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Thread: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    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:

    Goal
    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.

    Budget
    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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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
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    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.

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    Here's the PDF of the components.

    https://www.centuryfurniture.com/gal...ne-catalog.pdf

    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 :

    http://www.hancockandmoore.com/Produ...lockwork-Bench

    http://www.hancockandmoore.com/Produ...s/Girard-Bench

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Thanks for your perspective Duane, it's very appreciated! That opening area really is a devil for placement and I can see how a chaise might work best there. Your prioritization is also helpful as we think about how to start.

    After trying out some H&M (and other) pieces in person, and thinking about our budget, we are going to go with a sofa (H&M Ricki) and a couple of recliners (H&M Ghent high back & Script) to start. While that assortment probably isn't great from a layout perspective, we really value comfort and ergonomics and those seem to give us the most for what we're willing to start with. And while I'm excited about your Steele Farm barstools (is it possible to get them without nail trim?), my wife was less confident in how often they'd be used and we have some mediocre barstools to start. Maybe we can get those in a couple of years .

    For colors, to stay in the married cover program and based on what we liked, we are committed to Juno Soft Blue leather for the Ricki sofa and Lyric Shadow (Gray) for the Ghent recliner. My wife liked the Nirvana series and wanted something from it for the Script recliner, and we'll probably go Nirvana Navy. I'm still concerned that the two blues will clash or look weird in the same room, but we really didn't want to get one of the white, black, or brown shades, and mulberry red seemed like it might be too far out there with the rest of the room.

    I also think I'm overthinking the wood trim, but that will be our last decision. Once everything is finalized and eventually received I'll be sure to share photos!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    I still think the 5831-3 Ricki sofa is the best sofa in the line right now for the least amount of money. I mean that sincerely, you get a comfortable, simple yet stylish, roomy sofa around $ 3K in the promotional leathers and its Hancock and Moore quality. In fact, I need to bring another in my showroom - they sell off the floor fairly quickly, especially in the Juno Soft Blue (sells 5x faster than the Pewter color).

    Yes, you can get the Steele Farms without nail trim (or any piece in Hancock and Moore). Such a great barstool , I have two in my house we use daily and gave two of my older ones to my son. He just moved to a new Apartment and they won't work, so I have them in the basement and will clean them up and touch them up, them put them up for sale here as pre-owned for about 1/3 the price in Cameo Burnished. This is them when they were new: http://www.myfurnitureforum.com/show...ht=steele+farm. They don't look quite that nice now, however!

    I personally don't worry too much about colors clashing in tones of blue, not on different frames. My own home is a potpourri of contrasts like that, I don't like everything same-o, same-o.
    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

  5. #5
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    Feb 2020
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Duane, oh no! What do you mean the barstools won't work? You'd said that he specifically picked those out, and your wife was okay ordering the exact same ones . I'll be on the lookout for when you post those.

    And great to know about the Ricki. For that price point it seems crazy to order production stuff instead.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    My son moved into an apartment that doesn't have a tall counter, so back they came to my house. We don't need four at my house, so these will get put up for sale shortly.
    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

  7. #7
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    Feb 2020
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Hi all, update here at long last (newborns are hard ). Pictures below, and apologies in advance for cropping and some color correction. I didn’t want to show too much of our (messy) space.

    Hancock & Moore Order
    • Ricki Sofa in Juno Soft Blue with Smoke wood legs (more blue than in the photo with the light on it washing it out, though the blue is a muted blue)
    • Ghent High Back Recliner in Lyric Shadow with Matty wood legs
    • Script Recliner in Nirvana Navy with Smoke wood legs

    Duane / The Keeping Room was easy to work with, and I highly recommend to other forum members and lurkers! Note that I ordered from the west coast.

    Delivery
    Overall good with some tiny scuffs.

    Annoyance 1: Somewhere my phone number was entered incorrectly by one digit. Thus both Sun and the regional delivery company they handed off to (I’m on west coast) couldn’t call me, and let’s just say they didn’t seem tech savvy enough for my verbal corrections to propagate through their systems. Not a huge deal ultimately as I was proactive, which I recommend others to do, especially during the pandemic.

    Annoyance 2: Sofa had light scuffing on one wood leg and an abrasion on a seat cushion (see next post below). I assume the wood we can lightly sand or something. Not sure about the cushion, but ultimately not a big deal for us.

    Furniture
    This is basically our first non-Ikea / Amazon furniture. The quality feels great, and I highly recommend that others try out some H&M in a local store to compare to other brands to really feel the difference. Specifically, it was much easier to convince my wife after sitting on various makes and models. Not only was H&M comfy, but maybe more importantly, their recliners felt more ergonomic than everything else we tried which fail on proper lumbar support or support through different degrees of recline.

    The couch is comfy and solid, but the recliners really shine. As we aren’t hosting parties anytime soon, whenever it’s just one or two people sitting down in the living room, the default is ALWAYS the recliners. So great recliners would be one of my main recommendations to other first-time buyers.

    I’m happy with the leather and wood choices. The colors aren’t exactly matchy-matchy and work with the cool color scheme of the room. And for what it’s worth, in my opinion the Nirvana leather is noticeably nicer than Juno and Lyric.

    I will say my wife and mother-in-law like the size of the Script recliner, however it’s challenging for them to recline it. I think somewhere Duane has talked about the strategy to work it properly, but as they are very light and their feet still barely touch the ground, they struggle.

    Room Layout
    As I mentioned above, this is where we didn’t really optimize by getting a sectional of specific dimensions, chaise, etc. Perhaps it’s because we are inexperienced, first-time homeowners and it will bite us later, but we felt like we got “more” for our budget. Plus we can always move the pieces to other rooms in the house (e.g. media room) down the line if we want to optimize our living room.

    With the sofa and two recliners, our living room is almost too crowded. Now we just need to figure out what else to put in the area (ottoman, side table for drinks, etc.) without losing much more space. We might put the sofa next to the wall opening area that divides the rooms just to create more space, even if it won’t look the best by overhanging a little. There is also a concern with sun exposure, and I need to research more about UV protection treatments on windows that face the furniture. Typically the honeycomb blinds are down for now.

    Overall
    Very happy and excited for years of use! Honestly, it’s still insane to me that so much furniture costs more than the H&M married cover program, and more customers should take advantage of it. Thanks again, Duane!

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    Last edited by adsfdeek; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Last photo of the small scuff on one leg:

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: New Home Advice Living Room Furniture & Layout

    Great! Glad you are happy with the new pieces, they will last you a long time. If the ladies are struggling opening the recliner, I notice that a lot of women try too hard when pushing on the arms, they "throw" themselves back into the cushion and the mechs are very lightly balanced, resulting in one of those Newton's law things of equal force, blah..blah. Have them sit normally in the recliner and use their arms only to push back, it doesn't take much force. Don't use their shoulders to push on the back cushion, just hands on the tops of the arms. It's an easy motion, and the chair should go right back.

    On the scuffs, we can get you some touch up for the leather at no charge - just email me off-forum: keepingroom@gmail.com. If you have some small, cuticle-like hangers on the welt like I see in the photo there are two options or leave as is. Trim them off with cuticle scissors or take a very small amount of Elmers Glue on a toothpick and tamp them down. The Elmer's glue will hold them forever. Don't make a glue mess, use very little.

    On the Smoke legs, that's more of a paint than a stain. Don't sand it Sanding will REALLY give you a mess. Next time you are at the local craft store, get a small container of water based acrylic black paint, and one of gray paint. They are about 79 cents each. Using a small detail paint brush, blend the gray and black on a piece of cardboard to get the right shade and touch up with the brush. That's what I use at the store for doing those.

    Thanks again and enjoy your new Hancock and Moore.
    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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