Awkward living room layout? Help?

lupingladeJune 30, 2010

Hi all! I'm new here and was wondering if you could possibly help us.

We have had an issue with our living room being too long and narrow and it having too many walkways/paths. We had a closet in front of the front door too that we tore out to make more room just recently. Now, we're trying to figure out how to make it all work. You see, the actual square footage and area is quite large, but the space seems unusable. Could anyone possibly be able to suggest how we can make this into a proper cozy living room?

We'd like to have a fireplace and a TV over it as well as some cozy seating and a coffee table or something along these lines. Basically, a typical usable living room. The room is bright and feels big but its so hard to make use of :( I've attached a link to a picture of the current plan with exact measurements. Can anyone help us?


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Here's your floor plan:

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:52AM
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NOTE: The sketch in terriks's post may take a while to load. Just stay on this thread for a while and it will appear.

Wow, what a challenging space. It looks to me as if you have to see it as two separate spaces, with the area below the laundry room door having a separate function. The square tower with the 20 foot ceiling must feel like a silo with windows. In the right hands, it could be quite dramatic.

Where is the fireplace going to go?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:10AM
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The area closest to the DR entrance allowing for a walkway along the wall, equals approx 9'8" x 13, allowing for the laundry door.

The area adjacent to the square tower and intruding into it, is wide but not very deep.

I would suggest cutting out sofa, chairs, tables, etc to scale to get an idea how each would fit and play around with it.

What do you have in mind for tv? Someplace where you will watch occasionally? Something for entertaining - ie sports event? Do you want the tv close to the dining room entrance?
What is the function of the square tower? At approx 7' x 8', it could be a reading area, study w/desk. I am an artist so I would probably want my easel there!

I am with graywings, where would a fireplace go? Are you wanting a "real" fireplace to be built on? There are zero clearance fireplaces but still need depth. (We have 2, one protruding into the living area, but the second we had built flush with the wall when we added on) An opening could be punched through to the outside so that the fireplace sits flush with the interior. Is the square tower facing the front? Or is the house more on an angle - so that front door is actually facing front. Would the 8'6" wall be an appropriate place for a punchout for a fireplace. What about the wall adjacent to the DR doorway would that be an appropriate wall to punchout for a fireplace?

Think about how you would use the spaces, and laying out the furniture will come easier. Answering these questions will help you and others on this forum to give you advice.

BTW, the space is intriguing but fascinating. I would love to see the exterior!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:30AM
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What is the ceiling height other than the 20-ft tower? I immediately thought of super-high bookcases with rolling ladder, but that's 'cause I am in dire need of bookcases myself!

Could you post some photos? If any remodeling is possible, I'd post the whole floor plan. The thing that jumped out at me was that relocation of the mudroom door would make the space much easier to plan. Could the mudroom be accessed from another room?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:19PM
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If remodeling is not an option, perhaps make the mudroom door a barn-door style slider. You could use something over-scale to look like large artwork, which might balance out the tower too. In your drawing, the right side is exterior wall I assume?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:25PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies!!! The mud room door cannot really be moved, because there is a stair case behind it to a bonus room, so it would be misaligned. Also there are other issues with it too, such as a load bearing post being on each side of it.

The regular ceiling heights in the house are 9 feet.

The tower does face the front of the house.

We are absolutely open to remodelling and changing furniture, in fact we just tore out a closet anyway. So we're in the middle of renovating. We're trying to figure out where to put the fire place. The best place I can think of so far is on the right wall, having the middle of the fireplace on the corner and boxing it in, so that it cuts into the foyer slightly. Its not the perfect solution, but seems to give the most usable space for furniture? I was wondering if anyone here has a better idea :/ We'd prefer to use a direct vent gas fireplace.

We just want it to be a cozy living room for occasional TV viewing, not sports or anything extreme like that. Just the odd regular tv show while talking or something like that. More of a living space than a dedicated TV viewing area.

About the barn door slider for the mudroom, that is an interesting idea, but wont it let cooler air in as well as noise from the laundry there? Right now its a weather proof door (the type used on garage entrances). Unfortunately as I mentioned, moving the mud room door is quite impossible :/

PS. For some reason terriks image isn't loading up, even after sitting for an hour+ on this page.

Here are some pictures of the room as it sits right now (nearly empty). (We took out some tiles near the entrance, so disregard that, assume we can patch in the floor however we like and tile the foyer in any shape.):

Here is a link that might be useful: Room photos

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 3:12PM
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That is an unusual space. It looks like the mudroom door basically is an exterior door? If so, the two exterior doors split the room in half, so two separate furniture groupings would make the most sense.

How large is your family (or others) who would routinely watch TV in the room? Do you want another dining area? Do you have a separate family room, or is this the living/family room? Any other interests or wish list to consider when planning the room?

Not that it matters for furniture arrangement, but what's the story behind this house? I would guess the tower might once have been the foyer, and the angled side entrance was added? Looks like area closest to tower was once the dining area?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Here's one thought...

As so many people complain about stiff neck when TV is over the fireplace, I separated them.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 5:39PM
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You're trying to cram a very 'conventional' furniture arrangement into a very UNconventional space. But your space is Great! Just throw away the 'mental box' you're in and start from scratch.

The largest open space is also the most visible from the front door, so I would want to put the fireplace (and NOT the TV) there on the 9'8" wall. To me, that area seems perfect for an attractive, more versatile furniture grouping -- chairs, definitely, rather than sofas. Something 'company-worthy' but not stuffy. A place where adults would sit and talk with each other. If you're dead-set on putting the TV in that room, I'd put a flat screen on the 7'3" wall by the kitchen door and flank it with some tall plants and other distractions. Downplay it, so the room feels more elegant than TV-ish. Using chairs (swivel?) would allow people to talk, enjoy the fire, or watch TV very comfortably.

The tower section seems like a really neat 2-person-sized space. Something like a wine cellar with a game table, some mood lighting, and lots of books and stuff on the walls. Make it moody and cozy and private and dark (spot-lit, not all-over lighting.)

The fireplace could also go on the wall where Gwbr put it, on the other wall, or in the corner. But either way, it would be pretty low-visibility. There's really only room for a few small chairs -- which could be nice by the fire. Do you think you'd use it more that way?

If you've got a sofa you're trying to fit in, putting it where Gwbr put the fireplace would allow for a nice small seating area.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:43PM
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I have a question in terms of traffic patterns. Which door do you think you will be using the most--the front door or the mudroom door?

If you're using the mudroom door the most, you'll need a clear traffic flow to the kitchen area. If mostly guests will be using the front door, you'll want a clear path from there to a seating area, but not necessarily the kitchen. I mean, clearly you might want to take the guests to the kitchen at some point, but you might want to concentrate on having seating available for them, and not make the path to the kitchen from the front door a main focus.

If you will be using the front door most, then you'll want a clear and easy traffic pattern to the kitchen, as well as a clear traffic pattern from the kitchen to the laundry, unless there's another way to get dirty laundry to the laundry room without going through the living room. Will you also be heading straight to the mudroom from the front door?

A lot of the furniture placement is going to depend on how you travel through the space. For example, Gwbr's arrangement works great if you are entering from the front door and need to get to the mudroom or kitchen. But if you are in the kitchen and need to get to the mudroom, having the sectional right up against the wall gives you a barrier you have to walk around. It's not a bad floorplan, but it might not work for the way you will be moving around in the space.

Other things to think about: Do you want the TV in an area of the room where people won't be walking in front of it while it is on? Do you want it near the kitchen for easy access to snacks?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:28PM
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