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Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

Posted by Sugar_Berry (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 15:14

Hello friends! This is my first time posting, but I've been lurking in the shadows on GardenWeb for over a year now. I can't tell you how instrumental everyone has been in helping me with my house renovations.

Though we're far from done, my husband and I are ready to start thinking about furniture. We've run into a major dilemma, though! Our living room is extremely narrow, and we technically only have two walls to work with.

A little background: the first floor of the house is basically a giant room with a half-wall dividing the space between the kitchen and the living room. We can't knock down the half wall at this point. The living room itself has three walls that we can use. The stair wall is 8'4", the long empty wall is about 17', and the fireplace wall is about 5'5". Right next to the fireplace is our backyard sliding door, and beyond that, the dining room. I'll attach some photos so everyone can see the room.

We have a piano (24" deep) that only fits in the living room. If we leave the layout as it is now, the sofa is pretty close to the TV (we'll be purchasing a 40"), and we can't really fit a coffee table and a side chair anywhere. If we move the sofa back towards the half-wall, then we create this mini-hallway between the two that's difficult to walk through; plus, it'll be hard to access the books that will go on the shelves that'll be installed on the half-wall. I have a lot of collectible books, so shelf space is needed. I know I need to replace the bookcases for floating or shallower ones.

We thought about mounting the TV; that would give us an extra foot and more space to fit a narrow coffee table. But are we still too close? The space in front of the TV would be about 5.5-6 feet if we did this. And I'm not sure how I would arrange the floating shelves around the TV to make it look nice. We also thought about moving the piano to the long wall, but it's takes up too much room.

Someone suggested we mount the TV over the fireplace, have the sofa directly across from it (in front of the piano), and push it all the way to the wall. Then we could have a coffee table and two small chairs on either side of the fireplace angling in. The fireplace won't be used, so we're converting the inside into a non-permanent cubby/shelving unit that can store peripherals. We know it's not an ideal spot for the TV, but we can play with the height of the mantel some. We'd also install floating shelves along the long wall and have a side table next to the piano.

If we put the TV over the mantel, I like that it opens up the space and brightens the room. I also like that traffic from the dining room and the main door isn't blocked by furniture. But is it weird to have the sofa right next to the wall and off center to the TV? The sofa is about 8' long. If we keep the layout as it is now, I feel like the sofa can't extend beyond the stair wall because of that narrow hallway issue. I don't even know what the focal point of the room should be.

Does anyone have any suggestions for us? Are these are only options? I'm hoping the geniuses of GardenWeb can come up with a layout!

Thanks!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

The view from the stairs/piano


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

The view from off to the side of the half-wall opening/dining area


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

I have a long and very narrow LR as well. I feel your pain.

Where is the fireplace?

In my room, we do not have a TV. Way too awkward. Instead, it is our room for reading, playing instruments, talking, etc. The seating for company is still a challenge, so I have to bring in temporary chairs when people come over. (Frankly, I'd like more permanent seating just for my own family, as there are 7 of us.) Our TV is in our finished basement.

Is TV watching in another room possible for you, if that would open up more possibilities?


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Any way you could put the TV on the half wall? Then you could put the sofa on the long wall opposite.

This does create a traffic path with people walking between the tv and the viewers on the sofa, but I think it would solve a lot of your problems.


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anele, I'm still figuring out how to add multiple pictures into my posts, so please bear with my slowness! The first picture I posted shows the fireplace in the far corner in front of the bookcase that's going to be retiled and all.

We don't watch TV often, but it seems when family and friends are over, they tend to turn on the gaming consoles, so I think the TV in the master bedroom probably isn't a good idea.

camlan, our half wall is pretty shallow, so I'll have to see about the dimensions of the TV. We originally intended to install bookshelves there, but maybe a TV might work better there...

The picture i just posted shows the view from the fireplace.


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View from where the TV is right now. You can see how close to the opposite wall I am, not matter where I stand in the room!


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And one more picture to show how the whole space looks from our front door!


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It's a beautiful sofa but it may be contributing to limiting the options.


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Is it too big/long? We purchased the sofa when we were living in our apartment.

Would a love seat work better? A series of single chairs?


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I can't tell if you have the footprint for this. Are you able to slide the sofa closer to the fireplace and still have adequate room to navigate the door? And likewise with the entertainment center? Slide that to the right. I realize it can't be too close to a working fireplace (assuming it's not just there for show). That now brings the fireplace into the seating area without forfeiting the tv watching.

May even allow a small side chair to the left of the entertainment unit. I am on a sofa table kick lately . Or a narrow buffet/server behind the sofa. The piece of furniture behind the sofa acts as a bridge to the eat in area so you are not staring at a sofa back. Although a nice throw over the back could be visually pleasing.


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If you could mount the tv over the fireplace, you could put the sofa on the wall where the piano is and put the piano where the tv currently is. Then you could float a chair or two where the sofa is now.


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PhoneLandy, that's a great idea I hadn't thought of before! The fireplace (once it's done) is really for show because where I live, you can't use it on cold days, which really defeats its purpose.

I think there should be enough space if I slide it to the right. I think I'm just stuck on the whole symmetrical look and everything being centered. I'm trying to break that habit and see my other options!!


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I'd get an articulating arm for the TV, and put it in the center bay of that area under the pass-through. I'd get an arm that lifts up, so you can raise the TV.

Put the sofa against the wall across from the TV.

Keep piano where it is, only a bit closer to the large wall, and get a piano bench.

Book shelves either on each side of the window in the dining area ,or pushed together in the wall in the DR that is next to the kitchen cabs.

Get a large coffee table.


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Well give it a shot. What's to lose? Sometimes being a little off centered is more interesting by being unexpected. By sliding to the right, you might have a little room for an end table on the left of the sofa. Please post pictures as you move along!


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Piano in the dining area, TV on the piano wall, sofa facing the TV with its back to the fireplace.

OR

TV tucked into the half wall without the console it is on now, sofa facing it.


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I would put the books in the half wall. Even if that meant a bit of building out a frame around it. The current book cases seem to be very deep for what is on the shelves. Maybe a new and narrower cabinet for the tv to sit on and hold electronics would allow for a narrow table behind the sofa to act instead of end tables or a coffee table.

If you dont watch a lot of tv in that room, a pair of love seats or 2 sets of arm chairs set with backs to the piano and fire place might work.


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a)Piano in dining room -- paint it white. Add wall sconces with swing-arm lamps on each side. Add a small grid of modern photos -- mat in white -- frame in white -- above the white piano.

b)TV over fireplace.

c)Remove bookshelves.

d)Two matching long narrow sofas (in white) facing each other.

e)Two armchairs (narrow with thin arms) at the end of the room (where the piano now sits) Small table between them with wall-mounted sconce above the table.

f)On each end of the new sofa that sits along the main wall -- a small table and a standing silver lamp.

g)Grid of artworks OR one VERY large artwork over the sofa along the main wall.


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I know your room is 17 feet long, but how wide is it and how large is the opening between the DR and FR?


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I like teacats's idea to paint the piano white…or black.


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Build the bookcase in the half wall into the kitchen side and not the living room side.

If you want to leave the sofa there than move it back to the wall. Sure people will walk in front of it but that's okay. My living room is long and narrow also and people walk in front of the sofa but it isn't a big deal.


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I'd like to see how the sofa looks/fits facing the fireplace wall...

If left as is, looks like you could probably scoot the sofa back one width of the wood plank and still leave enough room for a walkway behind the sofa.


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Possible artworks for grid above sofa along wall .....

Here is a link that might be useful: art.com -- possible artworks


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

Thank you for the great ideas everyone!

Kippy-the-Hippy, the plan was to install bookshelves into the half wall and to buy a narrower cabinets if it works in the space for the reasons you listed.

teacats, I would love to paint my piano because it obviously clashes with everything else, but I'm too scared of ruining it. I play it everyday, and I have heard that just painting it can ruin the sound. Do you think the TV over the fireplace will be too high? The ceiling is 8 ft., and the mantel will be about 54 inches high once it's installed.

We also tried placing the piano in the dining room, but the dining room is only about 8.5 ft. x 8.5 ft., and I need a table that seats 4 people, preferably 5 or 6, but I'm having a hard time finding one. We also have a raised bar off the side of our kitchen, so it makes the room even smaller. (see picture)

Karenseb, the living room is 11 ft. if I measure from the wall to the pony wall. However, the stair wall is only 8 ft. Someone told me that my living room ends where the stair ends and not where the half-wall is, so I shouldn't bring any furniture past that. Is that true?

I'll definitely be trying some of the options out and posting pictures for feedback as soon as hubby gets home. Thanks again everyone! I didn't think furnishing a house would be so difficult!


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Just a note- thought you were going to say your LR is 9 ft wide or so, but millions of homes were built with 11 foot LR's. It may be small by today's standards, and it doesn't make it less challenging for you, but know that many of us feel your pain!


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1) I don't think that painting the piano in white would hurt it -- check out paints by Annie Sloan ... might work well here .... and check out white dining tables from Ikea with folding sides or leaves

2)Yes -- the Tv would work above the fireplace here .....


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I am really out of my league here but I am wondering if you could use the dining area and living area which is connected to the dining area as the family room and the other portion of the living room as a dining area. Does that make sense to anyone? Satine


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The room may be small, but it sure is nice! I haven't read the replies but the first thing I'd do to make the room appear larger is to get a light colored area rug, or a rug to go in front of the sofa.

I think putting the tv on the mantel would be a good idea. I'd also put the bookshelves in the dining room. A lot of people do that. Since you have a lot of dark going on with the TV, console, shelves, and floor, I would paint the shelves white, or another light color.

Welcome!


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peegee, the living room is 9 ft wide if I stop it where the stairs start, which then it's about 8.5 feet wide. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to block the walkway from the front door to the sliding back doors through the living room (half-wall). Someone had told me that I shouldn't do that because my living room technically should match up with the stair wall and to extend beyond that would be awkward. She also said it would block access to the shelves of the half-wall. Having no experience in this, I wasn't sure if I should heed that warning or not.

satine, another person on another forum I posted to actually suggested that. the width between the slider and the pony wall or the kitchen return is around 8-8.5 ft. Is that too narrow? If I did this, would the TV be mounted right next to the kitchen cabinets? The space between the slider and the windows is too narrow to fit any decent size TV. :)


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oops, i meant the living room is 11 ft wide if i go all the way to the half wall. if i stop at the stair opening, it's about 8.5 ft.


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edit - how far is pony wall from sliding door? from stairs?

This post was edited by Jaynes123 on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 21:02


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The sliding door is 74" wide from casing to casing, and the space from the casing to the dining room window is 44".

Thanks for the compliment oakleyok! I'm planning on adding a light colored rug and switching out some of the pillows for a pop of color. I love purple, but I think some accents will be nice.

I was debating what color to paint the built in bookshelves. White sounds like it might be a good idea!


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Jaynes123, the pony wall is a little over 8 feet from the sliding door. From the same point to the stairs, it's about 9 feet. The opening between the stairs to the pony wall is 3 feet, if that helps, so if the sofa aligned with the stairs, I'd have about 3 feet of space behind it.


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I, too, would mount the tv on/in the pony wall, even if it means reconfiguring the openings. Hopefully, there would be bookshelf room also. The couch would go where the tv is now and the piano can stay where it is.

I agree that the black bookshelves are too deep for the room and what is being stored on them. Hopefully they can be removed if you get some shelving on the half wall. My first though also was to put the shelf openings on the kitchen side, but if you keep it in the living room, it could work with the tv there, too.

I'd remove the fp doors and paint the inside of the firebox, put a mirror inside and fill it with candles that you can light when you want some warmth.


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know this seems like a quiz but whats the piano length?


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The piano is five feet.

Here's my first attempt at seeing how the sofa looks if the TV was mounted above it. Taken from the stairs. I'd move the TV and the other bookcase, but my husband would kill me if I unplugged everything he's set up. We also have deeper baseboards, so the sofa can't go much farther in towards the wall.


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A couple different angles.


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I definitely would place the sofa across from the pony wall, hopefully the TV can be wired there.

It was first thing I thought seeing your sofa facing a wall - reverse the direction and you "expand" the rooms width by creating a faux open floorplan that this narrow room is hurting for,


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And another one. It does open up the walkway quite a bit, but again, if it's not an issue to close it up, I can push the sofa up towards it.

The sofa is longer than the fireplace but not longer than the wall behind it. Does it look weird?

olychick, I definitely plan on painting the inside of the fireplace. It's just a metal interior, but doing anything to it will be better than what I have now! I like the mirror idea a lot!


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I'd put the TV above the fireplace, add shelves to create bookshelves in the half wall to the kitchen. Leave the piano where it is (could put one bookcase inthe corner near it for books, music and such, but move the sofa towards the fireplace a bit when you have the tv and bookcases out. Add a small table on one side -- something like this one if you want a place for magazines (they sell it without the basket -- from Levenger's, but you can find others).
Put an upholstered chair on the "hall" side ear the fireplace -- a small swivel one would allow you to face the sofa, the fire or the dining room. It could be a pair if you find something small enough, but you might want to leave the fireplace more open and put an ottoman or some floor cushion in that corner.

A rug between the sofa and chair would help define the sitting area and the music area as two smaller rooms.


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Heres how I suggest locating the sofa with TV across and tweaking the other piece locations, included an option for loveseats.

Sit down - try the view from the sofa at this location- for TV plus view period. Seems like will seem so open from this angle with only partial half wall in front of you.
Compare to view with it perpendicular and feel of the room for which you prefer

If pony wall were a ceiling height would want sofa perpendicular like the piano is with its length widening the rooms width but even and that still seems difficult with

This post was edited by Jaynes123 on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 22:39


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I don't have advice except to say that this thread reminded me of our living room. Trying to fit a sofa, a tv (sits on a dresser) and a piano into a small living room where one wall is virtually unusable due to the fireplace and the room is open to the rest of the house, but small and narrow. I just settled for function over form, the piano is along the same wall as the tv.

On second thought, I DO have an idea for you -- something my dad (piano mover/tuner/player/extraordinaire) suggests to folks dealing with layout issues, maybe it would work for you:

Move your tv/bookshelves along the stair wall, then face the couch toward them. Place the back of the piano against the back of the sofa -- essentially creating two mini rooms. A tv/media space, and then the piano/fireplace space on the other side.

I didn't look closely at your dimensions or layout limitations, so maybe this wouldn't work. But if it did work, I think it would be a nice option because your piano will be situated near the dining area :-)


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Disclaimer: I'm not sure if the pony wall is tall enough to do what I'm describing, but I thought it was a nice idea and am sharing it anyways.

I also like the couch across from the pony wall. You mentioned that you were planning on doing some built-ins on that wall. I was thinking that maybe you could have your cake and eat it too (OMG cake!). Anyways, you could design a built-in that would accommodate the TV and components with some shelves on either side. Sliding doors would cover the TV when not in use (since you said you don't watch much). When your family comes over, slide the doors to cover the bookshelves and reveal the TV. It would allow you to have less furniture in the room, which would help make it feel larger. Sort of like this, but obviously with different design and proportions/dimensions:

If you were to do something like this, I would move the couch to line up with the pony wall and the piano next to the fireplace.


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Oh my gosh, sundance510, that unit is so awesome! Where did you find it? I know Ikea has some version, but this seems nicer!

If only I could do it! My husband said our pony wall is too shallow to accomodate a TV. I think he originally considered it, but in order to put the TV in there, he'd have to extend the wall and encroach further into the living and/or kitchen rooms. For that reason, Jaynes123's fantastic suggestions won't work either, though I do love them and sometimes wish I should just fill up that wall!

melle_sacto, my husband also thought we could do that, too! I guess I'm the only narrow (now pun intended) minded person, because everyone obviously has tons of creative ideas. I would love, love, love! if the piano was near the fireplace. It just seems so cozy! The back of my piano is unfinished so I'd have to find some type of screen to cover it.

I'm going to download one of these free room planners that I've heard are offered on some furniture websites. I'll play with the layout and post some here for everyone.


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In the meantime, I attempted to incorporate some people's suggestions. Ignore the TV unit; my husband was pretty adamant about not unplugging everything.

I actually was testing out these chairs for a different room, but hey, they work right now.


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And this is if I kept everything the way it is now and scooted the sofa back towards the pony wall. It does widen the space. I also added a rug that I've been considering (shiny shag is oh so glam!) and purchased just now to test out (but sadly returned the chairs) and brought in my ottoman from a bedroom.

What do you think so far? Keep trying? I have to say my husband totally dislikes this layout because the sofa pretty much extends the pony wall in a sense and blocks half of the opening from the dining to the living room. He's willing to go with if it I like it though. Problem is, I don't know if I like it either. Haha!


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And this...is what he hates! LOL! Someone suggested adding a console behind the sofa so we're not staring at the back of it. I don't think I have room to squeeze it in.


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I agree with your husband that the view from the kitchen of the exposed half back of the sofa is unattractive.

I question, though, his statement that the pony wall is too shallow to accept the TV. One or both of the wooden dividers would have to come out, but it sure looks like the TV would fit. If it sticks out a smidge, that would be OK.

Another idea, something a bit extreme that I did in a previous house with a too-narrow family room: I completely blocked the fireplace. We built a platform to sit on the hearth and extended it out and we put the entertainment center on the platform directly in front of the fireplace opening. We removed the mantle and stored it.


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Sugar_Berry... I found that on houzz. Looks like it actually IS the Ikea Besta.

Of the arrangements you've tried, I like this one the best:

I think it makes the room look less looooong and narrow. I have a little different set-up, but same sort of room. We wanted to use some of the length of the room to make a sort of entryway space. If you got an L-shaped sofa, you could actually leave the TV where it is. But I think your current sofa works if you could mount the TV above the fireplace. I think you're on the right track! This is my living room to show how couch placement can create two separate areas in a long room. The front door is to the left in the second photo.


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I think the room at 2:18 looks the best. And it requires no extensive/expensive retrofitting


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Of the layouts you tried, I like the room with the two chairs flanking the fireplace.

This is just something I quickly Googled regarding the unfinished back of a piano, I have a spinet, so in the case that we HAD had the room to back the piano and couch against each other, it wouldn't have been an issue. Our room isn't as long as yours, so it didn't work out :-( But I think this would be a great option for you, and I do think you have the space for it.

Here is a link that might be useful: decorator options for the open piano back


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What is your plan for the piano in any of the scenarios? Is it to keep it where it is now no matter what arrangement?


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oaktonmon, I can move the piano around the room. I prefer not to have it in the dining room because the room's very long--roughly 8 ft, and the piano is about 2 ft deep--and would make it hard for us to fit a table that can seat 4-6 people. The dining room is a whole other challenge right now. LOL!

I'm wondering if I should try moving the piano to where the TV is right now and scoot it all the way to the fireplace. I haven't tried that yet; been trying to keep the TV on the stair wall...

graywings, talked to my husband. He said the TV could fit into the pony wall and would stick out a little, but the height is too low. It'd be even lower than how our TV is set-up right now, and he's taller than me and his view angles slightly downward right now. LOL.

sundance510, love the way you've set up your living room. I think it works well. Now I'm wondering if I need a bigger rug? I've googled the guidelines, and they seem to vary now. The rug I purchased is a 5x7. I also remeasured the sofa...it's 82 inches, not 8 ft. So sorry for the incorrect info!

melle_sacto, I quickly measured if I put the piano back to back with the sofa. It can work, but the piano is awfully close to the fireplace. I'm going to try it on the room planner so it's more accurate.

Thanks for the great ideas! I'm going to continue playing with the layout.


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Are you opposed to putting the sofa against the wall that the piano sits on, put the piano where the tv is now and put the tv over the fireplace?


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This is off the wall, but how about putting your TV on the far dining room wall, with two comfy chairs or love seat facing it for TV viewing. Then in the fireplace room, put your dining table at the pony wall end (piano where it is now) and put your sofa or couple of chairs in front of the fireplace. Trying to say put your dining room in front of the pony wall and the dining room/fireplace end as your living room. Would that work? Otherwise I like the arrangement with the two chairs by the fireplace. Could you turn the piano around and have the back of it against the back of the sofa with that arrangement?


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oaktonmon, I tried your suggestion. The TV is completely blocked by the piano arm. -_-

grandmaof3, someone else has suggested that idea. I'm going to map it out and see if it works. The length from the fireplace to the far dining wall is about 24.5 feet, so it may be too far to put the sofa at the fireplace area, but i can't scoot it too far forward or it'll block the way to the sliders.

I think most people so far like the arrangement with the two chairs by the fireplace with the tv mounted on top of the fireplace. I'm going to to hopefully finish up the mantel this weekend (fingers crossed), and will purchase a couple more furniture pieces to arrange things. I'll keep everyone posted!

Thanks again for the wonderful ideas everyone! I finally feel like there is hope!


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The layout with fireplace between chairs --

Seems nice visually but not practically - TVs awkwardly positioned for viewing, would expect it to be above fireplace, directly across from sofa for comfortable viewing with maybe the vacated wall having just some wall art.


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If you make fireplace wall focal point with TV, consider putting up panel curtains on sliding doors - see bad photo (sorry) of ours attached if you get direct sun thru this window .

Not only will it "extend" fireplace wall thats chopped off by sliders but gathered curtains besides fireplace wall will block some sun when looking towards that wall watching TV. Can also anchor chair in front of gatthered curtain versus it having clear glass behind it.

Just a thought.

BTW at night can close them for privacy so all lit up activity inside is not on display from darkness outside.


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Here is a long term solution which opens up the room and puts the TV across from the sofa. You would lose your pass thru between the kitchen and family room and some carpentry work would be involved.
Wall in the shelf area up to the ceiling and add two feet on the left side as to center your TV across from the sofa. The right side of the wall would have two feet of shelving for books( if you could make it a little deeper, you could fit stereo gear there. The back of the wall where the TV hangs could have shelves facing the kitchen. They could be open if shallow or closed in with cabinets doors if a little deeper.
The first pictures show your wall now, the second with TV on wall, additional 2 feet and shelves on living room side.
The 3rd picture is overhead view.


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Looking at the picture with the white rug and the sofa pulled back a little I think it looks good, not too squished...but you said DH doesn't like looking at the back of the sofa...and no, doesn't look like theres room to put a sofa table behind the couch without blocking the walkway.

I think you can also get away with facing the sofa towards the fireplace wall, in the picture looking "down" on the space, the sofa looks too far over to the left, looks like you have room to pull it over to the right some without it blocking your walk way.

Did I understand that you DONT use the fireplace at all? if so, what about putting your tv stand or a different one if you choose in front of the fireplace if you don't want to mount it over the fireplace.

My last 2 cents...what "FEELS" better? I have moved my furniture from every which wall, flipped the tv from one side of the room to the other and although the arrangement "worked" it didn't "feel" right to me and I would end up putting it back.

What I like about the sofa facing the fireplace wall is that your back isn't to the kitchen/ dining area...


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Yes, I definitely need panels or drapes of some sort. Once the mantel is installed, though, there will be maybe an inch or in and a half between the door trim and the mantel. Makes hanging drapes hard! We thought maybe panels or rolling panels (invisible-ish when they're rolled up).

Karenseb, that's awesome. I am lacking a pantry, so this would be amazing to have.

My husband might not go for it now, but it's something I can keep for future reference. I think he's so tired of the renovations and all the work he's had to do (I help when and where I can, but I'm no pro!) that he just wants to finish up the essentials now and get it over with. I'm kind of in the same boat. When we bought the house, we never imagined we'd have this much work today. One project lead to the next, and then all of a sudden, it became a whole house remodel practically!

always1stepbehind, I pushed the sofa over because so that we could look directly at the TV. Even with it so far over, I'd say the last seat looks out to the backyard. Not a problem, though. I do think it'd look nicer if we pulled the sofa out to the right just a tad!


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

I forgot to mention, we don't really plan to use the fireplace because ordinance doesn't allow us to, but we like the idea of having it there. I think it's cozy! LOL! It does pose a design challenge, though!


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If you decide to do a pantry later, my husband once built a pantry where every inch counted. He had drywall on one side only in the pantry, so we gained almost 3 inches. A shallow pantry about 12 or 15 inches deep would be great if you have room. You could build it out into the family room if you haven't room in the kitchen/DR.


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I don't know if you mentioned being open to a new sofa, but I think you could get away with a small sectional with the setup pictured that sundance posted of their space. I have the same set up as you, where I have a walkway I have to make room for and I have a sectional situated like sundance but my space is smaller.


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

the first picture is when it first got delivered, I actually have it pulled out a little more away from the window wall and still have room for my walkway...even with a slim armoire on the wall to the left (you can barely see it in the pic above)

This angle is looking in from hallway..


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correction, my sectional is turned different than sundance but you could do the same direction as sundance with one section facing the fireplace and the other section facing the ponywall/kitchen area.


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That is like mine, only you have more windows and no fireplace! Our sofa was a custom that originally came with a sectional, but since we didn't need it at the item, we opted to not order it. I'm going to see if I can find the dimensions for it.

What, can I ask, window treatment did you opt to go with for your slider (or is it an actual door)? It looks like you have blinds?


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RE: Need help my ridiculously narrow & awkward living room!!

The sectional looks great.


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Love the idea of a sectional (facing the pony wall) with the tv over the fireplace. With a great coffee table and rug and maybe an arc lamp or end table and lamp...you're done.


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Maybe for that long wall you just need a longer sofa?
Holy moly!


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Love the idea of a sectional (facing the pony wall) with the tv over the fireplace. With a great coffee table and rug and maybe an arc lamp or end table and lamp...you're done.


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I did this reversal of your 1st photo before you posted about shifting furniture towards fireplace.

The TV and pony wall seemed similar height, as though TV could be switched to just in front of pony with sofa facing open floor plan (Im a sucker for open space layouts).

Will stop beating this dead horse but hated to waste my fine photoshop... okay, MS paint cut and paste technical skills *smile* Below its just a photo of narrow room that did it similarly..


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I have French doors on my tv wall. I have bamboo roman shades just to block some of the light but we don't need complete privacy. those doors go out to our patio.


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Jaynes123, that's a pretty neat set-up they have there. They successfully divided their room with their TV console.

And holy moly, that is one looooong sofa!

Okay, my husband is going to attempt to draw the room for me. I will post when I have some versions up!


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I think I found a way to move the piano to the long wall, move the TV to where the piano is now, and move the sofa infront of the fireplace. We are slightly off center to the wall, and we'll be fairly close to the piano's edge, but the view of the TV isn't obstructed.

The fireplace's lower half is blocked by the sofa, but it's a pretty high mantel and part of the fireplace itself is still visible. This way, we clear up the walkway, which was really bugging my husband. He's finally willing to unplug the electronics this weekend so that we can move stuff around. Yay!

The only problem I see with this layout is I'm not sure where to store all my books other than the half-wall.


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Played around with RoomSketcher to get these images. Too bad they're not 3D. I have a few more layouts to share with you, so when I get live pictures, I'll share with everyone.

I really appreciate everyone's ideas so far. Thank you!

This post was edited by Sugar_Berry on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 0:39


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Just another angle


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Sugar...will you be able to use the breakfast bar with the dining table & chairs right behind it? It will be REALLY tight. What about nixing the bar stools and doing built-in bookcases below that counter?


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Even though the fireplace isn't functional, it looks a bit awkward to have the sofa's back to it.


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We can use the breakfast bar if we buy a narrow table, about 30"-35", and have dining benches on that end. We actually like the look of benches with a rectangular dining table (saw it in a few show homes), so that's not a problem. Or it was suggested we buy a bar height dining table and scoot the bar stools over depending on our needs. We're still mulling that over. Heck, we're mulling the whole house over!

I agree, it's a bit odd to have the sofa blocking the view to the mantle, but I wonder if the builders intended for the set-up to be like that, since all the wiring actually comes out of the stairwell.


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So this is the sketch of TV over the fireplace. To my eye, it's just so off-balanced, even with the side chair pulled to the right some to balance it out, because the sofa extends 3" further into the space than the fireplace,. I almost feel like I need to put something right in front of the pony wall, which was what my hubby was trying to avoid. I'll still test it out this weekend. I'm determined to come up with a layout we'll both enjoy!


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I just don't think that room is going to make any sense unless you put the sofa on the long wall and the tv on/in the half wall. To have the sofa with it's back to the tv, the french doors and basically the dining room, is really awkward. When you say you seldom watch tv, I don't see why you'd arrange it so that it's all you focus on, esp when the rest of the room (fireplace and french doors) is so pretty.

If you did a unit like that Ikea one above, you would have your tv and some bookshelf space. If you still need more shelf space, you could wall in the space above the 1/2 wall and hang the tv there. Or you could place the tv on the lower half of the 1/2 wall and build open bookshelves above it for more storage, then you could access them from both the kitchen and living room.


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I'm thinking TV over fireplace for sure. Just make sure it's centered over the FP which in your sketch it is not. Put the TV on an articulating mount so it tucks over the fireplace but can be pulled sideways when needed. You could even do a very contemporary dark wood built in all around the fireplace and up to the TV (depending on flammable materials clearance of course. I would keep the piano where it is and back the sofa on to it. To me, sofa on long wall just accentuates the bowling alley effect - sofa floating in middle of room allows different 'areas' in one room.

I feel your pain too - my family room is 11x24! I have an 'L' shaped sectional and mounted the TV in the corner.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 13:54


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Great ideas everyone. I did map out some suggestions given to me yesterday night, and these also might work. We're just not up to filling in the half wall or covering it up because I need the shelf space and we installed some very expensive marble on it that was left over from our kitchen remodel. If we're really stuck, I'm sure I can convince my husband to see if we can put it in the half-wall, but right now, he's having none of it! We're left with trying to figure out what we can do with things the way they already are. I think I won't be able to tell what I like until I get to move all the furniture around, so hopefully by this weekend, I'll do. I'm just hoping to get feedback on possible layouts and which ones definitely won't work.

I'm not trying to be a pain everyone, and I really do appreciate your constant feedback. Thanks for putting up with me!


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Someone suggested moving the piano over to the fireplace.


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It might work if I purchase my end tables and furniture carefully. And I think it works if I switch the sofa to the stairwall...

We can't use the fireplace, so heat damage to the piano is not an issue.


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Of all of your options pictured here, this one (or with the tv over fireplace) is the least awkward to me. Because the room is so narrow, facing the long wall or facing the piano where is is now just looks like the walls are too "in your face". With the couch facing the fireplace (or impossibly the 1/2 wall) it opens the room and your eyes have something to look at besides the walls/tv. I think the piano near the fireplace is too crowded looking. It looks like you've done a wonderful job on your remodeling/finishes.


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When I see the sofa perpendicular to the long wall, the space behind it looks to narrow to me for either the fireplace which looks like its being blocked or the piano because it looks like its just being stored behind it.
How tied are you to the fireplace, with it not even being usable? Would it be a consideration and would it physically fit to put either the piano or double bookcases in front of it?


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Thanks olychick! I'm feeling like the remodel will never end. One thing gets done, and something else suddenly needs repairs...

And I agree with you about looking out towards the window. It was so bright when we moved the sofa over to test it out and it's nice when I'm reading.
But...I think you just gave me an idea...not going to bore you guys with anymore layout options, so I'll test it out and see how the hubby likes it!Thanks!!!


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You mentioned the piano to tight for the dining area - would the double bookcases work there to free up space.

I cant seem to let go what seems the natural layout to me - TV on the pony and spacious options it opens up, especially seeing it commented by others too. Even options with chairs backed to fireplace (#4) doesnt seem to block off fireplace like sofa does, since sofa so solid and long like room divider. Have you actually tried the sofa facing pony and not liked it?


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If only you could retire the piano and get a keyboard, you'd have so many more options. lol.


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Jaynes, yes, I know it would like the most balanced with the sofa placed against the long wall, but I really don't want to modify the half wall other than to repaint and put the shelves back in. We don't have the budget to do the built-ins right now because we still have two bathrooms to remodel (one being the Master Bath!). And it know it looks level in the photo, but i checked again and if we were to just tuck the TV into the space, it would be too low. Right now, the TV is actually higher than the pony wall, and it's actually a bit low right now as it is. If we kept it were it is now, we'd mount it a tad higher (though not as high as the fireplace).

I can lose the bookcases, no problem! I was planning on getting rid of them anyway for smaller with a smaller footprint.

Yes, upright pianos are so big. I've played on the high quality electronic ones, and, sadly, they feel completely different from real ones!

Armed with all these drawings and layout suggestions you've all sent me, I'm going to give them all a go this weekend. Many, many thanks!!


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Okay, you've said that you rarely watch tv, so it seems senseless to design your entire room around the television for the few times you use it for video games, etc, I would place it over the fireplace with an arm that could adjust it in various directions and forget about it. It should be able to be made to view from almost any angle for the times that you infrequently use it, then I would place the sofa on the long wall.


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Does the piano need to stay in this room? From your plan it looks like it could fit in the entry/foyer.


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My recommendation for the layout of your room. You need to accommodate more people with seats. The bookcases around the tv block the view. Use a sofa and two lounge chairs with a coffee table. Move the bookcases over to the fireplace/library area and incorporate a comfy chair or recliner with a good light for reading. Not sure your existing sofa will work with this configuration, but perhaps you can consider mounting the TV on the wall with a minimal wall mounted cabinet from IKEA below.


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Since you cannot use your fireplace at all, have you thought of putting your two bookcases in front of it? Or the piano, if there is room? Or even the TV/unit in front. Then you would have more wall space to arrange your living room. I am not fond of a TV on the wsll above the fireplace. If placing something in front of the fireplace leaves a little "gap" on the window side....place a tall plant there.


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If you don't like the look of a tv above the fireplace check out Pottery Barn mirror cabinet media solution. It looks like a mirror but opens up like a cabinet to expose the tv.


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beverly27, I actually just came up with a layout like that. I did add a bench facing the TV as an option for extra seating. But I'm currently testing these all out. I think what's going to work out for us, based on these drawings and the actual space, is probably going to be a combination of your drawing and what I came up.

oaktonmon, ooh pottery barn! I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the tip!


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I have a similar narrow room so I feel your pain. Because I have a counter stools in my kitchen on the living room side, I have about nine feet or so to work with. I have tried all the arrangements you have and I have settled on one that is a mix between the one beverly27 just posted and the one you posted on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 2:18. I have tried the sofa facing the wall, but it blocks off the room too much and we too don't watch a lot of TV so it is not necessary for the sofa to face the TV directly. I'll take a couple pics tomorrow in the daylight and post for you to see.

For the dining room, I think you need a long, narrow table with a bench on the window side. That way the table can be pushed a little closer to the window to give the barstool area more room.
Something like this:

A simple parsons table would fit in well with your decor. Room and Board has tables you can customize. A 30x60 should seat six people.

Here is a link that might be useful: Customizable Room and Board Parsons Table


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Here are pics of my space. Ignore the mismatched chairs (hubby and I can't agree on matching replacements) and the light fixture. Anyway, from the wall to the edge of the carpet is 9'3". The rug is 8'x10' and the shelving along the wall is 15" deep. The TV is on a bracket so it can be swiveled to any position.

As you can see, our counter dining area faces the living room. Someday I want to make it facing the dining area and add shelving where the current barstools are. It would be very similar to your space when that's done.

We do not have a fireplace, but have considered adding one in the corner where the [hideous] blue chair is. In that case, we would have just one chair where the brown one is now. This is what you have now since your fireplace is so far over that it is essentially a corner fireplace.

 photo BC33B4EE-9FB4-431E-A436-D81B1713FF98_zps41kolibx.jpg

 photo 79D6F242-4F62-4248-A9CE-45D89FB709EC_zps0pg4fekd.jpg


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geokid, that is actually what I think my husband and I will be doing! What a coincidence!

Over the weekend, we tried almost all the layouts suggested (much to my husband and everyone who had to help's horror), even went back and forth a few times, and have settled on two arrangements that will work best for us. In either arrangement, the sofa is going to face the fireplace. We'll have two slimmer side chairs with a opposite from the sofa. We most likely will have the TV mounted on the long wall with a smaller cabinet or mounted cubbies/shelves (something) for the electronics. I might add in a small tufted bench opposite the TV if we need more seating, but the two side chairs should work for now, and when my family/friends come over to play video games (which seems to be really often lately), we'll pull the chairs over. But realistically, we all sit on the floor. The piano will stay along the stairs, and to balance the open wall space between the piano and the sofa, we'll mount some shelves for decor and books.

We tried mounting the TV over the fireplace, and I surprisingly liked it, too! It totally cleared up the floor space and made everything so open, but...it was kind of uncomfortable to look up at the TV. I'm only 5'3"; I don't mind a few minutes like that, but not for a couple of hours and not for game-playing. It's fine for my husband, though. I'm still keeping this an option, as I think we won't really know what'll work for us until we start buying some new furniture.

I tried placing the piano in the dining room; no good because it ate up too much room. The bookcases are currently there, and I kind of like it! LOL. We have no dining table yet, so it feels like a special reading room. Haha!

I like the idea of the bench along the window. If our chandelier was centered in the room, would it look weird for the table to be off-center? Otherwise, my plan was to buy a narrow table, have bench seating on one side (probably closer to the bar area) and regular chairs the other side.


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Still no furniture, but you get the idea. The sofa isn't as close to the piano as it appears in the floor plan.


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This also works, but, as you can see, the TV is pretty high. I can only lower the mantel about 4 inches or so.

Thanks for the help everyone! I'll hopefully have some newer furniture soon, so I'll post a follow up for the downstairs. I still have to figure out the dining table situation, so I'll probably come back for some help!

But...do you all think I need a bigger rug? That's a 5x7. Do you think I need an 8x10?

Thanks!


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I like the TV on the long wall. Long term TV viewing over a fireplace can lead to neck problems for some people. If you find 2 very small chairs, you could try them as shown in this floor plan. Then your fireplace isn't blocked and one more person can view the TV.
I would definitely lower the TV on the long wall. The middle of the TV should be in line with your eyes when you sit on the sofa or chair.


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Rather than have a coffee table, you might consider 2 smaller ottomans to set drinks down on but also to be used to pull up to the tv to play video games. It would also seem less visually crowded than one larger coffee table. I'm also leaning toward placing the tv on the long wall, but agree, it needs to be lower.


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HI Sugar Berry-you have alot of good suggestions here and I've tried to read through all the posts. Not sure where you are in your remodeling project, but we have a similar scenario with a long narrow living room and narrow family room. What we did with the family room is replaced the sliding patio door with a single french door. It gave us more wall space to work with in the room and really didn't cut down on sunlight).

We wanted a coffee table, but it just took up too much real estate in middle of the room. We opted to place 2 ottomans with trays on top in front of sofa. They can be moved, used for seating, etc. We also purchased a smaller scale contemporary style swivel rocker that allows us to position it to watch TV or towards kitchen area so visitors can chat with us while working in the kitchen. You could place that next to fireplace/patio door.

Also, wondering why you aren't using the fireplace (not functioning?) and why you're going to store peripherals in it? Could you find a console to place in front of it that would also serve as a spot for your TV?


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Someone mentioned whether the piano could go in the foyer.

Currently it appears to me as though piano where its at is squeezed 2 feet behind sofa and that its forcing opposite chairs to be up against the fireplace.

Understand if your fine with it, but to me seems the piano unneccesarily cramps the room to the fireplace while still not having enough space for itself behind sofa, with resulting half piano view above sofa not the nicest use of that back wall.

No offense intended, just an opinion but with piano removed, the room seems to work much more nicely.


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If you really want the piano there, you could allow more space for it and open the view to both TV and fireplace by switching the chairs.and shifting seating towards fireplace.

With this option both piano and fireplace would have floor space in front of both. I like your layout, just think for length of room it cuts off the fireplace and piano.


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Hi all,

The foyer is actually not a accurate because I didn't draw in the bathroom door and the closet actually cuts into the hallway. We have about 35" of wall spat to squeeze a tiny console or shoe cabinet in front of the door. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

I haven't bought any furniture, and ottomans in lieu of a table are certainly an option! Jaynes, when we were testing out the layouts, we did have everything closer to the fireplace than what the diagrams are showing. There was actually more than 3 feet, so it shouldn't be too bad. We'll probably only need the sofa and two side chairs, and they can pretty much go anyway that feels most open and practical. :) I just added the bench as a worst case scenario if we needed more seating.

chicgeek, my state limits the days you can use your fireplace (practically, the days you would want to!), and we were only going to do that to the fireplace if we mounted the TV on top of it. I probably won't do it!

Great ideas, everyone! I think once a few furniture pieces are ordered, we'll know where everything should go! This, at least, gives me a start to what types of things I can buy.


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