We have a long, bowling-alley-like living room, and I cannot figure out how to arrange the furniture to meet our needs. The TV is at one short side of the space. A door to the backyard is at the other. A fireplace is along one long wall, and two thresholds are on the other.
Id like the room to serve as a comfortable place to watch television and be space for kids to knock around a bit. I have a very active 7-year-old boy who likes to make up games involving projectiles.
We like the chaise lounge but would be glad to replace the red sofa and chair. We just want a comfortable, functional space that can be modified as our family needs change.
We asked Lisa Davidson of Interior Design Service Online and LMD Interior Design in Cary to tackle this design dilemma. She writes:
An awkwardly shaped, narrow room can make furniture arranging a challenge. The unexpected surprise is that the unusual shape offers an opportunity to create a multifunctional (and great-looking) room. The best way tackle the layout of a long room is to divide it into usage areas, each set up for a defined purpose. Once the function of each area is established, the room needs to be tied together visually so it is unified.
Find your focal point: Look at your architecture for inspiration about the best place to start. Most rooms have an inherent focal point. Your fireplace is this focal point; therefore, it is the best place to start building the furniture layout. Whether we like it or not, television also becomes a focal point. This is why we often mount the TV above a fireplace. Due to the structure of your fireplace, your TV cannot be wall-mounted. The next best thing is to place the TV directly across from the fireplace. This will allow the first seating group to feature what is known as dual focal points.
Family-style seating: Here, I placed a pair of sofas so your family can comfortably sit together. A round coffee table and an 8- by 10-foot area rug ground this grouping. To complete this seating arrangement, I incorporated a pair of ottomans near the TV. These ottomans round off the grouping and are a handy place for kids to perch while watching TV or playing video games.
Grown-up space: The area near the front door is an ideal grown-up space. I placed a pair of chairs, a center table and a lamp here. This will be a great spot for a cup of coffee, reading The N&O or chatting with a friend. Your chaise lounge could be used in this location instead of the chairs. But its long, narrow shape mimics that of the room, and this similarity does not highlight the best qualities of the chaise or the room. No matter whether you use the chaise or the chairs, adults can enjoy this space while the children play across the room, bringing us to the final area.
Play space: The ideal area for children to play is near the doors that lead to the backyard. Lots of floor space allows for spreading out with toys, hopefully enough space to keep all projectiles under control. Also included here is a bookcase for storage. A desk for homework and other projects finishes this child-friendly area.
Unifying the space: The keys to pulling the room together aesthetically are colors and furnishings. Repeating colors throughout the space, keeping the scale of furniture consistent and using complimentary wood tones all work to unify the look. The transitional-style graphic area rug sets the color scheme and tone for the room. Bold green sofas bring out the colors in the rug. I added yellow and paprika accent pillows to the sofas for visual interest. These accent colors are repeated across the room on the pair of chairs and on the paprika desk chair. This repetition of color unifies the room.
Once your layout works for your family, your aggravation with your room will grow into appreciation. You might even learn to love the room; especially your grown-up zone.