofas and the floors (parts that have been blocked off by furniture for a while) and obviously still need an end table, round coffee table/ poufs, rug, and to setup my decor etc. but just wanted to show the general outcome. Tv isn’t up on the wall yet but i ordered the nice mount that swivels and tilts. Now I’ve got a nice four foot walkway from the front door through to the back of the house. It looks so much bigger and the living area space is so much cozier. The hutch definitely looked better cornered, so it is blocking some of that window... but I can still access the blinds and it’s a window that faces the spot where we park our cars... so not that great of a view anyway! Haha. I appreciate all the suggestions and am so glad I decided to post on here :)
  • 6 years ago

    Can the hutch fit between the two windows, where the mirror is, now?

  • 6 years ago
    Carrie it is just slightly too big- so it won’t slide back far enough to fit between I thought about moving the hutch to a space in the kitchen or using as pretty storage/display in the guest room?
  • 6 years ago

    Yeah, I would not keep it blocking the window. Even without a nice view out that window, it doesn't work there. I'd move it to where it fits - and you can use the storage.

  • 6 years ago

    Everything looks great but I agree with Carrie, the hutch just doesn't work in that corner.

  • 6 years ago

    Do you absolutely need a second sofa? I’m not crazy about the sofa facing the kitchen. A couple of chairs in place of the second sofa would also make the area seem more spacious.

  • 6 years ago

    I'd angle the two sofas in towards the center, or put the other sofa facing the window, thus opening up your dining area to the living area. Also put the hutch between the two windows to bridge the two areas.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    wonderful trade of space. I think if you paint the casing trim around the windows you can leave the doors black. It would help the areas feel as one.

  • 6 years ago
    Thanks for the feedback! I’m going to keep working on it this week and will post more updates based on these suggestions!
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Lovely space:) Usually with cowhide rugs, you want to support them with a base rug. Can be plain, sisal rugs are commonly used. So that people are not tripping walking by or get caught up walking over the rug. It also keep the rug in place when you're getting up from the table/coming back.

    For cozier space you're looking for: add tall greenery in the corner, medium size artwork on the wall by china cabinet on either side to make wall look "fuller". I have a great vendor that sells affordable decor and artwork if you're looking for any. Better selections than HomeGoods in my opinion, although I love HomeGoods lol. Hope that helps!

    -Liv.

  • 6 years ago

    bbcio, glad you found a solution. I have a similar bungalow, 1910, and my solution was to kill my TV. I have one in my bedroom, but haven't turned it on in a couple of years. I doubt I can even find the remote. ;-)

  • 6 years ago
    In case anyone who gave me any previous advice happens to see this, I just wanted to say thank you again! I haven’t posted follow up pictures (but I will)- just wanted to find the right rugs and get everything done first. I work full time so have been finishing the look in my spare time... and absolutely love it. I did end up painting the window casings back to white (but leaving the doors black) and between that and the new layout, the whole area feels so much bigger and brighter and happier. Posting on here was a very positive and productive experience, and I hope if (okay- when) I post again about some of my other rooms, you’ll jump in to give me some awesome ideas!