Arranging difficult room(s)

timepieceMarch 27, 2014

I need help with possible ways to arrange furniture in my difficult living area, and how to possibly remodel it.

I have a fifties tri-level with a ... unique floorplan that involves an angled wall between kitchen and living area that has an opening/pass-though. It's original to the house (amusingly, I found the plan online: - it's unmistakably my house). There's also a fireplace (NOT on the original plan) that limits furniture placement.

Right now, the only possible place for a couch seems to be under the window - the side wall would make it block the fireplace, the other side wall is too short, and having the back to the kitchen pass-though in the angled wall just seems like it wouldn't work.

With that in mind, when we start renovating, do you think it's a good idea to wall off the fireplace? We never use it. And we'd like to make that whole wall built-in bookcases (believe me, I can fill them - there are already 3 bookcases on that wall, completely packed. Plus one under the pass-though). And the angled wall has got to go. Any other suggestions are welcome - we were thinking some kind of island to replace the wall.

Does anyone have any suggestions for room arrangement, with and without the fireplace (and angled wall)? This is our first house, and most of our apartment furniture is probably due for replacement or upgrading, so I'm open to purchasing about anything.

Here is a link that might be useful: Original house plan from National Plan Service

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Formulaically, at least, a fpl adds value to a home. But if you don't want it, then i would wall it off if you have a long horizon for ownership.

I always think of the view when I think of where to place a sofa. Wouldn't you want to look out the window? Id float a a sofa in the room, facing the picture window, with a sofa table behind it, also creating a division for the DR.

Only thing is it is hard to tell if you have the room, because Im not sure what is 23x20? That seems almost square? Is that the whole space or ...?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Very unusual angled wall. You mention possibly remodeling. What scope are you considering? Personally I might look into changing the angled wall: either removing it or making it straight. Without seeing pictures, it's hard to say if the angled wall is adding a lot of charm or just thwarting your furniture layouts. In the meantime, what if you placed your sofa with the back to the dining room and facing the windows (floating in the room)? You could fill in additional seating with arm chairs and make a cozy seating space around both the windows and fireplace.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:05PM
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I would never wall off a fireplace, but only you can decide. Where do you live? Is there no chance of you needing it for heat or cooking if there should be some kind of disturbance in your power or other utilities?

The angled wall does look challenging. I might take it down to counter height to open the kitchen to the other areas, but the angle is part of the charm of the room. Then, angling the sofa might not seem strange.

I have to say, it's been many years since I saw a "Rumpus Room!"

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:22PM
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I'd be tempted to keep the angled wall, and float a sofa in front of it, but leaving enough space for a walkway between the sofa and wall. That way, you could still see out the window from the sofa, and if you put the tv on one side of the fireplace, you would have a focal point.

I'd also keep the fireplace and do the built-in bookcases around it. I'd just do the entire wall, including the part in the dining room (but that's because I have too many books).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Oh, yeah, the angled wall is definitely going, someday, but it's second on the remodeling priority list (first is making the lowest level a MIL suite. Before she retires). It's hard to figure out how an island can be configured without taking over the whole space.

I'm so glad everyone agrees the angled wall is difficult. I thought I was just really uncreative with furniture arrangement.

The sofa on the angled wall sounds good in theory, but in practice ... if you centered it on the wall, one end would really be almost in the foyer area, and not centered would look really odd. Though the pass-through is not centered. And the space is *just* big enough that having the sofa all the way over there is too far away for conversation if you have chairs under the window or in front of the fireplace. And of course all traffic would go right in front of it.

Plus, right now the TV is against the back of the coat closet - and we can't really move it, because that was the only wall in the living area we rewired with grounded outlets. The rest are all still 2-prong, which is fine when all you use them for is lamps.

I think that 23'4" x 20' is the whole space - the other end wall is listed as 24'8", and is a little longer. The dining space is about 10' wide. I'll see if I can take a picture tonight. Oh! or, I could point y'all to move-in pics, aha! Sadly, I did not take one that really shows the angled wall, except from inside the kitchen (12 & 13). And just to add to the confusion, my house is actually flipped from the plan I posted - didn't seem worth flipping the orientation originally, but makes it hard to figure where the pics are. Sorry.

I know fireplaces are selling points in theory but - we only bought in 2012, we're not planning to move until we pay off the mortgage, we haven't used it once, and we're in Virginia. I'm not going to brick it in and make it *really* difficult to get back - just drywall it off and put the bookcases in front. (Yes, I know there'll be more than drywall - we'll figure that out later). Any eventual new owners will know it's there by the chimney.

And yes, the bookcase plan is wall-to-wall, all the way through the dining room. I, also, have a lot of books. I'm a librarian, it's required.

Here is a link that might be useful: after move-in pics

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I think if you use some of the free software, like, that will enable you to try arrangements out in the space, with everything to scale.

edited for typo

This post was edited by mtnrdredux on Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 12:31

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:43PM
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It would be easier to arrange the room if you could have the TV on the angled wall. But if you must have the TV on the closet wall, here's a possibility. You'll need at least one comfy reading chair, possibly two.

That's a 7 foot sofa, a 4 foot round dining table, 18"x18" dining chairs, a 3'x3' easy chair, and a 30"x30" occasional chair.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:15PM
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If you decide to get rid of the fireplace, I would put the couch in front of the bookcases similiar to the pictures below.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:25PM
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suero, yes, that's pretty much exactly what we have. minus the occasional chair. I was hoping for some other option, but I guess there really isn't any until we can rip out that wall.

And moving the tv there was never going to work because of the pass-though -- we didn't want to block it, and my husband hates having the TV at console height, so there were no options for that.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:49AM
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So here's an idea - if I get a corner couch/sectional that goes on the coat closet side of the big window, I could maybe put the TV in the bookcases, next to the fireplace (keeping the fireplace!). I found a picture with that setup - although of course their fireplace is centered and their TV to the side, and mine would be the opposite.

Do you think there are sectionals small enough to not take over the room?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:08AM
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One of the best inventions, IMO, is the articulating TV mount.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Have you thought about putting the tv in the "tv corner"? Perhaps even mount it on the closet wall? And putting the longest piece of seating basically where the words "living room" are?

Then the seating would face away from the dining and kitchen areas and toward front of the house in the general direction of the TV and FP .

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:22PM
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The TV *is* in the TV corner. But I hate the idea of having my back to my husband while he's making dinner, or vice versa. Plus, I'm not sure there's really enough room to do that and still have enough room to walk by - it's really not a large space. We have almost exactly the arrangement that Suero suggested above, except without the 2nd chair against the angled wall. The scale on that looks about right, too.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Now that I see your photo's, I would say definitely keep your fireplace. It's lovely, and it is not as close to the corner as it appeared on the floor plan.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 5:31PM
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I just noticed that your fireplace mantle must be the source of your gardenweb moniker. And after looking at the floor plan a bit, I would estimate that the dining area is 10x9 and the living is 18x11. If those estimates are close, then I would not crowd the dining room with bookcases. I don't know if it would work in your house, but I always like the bookshelf over door effect.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Back from vacation!

Good catch, mjlb - yes, the "timepiece" is because I collect hourglasses. I have that one almost everywhere, it's not in high demand. If you see that username on any site, it's probably me.

And yes, the fireplace isn't quite as in the corner as I put it - I was just throwing it on there to give an indication - it wasn't in the original plans. It is a nice fireplace, but we never use it.

There's already a bookcase in the dining area too, and there's still enough space I think, so I'm not too worried about that (you can see it in the one pic from the kitchen that has the fridge in it). There's also a bookcase under the pass-though. And one downstairs, and one upstairs. And they're all as full as the ones you can see. I wasn't kidding when I said I had a lot of books.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:50AM
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