Maximize seating in small, uniquely shaped living room

ireneoJanuary 6, 2013

Hi all,

This is the floor plan of the living room in the 1100 sq ft house we are buying. We'd really like to maximize seating for gatherings of friends and family, and i thought the clever folks here might have some ideas. We will be mostly buying new furniture for this room so any and all ideas are welcome.

In the picture, the door on the right is the entryway. The hall on the left leads to bedrooms, kitchen, rest of house. The bay window has a slightly lower ceiling, like an alcove, if that makes sense. About 5 feet. The room has sloped/vaulted ceilings on both sides with the high point running from the front door wall to the hallway wall. The brick on the bottom is a fireplace, with a hearth just one brick high (not good for seating but won't block foot room from a couch much.)

Thanks so much! If anyone has ideas I can mock them up. A big goal is flow of conversation and my main concern is preserving ability to get from front door to rest of house.

Built-ins are a possibility as my DH is a talented (hobby) carpenter, but i wouldn't want to do them for the sake of doing them, would only want them if they maximize useful space.

each square is 1 foot

This post was edited by ireneo on Sun, Jan 6, 13 at 10:06

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oh - i should add- we wont have a tv in this room :)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Each square equals one foot?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Hi marti8a,

That's right, on the picture i attached, each square on the grid is 12 inches x 12 inches

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Just want to suggest that you might also get more ideas in the Home Decorating Forum.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Great, thanks, ill try there!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:55PM
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I think I'd put small chairs in each corner, swivel maybe, with a lamp table tucked into the bay window.

I don't see any way of getting larger furniture in there and have it arranged so the people sitting in it can see each other comfortably.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Other than conversation and no TV, do you want any other functions in this room?

I would suggest building in a banquette in the bay window area and putting a round table there with loose chairs on the other you can probably seat 6 people around the table. Depending on the shape of the bay, an oval or a round table may fit better...and be sure it has a pedestal, not legs on the edges so people can schooch in to sit at the banquette.

I would also suggest built in seating on either side of the fireplace which will give you room for 2 more. These can be boxes with storage inside and upholstered cushions and backs. Depending on how the fireplace is designed, you could put boxed in shelving above for display purposes....well above so no one hits their head on it. Or you may want to build in some lighting as there will be limited opportunity for lamps...think about sconces, wall hung or floor lamps that need no tables.

I'd then put a round or square end table against the wall opposite the doorway so it sits just south of the hall way. Put 2 smaller club chairs on either side of it in an L shape. Then add another chair by the window on the right south of the door. North of the door in the corner, there should be room for a little larger chair and maybe a small ottoman that can be used for additional seating. That will give you seating for another 7.

Look for apartment furniture as smaller scale will be your friend. And look for creative pieces, such as ceramic tables for patios and such that are smaller in scale to fit in where needed so guests can put down a drink or a book...

Here is a link that might be useful: Club chair

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:05PM
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I've been playing with it on room planner and while it looks like a chair will work in the top right corner, I don't think it will with the door opening there.

Here's another idea if you can find a settee that will fit there. Or a chair will fit, but that will mean less seating. You can use ottomans in the corner and in front of the chair or settee, and that will be seating too (but not for long for older people). Ikea is a good source for small scale furniture and I think there was a discussion for places that sell small scale furniture on the decorating forum.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Pottery Barn has furniture for small spaces. If nothing else you can get some ides of scale.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Another option for the bay window, although I do like the idea of building in seating there, is to have two smaller chairs and a small, round, tea table height table in the window.

I don't know the official name for these chairs. I just call them wooden armchairs.

They are as comfortable as upholstered armchairs, but take up a much smaller footprint. They can be moved easily, so you could move them over to the fireplace side of the room as necessary.

They aren't necessarily curl-up-and-read-a-book chairs, but for visiting and chatting, they are fine. My elderly relations love them, because the seat is higher than that of a lot of sofas, and the wooden arms give them something to hold on to when pushing themselves out of the chair.

Here's an example:

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

And the loose chairs around the banquette seating can be easily moved into the main seating area during a party situation....

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Tue, Jan 8, 13 at 10:02

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 10:00AM
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I'd make the small area on the left a storage/ closet with mirrored front door and add molding.
Absolutely do a bench seat with storage at the window. Round table ( with leaf expansion). Bench that doubles as coffee table or bench at the table. small but comfortable couch on the long wall (left). A few chairs and a small occasional table. Don't forget to add wheels to the table so it's easy to clean and move for parties. Should seat up to 9 adults with this configuration. Make sure the bench/ table is at least 18" wide and either 6' long or 2 sets of 4' in length. Don't forget to hang curtain rods height above the window for a more spacious feel. Add a chandelier to the window area that is moveable ( chain hooks). This should give you versatility. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:01PM
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I think the OP left us. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought she said the ceiling over the bay window was at 5'. If that's really the case, I wonder how comfortable seating would be in there.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Hmmm, well, it would help to know how traffic goes through the space and into the other portions of the house. Is that funny appendix supposed to be the hallway? And do you go from the living room into the kitchen or only down the hall? Are there other windows or only the bay?

I like that floor plan shown with the chair in the bay, but move the chair to the other side, if it is yourself sitting there. Or make that space have a small table and TWO small chairs which can swivel, and can be a great spot to sit and visit, if the view out the window is pleasant.

So, have you bought the house yet? Or just dreaming of how to live in the space before putting down your money?

Welcome to the forum.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:03PM
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I love Annie and Houseofstick's ideas. I was also going to suggest built in seating. You could also use it for storage. What a great, cozy room!

welcome and good luck!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Oh my goodness, so many great suggestions I missed because I posted in another forum and didn't check back here! I posted pics now that we have moved in at this link:

Moccassin - good guess, It is our house now but at the time I posted we were still waiting to close :)

I loved the suggestions for built ins, but we decided to start with standard furnishings because I wanted something we can live with immediately.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Has there been any consideration to your DH turning the door into a window and making he window near the bay area a door? This would obviously allow for a much better seating
arrangement in front of the fireplace. Are there any plans in the future to have built-ins around the fireplace? Can't wait to see your progress. By the way, the folks on the Decorating Forum are a nice bunch and can be quite helpful.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:17AM
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I have a similar pink living room in my 1925 center hall colonial and love it!! We used Behr's Sherry Cream (a cottage color off the home decorators collection) and white moldings. Some of the door trims are the original dark wood and we have some dark wood furniture. I've been trying to decide what to do for the windows and now I know. I'm not into black, but the dark wood is close, so I think your idea will be great.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:37PM
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