More advice on living room layout

efeuerAugust 8, 2014

I posted a few days ago about my furniture layout difficulties in my living room, which is long and narrow, about 24' x 13'. I got some good suggestions and we have tried some different things. One possibility involved pulling the sofa away from the long wall and flanking it with two chairs. That gives a nice conversation grouping in front of the fireplace.

My husband didn't want to part with his books, and he basically won me over. I decided instead to embrace the books as a decorative element.(I will replace the rattiest paperbacks with better looking replacement copies.) We have two alternatives for the placement of the bookcases. One possibility would be lined up on the wall to the left of the fireplace. Another possibility would be to create a wall unit bookcase on the long wall behind the sofa. We envision two tall bookcases with a short bookcase in between. The stereo would stay on top of the low unit. I like that idea, but there is not that much clearance between the back of the sofa and where the front of the bookcase would be. That space would be about 26 inches wide. That seems a little tight for being able to find and take out a book from the shelves.

What do you think of this arrangement? Do you think there is enough clearance for a bookcase behind the sofa?

BTW, I would like to replace the wing chairs with a lower pair of club chairs. I think it would look much less forbidding as you enter the room.

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Here's a better view of the fireplace wall. Plan B would involve putting the other tall bookcase next to the one that's already there.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:23PM
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The behind-the-sofa idea seems like a pretty good idea, but only if you buy new and well-made bookcases with decorative tops and do three across the back. But tall-short-tall would not work for me. You do not need much space to access the books. The rare times that he needs to get to the books, he can nudge the sofa out of the way.

I love the seating group you decided on. You are right, lower chairs will look better.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:35AM
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It looks great pulled away from the wall! Agree that club chairs would be better than the wing chairs. I'd also pull the wing chairs and coffee table a smidge closer to the fireplace. They look a little crammed in there now.

I'd leave the bookcases where you have them now. I'd just hang artwork on the wall behind the sofa.

Are you going to paint the walls?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:46AM
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What pieces do you want to update? I can't remember the specifics from your other thread.

Have you tried putting the sofa perpendicular to the FP and the two chairs opposite? Then the bookcases could go on the wall across from the FP.

It still feels a little stiff and formal to me though, and I think two small sofas perpendicular to the FP might make a cozy arrangement, visually interrupt the length of the room, and give you another walkway through the room. Then break apart some of those twins to make it feel less rigid (twin chairs, end tables, lamps). I'd also use three bookcases for that reason.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Ah, LOVE May_Flowers's suggestions.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:36AM
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We have the same layout. Our room is 26 x 13 and I have varied the furniture arrangedment many times throughout the years, but I always come back to this. As others have mentioned, consider replacing the wing chairs with something lower. Maybe move one of the wings next to the fireplace?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Here's the other side with a wing chair and an occasional chair.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:56AM
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I love your living room! And I would like to say that your windows are the only ones I've seen in decades that look really perfect with valances, both the type and the print--- the treatment is great for the room!

It looks as though you are trying to keep the sight line and walkway clear to the far door, and I think that is the problem.....the room looks like a walk through to somewhere else. I would try ignoring that exterior door. Pull the rug up to the edge of the fireplace (or almost), and go ahead with your plan for the book case arrangement of two tall and a low between them. If you make plenty of room there, that will be your walkway through to the other side of the room.

Instead of putting the stereo on top of the low unit, drill holes in the back and put the components on the shelves and hang artwork (one big thing) above the low unit.

Take the two wood chairs (Windsors?) from the fireplace and place one on either side of the two tall bookcases. Pull the wing chairs to either side of the fireplace, angled in, and the sofa opposite the fireplace, it's current position but moved towards the FP about three feet or so. You can use the wooden chairs as "pull up" chairs--- that's what our ID calls chairs in a location where you would not normally sit but they're available for larger groups to pull up to the conversation.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:53AM
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