Thursday, July 8, 2010

I need help.

In less than a month, our little family will be moving back into our favorite DIY project in Carlsbad, NM. I am so excited. I will have a house again. And this time, it is [almost] done! I can decorate! As if I'm going to really live there for a long time! [Because, this time, that is the plan.]

There's just one problem.

And it's the living room.

It is impossible to place furniture in. At least, it is for me. [We are talking about the least creative woman in the world here.]

Here's the problem. This room has to double as a living room and dining room space. It is a job that would be made a lot easier if it weren't for the incredibly awkward placement of the fireplace which makes it seem odd to divide the room into two separate halves. See for yourself:
I need help. I am desperately asking for help.

Let's say that we have only two pieces of furniture that we intend on keeping: a pleather couch and armchair. Other than that, we're looking to acquire furniture. [Slowly, but we'll be acquiring nonetheless.] Let's also say that a TV in this room is not a necessity. A dining table, however, is.

With that information, do any of you have furniture placement suggestions? Ones that will make me feel like I'm living in a happy home and not a smooshed up apartment? I'm open to unconventional. I'm not really open to ripping out the fireplace. Yet.

Here's a refresher on what the rooms actually look like.

From the dining area looking into living room/entry:
From the hall looking onto fireplace:
From living area looking onto dining area/kitchen:
I know many of you are ingenious homeowners and decorators and DIYers. Please share!


  1. You have to just get used to the fact that the fireplace is meant for heating and not as a focal point. It's ok if your back is to it when you're sitting on the couch watching tv. Tv's ARE necessities btw.

  2. I'd say take a cue from the hanging light at put your table there, nice and happy aligned with the window. Then, place your couch with it's back to the table, so that it's perpendicular to the fireplace. Then, get a second chair and a little table to place in between, and set the chairs so that they bend in a little on both sides of the table. These go right across from the couch, also perpendicular to the fireplace. Then all you need is a long skinny buffet type table and a beautiful family picture above it, maybe with some flowers or other such decorating items on it against the empty wall, which you would see as you are sitting on the couch. Or you could go with a flat screen... that would do the trick too =]
    Ta da! 2 happy defined (purposeful) spaces.

  3. Ok, call me crazy, but here's what I would do:
    1) Dining room table under the light fixture, as BriAnna said. Then your dining room is next to your kitchen, which I always think is nice.
    2) I would put a TV on or flush against the wall that you are looking at in the first picture, perpendicular to the fireplace.
    3) I would consider an "L" or "U" shaped couch, personally, because it would make the room seem more seamless and defined.
    4) Then, I would put that L couch so that the backs are facing the entryway and the dining room, so it defines its own little room.
    5) If you wanted it to seem more conversational, you could put a chair in there facing the couch as well.
    6)Then, your fireplace is still the focal point when you walk in, but just not when you are talking.
    7) BTW, we have almost the identical problem in our house (no really, weird!). Let me know what you come up with. =)

    An no TV alternative would be to put the couches or couch flush against the wall when you walk in with a chair facing the couches, so it looks very inviting when you walk in.

    I think in my mind, the fireplace is just a focal point when you walk in, not when you are talking. Many rooms I've soon don't actually focus the furniture around the fireplace.

    Oh, and another idea: Are rugs can really define a room, so you could get a rug that matches exactly the size of 'living room' space that you want to create and that will define that space for you!

  4. Wowa, there are a lot of spelling errors in there, the most important one being that I meant to say "area" rugs, not "are" rugs. =)

  5. Hi Elise. I think the others have great ideas about how to arrange furniture. You're all set there.

    So here's my advice: no no no tv! I haven't tried having three kids without one, but I have two kids, no tv, and we're thriving. Save up and get a piano instead. So much more interesting.