Sofa In Front Of Window

missmaryAugust 16, 2011

I see pictures of sofas that are placed in front of windows quite often. I think Bee Keepers Wife has a good family room shot of what I am talking about, but I can't find it ... (dang!). My family room is shaped like hers, so it's a good one to use. Anyway..... my eyes are so drawn to looking out the windows all the time I'm in that room that I am reluctant to put my sofa in front of the window. Putting the sofa so that I am looking at a wall 12ft or so across from me makes me feel hemmed in compared to sitting in the room being able to look out the windows.

I would really LIKE to put my couch in front of the window - b/c I like being able to rearrange my furniture, and it's a prime wall for the sofa - but have trouble adjusting to not being able to have the outside view.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

(I know this is a pretty stupid question, but it looms big in my mind).

Miss Mary

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I hate having furniture in front of windows. Hate it!

I am forced with my current living room arrangement to have the sofa there, but there is an air vent between the windows, so I have the sofa pulled out about two feet. This allows me to stand at the window, but won't help you with your sitting view.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:51AM
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I totally understand what you're saying, and feel exactly the same.

Perhaps a good compromise is to have the sofa in front of the window, but comfortable side chairs placed to take advantage of the view. If I remember beekeeper's room correctly, you should be able to place at least one chair angled toward the window. Otherwise, I always prefer form following function, and would make it work so I could see out the window. Where is your sofa now? It sounds as if it isn't in front of the window currently. Do you have a picture of your room?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:01AM
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How about putting a big (at least 6'x4'.. maybe 6x6 or 6x8?) mirror on the opposite wall so you can see the reflection of outside? Home Goods has nice ones sometimes.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:17AM
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I've tried my sofa in front of the window a fair amount of times and always ended up moving it. Huge PIA to close the curtains which we need to do at night since we live in town and yes, I missed looking out of the window.

That said, I would not hesitate to do it again if privacy were not an issue and I had another huge window for a good view.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Here is Beekeeperswife photo of Family room.
I am sure she won't mind me posting it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:08PM
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I do it so that my cats have a comfortable place to lounge while watching the outside world go by...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:27PM
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    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:28PM
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I like the sofa in front of the window, because I enjoy reading with the natural daylight from the window.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:34PM
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I struggle with this too. I had been living with the windows clear of obstruction b/c I love looking out the windows. However, last week my sister came to visit and she encouraged me to try moving a sofa in front of them and brought up a lot of good points about the benefits of doing so. It does 'work' better this way but I'm still not 100% sure about blocking the window. The top of the sofa is about 18inches above the bottom of the window. I'm going to live with it for a while before I make a final decision....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 1:56AM
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I have no problem putting my couch in front of the window. LOVE Bee's room!!!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:13AM
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MissMary, a minor lifestyle change might fix your dilemma: put your couch in front of the window and then use it yourself--luxuriously, feet up, with a little portable drink table on one side, view on the other. That's how I use my sofas. Propriety forces me to sit primly when guests are over, but otherwise...

I think it's also be nice to move it seasonally to have the best of both arrangements--windows totally unblocked, furniture arranged to enjoy the view outside when it's beautiful and inviting out there, and windows set into the background behind sofa or chairs during any weeks or months when it feels good to keep the focus inside.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:17AM
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I have always had to place my sofa in front of a window - don't have a choice. We are always "curled up" on the sofa, usually slightly sideways and can enjoy the view. Good place to watch the birds and other wild-life. I just make sure that I pull it out far enough that the drapes hang nicely, and that they make a pretty "back-drop" for my sofa.

In a perfect world, my sofa would be floating in the room with a gorgeous sofa table behind it, but I don't live in a perfet world :).


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:54AM
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I wished that my living room had windows on the main sofa wall because of how it would frame the area. As I've been decorating that room and trying to figure out why it just doesn't look as good as my inspiration rooms, I realized that was the major difference. So I'm no opposed to a sofa in front of windows. In fact, I think it can draw your eye to the window. Maybe put a nice comfy chair across from it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 11:31AM
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Like you, I feel hemmed in if I can't see nature. Our family room is wider than bkw's I think, but basically the same set-up with the FP at the end. We have a wonderful view which was a draw to this house when we bought, but existing furniture that we wanted to make work. In our case, the loveseat is in front of the window, the sofa facing the FP and two chairs flank the FP. The TV is in a nook to the window side of the FP and art in the other nook. A credenza is on the long wall with sconces flanking more art.

Unless we have large gatherings, guests tend to use the chairs much more frequently than the loveseat. Evidently, many people feel like you and want to be able to see out. We mainly use the sofa for tv watching at night, though we use the chairs frequently for reading.

Would a similar set-up work for you?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 12:17PM
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We are going to be flip-flopping rooms so that our dining room will be our formal living room. The only place to put our couch is in front of the windows that looks out onto the fairly large side yard (backyard is a bit pie-shaped). I was reluctant to do it at first mostly because the sun will fade the back of the couch (south-facing windows). The only inside wall will have the piano on it. If I put the couch on the other wall, it would have you sitting with your back to the front door (bad feng shui - I'm not much of a FS student lately but that and bed with feet to door are biggies for me).

My plan for the living room is that it's going to be my space when there aren't guests in the picture. What Rosie suggested:

put your couch in front of the window and then use it yourself--luxuriously, feet up, with a little portable drink table on one side, view on the other. That's how I use my sofas. Propriety forces me to sit primly when guests are over, but otherwise... exactly my plan. Perfect reading spot, too where I can have the natural light for reading. Am planning to train the little 3 yr olds to follow suit with momma. :)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 12:55AM
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I also have a living room similar to beekeeperswife, with that layout, except my piano is where her fireplace is. I think it depends on how you use your sofa. If you're a sitter, you won't like it there because your back is to the view. But we are loungers, layers down, nappers in my family. I love to lay down with my dog on my feet and look out the window. The light that comes in there is great for reading as well, and guests seem to love to curl up & be comfy on it. Maybe it also depends on what kind of sofa you have -- if it was a tight back queen anne camelback or something formal like that, it wouldn't invite curling up anyway. Mine is a big cushy crate & barrel number....I don't think you can walk by it without laying down and enjoying the view!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Solid furniture significantly in front if a window is a pet peeve of mine, but I have had to do it. There were also a few downsides other than losing part of my view:

  • The potential for fading on one part of the couch (when I had to do it, the window faced east - eckh).

  • Seeing the back of my sofa from outside of the house.

  • Having to reach over the sofa (it was an extra deep one) to close the blinds.

Does your sofa come close to the width of the room, or might you have space to place it perpendicular to the window? Not my favorite solution, but gives you an option for relocating your sofa.

Right now (using Bee's for reference) I have a loveseat across from the window, and a couch perpendicular - about where the green chair is. I have a really wide room though. When DD gets a bit older and it's "safe" to get new furniture (last week my couch got peed on, and thrown up on, in the span of 3 days), I will probably ditch the loveseat, put a sofa across from the windows, and put two sidechairs flanking them. That's still not a lot of options for furniture placement, but maybe some different pieces (eventually) would let you feel you had more options. :)

(BTW, I also hate it when nightstands are placed flanking a bed when that means covering up the windows -- my parents have that setup and it drives me batty).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 12:04PM
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I've longed to try this as we currently have two identical couches facing each other across the room, and the only other sofa wall available is the one with the window.

I've hesitated due to the fear of fading (it is an east-facing window) and not having the right end tables for that configuration of the room. Though I don't have the right tables for the current layout, either.....

We had sofas with their backs to the window in our last two houses, though they were floating yards away from the window. Since I am a sideways sitter, it didn't prevent me having a view and I thought it looked nice.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 8:53PM
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I solved this at my new house by buying 2 recliners on swivel bases. Turn them into the room and face the couch and love seat, or turn around and enjoy the view with the person sitting next to you doing the same thing! It feels rather cozy with a chandelier overhead to define the space as it's own seating area.

In the winter I totally love to sit in a sunny window like a cat. This seating option will allow for that without sliding a couch around anymore!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 9:23PM
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I have two sofas and one of them must sit in front of my bow window. I NEVER sit there, as I absolutely hate having my back to the window. I sit/lounge on the one that faces the window.

I hate that I can't walk right up to the window to look out and I have to stand on the sofa to put the blinds down.

Unfortunately this is the seating plan that allows the most people to watch TV comfortably, and that is the primary use for the room. I think it is also the seating plan that looks the best.

So yes, I feel your pain regarding the down side of the sofa in front of the window.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 3:43AM
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I think a sofa in front of the window looks nice. If you open windows it is kind of a pain though.

When we had our sofa in front of the window, I used to sit on my knees, facing the window while watching it rain or snow. Just like a little kid!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:01AM
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Hmmmm, I see from the more recent responses that it clearly also depends on what kind of window you have. If you have one of those that goes low to the ground (or lower than your sofa back) you might have worries about fading. And if all of your windows open, you would have to think about how to open them. I don't have either of those problems, as the window sill is at about the same height as the back of my sofa, and there's a narrow console table between the two; also, mine is a picture window flanked by double hungs, so I don't have to reach across anything to open a window (sofa is approx the same length as the picture window).

So you really need to take all those things into consideration along with everything else.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:31AM
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