Our Living Room Layout is Tricky With a Capital T

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One of the reasons I never really finished decorating the living room was because I was sick of the yellow (and not willing to admit it). The other reason is that our living room layout is really hard to work with.

Like, really tricky.

I drew up a little sketch with some free online program to give you an idea but it's not perfect, obviously.

First, the room is super long and skinny, and second, there are FIVE openings that lead out of the room (four openings/doorways to other rooms and the staircase landing that leads upstairs). That leaves only a few piddly little walls to place furniture on.

The couch can only fit on the long wall under the windows. The loveseat can only fit on the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. Because the couch and loveseat are so awkwardly far from eachother I have to add in the armchair on the tiny wall between the sunroom and front entry to try and make it more of a conversation area.

After all the couches n' stuff the only other wall left is the tiny piece of wall by the stairs where I was able to squeeze a super skinny console cabinet.

Sidenote: I've tried to put the loveseat opposite the couch to create a more "intimate" space but it just doesn't work because the room is so narrow.

So because I feel like being a big complainer today, I thought I'd share some of the issues that this room layout creates and how I plan to hopefully fix them.

Problem #1

The trunk is too small to use for in front of the couch. So I'm on the hunt for a slightly bigger, rectangular coffee table to use instead that will fill up some of the empty space in the room. Sorta like this Pottery Barn one, but all in white if you can picture it.

Image - Pottery Barn

Problem #2

There's no room for sidetables on either side of the loveseat. Hence, nowhere for lighting to go and nowhere for drinks to go. I was thinking about adding two wall sconces above the loveseat for some lighting and adding in the Extorp footstool to place a tray (and your drinks) on.

Image - Pottery Barn

Image - Ikea

Problem #3

There's also no room for a sidetable beside the armchair, hence nowhere to put your drinks. I am on the hunt for a teeny tiny round sidetable that's only like, 12 inches wide. I saw one once. Never to be found again.

Image - Muskoka Living Interiors

Problem #4

With all of the openings everywhere, the furniture all seems separated. I need a giant rug to tie all the furniture together. I saw a huge, rattan 12x8 rug at Muskoka Living Interiors but it was soooo much money. I still want it though.

Image - Pottery Barn

Sooooooooo, those are some of my living room dilemmas. They are eating away at my brain. I need to fix them but it's soooo hard to find what I'm looking for. And when I do find something, it's always sooooo much money.

Le sigh.

Alright, that's enough complaining for one day. On the plus side, the light gray walls are BEE-U-TI-FUL and I'm still so excited about them. One more room left to paint though, so gotta go. :)


  1. That does seem tricky but I would still try to make a more intimate conversation area by pulling the couch out to the middle of the room and put the loveseat opposite with a coffee table in the middle. Then, figure out what to do with the rest of the furniture. I guess you have to evaluate how you use the room. It seems very awkward now. I had some issues like that in my living room because we have to walk through it so my furniture is in the middle and works fine. Here's an idea, send the layout, explanation to Layla at The Lettered ottage and see if she'll do one of those "presto" (?) changes on her blog. ;) Looking froward to seeing what you decide. :)

  2. this is going to look SO great. i can't wait to see the final results. i, too, love wall sconces. such a beautiful way to light a room at night.

  3. Sarah, I adore your house and your style. I totally agree with anonymous about creating more of a conversation area with your seating. What is the program that you used? I'd love to play around with it and give you some ideas for furniture placement! Don't want to overstep, though. :)

  4. Rug shopping is right behind curtain shopping of things I have love hate relationship with. Why are rugs so darn expensive and how come I can never decide on curtains/drapes?

    BTW, check Lowes out..I found a large 8x10 rug shoved in the back by the remnants that is black bound sisal.

  5. I have an odd shape room with lots of windows. Good for light, bad for furniture. I love that chair in your inspiration photo.

  6. I was asking for help on my blog with a similar question. Our living room is long and narrow too, but we have three door ways in it. Good luck with what you come up with. Will look forward to seeing what you do.

  7. I also agree with Anonymous, creating a conversation area, and more of a 'walk through' area by the stairs.

  8. That room does look pretty tricky. Have you ever thought about making/using small shelves on either side of your loveseat for side tables? Or what about making a small round table? You could possibly find a pre-made wooden leg and two wooden cirles and screw them together. Then you would get the height and diameter you wanted! I cant wait to see what you do with the room because I have a tricky living room too!

    p.s. I love your new paint color!!

  9. Hey There. Your blog has become my new favorite. I read your dilemma and immediately thought the same thing as your other comments...pull that loveseat and chair away from the walls and closer to the sofa-define that conversation area, anchor it with a more reasonably sized (lower price) rug and you can have a little reading space over by the stairs. Candice Olson recently used the same solution for one of her rooms. Best of luck to you.

  10. I have the same problem in our living room... only interrupted walls. It is so frustrating! I can't help with any of that part, but did remember this post at Thrifty Decor Chick where she made a little round side table with some craft supplies:
    Maybe it will help?

  11. My basement is really long and skinny too. What are dimensions of your room? Maybe I'm blind and just didn't see it. I've always found that it works best to pull the furniture away from the walls to create a more intimate area. Since your sofa is the longest piece, I would probably turn it the other direction in the room. I think it would be okay, even if you have to walk around it a bit. Is there a photo of your living room on your blog?

  12. I know you said you've tried this....but turn the loveseat towards the sofa ~ the back lined up with the doorway to the front entry.

    Also have you tried switching the desk and the chair?

  13. I have a similar issue with my living room with all the openings, windows and fireplace.

    I would leave the sofa where it is and once again try the loveseat facing it. This actually makes a hallway/entrance from your front door. Take the console and place it behind the loveseat. In order to eliminate the need for end tables all over the place, find a large coffee table. A round one would be ideal as it would allow traffic flow around it when passing from the sunroom to the dining room. There are very few nice large coffee tables around (affordable) however there are tons of round kitchen/dining tables (everyone had one in the 80's)Paint it and cut it down. You can see one here in my living room http://razmatazblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/living-room-saga.html
    People on the loveseat can reach it and they can use the console behind it for a drink. Find a rug to anchor the sitting area which will further define the hallway from the living space. Your Ektorp chair could find a home in another room.

  14. We have the EXACT same issue. Our living is long and skinny with multiple doorways plus we have the issue of the one wall where the TV fits perfectly is across the room from the fireplace, meaning you have to pick whether you want your central seating to be facing the fireplace or the TV- can't have it both ways. Very frustrating. I can't wait to see how you solve this problem! Good luck! I feel your pain!

  15. Find a really tall candle holder...(try pier 1)then find a platter you like the edging on...now buy some e6000 glue and glue them together...then paint the color you want...
    Problem solved!

  16. I just came across this and I am so excited to hear about this. I thought I was the only one with this problem and too petty to bring it up. Thank you all for speaking up. I hope to get ideas from you all.


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