We found your blog and love all your great ideas. We also have four children but all in the teen years now. Our home has a family room and also a living and dining room. Our formal living room is never used and we want to make it more livable space. Hopefully you can help us with a design.
We were thinking of using it as another family room and including a television - however it would not be a wall mounted tv. I would like the room to have a small writing desk...something to put a laptop on, or to do work. We love leather and were considering a leather couch and loveseat but thought that might me too much for the room.
As you can see from the floor plan, the dining room and living room are connected. Our dining room has a formal cherry dining room set.
Thank you for any suggestions you can provide us.
I love your idea of making your living room more functional for your family. Just a few weeks ago, I turned my own living room into the TV room. In my home, I just hated sharing the focal point with the fireplace, and I felt like there was a lot of seldom used square footage in our home.
Your floorplan does present some challenges. I came up with two options for you, and I wanted to share with you how I came up with them.
1. Consider your spacing. When a TV is going in the room, the furniture should not be more than 12 feet from the TV. Your room is almost 18 feet wide. You absolutely should not have the furniture on one end, and the TV 18 feet away. This rules out placing the sofa on the long solid wall.
2. Consider balance in your architecture. When you ignore your architecture for the sake of functionality, it just never looks right. Your windows are centered in the wall. This has created a central focus to the room. It would also look awkward to have the sofa brought into the room, with a walkway behind it, facing the long solid wall, as it throws the balance of the architecture off entirely. Notice how in both of my options, the furniture is centered with the window. (This concept is complicated, as you would never use every window as a center- but take a look at rooms, and ask yourself what the architect was thinking.) Work with your architecture, not against it.
3. Do not line your walls with furniture. Just don't do it. It creates super dull negative space, as well as poor conversation areas. You will notice that the sofa is against the wall in the first floorplan. This is not what I consider having the "furniture against the walls." If the room were larger, I would have it pulled out, yes, but with the chairs brought out into the room, it works fine. Make sure that in a situation like the one above, the sofa is brought out about 12 inches, to give comfortable room for drapery panels to hang freely.
4. Consider your rhythm. By this, I am suggesting that you break up your case pieces. You want something to hold the TV, as well as a desk. Do not put those two pieces on the same side of the room. Notice how in each option the case pieces are separated.
5. What is the focal point? Here is where I say your room is really not ideal for a TV. It would be better if there were no door to the dining room on that wall. I don't really like a focal point of a room to be a door to a different room. But, ideal or not, it is better that you make the room work for your family. This is one reason why I like the arrangement with the four chairs. In that arrangement, it is a center focal point, and the TV is there merely as a secondary focal point, which I find ideal. However, it is only ideal if you have just two people watching the TV at once, and the other arrangement allows comfortable viewing for five. Sometimes furniture arranging is about compromise.
6. Don't get a sofa and matching chairs in the same leather. Get your leather sofa, (if you go with a sofa)- but have your chairs in a different material. Vary your textures and include patterns.
Good luck Gail!