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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monday's Method

Welcome to Monday's Method. I received an email from Sari with a dilemma ~


I found your website through your guest blog entry on
Brooklyn Limestome about advice arranging furniture. My fiancé and I are interesting in purchasing a house but how to arrange furniture in the living room, a very important room, is quite puzzling to us.
This is the living room-

You can see if you make a right (I think you mean left) at the front door, it leads to the living room with the fireplace. Behind the single black chair is a doorway leading to the basement. To the right of the TV is another doorway that leads to the kitchen area. We don't want to block anything off. How can we possibly arrange the furniture to access the television in the best way? We feel like any way would be awkward/leave empty space or have a far view from the television. We like L shaped sectionals where the most people can view the TV at an optimal angle. The dimensions are 23’ x 11’. We want the fireplace to be a focal point, perhaps hang a flat screen over it, but we don’t want to block things off.

Can I please ask you for your expert advice???? What do you think??

Sure, you can ask for my advice!

First let me say that this is wonderful space. So open and clean. It appears very spacious but I see your dilemma. When I look at this, I immediately see that the windows are not symmetrical, which may have posed some problems for the current home owner's furniture plan. I am thinking that the portion of the ceiling that is lower is functional in some way or why would it be there. I am assuming it needs to stay. The second thing I notice is that the fireplace seems disproportionate to the room as a whole and the style is fairly traditional with contemporary architecture. I know, I know... you asked about furniture arranging but it is all related for me.

When I have a long narrow room like this, I think of zones but a bit of construction would need to be done to make that work given the fireplace and television is your aim as the focal point. Let me just say upfront, I think a bit of construction is needed for either of my suggestions but please don't hyperventilate. A home is worth a bit of elbow grease especially a beautiful home such as this.

Here is one option (a caveat ~ I was not sure where the door was next to the existing television so I drew it two ways ~ it was too late to email as I worked on this late at night)...

In this option, I have removed the fireplace from the long wall altogether and repositioned it along the wall opposing the large window. The striped area indicates a build out to accommodate a fireplace consistent with the architecture and your flat screen television. In this option, you have your L shaped sectional and another seating area with swivel chairs for extra guests. The chairs may be moved closer to the TV for the big game or movie night but should return to their original placement afterwards. If this is how the door is positioned (above), I would extend the build out the width between the door and the wall for a clean line.

If the door to the kitchen is positioned like this, I would do a build out as such an add sconces. This option accommodates a 42" television. Note, the windows remain the same. You could make them symmetrical if you are going through the construction to move the fireplace. It seems the right window must stay put given the jut from the ceiling so the left could be moved further left, equal distance from the outer wall as the right one. This would give you a lovely wall expanse for art. I have moved the window in the next option....

If you would prefer this orientation, that's fine too. This has less seating available but it also is an interesting look. This is a long sofa finishing with a chaise. I did move the window to be symmetrical providing us with a great wall expanse for a linear fireplace. The custom cocktail table would be 18" high; the fireplace would be placed at 19" ~ just above the table; next, the television would be placed just above the fireplace. This will keep the TV at eye level when seated. Here is why you may choose this option ~ it accommodates a 52" television. Aaahhhh!! "I see" says your fiance, "more screen for me." Hmmmm??!! Gives you something to think about. This option would also require a build out but I'm not sure how much. I drew the largest build out it could need and the design still works well.

In either option, you can see the door swing in the drawing and FYI, there is a three feet traffic path when the basement door is closed. An ample walkway.

No, I didn't do this drawing out of thin air, I specify furnishings of course.

The sofa/sectional in either option is the Garland by Zagaorli. I love, LOVE this sectional. It is beautiful, transitional style and very comfortable.

In option one, there is a corner sofa and a love seat. In option two, there is a sofa, armless love seat, and a chaise.

Option one also boasts the Joseanne Swivel chair from Hickory Chair; and case goods from Worlds Away.

The second option has the Lorenzo Cabinet from Hickory Chair opposing the large window and the round straight lined side table above.
But what about the focal point Paula Grace??!! What about the fireplace?? Yeah, that is the best part!

For option one ~ The Crystallo (with or without decorative surround)...

For option two ~ Linear...

These fireplaces are from Napoleon. They do not require outside venting. All they need is gas and electricity. The beauty is that they may be placed at any height such that if you place a television above it, the television can be a eye level when seated. No neck ache, no tilt down mechanism required. I also think they are more in line with the architecture of the house you are considering. The furnishings in the fireplace pictures is quite contemporary. The sectional I choose is less so, a bit softer but still clean lined.

So there you have it Sari! I hope this helps you with your decision process. Let me know how it goes.

If you have a question about this or another topic, leave me a comment. If you would like advice about something specific to your space, send me a couple of pictures at paula@paulagracedesigns.com.

I'm linking with these lovely ladies ~ all fabulous parties worth a long leisurely visit.

Monday ~
Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday
Little Red House Mosaic Monday
Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday

Tuesday ~
A Soft Place to Land DIY Tuesday

Thursday ~
The Shabby Chic Cottage Transformation Thursday

Saturday ~
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

See you tomorrow for Timeless Tuesday!


  1. A wonderful exploration of options for this room. Lucky reader! I like the second option, though the simplicity of the third does appeal to me.

  2. What great advice, Paula Grace!

    I love the third option, personally. Also, the linear fireplace is just too fabulous -- adds such drama to the space, and warmth of course...

  3. Its funny, I don't know any other way than thorough. Its both a blessing and a curse :)
    Paula Grace ~

  4. Great options to consider! I like either of the first two options and love the furniture you have sourced. Your blog is filled with such expert advice - I'm adding you to my blogroll!

  5. Great options, but I think a agree with the others. The simplicity of #3 is pulling me.

    I hope you'll drop by AtticMag this week to tour my home.

  6. Paula,
    WOW! WOW!
    What an awesome response. Thank you so so much for taking the time to answer me so thoroughly. I need to really sit and review all your options and the links, and share your ideas with my fiance.
    Again, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Paula. It's always a treat to see how you tackle a decorating dilemma. The floorplans are a great bonus!

    Thanks for linking up to SNS!
    FJ Donna


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