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Thread: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020

    Default New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Hello all, my wife and I just bought our first home and need to start furnishing it! After years of living in tiny apartments we are really starting with a blank slate, and would greatly appreciate any help and perspective. More information about our quest and goals:

    Our goal is to follow Duane's advice and buy nice furniture for what will be used the most, thus we're focused on the living room to start. Also because of our budget, we'd like to start by just getting 1-2 quality pieces and slowly filling in more nice pieces over the years.

    We'd appreciate perspectives on what quality living room furniture could work for us to start, as well as how we might layout the room.

    Home & Room (see pictures below)
    The home is new construction and in a somewhat modern style. Large, southern facing windows in the living room let in lots of light, but we are in a rainy part of the US and will have some blinds put in shortly. The living room connects to the kitchen area, and we will put a large tv over the fireplace (the fireplace is the black rectangle in the photos). There is also a wall that divides the living room from the formal dining area, but the wall has a large, empty hole so there is a view between the rooms.

    About Us
    My wife and I are young middle-aged and expecting our first kid in the next month. We both appreciate modern looking furniture with clean lines, and so in general we aren't fans of ornate nails, tufts, wood carvings, etc. (so not the H&M Utopia Tufted sofa). We plan on living in the house for a long time. No pets yet, but I'd like to get a dog in the next few years.

    We'd like to start by spending no more than $6K on 1-2 quality pieces. Then for whatever we don't get, we'll just fill in with the few things we have currently or buy cheap stuff with the plan of upgrading over the years.

    Furniture Size and Feel
    I'm 6'3" and my wife is 5'3", so that adds a (impossible) challenge to find seating that is comfortable for both of us in terms of seat height and depth. We both prefer higher arm heights (>24") that are also somewhat wide. We also both prefer higher backs so that we have some head/neck support should we lean back to look up at the tv or just take a quick nap. However one designer we spoke with at a furniture store cautioned that sofas with too high of a back could be a problem if they are square with the tv/fireplace area as they would feel like they cut our living room in half. That made some sense to us, but we do want to prioritize comfort and color fit over the more nebulous aesthetic that she's describing.

    Lastly, we also prefer a firmer, supportive seat and didn't like the sinking-in feeling of some ultra soft down style cushions.

    Types of Furniture
    I was originally curious about fabric upholstery and looked into Taylor King's Portfolio program, however the more I read, if we're going to spend at least $2K for a sofa, based on the durability and looks, I would much rather pay the premium to just upgrade to leather. Now we're fully committed to leather. While I'm excited about aniline/unprotected leather, my wife is less so, but those leathers are probably out of our price range anyways. For now we'll probably look into protected leather and I'll keep an aspirational goal of something aniline for myself in the future . We would also like a leather that's not too slippery.

    At first I also thought I wanted a sectional for our space, but reading Duane it sounds like we really have to pay for those corner pieces. Sofas are also more flexible should we decide to move, change the room around, transport them, etc. So now we are considering something like 1-2 sofas, or a sofa + a chair, or a sofa + chair + ottoman, etc. to start. In general we'd like comfortable seating for at least 4 adults + a baby somewhere. We wanted to start by focusing on a couch/sectional, and we haven't spent much energy thinking about chairs, ottomans, tables, etc. With that said, and it might be a subject for a different thread, with a baby to nurse on the way, we're also looking into rockers/gliders and tried one Jessica Charles chair which was slightly big for my wife.

    Based on the above, my wife and I started looking at leather sofas in the H&M Town & Country program. Our local store did not have any Town & Country floor models, but from the measurements as well as styling, the Ricki sofa seemed like it has the strongest potential. We thought the Charlie sofa had potential as well, but it didn't have the aggressive Just-In-Time pricing. And from this thread Duane had good things to say in terms of the Ricki's pricing and versatility for different body types.

    While we're excited by the combination of quality and price for the Town & Country program, we aren't opposed to other manufacturers. For example our local salesperson was pushing Stickley with some President's Day discount, and I saw Duane had posted about a leather Century sectional that looked nice as well.

    For color, we like lighter tones so we don't feel too oppressed with all the rainy days and to match the house. Though the house itself does have a somewhat "cool" color scheme. For the Just-In-Time program whose Ricki pricing seems great, we were interested in Kismet Pewter or Juno Soft Blue for the Ricki. I prefer the idea of a gray leather for our house and to match the fireplace tile, but the Kismet Pewter swatch felt thicker and rougher than Juno Soft Blue which looked great in Duane's post above, and I think the Juno Soft Blue color could still work in our space.

    Room Layout
    For room layout we're sort of at a loss other than placing something directly across from the tv/fireplace. Talking to a designer in our local store, she cautioned that we might not want to place anything on the wall with the hole to the dining area as that would sort of be an obstruction but more importantly might make it so that another piece of furniture across from the fireplace would be offset in an annoying way.

    We don't anticipate going over to the window corner much, so perhaps we could place some furniture by the windows, though we would need to be cognizant of protecting leather from the sun.

    Thanks in advance for anyone's perspective!

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    Last edited by adsfdeek; 1 Week Ago at 03:50 AM. Reason: Pictures didn't appear

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria VA

    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Going from an apartment to a new single family home means you have a lot to buy and likely have to do it in bits and pieces. The pieces you would want to be high quality are the ones you will use the most in daily living. Probably the kitchen counter stools (don't go cheap here) and the main room off the kitchen. Also a top of the line mattress for your master bedroom unless you don't mind replacing frequently. Dining table, spare bedrooms, and living room if you have one can be more mediocre to start with, as they are infrequently used.

    Yes, leather will outlast and outwear fabric four to one so it's a great choice for the family room sofa and counter stools. And the Ricki series is excellent, you get all the Hancock & Moore quality at a very friendly price point.

    That's a challenging space to lay out. I can see why the architect did what they did with the pass through opening into the formal dining room - to let in natural light, but that plays the devil with furniture placement as you really don't want to put a piece into that space, but you may have to. After looking at the space for about ten minutes though, I think the piece that was shown earlier today from Century Cornerstone might be just about perfect in that spot. It would be the reverse of this piece and allow you to run the chaise section against the wall but not visually blocking the pass-through. I would lay this out and see how it would work in the space.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's the PDF of the components.

    You would want a wall hutch or bookshelf in the space behind the counter, and in front of the main window by the fireplace, a nice sitting bench that is low and unobstructive could be added at some point, similar to :

    I tend to like room with less rather then more on furniture. Preserving free space is important, don't cram too much in a room. With one child on the way, right now it's just you and your wife so sectional/sofa and three good counter stools will get you started.
    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

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