I love putting the Christmas decorations up… but I love, just as much, putting them away! By the end of December my eyes are exhausted with the visually tiring holiday decor and look forward to a clean house in January, (well, ‘clean’ is relative, right?!). This year I was inspired to re-think the living room furniture plan as I was getting ready to get the holiday decorations cleaned up.
Back when we renovated the house, we demoed as many walls on the main level as possible without compromising the kitchen or home office.
After the dust settled, (several months later!) and we moved the furniture in, the living room looked like this:
The above view is from the front entry… from the dining room it looked like this:
What was the previous owner’s family room, was changed into it casual dining room once the wall dividing the rooms was gone.
Removing that wall meant it was a clear view from the new dining room through the living room out the front windows.
Initially, the furniture arrangement in the living room seemed fine. (fine, not great) We had a lot of seating in the living room with this arrangement: sofa, recliner, chair and half, plus a chaise.
The sofa and console table was between the living and dining rooms, but it was a vast improvement from how it was:
This camera shot is from the old family room, (which is now our dining room) before we started renovating. It is directly pointed toward the living room. The wall that is stopping your view into the living room, is one we took down. What a huge improvement!
All this to say, I was more focused on building the bones of the room, and not as concerned with all the details of the furniture plan. We were using pieces we already had and I knew we could weed it out later.
That time came this Christmastime when I was sitting in the dining room by the fireplace enjoying the Christmas tree ornaments, (I’ve been working on collecting vintage ones!). It was then I took the time to define what I wasn’t enjoying, the claustrophobic feel of the furniture plan!
Problem was the living room seating pieces each demanded so much space. Of course the sofa is large, but the chair and half and chaise were both almost as large one way or the other, and the recliner wasn’t a wall-hugger style so it needed plenty of room to do it’s reclining thing.
I started by taking measurements of the room as well as the furniture. Then those measurements were transposed to a 1/4″ scale sketch. The furniture scaled pieces got individually cut out so they could be moved around in different spots on the floor plan.
I came up with a plan on paper but really wanted to see how it felt once the sofa was actually in the new planned location. Sometimes on paper it looks ok, but in real life not ok.
Thinking about each of the seating pieces, I vetted which ones would stay and which ones I was willing to let go.
Next, I temporarily cleared the room, setting the pieces I was willing to live without way out of the way. This cleared the palette for judging the new arrangement.
With my floor sketch and measuring tape in hand, starting with the sofa, I moved it to the new spot. (So far so good, loved it!) Next, the chair and half with ottoman, they worked well in their new location too. The chaise stayed out, (sold it) and the recliner went downstairs. Now there wasn’t enough seating LOL. Ha, that was a problem for about 5 minutes… I found a new cute pair of swivel rockers, (Basically brand new but at a great price through Craigslist. Previous owner bought them new, didn’t use them and sold them within a few months!) to fill the seating need, (but not the space!).
Here is how it looks now:
From the dining room, it makes the space feel twice as large!
From the front entry, the living is a little more closed off than it was before, but that’s okay, this a great compromise because the traffic flows from the dining room into the living room naturally, not from the front entry into the living room.
We’re really pleased with the new living room furniture plan. Our main level isn’t huge, and for just the 2 of us, cozy works. But now when we have people over, even the cozy space is more open and inviting. Plus, with the openness toward the dining room, if we do have a more people than seating in the living room, we can easily pull over a dining chair or two for extra seating.
So my take-away tips for you are: (or in other words, learn from my mistakes…)
- Start with a floor sketch drawn to 1/4″ scale, both the room and the furniture, (which should be cut out separate). It’s easier moving pieces of paper than it is moving furniture.
- Leave the door open to changing up a piece or two. Don’t compromise a good layout just to hold on to a piece of furniture.
- Consider the flow of traffic when planning a furniture plan.
- Don’t be afraid to admit maybe the first half-hearted plan wasn’t the best and be willing to re-think the layout… even if you are an interior decorator, (ok, maybe that one was just for me. 🙂 )
Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!
Interested in reading more about our whole house renovation? Here ya go:
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