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Thread: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

  1. #1
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    Default Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    Greetings all. Im replacing much of the furniture in my living room. Because of limitations with the space, there are few options to arrange the layout differently. For example, there are in-floor a/c registers along the wall on the top part of the diagram below. I have one chair in the room, a Baker tub chair from the Barbara Berry collection, that I plan to keep. Other than that, the TV/stand, and an area carpet, everything is to go. The furniture in the connected dining room is RH mission style, but Im less concerned about matching that up.

    I have several questions. First of all, how important is it to match the style of sofa and chair? Im already planning to go with leather for the sofa, but is it important to match the lines, style of feet, etc?

    Secondly, size of the sofa is a concern. I can perfectly lay out on my current sofa with a seating area that is 70 long. Im about 59 tall. If the dimensions of the new sofa are too long, Im concerned that the right edge of the sofa will be too close to the chair. Ive also got a maximum 35 doorway, 33 with the door on.

    Shown in the diagram is an ottoman the size an H&M 036 Meridian Ottoman that would replace a larger existing coffee table. How important is it to match the style and color of the ottoman with other pieces in the room? (e.g. including whether its okay to mix tufted, with non-tufted)

    Some of the H&M pieces Ive considered include:

    Evening 1667 w/ straight back
    Yosemite 5590 (possibly too wide)
    Carmen 5628
    City 9840 (probably too small) and
    City 9844 (probably too large)

    Suggestions for others?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    I think that having styles match in a room with is really more a function of what you like, rather than one being correct or incorrect. In most cases, the only one that will notice it is YOU! Everyone has different tolerances for that sort of thing, so cater to yourself and get what you like. Myself for example, I don't care a bit if styles or feet or nail trim, etc. match - I like to mix it all up (so does my wife). What I pay attention to is scale of the furniture to other pieces in the room and the room itself, rather than specific pieces, and then choosing harmonious colors (not matching, but complimentary). And then also, the art or style of each individual piece. I'm all about spatial proportion, and avoid over-crowding a room or on the other end, using too small a scale in a space. A room should have a pleasant visual flow to it, with adequate room to walk between pieces (minimum 24"). All too often I go into customers homes and they have way too much stuff crammed into a small room - that makes it look cramped and un-inviting. Most people buy too large a sofa to lay on, if a person is 6' tall for example, that's 72" and you don't need 72" to stretch out in, its not a coffin! For most people 64" or so is just fine as your head goes up on the arm with or without pillows, etc.

    As for floor registers, I never let them dictate my furniture layout - there are diverters and deflectors you can fit to them to re-direct the airflow in most cases. In your layout, why not move the chair to the right a bit, or place in that corner? Why have it in straight alignment to the fireplace?
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    I think that having styles match in a room with is really more a function of what you like, rather than one being correct or incorrect. In most cases, the only one that will notice it is YOU! Everyone has different tolerances for that sort of thing, so cater to yourself and get what you like. Myself for example, I don't care a bit if styles or feet or nail trim, etc. match - I like to mix it all up (so does my wife). What I pay attention to is scale of the furniture to other pieces in the room and the room itself, rather than specific pieces, and then choosing harmonious colors (not matching, but complimentary). And then also, the art or style of each individual piece. I'm all about spatial proportion, and avoid over-crowding a room or on the other end, using too small a scale in a space. A room should have a pleasant visual flow to it, with adequate room to walk between pieces (minimum 24"). All too often I go into customers homes and they have way too much stuff crammed into a small room - that makes it look cramped and un-inviting. Most people buy too large a sofa to lay on, if a person is 6' tall for example, that's 72" and you don't need 72" to stretch out in, its not a coffin! For most people 64" or so is just fine as your head goes up on the arm with or without pillows, etc.
    Duane, thanks for the advise. That helps. I had somewhat reached the same conclusion about the sofa size. The fabric sofa I have now has two small pillows, and when lounging on the sofa, my head is often resting on one of the rolled arms. That's one of the reasons I'm mostly looking at rolled arm sofas, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    In your layout, why not move the chair to the right a bit, or place in that corner? Why have it in straight alignment to the fireplace?
    Moving the chair to the right (and by that I assume you meant the chair's right) or to the corner will block the entrance to the foyer. I could move it just a little before it starts encroaching on that path. I can't move the chair back much either without it being in the dining room :-)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    One question I had is about the door on the wall next to the sofa: is it used often?

    If so, you might want to do a mirror image, with the sofa on the wall with the window and the TV on the wall with the door. Otherwise, your guests heading from the foyer out that door will need to step around your ottoman and those coming from the dining room will need to weave around the sofa as well. Like water, traffic patterns usually are the most direct path.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneSLO View Post
    One question I had is about the door on the wall next to the sofa: is it used often?

    If so, you might want to do a mirror image, with the sofa on the wall with the window and the TV on the wall with the door. Otherwise, your guests heading from the foyer out that door will need to step around your ottoman and those coming from the dining room will need to weave around the sofa as well. Like water, traffic patterns usually are the most direct path.
    Thanks Suzanne. There isn't much traffic in my house at all. The front door, and thus the Foyer, is not used extensively. I have a side door leading to a screen porch that connects to the dining room, and that serves as the most used entrance to the house. The door next to the sofa is used pretty often, but mostly only to access the living room itself.

    I have considered your suggestion about flipping the room. What's held me back is that a major feature of the room is the large external window (runs almost the entire height of the wall) with plantation shutters. It would be kind of a shame to cover that up. Being a small room (in a small house), there are lots of limitations. I'm not crazy about having the TV next to the fireplace. Trying to put it in the opposite corner didn't work because it would protrude into the entrance to the dining room.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Design Assistance for Small Living Room

    Sounds like you have already looked at all the options and come up with the optimal solution. I can appreciate your frustration in trying to furnish a smaller room, as we have that issue as well. best of luck. -- Suzanne

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