How to Arrange furniture with Two Focal Walls
Hi guys, it’s Remi (a Jr. Freelance designer here at EHD, who helped with this project) with a design agony question, this time coming from Boston. Vicky reached out looking for some help on her living room layout and some tricky walls.
What extra seating (loveseat or chairs) should I buy to pair with my West Elm sectional? I want to add seating and make the living area cozier, but still want to have a pulled-together feel. The seating has to be comfortable. I am not happy with the current layout either. Due to the size of the TV we can’t use our mantel as the center of the room. I do want the sectional to keep facing the TV, but I also want the shelves next to the mantel to show (because they will eventually be decorated).
The rug is already 9’x12′, but it still feels kind of weird in some way. Maybe it is the way it’s positioned or the rug itself.
My living area, dining area, and kitchen are one big open space. It has been very challenging to decide the layout because I only have 2 walls that I can use technically.
Another question is what to do with the TV wall? My Fiancé insisted on the position of the TV and it left all the empty spaces above/around it. Don’t want to do an art wall because I want to keep it simple. Any ideas?
As you can see, there is a lot of open space above and around the TV, and on the wall behind her sectional there are many unsightly plates (thermostat, alarm, plugs, etc). Aside from the coffee table feeling a tad small, the furniture had some good bones for us to work with, but the layout feels like it needs something else to help it feel more conversational, so we were ready and willing to take on the furniture layout challenge.
After pulling together a handful of options we passed along these 4 options to think about and while we don’t necessarily think they all work, we do like to show clients the pros and cons of laying out the room certain ways. It gives them a good sense of why we do things and the logic behind the advice and answers that we give them.
The first layout felt a little weird in that the two chairs facing each other feel disconnected to the sectional and not very conversational. It does leave a good visual opening to the fireplace but the way that the sectional kicks out doesn’t really work well for TV viewing.
The second option was the most similar to her current layout in that the sectional and chair stayed in the same position (we moved the chair closer to the sectional) and introduced another chair on the opposite side of the TV. This feels conversational, leaves the fireplace area open to the space but does mean that the side chairs aren’t really facing the TV. That isn’t a total deal breaker, but some people do like their chairs to all face the TV depending on the way they use the room and how much time they spend watching TV there. This was definitely a favorite option of ours.
Option 3 is the one we prefer the most. And while it does block the mantel slightly, the chairs speak well to the TV wall and sectional. Ideally the sectional would be a sofa and sit directly opposite the TV, then the side chairs could flank it. But since we have the existing sectional to work with this layout feels like a good balance and is open to the adjacent dining area.
As a suggestion we added a low daybed in front of the fireplace. This added more seating whilst being low to the ground which helped with the request of keeping the fireplace/shelves open. While we thought it was a good option, we felt this didn’t feel as cozy since since daybeds typically don’t have a back to them. It also might start to feel very solid and platform-y in there with the day bed and sectional being very angular. We suggested that Vicky try out both options 2 and 3 in her space to be sure and see what worked best for her, and the way she lives and uses the room.
After settling on a living room layout, we got to looking for solutions for the TV wall. Since most pins show off elaborate gallery walls (which are great, but too busy for this specific client and space), I sketched out a couple options to show Vicky what we had in mind. We definitely needed to bring task lighting and greenery into the space to add some life, and we loved the idea of mounting the TV speaker to the wall in order to clear up some styling space on Vicky’s floating media cabinet. Now, while Vicky didn’t want a full on gallery wall situation we did like the idea of bringing in two larger pieces of the same size, that would feel less cluttered than an organic gallery wall and still help to fill the blank wall. Another option would be to add two larger sconces to the wall or to do a more uniform gallery wall with art shelves that can be swapped around and kept in a tidy grid-like fashion. We did this type of gallery wall in this living room for target and loved it.
Since there was plenty of room in the walk way behind the sectional, we suggested that Vicky move her console to the ‘switch wall’ and center it on the open space between the two closest switches. Adding a mirror would open up the space, and accent lighting and a tall plant would distract the eye from any switches or plates that couldn’t be moved. Treating this room similarly to an entry console will make her space feel bigger, more organized, and less empty. After we sent this all to her we got this response:
Thank you! I think I love #3 layout the most. I just have one question about it: do you think it’ll work with a love seat? I much prefer a love seat over two lounge chairs, but I understand that love seat will cover the shelves (I think I am OK with that now).
We wrote back saying we felt that a love seat would feel too heavy in the space and would completely block the view of the fireplace shelving; however if she wanted to add seating she could always add a lounge chair tucked at an angle where her current pink chair is. Vicky loves her new living room layout and we are very pleased with how it is progressing. Hopefully we will be updating you all soon with some furniture selections for her space!
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