Living Room Layout Dilemma

layout

I have been trying to figure out how to lay out our new living room for weeks, so maybe you wonderful readers can help me out.  The issue is the shape of the room and the difficulty of having dueling focal points.
LR1
The room has a working fireplace flanked by lovely built-in bookcases and storage.  The plan is to highlight the backs of the two sides of shelving by painting them an accent color.  We might also paint the brick, but that has yet to be decided.
The fireplace would make a splendid focal point on its own, if we were to leave the room as a formal living room.  I really want it to be a space that gets used though, and I know it won’t unless there is a TV in there.  Sad, but true.  (There is no way to run cords around or behind the fireplace, so mounting the TV above the mantel is right out.)
LIVING ROOM
The living room is long and narrow with a large bank of windows that provide the room’s only natural light.
empty room
So, how do I make this long space cozy AND accommodate two focal points? And, to sweeten the issue, how do we feel about putting an area rug ONTO wall to wall carpet?
Discuss.

CHOICE A
One big space, couch in front of windowblocked window
CHOICE B
One big space, chairs in front of windowtv focus no rug
CHOICE C
Same as B, but with an area rugtv focus with rug
CHOICE D
Two separate seating areas, couch partially blocking windowtwo spaces blocked window no rug
CHOICE E
Same as D, but with an area rug
two spaces blocked window with rug
CHOICE F
Two separate seating areas, possible traffic issuetwo spaces no rug
CHOICE G
Same as F, but with an area rugtwo spaces with rug

So, what do you think?  Which of these layouts do you think would work best in The Mad House living room?  Vote in the poll below!
EDIT (9/2013):  Thank you to all of you who have weighed in via the comment section.  I have enjoyed reading each comment and considering your ideas.  I am STILL working on finishing the living room — I know, I know — and will post pics as soon as we get it all sorted out.  The layout we are currently using is closest to Choice C with some chairs switched around, and it works very well for us.

To answer a few of your questions:
  • We couldn’t mount the TV above the fireplace because it was just too darn big.  We have since downsized to a smaller TV, but it is not the wall-mountable variety.  Plus, I like being able to decorate the mantel and have a mirror above the fireplace.  You can see more about our fireplace and built-ins here.
  • We have hit a snag with the plans for lightening up the fireplace brick.  I was in talks with a company to replace the brick with faux stone, but that fell through.  Still working on a Plan B.
  • We are a limited budget family, so replacing furniture or hiring electricians isn’t a top priority.  I am thankful for all your ideas though, because when we do get around to those projects I will want the advice! 
  • When the living room is done, I will be sure to update this post so you can check it all out!
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Comments

  1. KJ says

    DEFINITELY G or F!!! Gives you room for the fireplace and also for sitting. (1) Opens up the window and the walk space. (2) OR you could have the couch facing the fire and against the far wall adjacent to it.

    ADORABLE HOUSE

  2. Lorri says

    Hi, I have a similar layout to my living area with two differences. my built ins are on the other end of the living room and I have 3 sets of window on my far wall; one large and two smaller, one on each end. I feel your pain. We can’t mount the tv above the fire place either, nor do i like that set up. In the built-ins we ended up taking out a shelf and raising another (on the window side of the room) and we put our 55″ tv there. Leaving our lay out similar to your option C, but with a lounge chair as your blue chair. The fire place area, to our backs (ugh) is completely un-done. I’ve never been so lost with a room. After more than 2 years, I’m seriously considering soliciting the help of Steven and Chris!! Good luck. Looking forward to your completed room!

    Lorri

  3. Peggy says

    If you ever decide to mount over the fireplace you can access from the attic and bring wiring down to that area. I’m not a fan of the over the fireplace tv mount, however. My daughter painted her brick fireplace a beautiful cream color and it looks terrific. It took her some time to be brave enough to cover the brick but she is extremely happy with it. And….I have put area rugs over carpeting for years and love the look. Adds a little zing to the room. Have fun with this. Like your floor plan!

  4. Lorie says

    I prefer layout ‘C’. It provides a cozy seating area, (especially w/ the area rug added) yet the room will still have a spacious feel and the fireplace remains your focal point. I’m afraid that a couple of those layouts will have you ‘weaving’ around furniture all the time!

  5. Melissa McCormack says

    I also struggle with a similar problem. I really like option G. I use an area rug on top of carpet. It works well, but must use a rug pad or risk the rug “creeping”. I wish my room had the Windows that yours does. Looking forward to seeing finished room.

  6. Penny says

    So glad I came across this! I have this exact set up, except the window is on the opposite wall. Also, we DO have the TV mounted above the fireplace. I just can not get this room to come out “cozy”. We can not use rugs because we have dogs, and I just can not figure out a good furniture arrangement. Very frustrating. We currently have a couch and loveseat in the room (had a captain’s chair, but moved it to a different room) and two end tables and none of it makes sense.

  7. Marci says

    I know this might be too late, but I would go with option A. From a decorating standpoint you always want your biggest piece of furniture on the biggest wall to balance out the room. You can still then see the fire place, and watch TV at the same time- utilizing the entire room. By having the back of the couch facing the fire place in the middle of the room, yes you are creating 2 extra spaces but you can’t enjoy the fire place as much if your back is turned and vice versa (which section would you utilize more?) You have different focal points depending on where you are entering from if you are coming in the from the dinning room you focal point is the couch and window. If you are coming in from the hall your eyes are going to be immediately drawn to the fire place and built ins. In the future you could also add a soft ottoman (just examples http://www.allmodern.com/Poufs-C503428.html) in front of one of the built ins- this wouldn’t block the built ins completely and would add more warmth and comfort as well as extra seating. -Also love your idea of painting the backs of the built ins with a accent colour, that will help them stand out more, highlighting your different shelf decor and will help tie in the rest of the room.

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Living Room Layout Dilemma

I have been trying to figure out how to lay out our new living room for weeks, so maybe you wonderful readers can help me out.  The issue is the shape of the room and the difficulty of having dueling focal points.

 

LR1

 

The room has a working fireplace flanked by lovely built-in bookcases and storage.  The plan is to highlight the backs of the two sides of shelving by painting them an accent color.  We might also paint the brick, but that has yet to be decided.

 

The fireplace would make a splendid focal point on its own, if we were to leave the room as a formal living room.  I really want it to be a space that gets used though, and I know it won’t unless there is a TV in there.  Sad, but true.  (There is no way to run cords around or behind the fireplace, so mounting the TV above the mantel is right out.

 

LIVING ROOM

The living room is long and narrow with a large bank of windows that provide the room’s only natural light.

empty room

All floor plans created using Icovia’s Room Planner.

 

So, how do I make this long space cozy AND accommodate two focal points? And, to sweeten the issue, how do we feel about putting an area rug ONTO of wall to wall carpet?

 

Discuss.


CHOICE A

One big space, couch in front of windowblocked window

 

CHOICE B

One big space, chairs in front of windowtv focus no rug

 

CHOICE C

Same as B, but with an area rugtv focus with rug

 

CHOICE D

Two separate seating areas, couch partially blocking windowtwo spaces blocked window no rug

 

CHOICE E

Same as D, but with an area rug

two spaces blocked window with rug

CHOICE F

Two separate seating areas, possible traffic issuetwo spaces no rug

 

CHOICE G

Same as F, but with an area rugtwo spaces with rug

 

So, what do you think?  Which of these layouts do you think would work best in The Mad House living room?  Vote in the poll below!

 

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Comments

  1. Jaime says

    My Personal Favorite Is Choice C :) You Can Watch The TV Without The Sun Glaring Off It Or Look Out The Window If You Were Reading Or Just Sitting And Not Blocking Off The Room By Putting The Couch In The Middle Of The Room. That Would Also Make The Room Look smaller

  2. SueP says

    I’ ve struggled withis same layout for 30 years. My solution is to flip between A and C Seasonally. My windows face west and it is nice to sit in the sunny spot on winter afternoons. Once Spring arrives, I turn it all around so I can watch the blooms in my front garden. The design of the room is still bothersome.

  3. Nancy says

    Oh, boy,, I have the SAME EXACT room.. (altho I’m at work and I’m not sure of the dimensions), but it’s the same dilemma. I HATE the couch in front of the window, because it has faded every couch (strong sun all afternoon).. I have tried “C”.. and had it that way for a while, but it just didn’t feel “right” to me..

    I have been in a similar house, same living room, but longer and wider, and the two couches back to back was the perfect solution.. I loved it.. but, alas, my room is not long or wide enough for that.. would love to see what you’ve done..!

  4. Mindy says

    I have the same room also and it has sat open for a year now. My problem is that it’s on a 3rd level so I can’t split the room up cause that’s where my stairs are!

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