Need help with family Room Furniture Lay-Out

carolt924January 24, 2014

I am a frequent visitor to Garden Web and enjoy reading the encouraging words and opinions given on this forum and am hopeful you can help me with my family room.
The room is currently empty and I am in the process of purchasing new upholstered pieces from Smith Brothers. The sofa, chairs and ottoman have been chosen and are the correct size in the floor plan pictured. The large rectangle on the left is the hearth and the rectangle in front of the patio doors is tile as the rest of the room is carpeted.
A couple of things to consider, we do not use the wood-burning fireplace although hope to have it converted to gas sometime in the future. The door on the right is the entrance from the kitchen with a step down and we use the patio door several times a day. Although the room will have a TV in the corner, this room will not be used as the main viewing area in our home. I can't seem to figure out how to post more than one picture so I will post the other plan in next post. Thanks in advance for your time and talent!

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Plan #2

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Either plan would work.

But I'd pull the two chairs by the fireplace closer together and put a table between them, to make a cozy little spot.

Then I'd take the other chair and move it out of the corner, and turn it at right angle to the sofa, so that whoever is sitting there doesn't feel cut off from the rest of the group. Since tv watching is not the main function of the room, not all the furniture needs to be placed to view the tv set.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 8:44PM
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I like plan 2 with the club chair paired by the fire place, but I think the ottoman will be a problem in front of the door - the flow of movement; so, plan 1 is more functional and will also look good.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Thanks Kees, The chair with the ottoman is for me when I am reading or doing a bit of knitting or sewing. I like that plan best also and thought I could possibly move the ottoman to the right on the wall the doorway is on...or is that wishful thinking?

Camlin, I agree with you also, but sadly the view is not great from the kitchen doorway when I move the chair on a right angle as the back of the chair is about the same width of the door and is all you see when looking into the family room from the kitchen.

Am I right in thinking I will probably have to settle on the lesser of two evils, or is there a better furniture arrangement out the for my room?

This post was edited by CarolT924 on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 21:59

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:55PM
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Does your tv have to be in the current corner position?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:11AM
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You said you had the furniture selected not purchased, is it safe it hasn't been purchased?

If it hasn't been purchased, I would go with one less chair. Even if you only have a chair (w/o the ottoman) by the entry from the kitchen, it feels crowded. Place a piece of furniture IRL about where you have it proposed now as a test, and see if it works for you.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Have you tried placing the two matching chairs across from the sofa, facing it across the coffee table? You should still be able to get to the patio doors easily.

I think you might still have room by the fireplace for the chair with the ottoman, but I'm not sure. If you move the round table to the other side of the chair and pull the chair back further into the corner, it might work.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Ctlane-No it does not. Let me know your ideas.

Aloha2009-furniture has not been purchased and I can let you know the items if it would help. The room Is 13.5 X 19.5 the couch is 79wX36d and the two matching chairs are 31wX37d. The remaining chair is 35WX36D. I get what you are saying about only two chairs, but when my immediately family is together, there are six of us and I do want everyone to have a seat, but I guess I could have a couple of upholstered small benches stored below the windows next to the fireplace and pull them out when needed. I did want pair of matching chairs and of course the other with the ottoman is for me as an everyday chair. If I only went with two would you have them match or be different.

Once again thank you, everyone is bring up very good points and ideas.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:25AM
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camlan - Posted below is a lay-out that I think you described although I removed the table and added a floor lamp instead and put the table between the chairs. I like the look but I think TV would be blocked from to many seats. Plus, I think I would need to add something maybe a display piece in the corner or against the wall next to the fireplace on the left, but maybe not.

Nothing written in stone and I can change anything at this point in time. I am also posting another plan like plan 2, but placing the chair with the ottoman by the fireplace and one of the matching chairs by the entrance from the kitchen. Better???

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Plan #2 revised

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:13PM
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I like either of the new layouts, though I think I prefer the newest of the layouts that place the club chairs opposite the sofa and the chair/ottoman in the corner by the fireplace.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Hmmm…my comment didn't get posted. I'll try again.

I think people instinctively push sofas up against walls, but they actually look better pulled out a bit. I also believe that, whenever there is a fireplace, it should be the focus around which furniture is placed. Otherwise, it looks awkward.

If this were my room, here is the layout I'd try:
sofa facing the fireplace, with the front edge of the sofa at about where the sliding doors heart begins.

Large coffee table in the center between the sofa and fireplace.

One of the chairs facing one side/end of the coffee table and facing the sliding doors. Second club chair where it is in the last diagram (at a diagonal, between the sliding doors and fireplace.

For the TV, which isn't used much but which you want available in this room, I'd get a wall mount (assuming you have a flatscreen TV), and put it up on the wall to the right of the fireplace (facing the fireplace). Then you can push it up against the wall when not in use, but pull it out AND angle it the way you want it when you want to watch TV.

I'd get a nice sofa table for behind the sofa (even if you leave the sofa against the wall) to give the room and sofa some depth, and decorate it with pictures, knickknacks, whatever.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Tibbrix-Posted below is I believe the plan you described, I agree regarding furniture lined up along the walls and so wish I had a better room to work with. My living room is even worse, but I won't go into that here....

I tried placing the sofa table behind the couch when it is against the wall but it moves it forward to much to have the chairs line up with end tables, etc...see pic below or am I missing something.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Sofa table behind couch on wall

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:05PM
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I like the one with the sofa facing the fireplace. There is something very homey and comfortable about that arrangement, IMO.

Get a LARGE square coffee table. Nice carpet to go about 16 in. from perimeter to sofa.

I see you have the TV mounted on the wall where the sofa was ,not on the wall next to the fireplace. Might even work better there rather than facing the living area. Either will work. You just pull it out then angle it. I think you'll like that feature, rather than a TV being mounted on a wall, unable to move, or sitting on a table or something.

Might want consider getting a second sofa to make a full L, i.e.: second sofa faces the sliding doors, rather than the one chair. Two sofas with the square table in the corner is a nice, finished, full look. So long as it doesn't interfere with the TV, if that is where you mount the TV.

I like it! What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Have you considered placing a side chair against the wall next to the television? (You could also have them on either side of the television.)

When unused, these wouldn't interfere with the view of the television, and would be light enough to move when more people want to watch TV (for example, one could go in front of the fireplace between the two chairs there).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Tibbrix-Here is a plan with two sofas and I must say I am liking it, just not at all where I thought I was going with the room. Could not place the TV on wall next to fireplace as there is a long narrow window on each side of the fireplace. In the plan below I moved the TV across the room. Do you think I would have room to have an accent chair and maybe a small table underneath the TV?

This post was edited by CarolT924 on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 18:02

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:56PM
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missingtheobvious-Can you let me know which plan your suggestions refer too as I would like to try them on the lay-out planner. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:01PM
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Wow. I love it. Really comes together. TV actually works better on the wall where you have it now anyway, as it can be seen from both sofas, AND you won't have an issue of sunlight reflecting off of it from the doors. That is actually a perfect spot for it.

Personally, I wouldn't add any more furniture to the plan that has the two sofas. Love that you pulled the single chair in a little bit so that is it closer to the edge of the coffee table. The plant by the window next to the fireplace is lovely, a perfect spot,

That arrangement pulls everything together perfectly, IMO ,but the room is also very functional.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Put a nice big (as opposed to tall) lamp on the table in the corner between the two sofas. Beautiful (and, again, functional). Perhaps a floor lamp on the left side of the sofa facing the fireplace.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:39PM
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Tibbrix-Take a look at the plan, I had placed a floor lamp next to the couch on the wall and I just happened to buy a squat bean pot shaped wire lamp,with linen drum shade on clearance with the hope to use it in this room. Do you think I could hang a large piece of art on the wall to the right of the patio door, do not know what yet, but I think I would like something there, but not taking up any floor space because as I said we use the patio door daily.
The sofa I was planning on purchasing is Smith Brothers style 366. If you have a chance please take a look and see If it lends itself to your room suggestion. I was also going to purchase chair style number 962, do you think that chair would work in front of the TV? I am very happy with the fabrics I chose for the room as it is painted SW Whole Wheat and has brand new carpeting just laid last year. I could also see an upholstered armless chair in that spot. Would you have all three tables from the same collection or maybe the end and cocktail the same and the sofa table different?

This post was edited by CarolT924 on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 19:24

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:17PM
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oh, I see. The two round things are lamps. Got it. I also had in mind kind of a bean pot shaped lamp, so there you go! I much prefer lamp lighting in living rooms over overhead lighting, since they're supposed to be comfortable, cozy, relaxing places, and lamp light lends to that feeling more, I think.

The Smith Bros. 366 sofa is really nice! Not seeing a chair style 962, though. Typo??? Any chair will work in front of the TV. Just be sure the TV is at or above the highest part of the chair. Nice thing about a single chair being there, too, is that if, say, you're having a crowd, you can always swing the individual chair around to also face the TV. Sofas wouldn't have to be moved at all, yet everyone sitting on them could see the TV. Every piece, in this drawing, looks like it belongs where it is, not like you're trying to fill space.

Personally I would not go for an armless chair because they're not comfortable. This is a room in which people want to sit, read, relax, chat…the arms are necessary for comfort. Might want to see if an ottoman would fit between the chair and the coffee table, though.

The table question is purely a matter of taste. Personally, when it comes to tables, I prefer eclectic, NO matching tables. But, you also want them to work together. But that is my own personal preference.

I think I would match the sofas, though, if you do go with the two-sofa plan. Maybe with offsetting upholstery, though, and definitely different upholstery on the single chair.

Yes, I would put up a tapestry/painting/photograph on that wall next to the doors. The end of the room will need it, and it will also offset the TV on the other side of the doors.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Tibbrix-Sorry the chair number is 942. The fabrics I plan on using are 334511 on the couch and I love 334211 but some thought it was a bit crazy to have on two chairs so we were going to do the chairs the same as the couch and the back pillow in the 334211, but maybe with only one chair I could do the whole thing in 334211, 326311 was going to be used on the original chair with the ottoman and on pillows for the couch, so I may still use the fabric as it is a lovely dandelion print for the couch pillows. I would love your thoughts. Also, my carpet is ShawMark Make-Believe in Fern Alley, which is a multi of browns and tans with just a bit of blue/green threads. I think it looks great with the fabrics I have chosen. I agree on not matching tables yet finding one's that fit the space, I wouldn't mind a painted piece possibly for the sofa table, but not looking to go country...we'll see. I am planning on having my boy's move the living room sofa into the family room and use it and the current family room sofa to lay-out the L and see how it looks/feels. I hope it feels as good as it looks on-line! Oh, and in case I haven't told you thanks so much for your help!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Does having the two sofas or the sofa with its back to the kitchen interrupt movement? You'll always be going AROUND to get into the space. As long as that doesn't bother you, then it's a nice arrangement.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Hi Carol,

My brain has officially turned to mush, and I want to look up all those fabrics. I did look at the chair. Lovely. It will look very nice next to the fireplace, I think. I'm going to refocus on this in the morning! You sound jazzed and upbeat about this. That's great. You should have fun with it. And you are most welcome. I love doing this stuff; find it an awful lot of fun. Glad I could be of some help.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 21:33

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:32PM
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And you will love, love, LOVE having a really big coffee table! -- Well, I think you will, anyway. Makes a huge difference.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:38PM
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Kees-Lover - You right, but oddly enough we pretty much walk that path when we are letting our dog out multiple times a day as this is the only exit to the back yard. Right now the room is pretty empty, only a couch and end table on the long wall and a glider rocker and floor lamp to the left of the fireplace. The TV is a flat screen on a 4ft or so TV stand that is on the wall across from the fireplace to the right of the door coming into the room and we are always turning the TV toward the couch when we want to watch it. We have been in this home 7 years and this room always feels empty with a big hole in the middle of the room. Although I wanted a set-up such as I first posted, there is just something not right with each of my plans, until Tibbrix suggested the two couches. I think I can still get one chair and ottoman in the arrangement, and a good thing about the TV mounted on the wall to the right of the patio door on a swivel is no reflections as there is everywhere else in the room, from the patio doors and from the long narrow windows that flank the fireplace, we are always closing the blinds that are in the glass, so that would take care of that. The test will be when I move the living room sofa into the family room and set it up as close to the plan as possible and live with it for a few days. A sincere thank you for your interest and input!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:56PM
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Tibbrix-I understand the brain turned to mush thing and I have had a lot of time today to focus on this project as I am in Northeast Ohio and it has been snowing non-stop for over 12 hours. We were told to stay off the roads if you did not need to go out and so I didn't.
We did a large kitchen and bath remodel last year as both rooms were original to this 40 year old home and with that worked on the lighting in the family room along with taking down chair rail, painting and replacing the carpet, yes I am jazzed to get this room looking at it's best! Enjoy your night. Added ottoman to chair in plan below.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Carol, my comment referred to the first two plans which had chairs to either side of the fireplace and the TV in the lower right corner.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:54AM
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Good morning! I'm on Cape Cod, and we had one of those stay-off-the-road snowstorms last week, so I hear you. Alas, I'm just getting old and @ 9:30, the ol' brain starts resisting any requests for work.

So, I like the ottoman! I'm imagining someone sitting by a fire, feet up, reading a boo, wind howling outside…so nice. I love (and am jealous) that you have two tall windows on either side of the fireplace, a feature I've always loved when I've seen it. If you love snow, as I do, you might want to think about putting low-wattage lights up outside those windows, with a switch in the family room, so you can see the snow falling at night when curled up by a fire, reading, watching TV, entertaining… So adds to the ambience…and your electric bill!

I did look up the carpet last night. LOVE IT!!! Absolutely love it. I am totally into chocolate brown right now. That color does everything: goes with every other color; is rich so adds depth and luxuriousness, hides dirt! I think you cannot go wrong with very dark browns, so long as they're the right one (i.e.: not raisin-y), yet they're not neutral, although they have a neutral element to them…that's what I mean. That color is so interesting, yet neutral. It's a great color. Can be rustic, OR contemporary..any style. It's the Oriental rug of colors!

I'm going to look at your fabric choices now. I see you added a painting to the other side of the doors. That program is cool…and funny. Makes me chuckle imagining you adding plants and knickknacks..the icons are funny. But…no dog??? Room needs a dog!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Tibbrix-oh yes there's a dog, Claymore, our 5 year old springer spaniel puppy and as a matter of fact that is who was in mind when the carpet was chosen, as we use the patio doors to let him in and out several times a day depending on how many squirrels are outside teasing him! I do love the carpet choice as it works with the SW Whole Wheat and the dark stained woodowork and crown molding in the room. I also love the windows as they face east so we have the morning sun shining in through the neighbors trees. I do have lighting outside the patio doors and your right, it is nice to watch the snow falling through it, plus it helps when keeping an eye on a claymore at night. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the fabrics.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:08AM
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I've looked at the fabrics. Fabrics are SO hard to choose, for a lot of reasons. One thing I learned when I was doing this for myself was to absolutely NOT select a fabric without seeing it in person first. They look completely different in person. You want to hold them up to furniture in the light of the room in which they will be. Light affects colors and fabrics dramatically. If you're doing this strictly online, you should be able to request swatches from Smith Bros. Better still, if there is a retailer near you yo can actually walk in and look at the large swatches and take some home, do so.

Other considerations. Cleaning. It is my understanding (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that the fabrics that are 100% man-made materials ,i.e.: polyester, acrylic, etc., are very hard to clean, that you want a fabric which at least has some cotton or wool or whatever in it. Also, you want to feel the fabrics so you'll have a sense of how comfortable it will be to sit on. Will if "feel" too cold in winter? That sort of thing. And wear: you don't want to have to reupholster the pieces in five years!

Re: the fabrics you picked. Love, love, love 334211, the chair fabric. Beautiful. gorgeous colors, and it'll look stunning on that carpet. You absolutely can do the entire chair and ottoman in that fabric, and should, IMO.
I love the chocolate brown/muted gray/blue color combo.

Didn't particularly care for the second patterned fabric you chose for pillows, but that's just a matter of personal taste, of course. I do think the two patterns clash.

re: the sofa fabric. I'm really not sure about it. It strikes me as being too dark for the carpet you've chosen, but it's hard to say w/o seeing a swatch in person. I think that with such a dark carpet, I'd want a bit more of a contrast. I think you're right, though, to go with a "railroad" pattern for the sofa, rather than jacquard or floral or whatever. I believe in being conservative with sofa fabrics (so they won't get dated and need to be recovered fairly quickly) and dressing sofas up instead with pillows and throws.

Okay, I've gone through all the fabrics, matched them back and forth by using multiple windows, and this is what I came up with. For the sofa, purely by coincidence, I kept coming back to #329511, and it's the only one I settled on. It also has some cotton in it, which is good for sofa fabric. It'll look stunning on the dark brown carpet, and it goes very nicely with chair's 334211. The herringbone pattern gives it some texture, which you will like on a large piece like a sofa.

For the sofa pillows, I love the Palm Island counter fabric, 334311 OR the same fabric you'll have for the chair, 334211.

These fabrics contrasting with the richness and starkness of the deep brown rug will be gorgeous, in my opinion.

but again, ALWAYS look at swatches in person before making a final decision.

If you were to get a set of wood slat blinds for the two windows on each side of the fireplace, I think that would be the icing on the cake for that room (see link). Room with this color combo and these blinds would be warm enough in winter, cool enough for summer, serene…just beautiful, IMO.

and why won't you use the wood-burning fireplace? Oh my! You must! Just remember to close the flue in the morning so your heat doesn't escape up the chimney!

It's gonna be gorgeous, Carol!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fireplace window blinds

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:09AM
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re: Claymore. What a great name. As it happens, I am a dog sitter by profession have a little farm on Cape Cod (I also rent my house out in summers to vacationers), and my screen name, Tibbrix,is a combo of two dogs I adored and who are now no longer with us (one was a childhood dog).

I just got a new client who is a one-year-old Welsh Springer Spaniel (his collar has the Union Jack circling his neck!). He's a total peach, sleeps with his head across my neck…but he does not come when I call him! Grrrr….

Kind of bummed your wood trim isn't a soft white. The contrast with the dark carpet would give the room a very crisp look (BM White Dove is a great color, but there are a lot of nice, soft whites out there). It would also give the blues and beiges in the fabrics kind of a beachy look, which is always nice (along with the wood slat blinds.

If you go with the wood slat blinds on the fireplace windows, though, you want them to match the wood trim in the room, so check them out in darker wood colors.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:15AM
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Carol, FYI, in case you're not aware:

If you open two tabs on your computer, go into Smith Bros. site on each, go to fabrics, then pull up 329511 in one window and 334311 and then 334211 in the other tab, you can really get a good idea as to how well they go together by clicking back and forth quickly.

When you bring up the swatch, click on them TWICE to get the largest pics of then on your screens..then toggle back and forth. And imagine them on the deep brown carpet too.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Btw, I knew you had a dog - you mentioned him last night, but I meant an icon of a dog in your CAD pics! I love those icons. Need a dog snoozing on the sofa or by the fireplace!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Tibbrix-Totally off topic, but it is on my bucket list of things to do: Spend a summer month in Cape Cod, on an old front porch, reading and reading and reading....

Regarding the fabrics and furniture. I have purchased all my furniture although not often at the same small furniture store for 35 years. Once they brought a piece of furniture from the store to my home to see if the size was correct before ordering, love them.

I have seen both the furniture pieces and fabrics in person and had the fabric in my home for a couple of weeks. Regarding the couch fabric, it is lighter in person and is a green/blue with very thin strands of brown and tan in the weave. Looks solid from far away and goes very well with my carpet as anything with a pattern seemed to clash with the multi-colored carpet.

Sorry I had a typo in the previous post, the chair fabric is 334311 not 334211, so maybe that is why you did not like 326311.

I love the chair fabric as it seems a bit contemporary and also reminds me of water, there are many colors in the fabric, navy, taupe, green, brown and even a bit of a gold/mustard. I admit I am not in love with the second fabric (326311) either, but it does go very well with the other two and has a navy background picking up the blue/green, taupe and mustard colors from the other chair fabric. It is not a pattern I would have normally chosen, but my daughter who doesn't live with me loved it and tells me to sometimes pick the opposite of what I would normally pick and so I did and I figured even if I didn't love it, others do and I would think of them when looking at it, silly I know...

I did not look at 329511 but will do so when I go back into the store after the alberta clipper that's coming our way in the next couple of days....

I did talk to the furniture store about wear-ability, having a dog. It seems that all fabrics have their good and bad points. I will say we do not eat or drink in the room 99% of the time and although the dog sits on the couch at times he has pretty good manners and we are good at vacuuming the furniture regularly to keep the dog hair at bay.

My windows and patio doors have built in blinds between the windows, so I will probably continue to keep them bare as I have nice thick casings around them.

I know what you mean about the soft white trim. My kitchen, foyer, hallway and bath which were remodeled last year are all painted in a soft white (cheaper then having stained trim installed, but you see dust easier) which I love, and my cabinets are a cherry stained cappuccino which goes very well with the trim in the family room, so although the trims are not the same, I do feel they work well together.

I do love the fireplace and hope to have it converted to gas within the next couple of years. We have talked to some folks about it becoming an added heat source for the home, plus I admit we would not like the work of a wood burning fireplace and with getting older I think we will be happy just flipping a switch.

Love the tip about the tabs on the computer. See, an old dog can learn new tricks!

Thanks so so much for your candid observations, comments and your time working with me. I hope to have things nailed down within the next few days on the layout and then hopefully get my furniture ordered.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Back from walking the dogs on the beach.

I have some friends who put a gas fireplace in their formal living room, and they made sure it was one that could generate a lot of heat, and boy, does it ever! That is the nice thing about gas fireplaces versus wood (along with their ease of use): they don't suck the heat up the chimney and out of the house! But, I like the crackling sound of the wood and the smell, so each has tis benefits, I suppose. But I split my own firewood and haul it and stack it! A lot of work!

So, on to your fabrics! Personally, I MUCH prefer 334211 for the chair. I love that pattern and the colors; think is a beautiful pattern, and it's not quite as busy as 334311. I do like 334311 for offset pillows for the sofa, though. But again, that is all a matter of personal taste, and I certainly cannot speak for you on that!

Totally agree with you that a patterned fabric for the sofa wouldn't work very well. Railroad patterns with texture I think are best.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Thu, May 15, 14 at 19:10

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:05PM
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