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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson

As a reader of this blog, I’m extremely excited to see how we are going to lay out this room. As the owner and the designer of the home, I’m less-so. It looks easy, but let me remind you of one thing: this is our family room and living room. I’m a normal “low-tech-for-kids” mom, but this is the only room where we can have a tv, as the playroom is tiny, and I really want the playroom to be full of play and not have a tv to be an option. So. You. Guys. This room wants to be formal, it does. The designer in me knows exactly what to do. The mom in me has a different plan – and she is probably going to win because moms just get to win.

First, lets talk about how I want it to feel (far more important than look). I really haven’t found the inspiration I need yet (probably because it’s hard to nail my style in this type of house) but these photos are looking really lovely and casual, and yet pulled together in an old space. Hilariously one of the rooms that has this antique meets midcentury vibe is one of my houses, or should I say Ian’s house which is an English Tudor.


I realize how narcissistic is sounds to be like “I’m so inspired by my own work” but this room does feel so casual and yet has enough classic pieces to make it feel integrious to the house.


I love how cozy this feels, but it’s more modern farmhouse than ours. The floor to ceiling shelving around the fireplace is something we also want to do.


This photo has lovely formality and a similar tudor style, but is a bit too serious for me; but I think it looks relaxed and lovely.


Another that is too modern farmhouse-y for me and not enough color for me, but it’s very, very lovely, relaxed and inviting with a great combination of midcentury and traditional. I think it’s Ellen Degeneres’ living room in her horse stable house, right? (also – I hope that one day my horses can enjoy a living room as beautiful as this).


This living room (I styled for STYLED, home by Project M Plus, photo by David Tsay) has such a wonderful vibe. The style goes a tad bit too modern for our new house but the vibe is easy and casual and I LOVE that sofa. My friend Scott has that sofa, too and it’s one of my favorites ever.

Ok, so that’s the general vibe. All fine and good, right? Until you try to lay out our beautiful, but complicated living room.

Let me break down why this is so difficult: There are three beautiful focal points, and we need a comfortable sofa and a big TV. If this were just a living room, it would be less challenging – you’d create a big seating area or two different zones. But it’s the whole “we want to live in here all day every day” request that makes it so befuddling.

Focal point #1: The beautiful bay window. Now this window is so pretty (and going to be prettier once it’s painted black), but it does face the street which isn’t that pretty, so I don’t feel like we need to face it even though technically it would be the most inviting when we come in.

Still, I would love to stare at those bay windows and throwing a pair of club chairs in there with a side table in between would be so pretty.

Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_7

Then we have the fireplace which is obviously a focal point. We may make it more awesome, but either way in an ideal world we wouldn’t want to put the sofa facing away from it.

Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_4

Then we have the ever-important wall of doors that lead to the back yard. Now with two kids our need and want to have the space feel open to the yard outweighs all aesthetic decisions. While the sofa would look great floating with its back against the windows, we want the flow of our house to be more open – so putting the sofa in front of it would block that flow.

Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_5 Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_6

Finally. we have this wall that is not a focal point and could absolutely house the TV. Not ideal for layout but it’s the obvious place to put the TV and where the previous owners had it. We could close up that little hole as I’m not its biggest fan anyway). But there are problems with this.  Many.

Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_8

In fact there are problems with every layout option. NONE ARE IDEAL. But I’m going to lay out the options for you.

Emily Henderson_Renovation_Home Imporovement_Spanish_Tudor_Living Room_Before_9

Option #1 and a STRONG contender: Back to back sofas, with one that faces the tv (on the boring wall) and the other the fireplace:


It’s tempting for sure. We taped it out on the ground and it works, but we are cutting the room in half which could be fine but it certainly makes it feel smaller and less open. Both spaces are on the smaller size and there may not even be room on the “family room” side for other chairs as the space in front of the sectional is a pass through to the dining/kitchen.

We would put the TV on that wall (although probably mounted higher if we closed off that stair window.


I love the idea of creating zones, but I fear this isn’t really that livable or pretty. But it is the only option that reduces the visibility of the TV in the room. I do not want a TV ruining the formality and beauty of this room. Some houses can do that, but I think that this one is so old and classic that a TV rips you right out of your english cottage fantasy.

Besides, there are so many issues with the back to back sofa – do they have to be the same? Can they be different colors? slightly different styles?

Upon a lengthy google image search I only found these options:

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

None of these match my style and all of them are of HUGE rooms, but you get the idea. I guess for us it would be having one side designated for the “family room side” and the other that is for the “living/fireplace lounge.” I fear that neither side is big enough to properly entertain. The good things about it are that this layout doesn’t block the windows, it addresses the focal points, and it hides the TV as much as possible.

Option #2: The fireplace feature with the TV on the right wall. A big note here is that we would PROBABLY put it in a piece of furniture with hydraulics that would make it rise up and rotate towards the sofa.


This is a decent option, but not my favorite. While it looks good here, I don’t love walking into backs of sofas if I can avoid it. But once you get a beautiful sofa table and some lamps in there, it could work. It’s not the most TV friendly either as the sofa would be pretty far away from it, although it doesn’t technically look that far away in this rendering we pulled together.


Option #3: Larger living area, creating a more library feel near the fireplace.


To do this we’d have to shove the sofa pretty far back, like 2/3rds of the room in order to clear at least 2/3rds of the window (to avoid breaking the room in 1/2). This allows for more seating on the TV side of the room (not shown in rendering). But this also means that you are walking in facing the sofa which I think is kinda weird. Not a deal breaker, but kinda weird. Additionally the sofa might be too far away from the TV but it’s something we’d probably get used to.


Option 4: The sectional facing the windows with the TV hidden in a piece of furniture (on hydraulics that comes up and rotates). When you are in this room and if you didn’t have a TV this is how you want the room to be laid out.


It’s the most inviting way to experience this room. Imagine a big old beautiful rug, a sofa table behind the sofa with pretty lamps and books, and us just staring at our kids playing while we drink coffee and lament the fact that The Bachelor doesn’t come back on for four months.


Now there is one more option that seems worth throwing out there although it’s not right but we thought we’d show you, so you could check that off your mental list.

Option #5


This one looks good in the room but it doesn’t work for our life. I don’t want the sofa blocking those doors and there isn’t really a comfortable place to watch TV. If we didn’t have kids or if we didn’t want to use the room as our TV room as well then it would be a lovely option, but we do, so it’s not.


Those are the options – unless you can think of another one.

Before you badger me about not watching TV in this room, we are seriously considering where else we can put it, we are. The problem is that we bought this house for this room and the back yard. I really want to USE it. Right now in our current house we rarely go into the living room because there is just not that much to do there. I didn’t design it enough to be “the family room” even though it’s technically very kid-friendly. If I were to redesign it now, I would put a MUCH more comfortable sofa in there and find a place for a TV so that Friday and Saturday nights we can have movie night in there. Additionally, I probably would have put drapes in there. It gets so bright (which is so lovely) that sometimes you want to just shut out the light. The roller shades certainly cut it down by 75% but I think curtains would have done a lot to help it feel more inviting, soft, and create a coziness that it’s missing. Also a very dirty secret is that my beautiful huge fig tree has a parasite and has been dropping sap all over the floor, sofa, furniture, etc. If you walk over there it’s as if you are walking on a fly trap – your feet stick to the floor and you have to peel them off like you would a disgusting piece of gum on the sidewalk. Charlie thinks it’s hilarious. I just want to cry. We’ve had it tended to a few times and it gets much better, but then a lot worse. So that is definitely a reason why we don’t play in there as much as we should.

Another quick note is that we don’t know what furniture we are using. I do want some sort of english roll arm because it works so well with the house and they are so incredibly comfortable, but I haven’t chosen or designed it yet – and no, it will probably not be white. Interior Define (a company we love and have used – Brady’s living room sofa is from them) has every angle of their furniture on their site so it was really easy for Brady to pull the furniture renderings and lay them out over my photos so that we could show to you all the different options we are considering.

Here are the options again – with both views of each option side by side. I’d love to hear your thoughts and get you to weigh in. I am leaning towards #4 or #2, but neither feels like the perfect choice, either. Honestly we may have to get a sofa in there to really do it right.


Your mission: pretend you are me, that you have two tiny kids and that you want to keep the doors open all day and be able to watch TV when kids are down or movie nights (or the many desperate occasions throughout the week, obviously).

WHAT WOULD YOU DO???? HELP, let me know know below what you would pick.


  1. My idea is a modification of #1 – keep the sofa/tv area, but instead of having another sofa on the fireplace side, you could have 4 matching arm chairs (2 flanking fireplace, then 2 mirroring them behind the tv couch, with a sofa table behind the tv couch). It wouldn’t feel as crowded and would be a great adult hang out area. You could add a bench under the bay window and/or wall for extra seating.

    1. I like this idea, if there is room!

    2. I like this suggestion the best. Four armchairs is a great conversation area, with a round coffee table in the middle. And that would also be a good spot for kids to sit around on the floor and play a game. A sofa with an upholstered ottoman instead of a chaise (more seating when needed).

      Another idea, a modular system, which could morph from a sofa and four chairs to a mega sofa U or L shape facing the tv for movie nights. Upholstered in a more traditional fabric, or a mix of them to bridge the modern with contemporary traditional. (I have a small living/family room, and a regularly move things around to adapt to adult, kid or family use. Another flex option, a projector tv is a lot of fun for a big viewing experience as needed!)

      This is a such a beautiful room and I am so looking forward to seeing how it comes together.

      1. The 4 chairs is a cool idea, too.

        Like Lauren Liess’ new “hearth room.”

        1. I also thought about Lauren Liess’ four chair and a half solution. I think that would be lovely here as well. Why do you need a sofa?

    3. I also like this idea of a couch in front of Tv and 4 armchairs for the fire place.

      1. Forgot to mention… Otherwise my pick is option #3.

    4. I totally agree! 4 chairs by the fireplace, sofa facing the tv wall, ottomans & benches where possible to allow for some extra seating.

    5. I like this suggestion of 4 arm chairs for option 1. I also like option 4 because it really opens up the space and you have a good view of the tv from the sectional.

      1. YES! I love the way Lauren Liess’ room looks and functions with those four beautiful gray armchairs. I agree that it would be a great place for kids to play games on the table and people to sit and converse. They don’t have to be giant armchairs either, they could be on the smaller side for sure. I would LOVE that set up.

        1. Alright. I’m listening. Will render it out overhead and see if there is the space….. I’m still worried about cutting the room in half but I need to get a sofa in there to really tell how much its actually going to bother me.

          1. I disagree about the 4 armchairs. It’s great for a photo, but not so much for a family with young kids–no one will be sitting in them 95% of the time. Totally not usable. Could you do a larger sectional partially against the back wall to the left of the fireplace?

          2. It’s really hard to tell without seeing the plan view. Could you post them?

          3. And maybe they should swivel so you can face the TV, the window, the backyard or the fireplace. I want to do this in our living room. I bought two sofas that face each other and flank our fireplace, a look I have always loved. However, it is a very formal way to live and we are NOT formal people. Big mistake; it’s not comfortable for us! We also added a small “game table” with chairs to our living room. That gets a lot of use because we can eat dinner gazing at our Christmas tree with the fire roaring (and AC running because it’s usually warm).

    6. I was as well thinking about this layout (4 armchairs around a round coffee table), inspired by Lauren Liess!
      I am looking forward to the reveal of this room!

    7. I love this idea too. My grandma had four swivel (the best part!) barrel chairs around a round coffee table. The table was slightly higher than normal coffee table hieght- but shorter than a table. It was perfect for snacks and cocktail hour. Also excellent for board games and puzzles. Her setup was in front of two large windows overlooking the backyard. The adults would often sit there while kids ran around outside.

      I’d even consider switching the conversational four chairs seating area to be next to the stairs as you walk into the room and the cozy couch-tv-fireplace situation towards the back wall.

    8. Yes! I heartily agree with this suggestion. Anytime I’ve been in a space with this configuration it has been the “go to” spot for relaxing. 4 chairs and a small table/ottoman. They don’t have to be matching either but could be 2 pairs of chairs. And I think a sofa table either way makes sense.

      For the sectional, would you consider a Sunbrella style chenille? Cozy and pretty for a English arm but practical for your needs.

  2. Is it an idea to get some more inspiration from European houses? We don’t really have the space to do separate family/living rooms. So they’re always a mix. So, maybe you run into something you haven’t thought of before? From your options I’d pick #1 or #2. Good luck!

    1. I was about to suggest the exact same thing (re European inspiration)

      1. Agree, definitely option 4 so you can sit down while watching your children play in the garden!

  3. 1 and 4 are my preferences. I personally would choose n. 1.
    I know it’s on the cozier side but living in California you will probably use the outside a lot more anyway (with the kids esp.) so I wouldn’t worry about that 🙂

  4. Okay what about mounting a projector and screen from the ceiling over the fireplace? That way the fireplace can be the main focal point like this room so desperately wants but you can watch tv when you really want to. Curtains can shut out light if you want to watch during the day. And you could potentially completely hide the projector screen in the ceiling so it’s completely hidden and then use hydrolics to lower it. Same for the projector maybe. Anyway, this is what I would do!

    1. I wondered about this too. Could you clear the beams, and not be bothered by the modern contraption on your ceiling?

    2. oh!! i was going to say option 1 but the projector idea on the fireplace wall is SO MUCH BETTER!! so, basically i’d go with option 1 with a tv, or option 2 with a projector.

      1. We have thought about this a lot but projection screens aren’t awesome for everyday – they are kinda annoying (we used to have one). But certainly good for movie nights … let me reconsider this …

        1. Hi there!

          I like the idea of a projector too, but as you mentioned they can be a little hairy at times. What if you did this instead:

          Create a custom cabinet to house the tv. (Maybe something like this from Jennifer Chused’s master bedroom- http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/modern-family-friendly-new-yor-93437 ) Put the cabinet along the back wall between the stairs, but have the cabinet be portable so you can push it around the room. That way it can stay on the back wall (with some big floor pillows in front of it for the kids) most of the time, but when you want to have family movie nights, you could wheel it to another part of the room. Granted, this is probably not the most practical solution, but it could work if you really wanted to maintain the aesthetics of the room.

          Best of luck in your decisions!! I know you will come up with something amazing- you always do!


          1. This sounds like a cable nightmare!

          2. Oh interesting. I have considered it on an easel (something vintage, retrofitted) that we can wheel around but then literally every one who I told that Idea to laughed in my face 🙂

  5. I think option #4 is the best option. Although I am sure the TV hydraulic system is expensive, you would be saving not buying two sofas. I think visibility to the backyard is really important to you and not seeing the TV when you are not using it is an added bonus. Sometimes with young kids out of sight, out of mind. Plus, I don’t love chopping that gorgeous room in half for some reason. The bay windows are lovely and create a perfect backdrop to the sofa. No need for a huge piece of art behind the sofa (see how option 4 keeps saving you money?!). Lastly, I am all for changing your mind once you have lived with it a while. so maybe just make sure the hydraulic tv cabinet could also fit on the back wall between the doors just in case? Just my two cents. LOVE YOUR NEW HOUSE.

  6. how about choosing a different idea altogether? the TV is the problem. get rid of it. put it in the play room. let the LR be your playroom. stop being a slave to TV. watch those football games on your laptop on your chest and don’t make everyone else a prisoner of stoooopid.

    1. Well, this is aggressive.

      1. HA. Jeanette really hates tv!!

        1. Or she hates (televised?) football, at any rate!

          1. It’s weird but my kids (6 and 9) really like to watch TV shows on tablets and the computer now. We only use the TV for sports (my husband), movies and the Wii. It’s no longer an important part of the room for us. We just move the couch closer and facing the TV for times when we want to watch it together. We have a sliding door to the back yard and the couch faces it most of the time and the tv is a right angle (on the fireplace wall) to it so someone can lay on the couch and watches tv. We also have beanbags for the kids. It also keeps the area clear for the wii games.

      2. Hi Emily!

        What about a credenza on the “Hole wall” where you close the hole and put a hidden tv in a credenza, the TV lift cabinet will elegantly and efficiently elevate and hide your television. You can still keep it stage on the back of it…but the front will be the area where the tv will move.

        check this link to have an idea of what I am talking about. https://www.tvlift.com/photo-gallery/

        Just an idea. Have a good day.

  7. I like option 4 the best. I know you don’t want to block any of the focal points, but it doesn’t seem like you can get away with it and still live the way you want to, plus you said that window faces the street, so a couch could possibly block the view of someone’s car.

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out and I’m sure whatever you choose, it will look amazing!

  8. I would choose the option #1 or #4.
    I like both equally, but I just wonder how it would feel coming from the back yard in the room with the option #1…
    I face the same kind of issues for our new house and haven’t found the right option yet either! :-/
    I guess we’ll have to try for real!!!
    Good luck and I can’t wait to see the final result!!!

  9. Love this topic! Too often design sites just shame TVs. I get it, they’re not pretty. But it’s how people live!! I need to know what’s happening on Bachelor in Paradise. #priorities

    I like #4

    1. I’d go with option two, because I ache for symmetry, and I love the look of “walking into a couch” with a well styled table behind it. However, I would totally mount a TV on that gorgeous fireplace. I don’t think most people are confused by a TV in a *gasp* 100 year old house. And I don’t think it looks bad. It just looks like you have a TV over your fireplace. The must-hide-TV faction needs to be challenged.

      I hate the “here is a gorgeous room, and your ity bitty tv in the corner where it isn’t actually comfortable to view” thing.

      1. I totally agree! Moving our tv from an awkward wall to above our (Spanish adobe) fireplace made our living room so much more functional and allowed us to install much-needed built ins on the wall that previously housed the tv. That layout would also allow for better sofa (or sectional – best for kids!) placement in terms of both tv watching and a view of the backyard.

        A built in window seat for the bay window might be a better solution that trying to focus seating around the window.

      2. Totally agree! I kept waiting for the option with the tv over the fireplace. We have a very similar family room with three walls of Windows. We have our tv stuck in the corner as you put in some options and I hate it. We are talking to builders about taking out a window to build a fireplace and then tv above fireplace.

  10. Love seat in bay. Three seater facing fireplace. Two chairs near fireplace. Lose the tv. A projector is a perfect solution for you. There must be a solution with a drop down screen above the fireplace. That way you don’t need two focal points. I’d also consider a large table in the bay with a couple of smaller scaled chairs around it.

    1. I actually really like this projector idea if you can hide it well. Put it in front of the fire place to drop down only when in use, and then create the perfect cozy space with the fireplace as the focal point and you don’t have to worry about a TV ruining your pretty focal point or being placed awkwardly in a corner…

      1. Projectors (at least used to) require a very dark room, and the lamp takes a while to heat up. SO it’s not super practical for everyday.

        Although neither is a hydraulic TV 😀

        1. Not so! The technology has come a long way. They make screens that are for daylight viewing and the projectors take no time to heat up. I have one! 🙂

  11. I’d go with option 4, it’s the most relaxed and utilizes the whole space as a cohesive room,

    1. I’d go with option #4 too. Why have a pretty room that you can’t use? This layout takes advantage of the full space (and with kids and toys you’ll need it). You also get a great view of the windows and you can sneak in some TV viewing as well. Agreed, that with kids out of site is out of mind so if you can lower the TV into that piece of furniture they’ll likely forget about it more. However, it will easily be accessible when you need it. I have two young kids, 5 & 3, and while we watch TV about once a week, it’s so nice having it in the room we want to be with them in. They also don’t sit still and move about a lot when watching TV so having it off to the side isn’t terrible. Beautiful house, can’t wait to see what you do with the space! However, most importantly keep it a comfortable place to ENJOY your family, and not a museum!

  12. I like options 2 & 4 best

  13. I’m so glad even designers face these dilemmas. We are moving into a house with almost he exact same issue. Compounded by the fact that my husband “has to have” a long couch running towards the tv so he can lay down facing the tv while he watches (smh…) anyways we ultimately went with the layout that fit our lifestyle despite not being the best visually. I still may swap out the second couch for two swivel chairs but it’s working for us. Making the decision was a major headache. I like option 4 for you

    1. Option 4!

  14. Yes, the second and the fourth inspiration picture are Ellen Degeneres`houses, I love her style!

    1. I totally agree! And if I remember correctly, the painting on the bookcase in photo 2 is hiding her TV.

  15. Why don’t you put a large sofa (not sectional) facing the back yard windows and the TV on the wall next to backyard windows. The sofa should be placed close enouph to the fireplace so it would be the focal point but this way you are going to have a clear visual access to the backyard. Place the two armchairs next to the sofa opposite to the fireplace and here you go, you can have everything without compromises. You can hide the TV if you want and you can put a sofa table behide the sofa (facing the bay window). Much like the option 4 but don’t use a sectional and place the sofa a bit closer to the fireplace and the armchairs both facing the fireplace. On the wall with the opening you can put a nice credenza and a side table between the two armchairs in order when you enter the room not to look just the back of the armchairs but all the living room space and especially the fireplace. And of course a coffe table in front of the sofa. I hope it helps. I am sure it’s going to be a beautiful home for your family!

      1. Yes this is my favorite. Make em swivel chairs. You’ll want your sofa facing the backyard– to watch the kids and that way with the tv off to the side you can view that easily too. None of it blocks the fireplace. And the room feels open. Can’t wait to see what you do!!

    1. I had similar thought, but would angle the sofa away from the bay windows. I like the idea of being close to the FP, good view of TV and back yard without blocking the bay windows.

    2. Great idea! (Swivel chairs are a must.) I would then consider a dining/library table with 4 chairs in space nearest stairs (Pass through to DR/kitchen) for games, quick meals, “buffet” table when entertaining, laptop time, etc. With kids, I think it’s really useful to have a small dining table in family room.

    3. YES!! I love when people come up with solutions 🙂 I think this is an excellent idea!

  16. Hi, I was facing the same type of problems with our living room and chose something like option 4. I love it now! For the longest time our sofa faced the big blank wall that had the tv on it. Our wall of windows was to the right of that wall and it has a stone fireplace in the middle of the windoes. There was no way to put a tv on it so I thought we had to live with facing the blank wall. It worked but the flow of the room was not right. Finally I moved the sofa to face the windows and it was so much better. Yes the tv is at an angle and not right in front of you, but it does give you the option to lay down on the sofa to watch which is nice. Plus I have 1 recliner that faces the tv and still creates a nice sitting/chatting area. I also have a low chair in front of the tv like you do in #4. It is nice when people visit and you don’t want to watch tv. So my vote is for #4. Getting to look out the windows is worth it!

  17. Aesthetically & parentally option #4 all the way. Pragmatically I wonder if you’ll end up craning your neck to see the tv from that angle, if so, can the sofa still look good on an angle?

    A reverse of Option #3 would be my second choice. Where instead of pushing the sofa back 2/3 of the room you give the “library” side 2/3 of the room. As it would allow for creating a multi-direction seating area on that side for playing, conversation, and viewing the children outside. Also would clear up the concern about being too far away from the tv. But you’d have to live with it for a while to see if you utilized the flow of the room, or just ended up staying on “the tv side”.

    Good luck!

  18. Option #4 is the definite winner for me. Especially if you put the tv on a mount where you can pull it out and rotate it toward the couch.

    1. instead of rolling around the TV – what about the option of super stylish but still comfy chairs that swivel??

  19. If you’re already considering hiding your TV in a hydraulic piece, would it be possible to mount it over the fireplace (or in one of the side shelves if they’re expanded) and have a hydraulic component cover it with a mirror or piece of art? Obviously, this will all depend on dimensions, budget, and the extent of the makeover being given to the fireplace wall (which are not stated as of yet). A sectional can be placed with part facing the fireplace and part facing the french doors allowing for TV viewing and backyard viewing, depending on the circumstances. The space beneath the window that may or may not be removed (depending on dimensions) could hold a comfy chair (or two) and a table or a storage piece for all those toys and blankets that ALWAYS end up in the family area.

  20. My initial thought is to position two chairs to the left and the couch to the right, this way, when you walk in, there is an open flow to the fireplace. However, after watching the slide show a couple dozen times, I realized that this room is so amazing that any arrangement will look spectacular! You cant go wrong!


  21. Definitely Option 1. I like the idea of hiding the TV (and I think that window thing definitely need to be closed off). But I like the idea of 4 chairs, or even a chaise to one side, and two chairs to the other side. Two sofas seems a little aggressive, but the idea of 4 chairs is interesting. I’m sure it will look amazing whatever you do!

  22. Option #1 is my favorite, but I think not with the chaise sectional on the family side, that’s throwing it off for me. Perhaps a really comfortable ottoman/coffee table with a sofa of the same scale as the one that backs up to it instead?

    Also Option #4 looks like it could good, but feels very spread out in the rendering.

    I like the English roll arm for the house, but since both Brady and Ginny have one in their living rooms I was kinda hoping you’d pick something different. It is a beautiful style though, and would work so well in the style of your house.

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  23. #4 for sure, but I don’t think I’d use a sectional because I don’t like the way it crosses in front of the fireplace

  24. Option 4, and don’t worry about trying to hide the TV. Yes the room is beautiful and old, but it’s 2016 and everyone has and watches TV. It seems a little disingenuous to pretend otherwise and to go nuts disguising it. The room will not be less amazing because of a television showing. Btw, I LOVE your blog, your taste and your upfront way of talking about stuff,

  25. Option 4 🙂

    I think that it would make the room feel cosy and would best suit your family’s lifestyle. Beautiful home; I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  26. Option 1. It would be great to see this style executed practically in a normal livable space.

    I think it would also be great for entertaining to have conversation/hang out zones for guests.

    It also allows for the kids (or Bryan) to watch tv while you can sit on the other side and blog, read a book, or just relax in your own space without being too far from them.

  27. I totally want to play with this layout, but I need dimensions!

  28. I would look at one of two options, wall mount the TV above the fireplace or create a book for it in your shelves on one side of you fireplace, you could still place items above and below on the shelves so it fits in with the surroundings but isn’t a focal point. You would also have more flexibility in how you arrange you chairs then.

    1. That was nook not book sorry

  29. Love this! Option 4 is by far my favorite. It’s both cozy and open and embraces the doors/yard beautifully.

  30. I like option #4 the best. It turns your focus to your lovely back yard and doesn’t make the TV the focal point.

  31. I like option #2. I think it would be pretty and functional. I would also put a chair or some kind of table in front of the bay windows. You could either do a table behind the sofa with lamps/plant/artwork, or put the table against that wall behind the sofa and then get a nice blanket to drape over the back of the sofa to give it a little more visual interest when you walk into the room.

  32. I like option #4, except I’d do a regular sofa not a sectional. And instead of a coffee table, I’d use an ottoman (covered in something really lovely but also durable like an old kilim), so you still have a place to put up your feet while watching tv. For entertaining, a large tray turns it into a coffee table.

    It’s hard to tell without dimensions, but it looks like you’d have room for another pair of chairs (likely smaller scale) in that layout, either flanking the fireplace or at the “head” of the room facing the fireplace. (NYC brownstone living rooms are often laid out this way if they’re wide enough.)

    I’m excited to see what you decide!

  33. I vote number 4! It feels the most try to how you want to live and appreciate the beauty of the room/backyard. But I really am so looking forward to watching this house evolve!

  34. Option #1

  35. I like #4. I know you are a designer so you have to worry about these things, but I think you can get used to most layouts if you just live in them and make it work. I’m guessing a tv over the fireplace is just not gonna happen…

  36. I think option #3 looks like a good solution with the library feel around the fireplace but a couch facing towards the TV between the entrances to the other parts of the house.

    Behind the couch, you could even use a chaise/fainting couch and one chair to mix the seating up a bit.

  37. Option No. 1 seems to be the most livable and practical.

    This option looks pretty and makes the most sense for a family. I get some people are TV snobs, but if cartoons and movie night are actually a part of your life, embrace it.

  38. I’d do #4 with the TV on the cutout wall. If you put in a sectional instead of a couch with chaise, one side will face the TV and the other will face the big open doors. The TV might be far from the couch, but there’s nothing better than movie nights where we lay out fluffy comforters and sleeping bags with the kids to watch movies. Plus, messy popcorn stays on the floor and not on the couch. This also indicates to our kids that TV is NOT a focal point in our home.

  39. I’d go with option #1 if you plan to have a tv in the room. I’m lazy and wouldn’t want to deal with bringing the tv out every time I wanted to watch something. It does make each area smaller but so what?

  40. My vote is #4. I wonder if you could substitute a sofa and third chair (for other side of fp) for the sectional, creating another tv viewing spot. For those that like back to back sofas, here is one of my favorite inspiration pics for that layout:

    1. That is a gorgeous layout in AD.

  41. Option 1 looks to be the most livable.

  42. I prefer options 2 and 4.

    I like the chairs flanking the fireplace in #2 (and the back of the sofa is a moot point because you can always do a great sofa table or console there) BUT viewing the TV from the sofa in #2 isn’t great.

    Option #4 has the best views of the TV and doesn’t impede access to the backyard AND still looks very pretty and styled.

  43. 4, no question. The cool fireplace still gets to have a prime focus as soon as you walk in the room (I don’t like how the couches block it off in 1, 2 and 3), you get to have easy access to the backyard and it feels natural for the tv to be right there. I think the bay windows are pretty, but the view not so great – if it was a main focal point you’ll stare at it a lot more and I feel like the view would take away from the pretty windows. By not having them be a focal point, they just get to add to the prettiness of the room overall.

    1. I would do something between option 2 and option 4. I would lay out two matching sofas in an “L” shape. One sofa faces the fireplace, as you have it in option 2, and the other sofa has its back to the front window and faces your back yard, as in option 4. I would get rid of the armchairs and position your tv as it looks in option 4, HOWEVER, I would store the tv inside a beautiful old armoire (double doors) and keep them closed when you are not watching tv. You could watch tv on the sofa facing the back yard and have room for other seating on the sofa facing the fireplace. Behind the sofa facing the fireplace you could have lamps on a table, or a little play area for the kids. Not sure what the measurements are, so it’s hard to see if this could work. Good luck Emily! I love your blog.

      1. THis is a very good option. It would have to be a love seat but I’m definitely open to it. And a loveseat/sofa option is always so cozy.

        1. This idea is very similar to what I recently did in our new living/family room. I have 4 kids and a similar multi-focal point room. The previous owners had the sofa floating in the middle of the room facing the fireplace, and it chopped the room up and made it feel MUCH smaller. I love option #4 because it still keeps the fireplace the main focal point and allows the room to feel more open. I don’t know about you, but I like to see our fireplace while watching t.v. So we have our main sofa facing the tv wall perpendicular to the fireplace wall (like option 4), and then have a cute settee facing the fireplace in an L-shape as suggested by Linda. This also allows you to have a comfy sofa for tv, but something more formal for the smaller piece facing the fireplace. I then have one slipper chair and a small armchair flanking the fireplace facing back toward the settee. I’m a designer as well and am obsessed with your blog. Super excited to see what you do with your beautiful new home!

      2. This is what I was going to suggest but I’d go with a giant super comfy sectional that looks at the TV on the wall where the doors are and also the fireplace. I know it’s an english country vibe but it’s also a family room and a giant sectional would be so awesome. Plus, as your kids get older they need space. I think you could then put chairs or something in the corner near the back wall/window maybe with a small table. It doesn’t do the bay window area justice, but it would give you the most comfortable and family-friendly view of the tv and the backyard.

  44. Ok, so I’m trying to figure out how to post a picture-and can’t- so I will try to describe it. I drew a floor plan (nts) and think maybe instead of trying to figure out how to face the TV and fireplace, you should “ignore” soft seating at the fireplace. Put the TV and a cabinet on the wall between the stairs-fill in the hole. Face an oversized couch toward the TV. Behind the couch, at the fireplace, use a four seater round table for puzzles, family game night, etc. More like a library table with the bookshelves back there. Put two overstuffed chairs flanking the shelves. Cuter, smaller chairs in the bay window nook.

    1. Now that is the best layout of all, so far.

    2. Ooooh…liking this one too – I love having a table/chairs in with the soft seating. Our kitchen island functions that way and I can sit and do work while the fam is watching TV and still be semi-part of the action.

  45. Something to consider…have a smaller TV on the side and supplement with a projector screen (hidden in the ceiling above the fireplace) for more dedicated watching. (It looks like your TV is quite large in the renderings, but I’m not sure.)

    We kind of have a similar set up. Small-ish TV in our “keeping area” off of the kitchen, no TV in living room (but that still gets a lot of use–it’s our relaxing room where we read, talk, listen to music, etc), and a big TV in the media room.

    Despite having a media room, we end up watching TV in the keeping area much more often. It’s so much easier to just turn on the TV by the kitchen than go upstairs to turn on the big TV, receiver, etc (we’re lazy). I feel like our media room would be like your projector. Just bring it down for movie nights and turn on the smaller TV for casual watching–especially in the day time. I think a smaller TV would be much easier to style around–but disregard this whole suggestion if you don’t think that’s the case!

    With that said, I like a variation of #2. Maybe you can find a beautiful armoire to house the TV and stick it in the corner at an angle.

  46. Instead of a likely expensive/ clunky looking hydraulic TV system, you could try an articulating wall-mount for your TV. We have the same living/ family room combo scenario and this worked best for us in pushing the TV away or making it more prominent in the room (hello, Super Bowl party).

    Depending on how much wall you have between the bay window and the left bookshelf, you could put a smaller scale sofa there with the TV across from it. Floating a pretty upholstered bench or chaise in the middle with club chairs (one in the bay, one by the french doors) might be a nice way to tie in the rest of the room. Two coordinating rugs would say, “Hey, we’re two spaces in a big room but we get along wonderfully.” A pretty credenza could go in between the two staircases which would be nice for more closed storage and parties 🙂

    Have fun!

    1. We love our articulating wall mount for our TV! It solved our weird layout problems. Perhaps try that out before spending the $$$ on the super-hydronic-TV-buffet? (Is that what it will be called???) Although, I kinda like the idea of making the TV disappear from the kiddos’ sights when needed! Haha. Good luck, Emily. We all know that you will figure it out in a beautiful (and liveable) way! -C

      1. *hydralic* (oops)

  47. I’ve seen covers/artwork that hide the tv, going over it, then lift up when you want to watch a program. Think about mounting the tv over the fireplace and hiding it when not in use.

  48. I know it would block some of the window, but I would put a sofa in front of the bay window. It would give you lots of seating that would have a good view of the TV if you put it on the right wall. Putting the sofa in the middle of the room doesn’t seem right to me, it breaks up the space making it feel smaller and it’s nice to have your back to a wall when you are settling in for awhile.

  49. As someone who recently bought a house with complicated-focal-points, I say number 4. It hits all the things you really want in the room, and I think getting a hydraulic tv-hiding piece of furniture would be a smart way to make it all work.

    1. I’m eager to see what happens because I’ve been in a 1968 contemporary ranch for FOUR YEARS with very similar issues and still haven’t figured it out. I currently have two distinct areas – sofa and love seat around TV and midcentury daybed, chair, and table around fireplace. I have individual pieces I love, but do not love the entire room. I’m thinking of exploring Option 1. It’s SO hard.


  50. As a mom of a 3 and 1 year old, I totally understand your delimma and I would go with option 2! I think by the time you have a beautiful sofa table with lamps you won’t “see” the back of the sofa and you can still have the flow and view of the fireplace! To me it just seems very practical and cozy.

  51. Option 2 would work if you got something like this for your TV: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C78VIUE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    That’s what we have and it helps so you can kind of put it away when not in use and it’s not the focal point of the room. Can you run the cable to one of the shelves? Is that where you’d put the cable box?
    This layout feels the most centered on the fireplace, which is great although I don’t know how often you use the fireplace in LA?
    Option 4 is second runner up for me.
    I don’t really get an option that divides up the room. Would there be a situation where you’d have so many people over that some people would be enjoying the fireplace and some the TV? This seems impractical for every day use.

  52. What if you tuck the TV into one of the book shelves? Surrounded with books and trinkets it wouldn’t be such a focal distraction in the room.

    1. Oh shoot I didn’t really think of that!! We are going to make those shelves floor to ceiling so there might be room …. ok, rethinking ..

      1. and you could even have sliding doors to hide the tv behind in the middle of the shelves – kind of like a credenza/bookshelf mashup, if that makes sense.

  53. #4 for sure. It feels like the most welcoming and I can picture you sitting on the sofa watching the kids out the doors. Go with that!

  54. I have a weird layout so I’ve spent oodles of time researching.
    My suggestion is #4 but instead put an L shaped low back sofa (you’re going to need more comfortable seating) with one back running along the wall (with the bay window) to see the tv and the other jutting out into the center of the room, to see the fireplace. The low back is important so it doesnt feel ‘unfriendly’ having your back to the entrance.
    Good luck!!

    1. I’m definitely considering this. I wanted an english roll arm and they look less awesome as a sectional, but I might do it anyway or just look into a different sofa style altogether.

  55. #4 looks the best, and, as you say, definitely the most inviting. Plus, if the sofa is facing the backyard, once the kiddos get a little older, they can play outside and you can keep an eye on them from the comfort of your English roll arm (lazy parenting, I know, but sometimes you need a lazy day).

    Ok, so would it be THE WORST, to suggest the tv over fireplace? I know that makes the TV the focal point, but just as another option? Ugh, it is the worst, isn’t it? (Probably why I’m not the designer), but the tv is sort of like the modern hearth. No? Lol nevermind.

    1. We thought about it. but I can’t!!! first off the fireplace isn’t big enough and secondly, it would just ruin the room stylistically. Thanks, tho. xx

  56. I like #1 the best. However, I would use two identical, regular, sofas in the same color and fabric and eliminate the sofa with the chaise lounge attachment. For some reason, the chaise part of the sofa seems to throw off the balance of the room. I also like the idea of closing up the opening in the wall and placing the TV higher. I think that the reason I like this option best is that I have personally lived with both of your TV positioning choices and find that the TV directly in front of the sofa is physically more comfortable for me. Also, as beautiful as you backyard view may be, most of us are unlikely to sit in one place and stare out the window for hours. Even while you are minding your children, you won’t be sitting and staring at them. You will most likely be busy taking care of the business of your daily life while you are indoors or out playing with your kids in the yard. Well, that’s my two cents. Whichever one you choose, I hope you and your family enjoy your new living room.

    1. I think you are right re the sofa directly in front of the sofa. And I agree also about the chaise. While I REALLY REALLY want to be in that cuddle corner it does throw off the balance of the back to back …

  57. Option #4 but with the tv cabinet on the wall with the weird pass-thru window? This does kind of depend on the angles and dimensions – it may be too tight of an angle from the couch to the TV, but that would be my choice

  58. I never ever comment on blogs, but I can’t help join in the comments on this one! I love #4, and #2 is a close second. The thing that really sold me on #4 is that as I read this post, you sounded most excited about that option. Also, it just feels much more open and livable than the other options. As far as having the TV in a living room goes, you gotta do what works for you! Would all our lives be improved if we never watched TV? Maybe. But can we make it through life without watching the Bachelor? Nope.

    1. EXACTLY. I think I am most excited about #4. I already have thought an amendment of having a loveat that faces the fireplace, maybe. And thanks for commenting 🙂

  59. To echo at least one other comment, it might be helpful to look to European rooms for inspiration, as a separate “family room” is not really something we do here.

    I definitely prefer Option 4, but TBH I think being wedded to one sofa and two identical armchairs is kind of limiting. I know having a sofa with two armchairs opposite seems de rigueur in America, but it always seems very formal to me and is certainly not the only way to go. I think if you went with one sofa and one large armchair and then other seating pieces that were elsewhere in the that could be pulled into service for entertaining, you might have more options.

    Re the TV, isn’t there a system where you can have it covered by a painting which you can lift up by remote control when you want to watch TV? Or if there isn’t, could you design one?

  60. This is very interesting to me because I had a very similar dilemma with my living room as well. I ended up with going with the most functional layout in terms of flow and watching TV, which meant sacrificing the fireplace as a focal point. Womp. https://imgur.com/a/KqhlB

  61. What about doing two sofas facing each other in the center of the room? Or a long sofa floating in front of the bay window with two swivel chairs floating in front of the doors. They would not block the light from the bay window or the doors. Then you can mount the TV on the wall between the steps. I know you are concerned about comfort watching the TV. My living room is set up like Option #5 and I LOVE IT. Because the furniture faces each other, it can be conversational and formal. Or we can watch TV comfortably. Flat-screen TVs make it easier for this layout. We see the TV just fine, and the three of us can curl up on the couch together and watch TV. Option #4 (with swivel chairs) is my vote.

  62. There are a few compromises in this idea, but what about two sofas corner to corner? One facing the doors to the backyard and one facing the fireplace? If they’re relatively low-backed, maybe it won’t feel like too much of an obstruction to walk into the back of a sofa? Or the sofa facing the fireplace could be a loveseat to allow for more walking space between it and the window-door wall. The TV could go in a piece of furniture like in options #2 and #4, and with sofas facing it from different angles there would be more good TV-watching seats + a cozy seating area facing the fireplace. But of the options so far, I really like Option 4. I’m not one to talk though…I ended up giving my TV away to my 4-year-old nephew because I couldn’t find the right seating arrangement for it.

  63. Oh, Option 4 all the way. The two sofas just seem so strange, as do the other back to back options, and in reality it seems like you’d really only be using one seating area at a time. It makes so much more sense–and looks way better I think–to integrate everything into the whole room. But there is no doubt that this is definitely a challenge.

  64. Option 1 all the way. In the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, their family room had two sofas back to back and it was lovely.

  65. Option 2 and only Option 2!!!! When you add in tables, lighting, and other accessories (which you are so good at adding), I see option 1 as being very tight and cluttered. I would love to look out the front windows, or out the doors to the backyard from option 2. I am confident you will find–or build–a lovely piece to house the TV and or make it swivel towards the comfortable sofa. Side note, in my living/ family room, I did not think I would enjoy looking out the front windows, but knew I would enjoy a view towards the back french doors. After 8 years, I can honestly say, I am like one of those little old ladies watching the coming and goings on our street, and love my view out the front just as much as I enjoy the view out the back. My husband makes fun of me, but who cares! Its my house and I love it!

  66. Option 4 is the winner without a doubt. Allows the view to the yard. Allows viewing of the TV. Allows viewing of the fireplace by the whole room, including those passing through. It’s open, and light and perfect.

    Thanks for taking us on the journey with you 🙂

  67. Option #4. It’s the most practical for daily living. Just my $0.02.

  68. I think Option 4 but with a longer sofa and not a sectional and have the TV on the wall with an arm that can come out and rotate. I find the weird piece of furniture makes that area look cluttered.

    The only other thing I could think of to help improve the layout of the room, though it’s probably a bad suggestion, is to remove the right door leading into the living room. I know you can go directly into the living room from the main entrance through that door, but if the left hand one is easily accessible (sorry I can’t remember the layout) then it might be worth removing the one door to allow for a better furniture layout. You could then have a large sectional with it’s back to the window and the short side on the wall with the hole in it (where the door was removed). BUT it’s hard to make that recommendation without seeing a floor plan

    1. Or options 5, except have the sofa against the window and the chairs floating in front of the doors. If they don’t have high backs then it wouldn’t feel like you were blocking the doors as long as they can still open (depends if they open out or in)

  69. Absolutely love the idea of option #1. Two separate spaces that accommodate your needs as a family for 4, and your needs to have a space for adult time (insert big exhale here).

  70. That tough, but I’d pick #4, followed by #3. I really wish I had done something like this before buying furniture for my loft. I’ve got an option #2 thing going on with the back of the couch facing the living room entry and I hate it.

  71. I have the answer for you! Do number 4 with the TV mounted on the ceiling. Like this http://avtechtexas.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Ceiling-Mounted-TV.jpg

    1. Neck injury?

  72. Option 4!

  73. I would go with 2 or 4. Here’s the thing… If it is your only family/living space it also means it is your only indoor entertaining space aside from a dining area. One of the things we are always thinking about with our kids is how to teach them gracious hospitality. We want an area where we can bring guests and have great conversation, that includes enough space for our kiddos too. So, while the TV is important, and should have its place in the room, you yourself have said that you don’t want it to be the focus. So show your kiddos that you believe in that conviction, and shape the room around family and friends.

  74. I like option 4 the best but I would put the tv on the wall with the little opening, between the 2 doors. Love your new house!!

  75. 4!! No brainer! Inviting, watch TV, watch the littles run around!!!

  76. #4 for me! Sounds like the best of both worlds! The kids are happy, you can always keep an eye on them from the couch while having the other eye on the Tv! 😉

  77. I like the ceiling projector idea. Or there is a tv in a frame which appears to be a piece of art when the tv is off. Not sure how well this works but it could allow option 2 with tv over fireplace. Another idea is to get matching love seats placing them facing with a window behind each, with either of these tv options or your hydraulic idea. In either case keep the sofa(s) closer to the fireplace end and balance their bulk with a game table on the wall with the stair window. This makes game playing so easy, and with 4 nicely upholstered side chairs you have plenty of options for seatr

    1. I think option 4 makes the most sense and would be the most practical. Your fireplace could still be a cozy focal point by sitting at the end of your couch, or even placing a chair near it, separate from the main seating moment. Minimal large furniture would also leave lots of room for playing!

    2. How difficult would it be to reserve the way the doors open so that they open out onto the deck instead of into the room? Then option 5 might be more attractive. Otherwise I like option 1.

  78. #4= fav
    #2= 2nd with good accessories/tables, etc.

  79. #4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. #4 hands down, all the way. From the main seating area you can enjoy: babies, the fireplace, the TV AND the outdoors. That’s called a win-win-win-win mama!! (And you simultaneously reduce the TV’s presence in a rockstar traditional home. HA-nother win!)

    2. I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.. great post .

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    3. Option 4! It keeps the room really open and also doesn’t make the TV a focal point. The other options (besides 5) feel too segregated and if you bought the house for THIS ROOM then make it “this room”. What about a sectional instead of a sofa though? You’d have a console table and lamps when you walk in, but it would invite more of that cozy family room feeling.

      Either way – gorgeous house and it’s a stunning room!

  80. Option 4 with the sofa with its back to the bay window FOR SURE! Some of the other options where you have two different seating areas look too crowded and chopped up. Option 4 is perfect (plus you don’t want to look out at the street anyway.)

  81. Love this post! Room layouts are hard, but so important and something that isn’t talked about enough!

    2 and 4 are definitely my favorites. I like the idea of the projector, or a big piece of furniture that could easily roll or slide closer to the sofa if needed. With these renderings vs. a floor plan, it’s a little hard to tell the depth and length of the room, and how far away the TV would be.

    Have you considered a curved sofa? That could add visual interest and more seating angles to enjoy full breadth of the room.

  82. Hi Emily,
    Option 4 all the way. My kids are 9 and 5 and let me tell you, they do not care AT ALL about watching our huge TV. Once they get big enough to have an ipad for their screen time, they prefer the mobility of the small screen as opposed to the big one. The only way they will do a movie night is if we actually go to the movies. And we rarely (never) watch the same shows together as a family. So consider this when you make your decision – your TV might only be for you and husband pretty soon. My sofa faces our windows to the backyard (and not our TV) and to be honest I spend much more time watching them playing out there together than I do watching our TV (and trust me, I love TV).
    Good luck!

  83. Option 1 or 2!

    1. Here is another picture of back-to-back couches in the home of Naomi Watts and Liev Schrieber.


  84. I have no advice (well… hmm. Nope, no advice). But I am super interested to hear how the Interior Define sofa worked out for Brady and anything and everything on super comfortable English style sofas! I’ve hesitated on buying one for years! Help a sister out!

  85. Have you thought of a window seat in the bay? I know it seems like a shame since the windows go all the way down, but that would preserve the feature (mostly) and provide seating and nice little reading/get away/daydreaming nook for the kiddos. You could even incorporate toy storage into the base.

    That would let you consider that space addressed and allow you to set up a sectional facing the wall of doors and the fireplace. Entering a room to the back of a sofa isn’t ideal, but it keeps the orientation workable for the other room features.

    The TV issue is a toughie. Have you thought about using the bookcase space and doing something with doors, or placing it over the fireplace and splurging on one of the tvs that has a mirrored surface when turned off?

  86. I had a very similar situation and went with the #4 solution (our version). Eventually I came to terms with fact that TV is a thing I do in there and I wanted to be optimize the viewing angle – so we switched to your #3 and are much happier, despite being hit in the face with couch.

  87. I’m playing favorites to both options 1 & 4!

    I currently know someone who has back to back couches in their living room similar to option #1. Their living room is fairly long and narrow. One couch faces the TV and fireplace, and the other couch faces a chair, rug, and small bookshelf to create a makeshift sitting area. I do agree that this trick works to take up space and the extra seating during parties/events is definitely nice! However, on a typical day the extra couch (the one not facing the TV) gets shunned and their whole sitting area is pretty much unused space. Maybe that isn’t a concern for you since you have such a library like bookshelf to serve as a space definer. Perhaps, you know you will use the space more than my friend, whether because you entertain more or have kids to fill it. Personally, I just don’t love the idea of splitting the room in half if both sides won’t be getting equal action.

    The flow of option #4 feels nicer to me and it is somewhat more visually appealing. I love how the couch faces the backyard so you can easily watch your children and take in the day. I don’t love where the TV is situated. Won’t it feel hidden behind the chairs? Maybe the hydraulic system will help that issue? It’s just hard to tell from rendering how it will actually feel in the space in real life, because as of now it feels slightly forced. Since you actually live in the space, I’m sure you’ll have a better sense of how easy and accessible watching TV will be and if that spot suits. then I’m all for it!

  88. Love, love, love option #1 with back to back sofas! Dividing the room into two zones is brilliant. It’s not only the most functional option but also the most visually pleasing (I’m a big fan of symmetry). The traffic flow is great (especially for kids who love to run circles around a room), it makes the room feel spacious, allows the fireplace to be the focal point and I love how either side is flanked with a wall of windows!

  89. No sofa.
    Big, awesome, comfy chairs.
    Four of them.

    An upholstered ottoman/coffee table for flexibility and baby safety.

  90. Option 4!

  91. I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but i like option #3. I think the library side will feel cozy, and with kids it’s great to have extra space between the couch and tv. We do movie nights all the time with our kids, and they love bringing lots of pillows and blankets to snuggle with on the floor.

  92. Option 2 gets my vote and add an expandable table of some kind behind the sofa for games, puzzles, snacks.

  93. I love this room! That ceiling and those windows, gorgeous! Out of all of your options I like option #2. I think having the main sitting area facing the fireplace is a great option. Although, the TV being on that wall next to the doors is awkward, could you somehow reconfigure the shelved on either side to fit the TV inside? Is there room to put those two chairs in the large window space and still have the sofa facing the fireplace? Behind the sofa I would put a little seating area, maybe a desk or small shelf with hidden toys for your kids. I have an awkward layout living room and I have it set-up the one way that it works, which is frustrating when I have the need to change things up. No matter what you end up doing this room is going to be amazing! I am excited to see it come together!

  94. Four!

  95. Option 4.
    In respect to the doors leading outside and the placement of the fireplace, our family room is laid out similar to yours. The rest of the room is a little different . We have our TV and couch in the same position as it is in #4, and it works well (although our TV sits out all the time). We have a love seat in there as well, and we are constantly moving that around – right now it’s at an angle and that’s working okay.
    We have two young kids, two years apart like Eliot and Charlie but a few years older. It’s nice to have the space mostly open – they are constantly running through it, playing chase, etc.

  96. As a mom of two kids roughly the same ages as your little ones, I am willing to sacrifice a nice formal living room for a living/family room with an open layout that gives the kids plenty of space to run around. So, I choose #4. I think it’s important to have your house work for you and your family, and don’t worry too much about visitors who are only there a fraction of the time.

    1. Great point.

  97. I agree that option 4 is ideal for parents. What if modify #4 and place the TV in the original (option 1) spot but place two swivel mod/club chairs nearby that can flip directions? You could throw some floor pillows down for the kids. Then the furniture moves and not the TV.

  98. 4 for sure! Don’t split the room up.

  99. #4!

    Love all the comments about the screen/projector option and would love to see your thoughts/mock up on it. I can’t wait to watch you work your magic on this new house!

  100. #4. All the way–4!

  101. I know I would go with option 4. The others would def, looks good, and made great photo. But, at the end of the day, you’re gonna have to live in the room. I would think about what I would like on a winter night : Lay down comfy on a great sectional sofa, my legs all stretch out ! Not too far from the fireplace, for warmth but also because it’s so pretty ! (that’s why I don’t like option 1. You know you’re gonna watch the TV, why deprive yourself of the fireplace while doing it?) Then, when I’m all comfy and installed, I want to look at something NICE ! Not the hallway/others rooms (option 1 or 3), not the street (option 5). Looking at the backyard is GREAT. It’s all yours, your kids will most likely play there, and there’s def, not be cars driving there !
    So option 4, for warmth (fireplace), nature (backyard) and entertainment (tv) !

    That’s how I would do it 🙂 But I can’t wait to see how YOU will style this room !!!

    1. Can you give the source for the blue sofa that you used in the “styled” shoot.. And that your friend Scott has as well . We too are moving to an older home and am eagerly awaiting your pictures …

  102. I too thought about the projector + screen to avoid a TV, and it’s also badass. + Have you seen Samsung’s “Serif” TV? I think non–ugly TVs are going to be a reality someday.

  103. I like option 1 the most because you get to have 2 spaces in 1 room. I also like option 4 as a second choice.

  104. Back to back sofas for sure! Possibly make the one on the TV side have a chaise. That part is not nearly as impirtant as the back to back. A table and chairs for the kids in the bay window. Be sure to put outlets in the middle of the floor so you can do lamps!

  105. Option No. 4

  106. Option #4
    Then in a year, or 6 months in my world, change it around. I usually end up changing it back to the originally but it feels refreshing.

  107. I vote for #2 or #4. I basically have a #2 layout (though the LR is open to the kitchen), but I switched out the sofa for a low leather chesterfield that makes it feel more open. I’m struggling with sofa table and lamp(s) options, however.

    I can’t wait to see what you choose–you’re my favorite!

  108. Option 4! That seems to be the most open, without distracting or taking away from any of he focal points you wanted to highlight. It has a great natural flow, but you could still totally watch movies on that sectional! But, since the TV isn’t front and center, it’s possible to be in there without feeling like you have to watch TV, you know?

  109. I like option 4 the best but would go with a regular sofa and push it back more towards bay window along with the chairs toward the couch more. This will leave more room for the doors to open and also if someone is sitting in the chair by the tv, hopefully their head won’t block it. I would also close up the tiny window in the back wall and put a beautiful console table against it.

  110. What about a modular sectional (custom?) so that you can change up the layout or reduce the footprint of the sofa depending on when it’s family tv time, kids asleep friends over for wine time, etc.? Also, we have french doors in our living room at it kind of worked out perfectly that where we wanted our sectional to be placed blocked the left french door which is the ‘semi-fixed’ door of the pair. We would never need to open that left door unless we are moving a huge piece in and out of the house. I can’t tell how your doors work from the picture, but if one will usually remain closed, it might be okay to block it a bit.

  111. I like option #3 best, and then option # 1. It’s such a great room, and I’m sure you will make it work, no matter which layout you go with.

  112. Option 4!!

  113. I like #2 and #4 and #4 has the added bonus that someone sitting in one of the chairs could also see the television. With a 4-person family it might be nice if everyone didn’t have to sit together on the couch to watch a movie.

  114. 2 or 4. unless you like the option of flipping the fireplace-facing couch around to have a stadium seating option towards the television. it’s all i could think about once i saw option 1.

  115. I would absolutely do 4. The bay window is beautiful, but I’d rather sit *in* it than toward it. If the sofa line is awkward with the bay window, maybe two one-and-a-half chairs instead? Or a loveseat and lounge as two separate pieces? Maybe even snag the kids teepee and put it in the window for kid-centered days.

  116. First off, LOVE this room! Even with it’s challenges for TV placement, which I completely understand is a huge part of any “real” living room. If this were my house, I think I would mount the TV above the fireplace and go with option two furniture placement. The two chairs could rotate to face the TV when needed easily, but otherwise are placed for conversation.

    Now, that said, if you mounted the TV above the fireplace as it currently stands the TV looks like it would be larger than the curves of the fireplace which would bother me. I would try to change the layout of the fireplace to be a straight up and down rectangle design with a nice beefy mantle. I do HATE the thought of getting rid of a piece of the home’s original charm… but would do it for the overall functionality of the room. I think you’d get more out of enjoying the space than the nice visual of the curvy edge fireplace. Besides, this room is ooozing charm everywhere else I don’t think you’d lose out on the feel!

    Good luck! I know whatever you decide it will be beautiful!

  117. option #3

  118. Option #4! #fosho

  119. I’m thinking of a 6th option that is a combination of 2 and 4. The change is really just the sofa- by using an L shaped sectional that faces both the fireplace and the doors to the backyard you can maintain your focal points and get the best of several options. I would keep the idea of the furniture piece for the TV where you suggest in option 4 and just use one arm chair in the room rather than two so you don’t lose your walkways.

    A sectional like this one from Pottery Barn is a lot like what I’m thinking:

  120. Hey! I have a different option for you! I agree that the room is definitely a challenge! What if you put two chairs flanking the fireplace with the sofa in front of them facing the fireplace. Behind the sofa an awesome statement console. In front of the console two more armchairs facing the towards the foyer. Wall up the hole to the stairs and put some lovely art on that wall (and a bar art?). Add a couple of side chairs and an accent table to the bay window like you mentioned. Stick the TV over the fire place, but rather than leaving it out in the open for everyone to stare at or investing in a going out of technology projector, recess the TV about 4-5″ into the fireplace and cover the tv with a big painting on an electronic raising system or simple shutters (they have a cool low tech shutters covering the TV in the beach house on the Netflix show Grace & Frankie and I’ve seen it other places in homes as well). Shutters don’t even have to look like shutters, it could be a painting or tile work, anything on a hinge really! This way you don’t walk into the back of anything, you leave flow to the backyard, you’re not splitting the room in two (more like 3/4 and 1/4), you walk into pretty chairs, have tons of seating, hide the TV, and get to have a space that functions for your family and for entertaining!

    1. Good idea. I would really figure out a cool way to put tv over fireplace, hidden when not using. Beest thought ever!

  121. Emily,

    I love, love, love your style and have followed you for years! I’m so excited you asked reader opinion and can’t wait to see which option you go with.

    Before viewing your options, I studied the room and tried to envision how we would use it. I would want to look out to the yard the most. Option 4 would be ideal as you want most to keep those doors open to watch the kiddos play and can watch your show at the same time, plus enjoy the fire in the fireplace. I would also consider maybe a console table behind the couch and putting lamps on it and can you still fit a chair, side table by the bay window? Like a comfy reading chair?

    It all looks lovely and whatever you decide will be great. And of course nothing will be permanent and you could easily change it around if it doesn’t feel right as you live in it.

    Keep up the great work!

  122. I think two works best for all that you want to get out of the room.

  123. #4 but I would switch the chase on the sofa to be on the side when you walk in, this would open the room up to the center and fireplace also create better floor space to play with kids. That would allow for you to move the club chair in front of the tv cabinet to the target side of the fireplace which would end up being a wonderful tv watching, reading set with a view out the bay window or the doors. Having the chaise on the other side also allows this chair to be in the conversation area and would look so cozy and inviting to lounge on as soon as you walk in the room! Good luck! I can’t wait to see it!

  124. I love, love option 4! You may have to try this one for a few months, and then adjust as needed. Although, tv is important and fun and necessary for kids and family at times, I still like making it second, and not the priority. Outdoors, games, talking, toys, etc. should get more of a priority. I think option 4 does just that! Good luck, so glad professional designers face hard decisions too!

  125. I think option 4 is lovely. I REALLY don’t like placing the tv on the wall between the stair/opening to DR…I feel like it creates a 4th focal point in a room that already has TWO great ones, and a third lovely one. Our great room in our old house (and our new one for that matter) is also our tv room, and we also have a large one in our kitchen/sunroom. A great solution has been the apple tv screen savers. They are beautiful and calming, and I find myself turning those on all of the time. But if you recessed it in the cabinet, would just be out of the way! Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you end up doing. I know it will be beautiful.

  126. Let me start with letting you know that I deeply covet your new home. Like part of me dies a little knowing it won’t be mine (for tons of reasons) but am also gleeful that I get to watch you make it into something spectacular.

    Now, onto the question at hand. While I would initially agree that putting the TV on the wall to the left of the french doors makes sense, I think that down the road that will be problematic. Let’s say the kids are outside playing and the doors are open because its a glorious day, but you want to curl up and watch a marathon of the Bachelor while the kids are in the courtyard or Brian wants to watch all day football on a weekend or you have friends over to watch the game but people are milling in and out of the doors. Won’t the left hand door open over the TV? If so, that’s a bummer. If you never plan on actually opening that door, then not really a problem, but then blocking the door also becomes kind of a non-issue.

    I think a mixture of 4 and 5 would work best, where the TV is on the wall covering that weird little hole. Which means that if you’re standing by the door or dining room you can’t see the TV at all, so preserving the formality of the room from those two vantage points. If you were to put the sofa against the bay window, slightly set away with a sofa table behind it, you could nicely frame the window with matching sofa lamps on the table, while still giving yourself lots of room to maneuver through the space to the french doors. Then the couch gets the awesome view of the windows.

    Instead of using a sectional you could use a really long comfy sofa with ottomans that perfectly match the height of the sofa. When you are craving that corner spot to cuddle into and extend your legs out, you can pull them over to the sofa. When not in use they could live as additional seating either against the wall or maybe tucked around the fireplace (kiddos could sit on them and roast marshmallows over the fireplace in the winter). While I know it kind of feels like it’s not comfortable to watch TV like this, my MIL has a set up where the sofa is perpendicular to the TV and it works fine, especially with chairs. The benefit is also that its super comfy to lay across the whole sofa watching TV with a kid laying next to you. If you do use a sectional (or an ottoman you can tuck up against the sofa) with the chaise side closest to the fireplace, then you can lay with your legs out on the chaise facing the TV.

    A low slung coffee table and a couple great chairs directly across from the sofa for additional seating and balance would finish it out.

  127. I like option 4 the best. I would flip the chaise to the other side of the sofa-not the fireplace side. I would even consider a true sectional with two full sets of seating. Then have one chair on the left side of the fireplace. You could see out back and have the main seating open to the fireplace. Your tv would be hidden in your fun furniture plan I the corner/right side of the fireplace. There you have it! We have a great size family room but layout was tough?

  128. I like the concept of #1 from a design standpoint, but I feel like it would be weird in person. Option #4 seems like it would work best for what you’re trying to achieve in the space.

    Is a couch entirely necessary? What if you did four oversized chairs like Lauren Liess’ hearth room?

    We’re moving our family of six into a smaller house and there is no good spot for a TV anywhere in the living room. I’ve always staunchly disliked having tech in the bedroom, but it just makes sense in this house. We’re going to put our TV in front of our bed with a vintage flag draped over it. I’m actually looking forward to piling on the bed for Saturday morning cartoons or Friday night Netflix marathons. But then again, we don’t watch that much TV, so I think it will work fine for us.

  129. Option #4!

  130. I love option #1. Option #4 is a close second! Cannot wait to see what you choose.

  131. #4 feels the most natural. It allows your room to feel comfortable and “right” while still allowing the TV to fit in without being a focal point. One thing to consider… Where do you get the least amount of window reflection on the TV? Are you going to want to draw drapes every time you have the TV on?

  132. First of all, I LOVE the architecture of your room, it’s so special! As for layout, I would definitely vote #2. I think it looks good from all angles and I think you can still do a pretty couch table so you don’t just see the back of the couch when walking by. I think it’s nice too because if the kids want to play around and leave things out in the “play area” part of the room, you wouldn’t be able to see it as you walk by. If you get anxiety about messes like I do then that might be appealing haha!

    I’m sure whatever you do will be spectacular!

  133. I love Option 4. But not with some weird hydraulic cabinet, but with the tv mounted on the wall like the gods intended with a swing out rotating wall mount!! and I’m sure you can decorate around it to make it lovely. No one wants a hydraulic tv cabinet when they have kids, that’s insane. Also, it would always be in the UP position, so what’s the point?

  134. Or do 3 with that awesome hand chair in the bay window. I love that thing. The kids might like chasing each other around the sofa if you have it in the middle of the room, and the library idea is super cute and calming.

    But 4 is still my fave.

    I also second what the other mom said about tablets and such. My kids are 6 and 3 1/2, and are losing interest in the TV. We have a projector for outside, but I didn’t want to mount it to the ceiling, and with the gorgeous beams, I wouldn’t try any ceiling weirdness.

  135. I think I am in the minority here, but I am all for Option #2 (with a sofa table, lamps.. maybe a basket/trunk underneath?) or Option #1. Options 3-5 just don’t look like the best use of the space, at least not through the renderings. I feel your pain though.. we are a one “living” room house, too but don’t have nearly as many layout options at the moment thanks to some oddly-placed radiators.

  136. I vote 4!!

  137. Out of your existing options I prefer #1, but I do strongly suggest to put the TV on top of the fireplace and remove the trouble (that would mean changing the beautiful fireplace top, though, but you’ll find a pretty alternative).

    I’m curious to know how the previous owners had the layout?

    Also, a strong suggestion since you’re struggling is to focus on other rooms of the house, and just move your existing sofas for now (both the living room and the family room ones), and live with them for a month. Sometimes how you THINK you’ll use a room is not how you eventually use it.

  138. Definitely 2 or 4. I think with a nice sofa table or desk?? it would be fine to walk into the back of a sofa. Option 1 works but I do think it might make the separate spaces feel too small. I like Option 4 for everyday use. It feels the most inviting and you can enjoy the view to the backyard (while also watching tv) and hopefully avoid some glare on the tv during the day time.

  139. #4 all the way! It just looks more natural and open. I love the idea looking out to the backyard while also watching TV. The other options looks weird to me – like you’re trying to hard to hide the TV – and filling up that beautiful room with too much furniture. Let’s face it – we all watch TV!

    1. Hi! I love #2. With a beautiful console it would be lovely!

      If you need a better view of the kids, use #4 for the time needed?

      Thanks! That was fun!


  140. 4! Being able to curl up with the whole family on the couch and watching zootopia for the 13th time is what the good life is all about. I vote for snuggles.

  141. Option #4! Design the room the way it should be! I would also want my TV in that big beautiful room, but the TV should work around your design not the other way around. So it’s not perfect having the TV there but everything else would be perfect and that’s what matters!!

  142. Emily, I’m a mom of four little kids right now, and the more open space they have and the less you have to move to supervise them, the better. I Love #4. LOVE! Looking at #1 wigged me out, I could just imagine turning around every five seconds to see what nonsense my kids would be getting into. I’m the world’s worst stylist, but as for layouts, anything that lengthens a room is always the worst. And there’s no narcissism in referring back to your own work – it’s your aesthetic, and what you would do anyway, so referring to it makes perfect sense. So, #4. Gorgeous, coffee in hand view of that fab backyard… so worth it. You’ll make the room look gorgeous, set something stunning in that bay window, and call it done. Go with your gut, no more wallpaper in the bedroom deals. You’re an amazing designer and if I had gobs of money to spare I’d want you and your team designing my house!

  143. I’d pick option 1 or 3!
    No matter what it’s going to look gorgeous!

  144. Option 2 or 4 . I wouldn’t want to create another focal point with the TV. By placing it off the side of the doors between the doors and fireplace it blends in and becomes a less prominent feature. I think back of sofa to bay window makes the most sense as well and allows the flow of traffic to the fireplace/book cases and through doors out to garden. Back of sofa as you walk in (option 2) with sofa table and chairs flanking fireplace would also make the room feel more balanced in my opinion.
    Just my two cents!
    Love watching your process unfold!

  145. #4 seems like your best option. You definitely need that couch, or whichever seat will be YOUR main spot facing toward the window. And I think that the TV being on the same wall as the window is very functional for catching up on Bachelor in Paradise while also keeping an eye on the kiddos outside in your periphery.

    1. Not window. I mean the doors outside to the backyard.

  146. I love Option #4!

    I’m looking at this room based on my current life situation. I have a 20 month old boy that LOVES to run outside and then back in and stop him self by running into the couch or jumping on the ottoman. I can see such HAPPY children with a sectional and open doors. I know my buddy would LOVE it! I also find the layout super cozy. You can sit in a chair or lounge on the couch and watch tv / hang by the fireplace.

    Also, I think the chaise sectional cutting in front of the fireplace makes it so little people are less inclined to be near / by the fireplace.

    I also think a projector is a good option, its our way of life in 2016. So you either have a black box mounted on your wall or your ceiling. (Although, I think you can get a projector in white).

    Also, love the roll arm sofa, thinking about the same thing in our house…can’t get enough!

    Can’t wait to see what you do in your new house! So excited!

  147. Emily,
    Lots of options – obviously the tv makes things difficult. I love option 1 with the 2 sofas – you’re getting best of both worlds. If you don’t choose that option (1) then I believe the only other option that makes sense is 4. Bummer about the tv in that set-up but I’m sure you’ll be able to make it work.
    The glaring omission here is putting the tv over the fireplace… I get why you don’t want to do that but putting it there (& making it look like a mirror) would allow you to set up the room in zones with a cozy area by the window etc. good luck!

  148. I really like #1 right off the bat, but as a person with 3 small children, I’d pick #4. It’s the most livable for my lifestyle, and I’m guessing yours too.

  149. What about a L-shaped couch, where 1 side is floated against the bay window and the other side is backed to the entrance, facing the fireplace? It’s less formal, but you could design a really awesome comfortable sectional that looks good and feeds off the california-spanish vibes of the room more than the tudor vibes. The L-shape would provide tons of seats / cuddle spaces, plus it would face the fireplace, TV furniture piece, and the backyard. We have only 1 main living area and I regret every day that we went more formal with 1 couch and 2 chairs. We always feel like we run out of comfortable seating even when we have only 1 other couple! Bonus, you could put a little bistro table and chairs where the old TV used to be for cards/crafts, etc. Or, toy storage since it wouldn’t be seen when you are looking into the room from the doorways.

  150. I think option 4 is the most practical for you and your family. Having that open flow and sight-line to the backyard is great! I also like option 1; breaking the room into two spaces will give all the focal points you want…but mostly because i want to see what you come up with 🙂 Good luck!

  151. Hi Emily,
    A while back I saw a tour of a home on You tube that I loved. It was Kara DioGuardi’s home
    in LA., which I believe is being leased now. Check out her living room layout. You might like
    something to that effect. The room is similar to yours.
    Have fun! It sure is fun for me, reading your blog!!

  152. Option 4. Before I even got to the sentence about how you bought this house for this room, I was thinking: This is a beautiful room, they are going to (want to) spend a lot of time in there, exactly in the ways you suggested. And you won’t be watching your stuff on tablets all the time (ie skip-TV-in-there idea); it’s not practical for family viewing/time-together-spending. (I have a beautiful, cozy non-TV room. Guess how much we use it…!)

    For those thinking retractable TV is a hassle: you probably won’t have it retract every time you turn it off . Most likely, the TV will be up a bit during weekdays, when children are watching before/after dinner; you’ll be watching. But, VERY nice to be able to get rid of it when you are entertaining. And why put the TV in a different room? My husband and I don’t watch all the same things; he might watch, I’m on computer, but we like being in the same room.

    Projector? Maybe, but then you HAVE to always be putting it away I think: more hassle. Plus, technology may have improved, but the picture always seems “off” (or it used to).

    Option 3 is second choice, cute area by fire place. But you don’t need a separate area to be in if you are reading or tableting, while others watch TV. And, unless you can put your feet up, you’ll end up rooming with the couch people.

    Option 1 I like very much–in theory, or in a bigger room. The flow isn’t great because it seems tight. Again, not sure separate areas make sense–will you actually use them that way day to day? Aaaaand it’s going to cut people off from each other when you entertain, making for two separate not-really-interacting groups.

    It makes me feel a little bit better in the world to know that designers are people too 😉

  153. Option 1 is the way to go. This is your one and only room for all things comfort and family this way you have great seating on watching TV but yet a cozy area and the kids are in bed to have a glass of wine and look at the fire! The other option watching tv you would be turning your head sideways or way to far from the tv. (2
    And 4). With option 1 you could do a narrow sofa table with lamps flanking it and it would look great when you enter the room. Is there anyway the tv could be mounted above the fireplace? This would option up so many options!

  154. Option 4, 200% sure of it. That way you can also keep an eye on the kiddos as they roam in and out of the house while catching up on the Bachelor.

  155. I would build the tv into the shelving units on the right side of the fireplace. You want to redo those anyways. Building the tv in will look purposeful and you can make the tv part of the design.
    Couch on the left side ( no sectional) and two chairs facing the fireplace. You would walk in and see the back of the two chairs so I would make those low not high. But since they would be separated it would still feel inviting. Tv would come out and turn towards the couch when needed.
    I think to have the tv off to the side on the right creates two focal points. But if you make it part of the composition of the fireplace you allow that to be one focal point.
    Good luck. Its difficult to lay these things out.

  156. Options 1 and 4 are the winners in my book. Can’t wait to see what hydraulic TV-hiding magic you come up with.

  157. I think option 1 seems sooooo cozy.

  158. I like either option 2 or option 4, but have the long part of the sectional on the other side so it’s not cutting off the fireplace.

  159. I’d go for option 1. To me, the best option for where to place the TV is on the wall facing the stairs. Anywhere else you put it, you’re going to be looking at the TV from a strange angle. And I wouldn’t worry about the TV being in there at all. Most people have TV’s in their living rooms. If you feel terribly guilty about it, you can always lie to people and tell them you only watch PBS. That’s what we do. 😉

  160. #4! It looks so inviting and you really will love being able to watch the kids comfortably.

  161. First of all, I LOVE your new home! For this space, I think I would go with option 5 (I prefer where the TV is placed and less noticed) but would eliminate a sofa all together. Instead, I would use four chairs (two that swivel for viewing the TV). And, a large round ottoman in the middle for additional seating. A bench or rattan chairs could be added for additional seating. I know you will find the right balance and it will look perfect. Can’t go wrong with all the incredible views.

  162. I like 4 or 2. 4 is nice but I don’t love the sectional. I like how it opens up the room. I think I actually prefer 2. I think that it could really function during real life and don’t mind looking at the sofa from the front door, maybe add a sofa table? I think 1 and 3 will look really cluttered. Like there’s this huge clump of furniture in the middle of the room keeping it from feeling open and welcoming. I think if you had option 5 you’d CONSTANTLY be craning your neck behind you. If you plan on living outside at all, that one is out!

  163. Number 4. Fo sho.

  164. Maybe just get that big Samsung tablet and watch tv on that? You could get a little stand and prop it up on your coffee table, and then it’s out of sight when you’re not using it. You could even combine that with the projector idea that others mentioned for when you want more of a “movie night” experience.

  165. I would go with #1 — or a variation on #1 (with the fireplace sofa in the same position, but the “tv area” rotated 90 degrees (still patching up that weird hole), putting on the TV on a side wall and a small sofa/loveseat opposite – so still 2 different zones, but maybe less congestion in the middle of the room.

    (At least in picture, it doesn’t seem like you can really see the TV in 4(?))

  166. I like #2 and #4 best. I would really avoid chopping this up into 2 rooms. If you do, when you’re watching TV, you won’t really feel like you’re in your awesome room. All the best features will be behind you, hidden in a space you would probably never use. Make it one big room. I know you don’t like looking at the back of a sofa, but I would probably use two sofas in an L or maybe a sectional. The layout in #4 is good, but too skimpy on the seating. I’d make the bay window and the old TV area little mini zones with a small table and chair(s) for reading and just looking pretty.

  167. I like option 4 best. I know lots of people have mentioned a projector – that is the route I chose and while it is great for movie nights with the family, we cannot watch anything during the day (light coming in from windows = not being able to see anything on the screen). Having young kids and not having the option of putting on a show during the day is my biggest (and most expensive) reno mistake.

  168. I would modify number four and put a recessed panel with the tv in it where the stair window is right now. Simple bi-fold doors could hide it when not in use. Or a big beautiful, antique armoire there with tv inside, although I’m not sure that would fit!

  169. Option 2 or 4! 4 seems the most welcoming, practical, and visually appealing

  170. Where did the deep blue english roll arm chair come from? That is exactly what I am looking for. Can you please provide a link? Thank you

    1. Nevermind. Figured it out. Silly me.

  171. After choosing option 4 wanted to come back and urge you to extend the shelving to the ceiling, deepen it, and have it follow the curves of the fireplace. So exciting!

  172. I like the idea of keeping the room as a whole and not dividing it up. Designer Lauren Liess has a unique family room in her own home with four chairs and no sofa. They are all extra wide to seat up to 2 people. It would be cozy for the family and not block any of your lines. You may need to add additional seating around the room for guests/parties. But an original idea non the less. Check it out. http://www.laurenliess.com/pure-style-home/our-finished-ish-house

  173. I think I would choose option #4 – good luck!

  174. I was all set to say “I think it has to be option #4” but looking back at the mockups, I personally would do option #2. I like symmetry, so I’d add the console table to make it feel more inviting from the entry point, but then that would feel more balanced than the fourth option.

    It also leaves open the possibility for a window seat in the bay window…that could be a VERY cute nook for Charlie and Birdie to snuggle (and would be in the same room if you and Brian are watching TV).

    Either way, the weird hole in the stairwell needs to go. Super bizarre.

  175. Option 4

    I have a similar historic Tudor with family room layout/TV issues and I have moved our couch and club chairs around a dozen times.

  176. I like option 2 and 4 best also but really love option 2 more. It’s very cozy. You could put a nice sofa table behind the sofa so you aren’t staring right at the sofa when you walk in the room. You’ll be able to see the kids fine, too.

  177. Option #4 – It keeps the room open and gives it a communal feel. You don’t block the doors going out to the yard. Back to back sofas seem so exclusive.

  178. Option 4!!!

    1. As a mama who loves play space AND television, I would do a Modified #1. Two sofas may be more symmetrical, but I think one sofa will always be used more than the other so you might as well replace the sofa facing the fireplace with something smaller to save space. I recommend replacing it with:
      (1) two chairs like in Option #3;
      (2) a bookshelf for the kids’ books and baskets of toys and placing either two chairs to the sides of the fireplace or a settee and play table with mini kid chairs on the right and left sides of that “room” (this variation is my preference because you get more space, the kids stuff is hidden in the shelf behind the couch, and your built-in bookshelves can be more “adult”); or
      (3) a comfy, larger than usual bench behind the sofa (works better if your sofa is a straight-back) for the kids to lie around or jump on (to save your sofa) and a variation of chairs and/or play table and/or poufs in the remaining space.

  179. I like option #4. It makes the room feel the most open. And as my kids get bigger, I find that I like having more open space. They run around and swing things, and flop around and if they’re in a smaller room or or close to tables or lamps or whatever, it just gives me anxiety. option #4 seems like it has the most open walkways and feels most inviting.

  180. SO in love with your lovely challenge. I think it’s got to be option 2, however, tweaked just a bit. I think for the glare factor TV needs to cover the hole or at least on that wall. Love the chairs flanking the fireplace. Plus bay window needs to be open for your tree at least through Christmas! Not sure if you’ve considered a different sofa-Tillary from West Elm can have the back cushions moved all around. Perhaps there are even more on the market like this where you can do a single sofa but change the direction/look of the piece as you need? Thinking out loud.
    If you’re like me, you’ll move in and rearrange 2-4 times a year. Good luck! Trust your gut.

  181. Option 1 – fills the room. Hits all the important parts and is practical.

  182. My living room has a similar layout to option. 2. We have the chairs in the bay window (not centered) near the fireplace end to balance the sectional. Then there is a bench on the wall behind the sectional to give that area some interest. Our tv is above the fireplace, I didn’t want it there but gave in for functionality. Another tv option is to put it in the bookcase, maybe in some doors that can be closed.

  183. In option #4, why couldn’t you still do the TV placement on the wall with the two doorways? … like you did in Option #5? Too far away? Awkward viewing? I feel if you have a long enough sofa it could work? And then the TV won’t be stuck in the corner by the fireplace. You could still hide the TV in an amoire on that wall if you didn’t want it visible in the space, too. And by the way, I am in LOVE with the house!!

  184. Most definitely love 2 & 4 the most. If I had to chose just one, probably 4, because lounging on a nice sofa looking into the back yard seems oh so lovely ??

  185. Well already I miss your current home. So much more family friendly. I get falling in love with the new house as a Designer but in so many ways it seems wrong for your family. Room sizes. lack of bathrooms and more. Oh well, it is beautiful and I know you will make it fabulous. Personally hoping it will not be all white walls but that seems to be the current trend and yours and you make them all beautiful.
    Option 4 on the left would be my choice. Totally sad about your beautiful fig tree. Anxiously awaiting all your schemes. You really are an amazing designer!

    1. I disagree. I don’t think it seems wrong at all. I’m not even sure there is a right or a wrong when it comes to definitions of family-friendly. All homes with families IN them are family-friendly b/c a FAMILY is what makes them that way. You make it work. Big rooms, small rooms. One bath, 12 baths. 20 x 20 shanty house in africa (I’ve been in them and they even had VERY happy families inside with white walls (splashed with dirt), or 6,000 square foot home.

  186. My favorite is #1 because I love back to back sofas. I do understand the issue with walk through/around space. My second choice is 4 if you can make the tv in cabinet work for you. And from a mom of 3, grandmother of 8, the tv situation will change. While Charlie and Elliot are little, your xo troll of viewing is fairly easy and as they grow, you can still monitor but even the staunchest anti viewing parents I know have loosened the rules over time. So I guess my point is, try to incorporate the future viewing xhoices. The room is beautiful and I have no doubt you will make it gorgeous.

  187. In the renderings, options 1 and 2 look the best, but I realize there are limits to renderings. I’m sure you will make any of these layouts look beautiful, and you have to pick the one that feels most livable.

  188. I love reading your ideas/designs! I completely understand where you are coming from regarding each option and would personally vote for #4, with one minor tweak. The lil’ symmetrical part of me suggests considering the hidden TV/console being moved to the “boring” wall, where the small hole is.

    Looking forward to the process and end result! It will look great, regardless of which option you choose.

  189. What about option #2 but instead of TV on the right wall, build it into the shelves on one side of the fireplace (by altering the shelf configuration all together). TV would look much more discreet while allowing you to arrange the room in a very comfortable and space efficient way.

  190. IF you did option 3, could you put a slender low-profile bookcase behind the sofa, and then the chairs about a foot in front of it? I really like option 3, but am not so crazy about chairs against the back of a sofa (lots of scooting and sliding with kiddos running around).

  191. oh my gosh. everyone has already commented! usually i’m east-coast early, but not today. so i’m probably repeating. we have similar issues with our living room. it’s weird with very long walls and a doorway on 3 out of 4 walls. I like option 4 HANDS DOWN. It’s the only one that will work. Even though you have a playroom, toys WILL come into this room and they need floorspace. I hate that our living room is our ONLY living area and there are dollhouses and traintracks set up in there all the time (even though they have space in their rooms….they like to be with us.), and it just works best to have a big open space in the middle of the floor. THAT’s what makes it coziest. Snuggled on the couch, watching your t.v. (it makes you real and approachable to have a tv in your pretty living room), kids playing on the floor and running in and out the big doors. It’s a beautiful picture of LIVING in a real house with real kids. 🙂 We also had a chair in front of the t.v. similar to your rendering and it was 100% fine. We rarely had that many people watching t.v. at one time, but when we had guests (without the t.v. on), it made for plenty of seating.

    Back to back sofas feels like a doctors office or a restaurant booth. (does anyone else ever worry about head lice in those situations?)

    1. while i typed this. the “real kid” i’m watching smeared guacamole all over his head.

  192. Oh dear, I am so with you with this!

    Here follows a long story that you can just ignore and jump to the conclusion 🙂
    We too have a historic living room which is also our family room and the tv there really is the deal breaker. To be honest I have kept moving our (hard, MCM) sofa around since we moved in and I have never been totally happy with it. Although I am a trained interior designer and I “know” what to do… nope, I am still on the fence about what to let go of…
    Now, after three years of living here I am considering buying an additional (and more comfortable) sofa…

    Conclusion 🙂
    Looking at the photos, to me it seems that the solution that most meets all your requirements is number one, especially because it feels both formal and “real people live here and relax in here”.
    The two back to back sofas might really become a cool signature of yours in that room! I am sure you would make them sing 🙂
    On the other hand I personally wasn’t able to pull the trigger for a “moving tv” solution because technology changes so quickly that I was scared of investing big money on something that might become dated sooner than I can picture…

    Anyway, very curios to see how you’ll nail it, no doubt you will!

  193. I like option 2 but I think you are going to go with option 4.

  194. Option 1! It IS great for entertaining… lots of seating, and plus when you entertain lots of people, they tend to gather in to smaller more intimate groups anyway. And Option 1 is completely conducive to that. Can’t wait to see what you decide. Obsesssssed with this home already!

  195. I’m in the minority. I strongly prefer #2.

    1. I’m with you. I thought it was a no brainer- #2

  196. Option #3 with a few tweaks. Rotate the chairs in the ‘library’ zone – yes it seems all fine and dandy to stare directly at a fireplace because it’s a focal point, but having your back turned to the remaining 2/3rds of the room would feel unnnatural. Cozying up next to the fireplace with a hot cup of tea watching your kids play. The kids would also have more room to spread out, free to make an epic fort or spread out a city of Legos. Esthetically, you’ll need to keep the vertical visual weight to a minimum between sections (no table lamps behind sofa) as there is so much height to work with already – tall slender bookcases, floor to ceiling windows, exposed beams on the ceiling.

    Oh, the choice!! Staging a sofa and two chairs in the space might be worth the effort of hauling into the room just so you can physically test out each option. Good luck!! Looking forward to reading how you make out!

  197. Option 4!!! That is the most beautiful & functional option. But you’ll make anything look fab 😉

  198. Option Number 1 all the way!

    If you are going to have a TV,which you should, make it a comfortable experience. It will get used more than the fireplace so make the “focal point” practical.

  199. Definitely option #4. It seems to me like this option is user-friendly for the lifestyle you’re imagining (you HAVE to have the comfy sofa right in front of the TV!! You like TV!!) without sacrificing beauty. I think the other options are either too awkward — back-to-back sofas? please, no! (and what would do on the one facing the fireplace that you couldn’t do on the one facing the tv?)–or not good placement with the TV. Good luck! As only a reader of this blog, I’m very excited! 😉

  200. I have Option 4 at my house, minus the hydraulic system, with a projection screen. They make screens and projectors now that work in daylight, without having to close curtains.

    Another option is to do something like #2 and build the TV into your bookshelves.

  201. I love option 4, but that’s because my mind doesn’t think outside the box very well. After that, I’d choose option 1. 🙂

  202. My votes are Options #1 and #4. They seem the most functional and comfortable.

  203. I’m down for three options:
    ~ #1, for sure.
    ~ What Ashley says about the 4 chairs (if can fit) on one side and couch facing other way.
    ~ Two parallel sofas down the middle of the room, with the TV on the wall between the fireplace and the door (as you have in option #4).

    The room is long (maybe the length of 1.5 rooms) so it would be awkward to keep it one space. Best to divide it into two areas, even though they’d be smaller/cozier. As is you want dual purpose for the space (classic and charming with the fireplace, and family room with the tv), so you should divide it into those zones. And I think the kids would love having the space to run around in a circle (in one door, around both sofas, out the other door to the patio).

    While my idea of two parallel sofas might not work (room might not be wide enough, or the one sofa might block the doors too much) it does bring a bit of the classic, formal element, and it becomes the focal point so that the tv off to the side doesn’t distract. And people can enjoy the bay windows from one sofa, while the people on the other sofa can enjoy the floor to ceiling windows to the patio. Also, you don’t like the idea of walking in and seeing the front of back of a sofa, and this option solves that.

    I think that option #4 is too scattered, and you’d be far from the tv.

  204. I like option 4! What about getting two chairs that swivel so they could easily face the sofa or turn and face the tv during movie nights? I know style wise it limits your options but there are some good looking chairs that swivel. I have a similar set up in my living room, I feel your pain!

  205. I would go with option #1. I recently moved into a new home and we put the TV off-center from the main seating area in order to make our fireplace the focal point, and it has really been kind of a pain (we’ve ended up mostly watching TV on laptops instead of messing with swiveling the TV/craning to see it). I also actually like the separation of the room–the kids can play in the area with the couch facing the fireplace while you watch TV from the couch facing the other way (and vice versa). I like that you can theoretically get a kid area and an adult area out of one room.

    I also like option #4, but I feel that with the TV on the right wall, there will be a glare from the bay windows on it and you won’t want to have to deal with pulling the TV out from the wall and/or closing your curtains every time you want to watch TV.

    In the end, for me, I think you should choose whichever option will make your life the easiest. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal to have to move the TV around every time you want to watch it, but coming from someone who recently designed her home in this way, you probably won’t end up wanting to. I think option #1 will allow you to walk into the room, plop down, and turn on The Bachelor. And that’s what living rooms are all about! 🙂

  206. Also, maybe I would move the couch to being in front of the TV, not in front of the doors? Couldn’t it be in front of both? I’m not sure. I just want you to have your comfy sofa in good range with the TV. The reality it, that’s a necessity.

  207. Option 4 best meets your criteria, it offers great indoor and outdoor flow, features and includes the fireplace wall yet also focuses most of the seating toward the backyard, is less formal, and if that magical, hydraulic-operated TV stand allows the TV to be pivoted toward the sofa then it seems well enough placed in this layout.

    I see the appeal to Option 1. It looks like it’s straight out of an Architectural Digest or Elle Decor issue, it’s more symmetrical, formal, elegant, and that space between the steps looks like it was designed for that TV piece. But if this room isn’t huge then this layout could cut the living space in half, with the fireplace side becoming tacitly formal and less likely to be used in daily life. When entertaining, there isn’t much wiggle room to bring in additional seating on one side or the other.

    Final notes: With Options 1 & 2, you have a sofa with it’s back to the two openings (stairs and kitchen/dining?) which could feel awkward, or not. In Option 3, the fireplace feels a little unloved, like it’s in the way.

    So excited to see this beautiful home put together!

  208. Also, I like the suggestion to #4 to switch the chaise to the other side and have the club chairs flank the fireplace. Then you can have another option for sitting where the one club chair used to be. Or it frees up space to do something else with that wall that has the window cut out.

  209. I think for maximum seating you should forget the sofa and do a large low sectional with back to the bay window and the L facing the fireplace. Put tv on wall adjacent to fireplace as in option 2. Place 2 arm chairs either side of the patio doors. This way you have lots of seating for chatting and TV.

  210. I think option 4 meets most of your criteria. The sofa is facing both the TV and the yard – which is the way I would want it if I were living in that room.

  211. I have a set of active 6 yr old twins (boy and girl). And even though they have a play room and their own rooms (all full of toys), they ALWAYS end up in the living room (where mom and dad are) – toting their lego, books, and games. It’s inevitable that this room will be where EVERYTHING and EVERYONE congregates. Ikea catalogues are great for inspiration re multipurpose rooms, as they recognize that children want to be wherever their parents are – it’s inevitable. SO, with that being said, I think #4 would allow for the endless ‘traffic’ and caravans of toys that will be dragged or carried in (and back out). And be the most ‘fun’ for ‘active’ games, ie follow the leader, hide and seek, or whatever. And definitely plan for ‘performances’ and the perfect ‘stage’ area:) I think it will be THE room – living, family, theater, play all in one! *There’s NO wrong answer, you can always rearrange the furniture to keep up with the kids and their changing needs – so enjoy the process:)

  212. I would pursue option 1. This arrangement maximizes your desires for using the room as a family. The cozy, formal space for “grown-ups” and the tv space for family/kids. As you do seem to entertain friends a fair amount, this also lets you put a kids-movie on at a low enough level in the tv space while sitting with the other grown-ups in the formal space, giving you an eye on the kids the entire time. Plus, you have the flexibility to arrange the space for larger entertaining with the opportunity to maximize seating for a big party.

  213. I’m with you, I don’t like walking into a sofa from the front door. There has to be some kind of entry space to walk into first. I also am not a fan of the room being broken up into two smaller rooms. Even with larger rooms, it just feels weird to me. That being said, I love option 4. I totally get the TV issue and I think hiding it in furniture with the option to have it come out and tilt/turn is genius, that way you can hide it when it’s not in use and it doesn’t draw attention to itself. Setting the sofa to face the doors is perfect; I love the idea of being able to watch the kids play so you still get that family time while also having adult time, and you get to have the outside be a continuation of the indoor living space. Having the chairs that flank the doors is great because it adds seating without blocking the view or flow. I really think that option 4 is by far the best bet and definitely the way to go.

  214. OPTION 4!!! Sit on that sofa all day and look out your doors (or watch tv). its elegant and kid friendly. I’m all about #4.
    Avoid the “2 chairs library feel by the fireplace”. We have a set up similar to that at my mom’s house and it literally never gets used and ends up as a dumping zone for random stuff.
    Also I love the idea of exploring a circular set up with 4 chair and a halfs around a big table (although maybe the space is too big for that). Check out some of Lauren Liess’s work, she does a lot of circular set ups and looks fab and functional.
    Excited to see what you decide!

  215. Option 4 just opens up the room so much more! And it doesn’t put the focus on just the couch. I think it would also be interesting to do the 2 couch’s back to back but I would do a comfy couch towards the tv and a bench like couch (not as comfortable) facing the fireplace. Obviously the bench-like couch would not exceed the height of the comfy couch. I think that wall with the odd window is the perfect place for the tv.
    But! I would say that I love option 4 most. As a mom, I would love to be able to see out and watch the kids in the backyard. Sounds relaxing. 😉

  216. Number 4, no contest. If there is a con to this arrangement, I don’t see it. The split arrangements just look like you’re trying too hard, the room isn’t big enough to make it feel natural. I think this would wear on your nerves after living with it for a while.

    Don’t worry about the silly rule that says TV’s don’t belong in the living room. TV’s are part of how we live, get it? LIVING room.

  217. The room is stunning. I usually don’t have issues prioritizing when it comes to the layout, so here’s my two cents: It’s the fireplace wall and the yard view that are clear winners, therefore option 4 is my pick. I would like to suggest keeping TV on the narrow wall between two entry points to the room instead of the corner. You’ll be comfortable enough to watch it from your L-shape sofa. Two chairs will flank the outside view beautifully and the fireplace wall will be the focal point. Your TV will not be noticable in the room. How do you feel about putting a desk behind a sofa in the bay window? Could be a great sunny spot to check your email…Cutting the room in half is my least favorite option.

  218. #4. Also wont restrict your ability to make changes down the road. Its the most cool casual.

  219. Option 4 is the ONLY option in my mind. It is the most open as well as the most comfortable looking for viewing the tv. You are not going to want to stare at the ugly wall and who wants to watch a tv on hydraulics?!

  220. Not into splitting up the space, why would you want to cut the fireplace off from the couch? Who doesn’t like lighting a fire AND watching a movie??

    What about ‘L’ shaped couch that faces both the doors and fireplace, with the tv in the right corner?!

  221. How about two sofas facing eachother? Then you make use of two focal points-the fireplace and TV and still keep flow through the doors and windows?

  222. Back to back sofas!


    The modern blue velvet sofas are great!

  223. #4 (sort of) for me. I would go with a sofa not a sectional, maybe push it a little further back into the bay, with the TV on the stair wall. How about a nice upholstered bench in front of the fireplace with the 2 chairs to the left of the sofa? Also, would swiveling club chairs be an option (for TV viewing)? I really don’t like the back to back sofas at all.

  224. Definitely number 2!! It feels the best around the fireplace focal wall.

    I find that the kids still really need a little place to play, roll around, dance, etc. (I know you have a playroom that they will use, but kids still gravitate to the main room very often. There would be space for that in the other side of the room.
    You could hang a painting where the hole is (after that is filled in), and maybe a little table or bench underneath it OR on the side wall, so that the room doesn’t feel so heavy on one end.

    I don’t think I like the back to back furniture thing.

    #4 is my second choice, but without seeing all of the types of furniture you are using it looks a little haphazard…?

  225. I’d go with option 2. Having the sofa face the fireplace is such a nice way to go, especially if you can swing the tv out when you want it. I don’t think it’ll feel so much like you’re walking into a sofa if you do as you say, include a sofa table, lamps, etc.
    Such a gorgeous house!

  226. My vote is for #4. I am not a fan of a chaise, we had one and over time the seat part gets more squashed and the foot part doesn’t and it looks odd. The projector with a screen seems like a great option, if you have curtains that are black-out, otherwise the brightness of this room will be an issue for daytime viewing. We only really watch TV as a family, even though my daughter is now a teen, so being able to pile on the sofa together and all have a good view is a priority, but that’s the only time the TV is on, so having it disappear is ideal.

  227. Option 4 for sure! I would kill for a family room that opens to the backyard. Nothing beats seamless indoor/outdoor living. Especially with having young kids!

  228. I think option #1 is your best. I would select sofas that had more of a bench type cushion (believe it or not, they can be super comfortable if they are made of down). I think there is so much going on, that to double up the sofa you would want them to be identical. Less visual ‘clutter’.

  229. Start with option 3, live in it awhile and then you can try a second sofa or 2 more chairs as another commenter suggested, that way you start off the least crowded and can see how much seating/space you really use.

  230. #4 for sure! Looks the best while still giving you tv access!

  231. I hear you! We have the same problem where the living room has to be a family room and having a TV is mandatory! My vote is option 1 and can I propose a TV cover-up option? What we’re going to do is take a very large thick canvas and prop it over the TV when we need the room to look more formal – might be worth a try? Either way, #1 is my favourite! Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide!!

  232. #4 for sure! Looks the best while still giving you access to the tv!

  233. Options Number 4.

    I think it’s the most conducive to your lifestyle, while honoring the room’s casual elegance.
    🙂 Wishing you the best of luck!

  234. I would do option 2 but would look into one of the TV’s that looks like a mirror when it is off and hang it above the fireplace for better viewing…but when it is off and guests walk into the room the TV would look like a mirror not a TV. The room is stunning!!!!!

  235. I would definitely pick layout #4

  236. Option # 4! I’d put the sofa backing to the gorgeous bay window. Not too close and you’d still be able to see the full bay window from top to bottom from the sides’ views. If the view of the street is still a problem, I’d put tall enough evergreens outside the window, just tall enough to block the view of the street, but still leave the sky view above street level and still bring in light. The sofa then is oriented toward the fireplace and backyard.
    Chairs flanking the backyard door with side tables on their sides, not in between so as to leave walking flow to outside.
    Then I’d have an armoire to house the TV, where the stair window is now. This is a less complicated way to close off the TV when you want it gone, and another way to add a beautiful piece of furniture, plus loads of storage.
    Adding two upholstered stools or luscious floor pillows in front of fireplace or bookcases adds more seating.
    You’d have seating for at least six, all in a conversation area, all able to view TV, and free walking flow to all areas into and out of the room.
    That’s if I got the spacials correct :).
    I can’t wait to see what you do with this beautiful room! I’m sure it will be beautiful!

  237. I think option 3 has a lot of interesting potential. I love the idea of the cozy library feel by the fireplace. Option 4 is probably the easiest to live with and deal with. Maybe you can combine the two by sliding the sofa over a little so you can have two chairs by the fire and one bigger chair on the other side of the sofa.

  238. I would take a sofa and face it toward the wall with the bay window, close to the stairway side of the room, leaving a walkway behind it to use for the exterior doors, then mount the TV between the bay window and the stairway entry. Use the short wall between the stairs for a slim table or shelving. Could you cover that pass thru window with artwork on both sides? Then put two side chairs in the bay window like you had wanted. Put a 5×8 rug in front of the fireplace and put some poufs or other floor items that could be used for lounging in front of the fireplace. This layout would give a pseudo zone look while making the room still very interactive for any area; people on the side chairs can still face people on the couch and kids could lounge in the fireplace area and still see the TV.

  239. Couch in front of bay window for sure – use low profile and maximize view of window. No conch with a chaise – that cuts of your flow. then – 2 chairs opposite couch but on correct scale to enhance flow through to the backyard. If TV near bookshelves – you could add chairs facing tv to make 2nd area. Also – bookshelves to ceiling a great idea – carve out space on right side of fireplace shelving for TV and when you style around it – you will barely notice it!

  240. Good for you for wanting to use and live in your house! There is something so comforting about curling up on your couch with a blanket and watching a movie. It really kills it if you are constantly craning your neck to see.

  241. Definitely Layout #1 — in my opinion, the room is begging for symmetry, and #1 is the most symmetrical, addresses the most obvious focal point (the fireplace), and has the best flow. I like that it has different “zones”, hides the TV as you walk in, and yet still allows plenty of clearance/open views to the backyard windows, without the sofa actually FACING the windows. Overall, I just think #1 is the most pleasing to the eye AND the most functional.

    It’s so interesting how many people are voting for #4! Personally, I think #4 is the least successful layout — it looks like the furniture is just sort of randomly floating in the room, it’s not symmetrical, it doesn’t address the main focal point( fireplace), and it doesn’t look like it would have very nice flow (lots of walking around furniture to get to each “area”)…

    As a sidenote, I do also like the modification to #1 that Ashley pointed out below… that instead of doing the two back to back sofas, you could do the sofa/sectional facing the TV wall, and 4 chairs on the living room side.

    Either way, your new house is gorgeous, and I’m sure whatever you decide will turn out beautifully! Good luck!

  242. I would do some option of #2 (with a projector as suggested by other commentators because that is genius) or #4 (with the chaise on the sofa on the other side).

  243. You did say that the shelving flanking the FP was essentially too shallow to be useable, right? Why not create new built-ins on either side of the fireplace? You could leave one side as open shelving and one side doored to hide the TV/media components. The Sofa could then still face the FP while also being in direct view of the TV!

  244. I’m assuming the shelves flanking the fireplace are not wide enough to house the TV size you are wanting. Other wise that would be my first option. I don’t care what people say, a TV does not compete with a well styled shelf and/or fireplace. Option 1 looks the nicest, but I cant handle not facing the fireplace, and more times than not, you will be sitting on the TV side. It weirds me out a little. Plus, I really enjoy watching a movie and having a fire going, especially around the holidays. I realize where you live, a fireplace could be more for looks than for use. I don’t like option 4 at all…I think its the piece of furniture below that bother me. It looks congested in that corner. Once the shelves are styled I think it will look crazy busy. It doesn’t bother me in option 2 however, because you have eliminated the piece of furniture but then the TV has to be on a swing arm for viewing purposes and, well, that sucks. So all in all, option 1 is my favorite. Plenty of seating, plenty of table options, plenty of spots for your kids to dump their legos, barbies, action figures ect. Playroom or not, your kids shit always winds up where the TV and you are!! 😉

  245. As a mom with 2 kids who loves my time with The Bachelor when they kids are down, I’d want to see how an L shaped sofa would work in that layout with one section facing the backyard and the other section facing the fireplace. It is sort of a combo between #2 & #4.

  246. Option FOUR. This has the best NATURAL flow while also serving your needs for a family room. I like the idea of back-to-back sofas, but your space isn’t big enough and I fear would seem very crowded with furniture, when it’s already going to be crowded with 2 adults and 2 kids. Also excited to see you incorporate some other colors than the blue featured in your current home.

  247. As someone with 3 kids… Here is what I would do. Option 2. Move the couch a little close to the fireplace/Tv and have a cozy tv watching area. Put a table behind the couch with all the cute things so you’re not just looking at the back of the couch when you walk in. Then get a nice big area rug for the open space between the back of the couch and the wall with the hole (put up a little table and mirror or art or bench against that wall and enjoy the open floor space. I can’t even tell you how much my kids love having open space to play and roll around in. Kids don’t need more seating, they need room to play.

  248. We had a really similar problem in our house when we moved in – our living room is long and kinda narrow, has a fireplace in the CORNER (awful), and wasn’t quite long enough to do two separate seating areas. And windows anywhere the TV would go (except over the fireplace, but that just always seems so tacky to me). And we solved the problem and Love, love how the room turned out and use it all the time. Ready? We put the TV in the third bedroom/playroom, and moved the play room stuff to the area behind the sofa/seating area framed around the fireplace. We also had room for a big desk along one wall in this layout, and I figure someday that will be homework central. So the kids play behind the couch and sometimes around in front of the sofa/ on the coffee table, we maintained easy access to the sliding door next to the fireplace, we didn’t have to get crazy black out shades in that room to eliminate glare, and the TV is in a dedicated room with a huge ridiculous couch, which doubles as our guest room.

    You say you really want to use the room and watch the kids play, but also that you want the playroom to be “all play, all the time.” I forsee either lots of sitting in the playroom, or lots of dragging toys back and forth between the playroom, living room, and outside. I honestly think life will be easier if you think about combining playroom activities and living room hanging out. And then get a huge ridiculous couch for the TV/movie room. It means we never have the TV on in the background (which was a bad habit at our old place), and that we all are in the same room for leisure time. Just take one quick pass at how you’d arrange the rooms in that scenario, and see how you react to it.

    Good Luck! I love the posts about this house! What did you decide about the floors? What are you doing with the kitchen??

  249. I vote #3

    1. You could use Option 4 and leave the TV in its current location – just use swivel chairs. Our keeping room has the same problem with multiple focal points. Using swivel chairs with a tailored skirt has worked well for us.

    2. I would put a sofa facing the fireplace with two chairs facing out from the bookcases on either side if space allows–creating a nice conversation area. Then, In back of sofa, I would place a console table that runs the length and has a hidden tv on hydrolics inside the table. You could then put a smaller sofa on the wall with the hole in it facing the console/tv and it wouldn’t feel crowded. This arrangement would preserve all of your focal points and provide ample space for conversation and play time.

  250. since getting rid of the kids and the tv is not an option, I would go with #4

  251. I immediately gravitated towards Option 4, because the furniture placement just feels natural and not focused around the TV (which, I have had to avoid in our 1942 bungalow living room).

    What about a mesh between Option 4 and Option 5? Keep the sofa and chairs as they are in Option 4, but place the TV on the stair-window wall as it is in Option 5 (though I do think you should close up that “window.” My mom brain goes straight to – “how much crap will they be throwing out that little window on the daily?”)

    Our living room has a large fireplace on one end and the perfect TV wall on the other side… obviously not wanting to ruin the fireplace with a TV, we chose to put the TV opposite of the fireplace with our sofa to the right of the fireplace and chairs on the left. Not optimal for TV watching, but it works just fine!

  252. I’d go option 5 all the way and face the couch to the best view. But my twist is, if this is really the lounge-y room, I’d face two regular, comfy sofas toward one another with a coffee table between so you can maximize lounging. I know the two chairs (plus tables) give more design options/flexibility though. Have fun! Great house. Cannot wait to see what you do with the kitchen.

  253. Option 4 is my favourite although I’d prefer the layout like in the third picture. Is it possible to have the sofa facing the tv in that side of the window. I know it then leaves you with a lot of empty space, but maybe as someone else suggested that could be filled with single seat arm chairs or modular system and a table?

  254. 4! 4! It seems like the perfect way of incorporating the TV without making it a focal point!

  255. #4! But I’m not sure about the chaise on the sofa you might be better off with a cocktail ottoman. I also think you should play with the chair placement… maybe swivel chairs?

  256. I really think you can have the best of everything! I would try two-3 seater sofas facing each other (with the backs facing the windows and doors) with a rectangular coffee table between them. If the room is wide enough, you can add a thin sofa table behind each sofa to add a lamp, and some baskets under to coral toys and throws. Two comfy chairs flanking the fireplace, and 2 ottomans or poufs at the TV end for the kids or younger guests. This allows you to see the “TEE VEE” AND the fireplace from no matter where you sit in the room. You will also get views of the outside from either sofa. Just my thoughts. ☺️

  257. I love option 4. It looks coziest, and from the couch you could watch the kids out in the backyard while catching up on your favorite shows. Win win.

  258. Option 2 – with the TV above the fireplace ( make it look like art) frame it.

    place the furniture in an L SHAPE. 2 club chairs plus sofa. open flow to French doors.

    with what you had mentioned :
    “bay windows and throwing a pair of club chairs in there with a side table in between would be so pretty.”

  259. Strong vote for option 4, but instead of having the club chairs flanking the door, have them flank the fireplace. Then possibly get a third accent chair (leather) to place on the far side of the door.

  260. option 1!

  261. Option 1 all the way. – Keep the sofas soft and low and add structured taller chairs/furniture/casework around the perimeter. With two modern and chunky sofas…not too dissimilar from your current family room sofa (plus i think you did a roundup of low chunkers a while back)….the sightlines from the foyer to the fireplace and from the backyard through the room to the bay window will be maintained. The inspiration images all make the two-sided sofas an island in a large room. That works well in hotel lobbies since zone creation in amorphous spaces is paramount. I think your room needs the opposite approach, but not a different sofa layout. The room is killer…you have an unbelievably beautiful space and you don’t want to detract from it. The goal isnt zones…not living room vs. family room. This is one room. The goal is to create a family comfort zone where you can see all the focal points, and be in the middle of the kids, or with your eyes on them. Kill the lamps and the sofa table. Push the sofas up to each other…a la tet-a-tet or a bed in the center of the room…. and lounge as a family on both sofas, If the sofa backs are low with no lamps as obstructions, this soft center will become the heart of the space not an obstacle or a wall. Club chairs, wingbacks, etc. can flank the couches, mirroring the structure of the room and adding more seating. Those elements will transition the eye between the soft center and the solidity and stature of the architecture. (Plus you are creating a track for the kids to run-run-run or dance their way around the living room and around the center sofas 🙂 burn that energy!)

  262. Option 4 feels the best for me. The bay windows are a great architectural detail, but there is no need to sit and look out of them, since you have that great back yard. And they would still very much be present in the room, they will not go unnoticed 🙂

  263. My gut reaction is number four. In my own living room we had it so just a couch faced the TV but you couldn’t see the wood stove when it was ripping in the fall and winter, which is just so wonderful. A couple winters ago we changed the layout so I could see both the TV and the fire and I really love it. It makes everything so much more cozy. Plus, let’s be honest, there might be nights you just want to throw a pillow and blanket on the ground in front of the fire while watching TV. You seem to really be set on the outdoor space too (and why not, it’s awesome). The couch facing the doors will allow you to see the fireplace, see the TV, watch the kids playing outside, and see anyone who comes in from the entrance to the right of the couch where the hole is on the wall.

    I think I like the layout of back to back couches best, but it just doesn’t seem feasible for using the room as a whole.

  264. Option 4 is the absolute winner for me. As I was reading through the other 3, I was wondering, “Where is the option that allow the parents to face the backyard while the kids play?” I remember you saying something in your “here’s my new house” post about how much you are looking forward to your kids being outside more and having the whole yard to wander and play. My memory of my kids being younger is that an important step to that ultimate goal is giving them more freedom to wander but also being able to watch them while they do it. Baby steps!

    Totally #4.

  265. I like Option #4, I think there’s going to be some ‘bumps’ to every option, but I think this one is the most open and inviting while still allowing for small children to run through the room, as they are apt to do.

  266. Option 4 sounds great, except for the door opening onto one of the chairs and/or having to walk way around the same chair to come inside and head to the kitchen. But I do like the look of that sofa facing the doors so you can watch your kids and sip coffee. My vote would probably be for Option 2, just because the symmetry looks awesome.

  267. I see your delema. I’m liking option 3 or 4. Practically I think I like the idea of option 3 better but with the addition of one or two more comply chairs in the corner(s) by the fire place and a poof somewhere. In this instance I would want those chairs behind the couch to be a bit smaller with a tall side table between them and I would maybe want them facing directly straight toward the fire place. The bay window is too low for a bench and I think it would be ruined by one. However some boho structured poof with an overstuffed cushion might work really well in there (or as an alternative to one of the arm chairs in the corner by the fireplace.
    However, I agree that it kinda sucks to come in to a room and stare at a couch. It’s not a deal breaker but it also possibly is if it ends up taking away from the gorgeous view of the fire place, because then you sortof wonder what was the point of focusing all your furniture on that gorgeous focal point. As such, ultimately I think I would go for number 4. I still really want you to find a way to incorporate more clean lines in here with the placement of your furniture because I feel like it would accent the windows in lovely modern way. I also still want more seating in here. I think you should check out Andy & Kate spade’s apartment and look at how they set up their furniture around their fireplace. It’s definitely a lot of colour and art and the fireplace is on the opposite wall but they have chairs on the back of their couch and some lovely lines that might be a bit inspiring in terms of layout. I hope that’s helpful. http://theselby.com/media/11_4_10_AndyKateSpadeE44762.jpg

  268. Have you considered a rounded back sofa? You could put one in the bay window and have chairs facing it on the doors side. A bench in front of the fireplace + TV near the fireplace. We’re dealing with a similar focal point/layout issue and I think a rounded sofa is my solution. Jonathan Adler has a fabulous one that could lend itself to ‘modern english’

    1. Hi Emily, I’ve been chewing over your layout question since you first posted. I have a version of Option #4 you may not have considered. It’s a minor architectural intervention that would make the room more functional for modern day living, AND actually enhance the traditional character of the room. It involves transforming the middle glass window facing the patio into a built in bookcase/tv case below with Windows above (and both French doors still flanking each side.). Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll send you a quick sketch/mock up – gratis, of course! 😉 Elizabeth (architect and owner of Morgan-Studio.com). PS Love the house – it’s gonna be gorgeous!!!

  269. Uhg. I hear you. I also have two littles (3.5years and 4months) and am having similar issues arranging furniture in our century home (https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ303KJAb1x/?taken-by=hotzhuis&hl=en). So. Many. Doors! Mind you, in ours I’m planning on ALLL the built-ins, which you can’t really do here because your windows go all the way down to the floor.

    I would recommend 4 based on its playspace availability and just a general feeling of relaxation. But, I think you’ll find that it will become the main play area and that the kids are never going to want to be in their playroom. Kids want to be near you. If you give them a tiny play room and say “stay here, Imma go do stuff” it just ain’t gonna happen.

    You might actually want to reconsider using the playroom as a smaller “away space” for TV nights and sick days and not have it be a playroom at all. There is enough room in their rooms for their own quiet playing time, and they don’t really need yet another space.

    Also, using a big TV in this room is going to be a bitch due to all the reflections you’re going to fight with. Nothing wrong with having a tv in this space — but you don’t HAVE to have it be a big one or the main focus.

    1. This is really good advice. I do like the idea of a cool play space though so I am a bit torn. Especially if they have projects they’re working on and want to keep out. As a teacher I believe in that learning and it’s harder to do in prek where someone will knock it down. Check out http://www.aneverydaystory.com for some really beautiful and inspiring play rooms.

  270. Option 4 seems like the best and most obvious layout to me. It’s most inviting, as you said. You’d be facing your back yard. You’d get to design an awesome custom piece of furniture… could even be build into/tied in to the shelf renovation. Kind of wrap around shelves, if you will, at the bottom. With cabinets to hide games/toys/tv boxes, etc.

    I have kind of a knee jerk disgust reaction to back-to-back couches. Not only is it much more expensive… twice the couches!… but I feel like it’s stuffy, dated, and really cuts the room apart.

    Either way, I’m so excited to see what you do! Such a beautiful house… I’m insanely jealous.

  271. I’d be amazed if you get to this comment without your eyes crossing… But what about Option #4 for the furniture (which is clearly how it wants to be unless you are watching TV) with the TV in the Option #1/3 placement (which is clearly where it wants to be)? I’m obviously not in the room so this may not work. It depends on how particular you guys are about how you sit on the couch, distance from TV, etc. But I’m thinking if you guys don’t mind snuggling in the chaise section it might not be that bad. I know I sit on my couch right in front of the TV and still watch shows on my computer most of the time. Anyway, I feel your pain. We recently remodeled our house but lived in it for five years before we did that and I’m not exaggerating when I say we moved the TV three times and had four different couches. There just was no good scenario. Good luck! I know you will make the best of it!

  272. Option 4!! If the TV was not an obstacle you would design the room this way, but you found a way to work it in!

    1. I love 1 or 3. The symmetry really speaks to me. Beautiful room to work with. We should all be so lucky as to have these problems.

  273. Option 4!

  274. ohh that is a tough call, but it will be beautiful no matter what you do. I’d go with Option 2 because CHRISTMAS. just think how BEAUTIFUL a traditionally decorated tree would be in that bay window… and everyone can sit around sipping their eggnog and watching the children open their presents. perfection

  275. I have two tiny kids and an awkward living room layout and I vote 4 or 2. You need to see your kids and the tv. I was waiting for the option where you put the tv into the bookcase on an arm that swings out (probably a different version of 2). I did a version of 2 and I love it because sometimes working moms need to sit or lay on the couch (or work on their laptop) and still feel like they have a sense of what everyone is doing.

  276. If it was my house, I’d choose option 4, bay window creates a nice background to the sofa, it doesn’t block the flow in the room, and you have a nice view to the yard. My second choice would be nr 2.

    Also: I’m wondering, how often one uses a living room? (I’m from Hungary, Europe, the concept of separate family/living room is quite unknown here) Is it very often? Or just once in a while? Is it absolutely impossible to optimize the layout for the family, but make it easily transitionable into a formal living room?

  277. Hi Emily!

    I think out of the options, I like 4 the best – because the sofa is facing the doors/windows so if you were inside and your kids were out in the yard you could still be sitting on the sofa and not have to turn your neck or move. This would help for other uses in the room as well like working on your laptop or what not as well as where the tv is, essentially you could be looking the same direction to see the tv as well as looking outside. Not sure if this helps or is accurate at all but love the blog and looking forward to seeing how you do it as I have a frustrating living room too and love the different options! Good luck!

  278. I would put the TV above the fireplace and not get such a ginormous one. If it is on any of the walls other than the fireplace or the hole wall I think it will commandeer the space because it will look so out of place. I hate that TVs are so ugly, yet seem so necessary.

  279. Before even reading the post I zeroed in on option #4. It feels welcoming and the TV is minimized yet still easy to view from the couch.

  280. This is really tough. Staging is definetly not my strong point. I can tell you love the door as the focal point, so I would go with #4. I don’t love that one of the armchairs back is towards the tv. I feel like the room has a lot of extra space, which I know you will do wonders with! We recently faced this problem with our living room. Our friend built us a couch that (and I’m not good with design terms so bear with me) is as long as a regular couch but when you sit on it it’s like the entire couch is a chaise because you can put your legs up anywhere you sit on the couch. So I would call it a chaise couch ?. It’s huge, and I rearranged my living room 6 ways. Now the best arrangements has the couches sides facing the tv, similar to your option 4 but imagine your tv on your fireplace. Staging is so hard! But the cool thing about it is nothing is permanent!

    1. I forgot to mention, I would prefer you use a big couch (like my chaise couch) as opposed to a sectional. I don’t like the look of the sectional with the two arm chairs, but that’s because I like straight clean lines and I feel like a sectional makes this place more choppy (again, I suck at design terms haha).

  281. As a mom of three:
    The play area needs to be the closest to you, wherever that is. Tv/family/playroom is all one room for us. Tv hardly ever gets turned on(you’re the patent not them). That way I kept my formal living room. In the end, the kids things end up in the formal living room all the time because the other room is small and off to the side. Takeaway: your formal room is too pretty (Windows, views, architecture) to be marred by a tv and/or awkward set up because of the tv. Excess kids toys in that room can be thrown into a couple of cute baskets. NO TV in that room!!!!!!

  282. Option 2.

    Once you have a lovely sofa table and nice lamps or other objects, or even some beautiful textile draped over the back of the sofa, it won’t look quite so jarring. Plus, this looks the best when you aren’t watching TV and makes the TV the least obtrusive. I don’t find it very comfortable to sit with my back toward a window like that, so Option 4 is somewhat ruined for me–also, that window is so beautiful.

  283. #4.
    – Doesn’t block the flow from any doorways,
    – gives privacy from street (with table and such behind sofa),
    – still provides room to sprawl out in front of sofa,
    – gives full view of backyard (great for party overflow too)
    – TV’s not main focus
    – wall where previous TV was is great for art or shelving, etc.
    – you could still put bench or stools in front of fireplace too.

  284. I don’t think it’s narcissistic at all! How sad would it be if you DIDN’T like your work?!
    And of course it’s super handy, because you already know what you like, and you get to do the things differently that you don’t love about it.

    Oh, and I’m a fan of option 3! 😀

    (Also, I love that you don’t to that TV-above-the-fireplace thing, which I think will not only kill your neck, but also your TV, plus it makes any beautiful fireplace look ugly).

  285. I like #2! I think it has the best flow to the outside, even though the sofa isn’t facing the doors. I could see the chairs getting in the way of opening and closing those beauties. I’m also imagining (and getting excited about) what a beautiful console you are going to style behind the couch to greet you each time you enter. It’s such a lovely room, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  286. I would go with option 4 but wouldn’t even bother with the hydrolics shenanigans. I would mount the TV on that wall with an arm that can be swung out and angled when you have a crowd watching the tv – in my mind I’m imagining a Super Bowl party but I’m having a hard time imagining you throwing a Super Bowl party…

  287. Your kids won’t be this age forever, and in an era where technology is portable, could you forgo the TV in this room? My kids are 6 and 4 and while they are close in age, they rarely want to watch the same shows. They typically watch shows on iPads. We have a family room (with TV) and a living room (no TV), and they spend a lot of time in the living room watching on the iPads because it has the more comfy couch. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  288. Emily, I think you should focus on the fireplace and the backyard view. Could the shelving be built out to accommodate a built in tv?

  289. My living room is a similar shape and our furniture layout is most like #4 (it is our combined parlour/TV room/main living space). We are in there all the time, it’s definitely our most used room. Differently from your plan, we have a pair of chairs flanking the fireplace so that you can still cozy up over there when not staring at the TV. The TV is directly opposite the couch between two windows – for some reason I can’t find a good photo that shows the whole arrangement but here is most of it https://www.instagram.com/p/BCgK7RDx_Jb/

  290. I love your new home. I like the idea of a game table at one end and living/family space on the other. And Option #4 location of the sofa. One idea – the TV could also be made with a frame and it just looks like art on the wall instead of the heavy cabinet, ex: http://www.visionartgalleries.com/. Can’t wait to see your ideas come to fruition.

  291. #4 for sure. The double couch in #1 seems like a lot to keep up with. I’m a big fan of less is more though. I also vote to close up the stair window- it feels like another area the eye is drawn to.

  292. I think #4 gives you the best mix of aesthetics, flow, and functionality. You get a comfy place to sit where you can have a direct sight line to watch the kids in the yard AND an option to hide the tv when it’s not in use. Win/win!

  293. Option 4. definitely. aesthetic and functional.

  294. Def #4. I love the way it works with the room and you get to look out at your lovely backyard. If you get the right piece to house the TV you can close it off when not in use.

  295. I do like #4, as it seems like the most straightforward layout, but you WILL have to figure out curtains for that bay window or you will have major glare on the TV. For that reason, I would probably opt for something more like #3.

  296. I prefer to lay the room out in a way that looks best aesthetically first and then make it function better. So, I would begin with layout 4, because I think that is how the room wants to be. Instead of putting the TV on the right wall tucked by the fireplace, I would mount it over the soon to be closed up window to the stairs with a fun console below. If you utilize a sofa with lounge, be sure that lounge is on the fireplace side so you can cuddle into the corner of it to watch movies. Choose chairs that can be easily shifted to face the tv as necessary. Mom wins because the room is open and accessible, the TV isn’t the focal point, but still comfortably usable. Designer wins because the room gets to show its best self off 🙂 BTW – agree with you on the projector…we had one for years, great for movie nights, not so much for Super Bowl.

  297. Lovely home to play with! Given the scale of the room and the vibe you are going for, I am not sure that a cabinet with a lift-able, swizzle-able TV is your best option, Here is why: the cabinet probably would have to be at least 6 inches taller than your TV (to enclose the TV as well as the contraption that lifts the TV). That will raise the TV up pretty high. Here is an example. Say, you want a 45 inch TV. Electronic screens are measured on the diagonal, so the TV would be 22 inches high, plus there would be a couple inches for the TV base, so let’s call it 24 inches. Your cabinet, then, would need to be 24 inches tall, plus about 6-ish inches for the lifting contraption. That brings us to a 30 inch tall cabinet. You might say “that fine”, but remember that this would be the very BOTTOM of the TV viewing screen. That’s pretty high for someone sitting on a sofa or a kid sitting on the floor. The bottom of the screen would be even higher if you want a 50 inch TV screen.

    An an alternative, I would be tempted to look for/have made a vintage looking trunk. You could mount the tv on the trunk, perhaps with a swivel plate. Yes, the TV would be out all the time, but the overall mass would be much smaller and the TV viewing would be more comfortable. You could even put the TV trunk on wheels to direct it better to the sofa for movie nights .

  298. Option 4 hands down. I can’t tell the scale of this room from the photos, but I agree that the divided room references look much larger than yours.

  299. Many are going for option 4, but that seems unbalanced to me. O course it’d look different when a) the TV is hiding, and b) when there’s other furniture in there.

    I like #1, but the two sofas will eat up most of the usable room. Also feels a bit like a hotel lobby.

  300. #4-Enjoy every moment of your children playing outside!

  301. #2 or #4. I feel like #1 would be a bit odd–too much furniture that would impede the airy flow of the beautiful room. But, you do some amazing things and you could no doubt make it work.

  302. Hi Emily!! Fellow designer here with input. I have space planned many homes and in my (hunble) opinion I would def go with Option #4. It is much more pleasing to the eye to look at and yes, it truly keeps the space much more open. I love the thought of having the sofa look out the doors to the backyard and having a sofa table behind, with lamps would really frame the bay window behind. Here’s a thought. Would you and Brian be open to having your TV mounted into the wall somewhat and have a ‘sliding framed picture’ (for lack of better words) to cover the TV when not in use? That way you don’t have some random TV mounted on the back wall? Hide the TV with a piece of art. Boom.
    Option #1 is…er, not my favorite. The room doesn’t seem big enough so it would look like the room just threw up nothing but sofas and chairs. Too much.
    Good luck and I can’t wait to see what you decide with! Cheers!

    1. I think option 4 is great! This way you have a perfect view of the outdoors from both angles and you can still view the TV. And it will feel more open and airy as you walk into the room 🙂 Beautiful space!

  303. OK, we have this exact living room layout, except we have a window where you have the doors to the backyard….we have ours set up exactly like option number 4. I really like it…we use this for our family room/living room, we have 4 kids, and it works well. Here are the only issues we have had…our kids always want to stand in the chair closest to the TV and lean on the back to watch TV and we’re constantly telling them to sit on the couch or the floor (because they will tip the chair over if too many of them stand in there at once). We have our TV mounted on the wall with an arm that lets it angle towards the couch…and it stays out all the time, so I think if you watch a decent amount of TV it would be a pain to move the TV every time you want to watch. We also have a little (but still adult size) table with chairs behind the couch (if you are coming in the room, on the wall to the left), and it has been so nice to have a place to eat any messy snacks or work on a craft in the same room with the rest of the family. There’s my two cents worth…can’t wait to see what you do with it.
    Oh, PS, I think if you did option 2, as your kids got older they would probably dive over the couch to get to the couch every time, at least mine would:)

  304. I vote for #4!

    Though after much thought and consideration, would there be any way to mount the tv on the fireplace without hiding the architectural details of it? If so, I would go with #2, which initially may not seem ideal, it would work and almost give you an extra hall way as you mentioned the two doors are the path to the kitchen and dining room. #4 definitely gives you the benefit of not worrying about that at all, but I hate the thought of putting a sofa in front of that window, mainly because it is the perfect place to put a Christmas tree….

  305. So many good comments so here is my two cents.

    I would decorate the room as two different areas. Putting a couch as close to the television on the opposite wall as the fireplace as you need. I would put two chairs in front of the fireplace and one on either side making a total of four chairs. If you have room put a slim console behind the two chairs and one behind the couch.

  306. I would not choose any option where sofa(s) are running down the center of the room. The option closest to my idea is #4, though I don’t understand why that sofa has an ottoman pushed up against it (or is it a chaise at one end)?
    You should let that front window go (it’s the perfect place for your Christmas tree, btw). Put the back of the sofa in front of it; put a sofa table behind it if you like. Without a chaise you’ll have room for two chairs flanking the fireplace. The tv is not a special thing. It’s just a tv. I don’t think it has to be in a stationary position. I’d put it on a (low) cart and have it rolled up against the wall as you have it in #4. Then when you’re ready to watch, roll it closer to the center of the room. If you’re worried about the tv tipping over, secure it to the cart.
    The other option would be to mount the tv to the wall (opt #4) where you could pull it out and angle it towards the sofa when you were ready to watch it. Having it on the wall between the 2 doorways doesn’t feel right to me at all. Good luck!

  307. Hmm. At first I imagined what turned out to be # 4. But ultimately I prefer # 2 (as long as you have a good/easy/quiet way to turn the tv toward the sofa). I don’t mind walking in and seeing the back of the sofa (plus you’d put a table/lamps there with style!). I think that gives the room the best mix of usability and formality. Plus if you are IN there having a deep conversation, you are less distracted by the goings-on in the entrance and kitchen/dining area. It feels more ‘on purpose’ than # 4 ended up looking to me. Maybe use # 4 during spring/summer (more casual and open) and # 2 during fall/winter (more formal and private)? BUT, given one choice it’s # 2 all the way. Good luck, cannot wait to see what you do with it.

  308. What about a projector with a screen that rolls up into the ceiling? We have a projector and love it! Then you could have the fireplace and TV be the same focal point!

  309. Hands down option 4. Beautiful placement for the room, view of kids playing in backyard, maximizes the space, flawless. Don’t know how any others made the cut!

  310. The fireplace is gorgeous. But so is real life. And real life is putting the TV over the fireplace because you want the fireplace to be the focal point by you also want the room to be conducive to Netflix marathons. If you like watching tv/movies/whatever than own up to it. A turned off tv isn’t that ugly to look at- sure it’s not a fabulous piece of art, but commissioning a special piece of hydraulic furniture to hide a tv that you’ll probably use 65-70% of the time you’re living in the room seems silly. Can we all get past this ridiculous notion that rooms with tvs as a focal point are ugly? It’s real life and real life doesn’t deserve to be hidden away.

  311. #4. I like how it’s open and hits on most of the focal areas. Plus the chair by the tv could easily be turned around for tv time.

  312. My vote is Option #4! I can’t wait to see how this house evolves. So exciting!

  313. I like a modified option 1. I would not add the sofa facing the fireplace and would instead add a sofa/console table in its place. Everything else stays as is. You would still have 2 seating areas and the ugly TV is hidden over the stair window.

  314. Hiya Emily, first of all – great purchase, love the new house! Now about that living/family room: I just spent a while sketching up various layouts and now realise I can’t attach photos to my post..haha. So let me try and put my suggestion in words: I think you’re making your life very difficult if you’re trying to be considerate towards all key focal points. I would prioritise and focus on fireplace and garden access. I doubt you will spend that much time looking out the bay window onto the street. Therefore, I would place the main sofa with its back to the bay window, in a 90 degrees angle to it (and right in the centre of the room) I’d put an upholstered bench that you can sit on either facing the fireplace or facing what I would design as the ‘play area’ towards the two door ways. Keep one (or two) armchairs by the fire place (as in Option 1) and define this area with a rug – add a second rug in the front half of the room (the play area) and add a couple of poufs there. Underneath the funny hole in the wall I would install a toys cabinet. The only concern I have with this design is that you might have toys spread on the floor as you walk in from kitchen or hall – however, I don’t think it’s an option to move the play area to the fireplace side, because that end of the room really calls for a more classic and grown-up touch. As for the tv, I’d have it by the fireplace (Option 2) or would in fact build it into the right-hand side book shelves, concealed maybe by fake bookends that can be lifted upwards and the tv on hydraulics.
    Just another idea… Good luck with this fun challenge!

  315. Option 2 or 4 and some floor safe covering on the furniture feet so you can move furniture to suit the event. Your designer heart will never forgive you for putting the back of a couch to the fireplace and your mom side needs TV!! haha!
    1 and 3 look weird and like you’re trying too hard. 5 is just wrong.
    Perhaps take another look at some sort of rearrangeable sectional?
    I can’t wait to see what you do…..
    I do feel your pain we have an odd rectangular living area as well!

  316. Hi Emily, I think option #4 respects the natural flow the most. I stage real estate in L.A. and I am always trying to create great flow with a California indoor outdoor vibe. It seems you really would enjoy most of all sitting on the sofa and seeing the kids play in the yard. That’s your personal everyday money shot – the option with the most joie de vie value. It also opens up the room the most, because it will make the outdoors an extension of the living room. Even without kids in the mix, I would prioritize the view of the large yard and that spacial depth. While this is a traditional tudor house, it is in sunny Southern California and that is a part of it’s story so I would avoid making it feel like a cramped and stuffy English library with lots of little seating set ups. When you entertain you will probably open up those doors and have people flowing from indoor to outdoors, so why not make it one room with 2 seating areas facing each other, one sofa inside, and one sofa outside if it’ll fit, keeping it fluid. I’d place the TV to the side hidden in a furniture piece with hydraulics. This way you have your preferred layout for family lifestyle, and can have the TV hidden for your work / design purposes. I think it’s a great idea to hide the TV, a black hole of design energy suck messing with your beautiful window walls of green lush. It’s super expensive to get a hydraulic piece like that but I think your career and space warrant it as a sane splurge. Beautiful home- congrats!!!

    1. Agree. This is a southern California house, not a stuffy English one! Option 4 allows for good flow in and out during a party as well as letting you keep an eye on kiddos playing outside. (Back to back couches remind me of a hotel lobby, as another poster said.)

  317. I don’t think you would like the TV placement in 2 and 4. I think it might be uncomfortable to watch even with hydraulics. Plus, if you are like me, you will just end up leaving it out and turned toward the couch all of the time instead of rotating it back. I also do not like how the chairs seem really far apart on option 4. That paired with the chase and TV cabinet make the room feel really unbalanced/asymmetrical. You mentioned that you may change up the shelving on both sides of the fireplace. Have you considered creating a spot for the TV there? It could be hidden in some way if you fear that it will overpower the fireplace. Of your current options I think #1 is the most asthetically pleasing. However, I don’t know if that’s because the chase is throwing me off in some of the other pictures. I might like to see option 4 with no chaise, and the chairs pushed closer together.

  318. I prefer option 2 or 4. I feel ya on how hard a floor plan is. My living room has 5 doorways, a fireplace, and a window on it’s 4 walls. Actually I have often debated having your team check it out and see if there is a better plan than how I have it set up now.

  319. Why can’t you put the tv on one of the floor to ceiling shelves flanking the fireplace… sort of like how in the modern farmhouse image #2 above? I think they have a chalkboard on the left but couldn’t you put your tv there? I bet the tv wouldn’t stand out once you styled the shelves. That way you could put your sofa in the center of room facing the fireplace and two club chairs/side table in front of the bay window like you want. This layout leaves the patio doors open as well.

  320. I have a toddler and, I’ll be perfectly candid, TV is king in our house. It. Just. Is.
    Sorry, Jeanette.

    So given that, I vote strongly for #1. I just don’t think you’ll be happy with the TV access/viewing from #4 (though visually I love that layout). At a minimum, you’d need some substantial window treatments on those gorgeous windows to address glare. I think two couches in identical fabric (even if one is sectional and one is not) would be functional and not an eyesore; in time, it would just feel like a massive, two-sided couch.

    I’m sort of pleased (in a really awful way, I can see that) that you are facing this sort of issue because I feel like we all have had a white whale of our own when it comes to layouts where there’s no perfect (or even great) option but a few tolerable ones, but tolerable feels like such a low bar when you’ve just bought your dream house. Okay, I digress. But if anyone can tackle this and make the chosen layout look like the room was BUILT for that layout, it’s you! Really excited to see what you do with the space!

  321. I have a similar issue in my 1920’s living room (and no family room) SO tricky!!
    My favorite option is 1! Love the double sofa look and I think you can pull it off!!

  322. Option #4 for sure. I think anything that divides the room into 2 smaller spaces doesn’t really match family life, and the room isn’t large enough anyway.

    I have a similar room, and that’s what we did. (sectional with TV off to the side, 2 armchairs facing sectional). I also have 2 young kids (also a boy then a girl) and it works very well for us. The kids love the sectional for family snuggles, and the 2 armchairs on casters can be easily turned to match whatever life dictates. I often turn one around so it faces the same way as the sectional, so that I’m looking outside and right by the door.

    Everyone kept telling us “put the TV over the fireplace” but I just don’t like that look. We made the decision that was right for our family and every day life, and haven’t regretted it.

  323. Option 4. You admit that window has a less than perfect view. When it’s dressed with shades and curtains it will make a beautiful backdrop to sofa. You might want to purchase a new fiddle leaf fern, too. Lol

  324. Emily Henderson! I have now spent HOURS looking, reading, and looking again. Lots of good suggestions. First, make the room pretty and functional for you and yours, then figure out how the tv will fit into that. You will make it look gorgeous because that’s what you do!

  325. Option 4, definitely, but change the sectional to a right hand one so you get a great corner to sit in to watch tv. Also, I agree with the posters who said look at European houses – what Americans call English cottage looks really formal, stiff and fussy to me, real houses here never look like that. Also our rooms are smaller so we almost always have a combined living/family room. Finally, we aren’t nearly as fussy about matching the period of the house. My flat was built in the 1890s and I have mid-century and industrial furnishings, it looks great with the period details. Juxtaposing modern with old stuff keeps it fresh!

  326. What’s above this room? Attic or bedrooms? A friend has her tv in a ceiling/attic box that’s insulated and lowers down when they want to watch tv and then disappears into the ceiling when they do not. They live in Phoenix so they deal with hot attic spaces and it isn’t an issue. Otherwise I like the sofa sideways with chairs against the doors

  327. Option 1 with a comfy version of an oval banquette, almost like in a hotel lobby, but more sofa in cushion style. Probably a custom piece, but could be super cool and a nod to the Tudor style if done right.

    Otherwise option 2.

    Also, castors on a sofa would let you rearrange as entertaining needs dictated, letting you keep it set up family style until guests came.

  328. Without knowing dimensions of the room, I’m just going to throw out a different idea. Would it be possible when reconfiguring the bookshelves flanking the fireplace to create an area on both sides to place a TV? I’d have the TV on one side (dealer’s choice) with a similarly sized painting or piece of art on the other for balance and to help detract from the TV. Fill in the shelves and you’ve got a really lovely focal wall, leaving the windows and doors as a secondary. Then, I’d face a sofa toward the fireplace wall/TV, leaving the area behind it about 2/3 for another seating arrangement. Perhaps another sofa and chairs, or four chairs. I’m guessing you need less space for the TV viewing area, though a four chair arrangement could easily be moved for more viewers. Just my two cents. 🙂

  329. Emily! I haven’t had the will to read through all of the comments so forgive me if this is redundant, but have you looked at Kate & Andy Spade’s apartment? Considerably more New York-y / out there in style but their living room especially might offer some inspiration for furniture placement with multiple entryways/focal points. Good luck!

  330. Option 4 OR could you modify option 5 by pulling the chairs closer into the bay windows and then pulling the sofa up a bit? This would open up more space behind the sofa for a better walkway. I know the fire place would techniqally be a little off center but I think you could trick the eye (maybe with ottomans in front of the chairs or your coffee table???)

  331. you have too many comments-ha! but I’m throwing it out there #4 is the happiest and I saw a lot of talk about 4 chairs which is cool but even cooler is…I saw 4 chair n’ half chairs with linen slip covers that sat in circle. they just seemed perfect cozy but clean lines

  332. If you have room, could you put 4 chairs around the fireplace, then sofa table, then sofa for the TV area? It would be cozy still but more seating for guests at the fireplace, and plenty of seating near the TV, depending on size of the couch and other chairs. It would leave the doors available (no end tables) and you could put a small table with occasional chairs in the window. Also, I wouldn’t mount the TV, but put it on one of those riser things, and then use the furniture it is in as a buffet/bar when entertaining. It’s a lovely room. Good luck.

  333. I would modify #2 a bit:

    1. style the heck out of the back of that sofa. Maybe the blank wall with the hole becomes some creative storage or else a nice vertical painting. Add a console table with pretty lamps and you’re setting up the back side of the couch to be an area for something as well (second play area during football sunday?)

    2. To make the TV more viewable, would a comfy loveseat or oversized chair fit in the spot opposite the TV? I know the symmetry of matching chairs is nice but perhaps you could find something that would be as comfy for TV-watching as the sofa but closer to the TV.

    3. What about a sectional with a short end where the chair opposite the TV is currently and the long side where you have the sofa? That creates a TV nook on that end, leaving the opposite side where you could still style the window with a seating area and leave some space in the rest of the room for playing kids. I love the look of an open room…

  334. #4 all the way, it’s the most open and inviting and once those kids get older they’ll need more floor space for puzzles and projects and stuff.

  335. Option #4 🙂

  336. What about a daybed instead of a sofa?

  337. This is a modification of #2.
    1. Modify the bookcases to match the doors at the other end. Keep the height the same to maintain balance.
    2. Definitely keep the TV in the bookcase end of the room. This avoids a traffic path in front of TV as people move up the stairs. Instead of a chair in front of TV you could use an upholstered ottoman. Kids love these and if necessary can be moved or used for seating for adults when TV is not in use. I love the idea of a chaise type sofa but would probably switch the chaise side. Either a bench or table could be placed behind the sofa. I’d keep the other chair on opposite side of the area.
    3. At the end of the room where stairs are located, create a small conversation or reading area.
    The size of the furniture would be dictated by the space and traffic flow between the two areas.
    This is a lovely area and has enviable potential.

  338. Have you considered using the full length of the room rather than trying to create separate areas? Check out this photo that has two couches running the length of the room and one at the end (a pricier option, for sure). Not sure it would work or not with your space, but it’s another option to consider. You could still hide the TV in a piece of furniture against the wall by the fireplace and have a couch to sit on and watch it. http://www.homebunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Transitional-Living-room.-Neutral-Transitional-Living-room.-Transitional-Living-room-color-palette.-TransitionalLivingroom-Livingroom-neutral-Sita-Montgomery-Interiors..jpg

    1. PS: That link works if you copy and paste it.

  339. Option #4 hands down – but I would place the chaise on the sectional on the opposite side, to enclose the fireplace rather than the TV. I think you have to embrace the fireplace as your focal point, If your sectional has low arms, you don’t lose any functionality.

  340. Number 4 for sure, but if sectional used the chaise end needs to be reversed from shown sofa.

  341. I think I like option 2, followed by 4. I think with a sofa table behind the couch, it won’t look strange to walk into the back of a couch. I like the symmetry of 2. I’m sure you’d make option 4 look awesome too, but in the photos so far something bothers me about having a couch on the left and the chairs on the right, like the centered fireplace and bookcases are asking for the two sides to be more similar. I’m no expert though!

  342. What about option 2 but put the TV over the fireplace. There are all sorts of options to conceal the tv behind doors or panels of artwork over the fireplace. I would then use a generous size walnut table behind the sofa with upholstered chairs on casters with low backs (Vanguard (Edie) makes a good one) that can be tucked around the table. This makes for a great spot for the kids to have snacks or do arts and crafts, build legos, play board games etc. It can also double as a buffet for outdoor eating or food for sports event watching or movie watching.

  343. 4 all the way
    My parents have a similar room with a couple of focal points, and their main sofa is also facing away from the beautiful front window. It definitely works the best for their room and I think for yours, too!

  344. The TV only looks good on the fireplace or back wall. Having it on the side walls makes it off centered. So I like option 3. Plus, the Christmas tree can go in bay window.

  345. Oh, I LOVE this post! (All your posts.) First, it makes me feel a little less bad about myself that you – the QUEEN of beautifully designed rooms – is struggling at least a little bit with her awkward layout/lifestyle needs, too. Phew. I’m not alone. And second, it makes me feel entirely INSANE to offer any ideas or opinions to said QUEEN of beautifully designed rooms. But here goes . . . I love #4. Both in the way it looks (and I know you will make it so beautiful) and in the way it functions for you as a mom/family. I like the chairs where they are, but might also consider squaring one up on either side of a coffee table or ottoman that’s placed in front of the couch (vs. the current diagonal placement.) You might block the view of that pretty fireplace though. And I’m sure there are other things to consider. All in all, I vote for #4 and I cannot WAIT to see what you do with it and all the rooms in your beautiful new home!!

  346. #4 by a landslide! It feels more like a family room and offers a great viewing area for you and husband to watch kids playing outside. Also, have you looked at all into projectors and drop-down screens? You could have the screen drop-down in front of those doors – no weird tv placement or neck straining.

  347. Our last house (Tudor) had a similar living room with similar challenges, no other TV room, and two small children. I agree with others who have suggested a modified option 4:

    -Sofa (not sectional) facing TV/courtyard window wall but moved down fairly close to fireplace, so it’s opposite TV.
    -Two smaller, low-backed chairs FACING sofa (small/low so you can see the TV over them or easily move them as needed).
    -Small, easily movable coffee table between the sofa and chairs.
    -Then figure out what how you want to use the space at the other end of room (stair wall). Game table? Another seating area?

    This creates a cozy seating area with good TV viewing but highlights the fireplace instead of TV (I don’t think you necessarily need to hide the TV, even). And it frees up the other end of the room, without having to cut the room in half with sofa(s).

    Even though you have a play room, the kids will want (and you will want them) to be downstairs when you are. Easily movable chairs and coffee table are key. Chairs can be turned around for more TV seats, and chairs/table moved entirely out of the way when you need a big open space on the rug for games, puzzle boards, or dance parties with the kids!

    I actually got the idea (two low chairs in front of TV but with their backs to the TV) from your Spanish-style rental house, Emily. I was struggling with the layout in our living room and that was the solution!

  348. Hi Emily,

    We had a very similar design challenge in our living room and like you we decided to include the tv as that is actually how we live and how we wanted to use the space. And I agree that to really know how the flow and aesthetic will work you will probably need to be moving pieces around inch by inch which is exactly what we did for about a week. So long story short we ended up with a variation of your option 4. We moved the sofa far closer to the fireplace than in your version and brought in comfortable chairs which flanked the fireplace from further back creating a nice opening for traffic and view to the fireplace which remained our focal point. We located our tv as in your version sitting on top of a beautiful “Stickley” piece of furniture. The sofa is directly opposite so we didn’t need any special hydraulics. We also had room for a third chair in the corner to the right of the fireplace. As it turns out everyone wants to sit on the sofa which we call the “cozy spot” right in front of the fireplace. I can’t wait to see what you end up doing. Such a beautiful room and home. good luck!

  349. I like option 1. It seems like the best use of the space. Option 4 seems ok, but that one arm chair is directly in front of the TV and it seems like it would block your view of the TV. It might work with a bigger couch and a different placement of that chair, or just one chair.

  350. Options 4 or 5 seem closest to what I might do. Float the sofa in front of the bay window since you are not crazy about viewing the street. Position two chairs angled but facing the sofa, one each to the far side of the doors which face the back yard. I would also consider chairs that swivel so that when sitting there could both view the TV comfortably or turn toward the window so you can watch the kids in the back yard. The TV probably needs to go where that cutout in the wall is instead of perpendicular to the bookcase although it doesn’t seem ideal. I don’t think this room was meant for TV, but we have to adapt to our needs. I don’t remember your dimensions for this room, but looking at your renderings, it seems to me that this could work. Another thing I would point out is that children do not remain tiny for very long! BTW, I am a retired decorator.

  351. Ok, here’s the first thing that came to mind for me. A PROJECTOR TV. You have those beams in the ceiling that you could use to your advantage to hide the projector screen when it’s up. Now, I have never used one of those nor do I know a whole lot about them, but it would be easy for you to have the room set up however you want without worrying about the perfect placement of a bulky tv if you could just have the screen come down whenever you want to watch some boob tube.


    I personally think option 2 looks the most practical either way. You can add a nice table or console in front of the back of the sofa to put all your stylist doo-dads on so that would take away from the whole staring at the back of the couch thing.

    1. So, I never comment on things but just had to throw my two cents in, just in cases it’s helpful. Can you incorporate the TV into one of the sides of shelving that flanks the fireplace? Wall-mounted, on an arm. I had a living room just like this, and instead of mounting the TV above the fireplace, we mounted it within the shelving to the left side of the fireplace. We filled the shelves normally, and since we’d worked balancing artwork into the shelving on the other side, it all kind of mellowed. The TV was on an arm, so we could pull it out and tilt it. Flanking the fireplace, in front of the two shelving units, we had two very comfy chairs with ottomans that had low enough backs not to block the tv, and then we had a sectional facing the television and fireplace. When we weren’t using the TV, it was harmlessly sitting off to the side and we could have folks seated on the sofa and in the chairs for conversation. When we did want to watch le tele, we pulled it out from the wall, tilted it toward the sectional, and we all piled on for movies. It worked great! Just a thought! Good luck!

    2. #3. Close the hole and put TV there. I have 2, 22months apart. You want family movie nights that don’t involve hydraulics. Think about how tedious that sounds. Every time you watch the Bacheloe do you really want to have to raise the TV up, or do you want to turn it on and flop on the comfy couch.
      The small library feel around the fireplace could be really cute and cozy too.

    3. OMG. So many comments. Can’t read them all. #4 is the prettiest render. I feel like that’s the one and I want to go pick out rugs with you now (so I can absorb some rug knowledge obvi).

      THAT SAID, I essentially have a modified option #3 happening in my living room, and it works great for us. Very different house (ours is a 1951 mid cent ranch), but very similar situation. Large L-shaped sectional that faces TV, arm chair with ottoman with it’s back to sectional and facing fireplace on opposite end of room. I think if you went this direction, you should use two chairs (as you did in your rendering) with a console table that separates the sectional and the chairs, and has a long, low lamp centered on it (so specific). Two separate rugs under each area, the chair/fireplace area and the sectional area.

      The chair/ottoman spot that faces our fireplace in our living room is a fantastic spot to sit with coffee and work in the mornings, that is the way it is most used; or if SOMEONE is watching football and someone else is wanting to compute, your backs are to each other for concentration and separation but you can still blow kisses. THINK ABOUT IT!

  352. I vote for number one. It’s unique, has ample seating and incorporates the best of both worlds (tv and focal point). Tough choices though!

  353. Option 4

  354. What if you go ahead & do the shelves around the fireplace, but include a spot for the TV?

  355. I would somehow put the tv in the bookshelves next to the fireplace and orient the seating that direction. Then you could semi disguise the tv by styling of the remaining shelf space and have fewer directions that seating needs to face. B

  356. My family of 5 loves the sectional! We can all pile on it for movie nights and it’s super cozy. You could face it towards the fireplace and the backyard doors, your TV could go on the wall by the doors or projector in front of fireplace. Wonder if you could still fit a couple of reading chairs in the window bay?
    Good luck! Can’t wait to see the progress!!

  357. #4 all the way! The couch will make the room and will make #4 work

  358. Option 4!!

  359. 4. Livable, pretty, and how great would it look to have the bay window as a backdrop for family photos on the sofa? Of course, we have a midcentury with a similar elongated living room, and haven’t quite solved it yet.

  360. Option #4 is by far my favorite! It’s the only one addressing all the must haves and showing off this gorgeous room. Options 1,2 and 3 block most of fireplace and make the room look very small.

  361. i’m just gonna say right now i am not going to be much of a help in terms of suggestions…but i can’t believe what an actual conundrum this is. i thought, surely you jest in the hardness that might be decorating this space, but no. not jesting. legit hardness.

    i absolutely detest option 4 and 5 as i feel like with the sofas like that nothing seems like an actual focal point or rather it all seems like a focal point, furniture included. there is nothing anchoring the space for me. thanks for sharing how actually difficult this process is, even in this early stage, b/c sometimes i think we’re all just like, ooh, pretty and don’t see the thoughts or trial and errors until you get to that pretty “after.”

  362. You have so many comments on this one–couldn’t read them all, so sorry if this was already said. I would just put the TV over the fireplace. I know that some people don’t like that, but when you have only one space for living in, I think you have to do it. I am not sure if your room is big enough to successfully carry out the two defined areas without feeling cramped. We have a similar situation, a long, somewhat narrow room with three focal points (fireplace, full wall of bookshelves opposite fireplace and wall of windows/french doors). Our only solution was to put the TV over the fireplace and I thought I would hate it so much, but you know what–it’s not bad. You can’t style the mantel in the same way that you could without a TV, but it works just fine. The reality is that we watch TV, our kids watch TV, and it would have been awkward and uncomfortable to have it in a corner or not have our couch centered on it. You are living in this house–you need to make it the best use of the house for YOU. Design isn’t beautiful to me if it isn’t also functional. I have every belief that if anyone could make a TV over a fireplace a really cool thing it would be Emily Henderson!

  363. I love this room and share your frustration. Our living/family room was difficult to lay out and still isn’t perfect, though I like it now. I think I would try a modification of option 2. keep the sofa where it is, but then put two big comfy chairs to its left (facing the wall of windows/doors) and a third chair that is lower profile in that corner in front of the fire place and where the tv will go. Or, the sofa and two chairs as I just described, but with a bench in front of the fire place instead of an additional chair. Bonus points if the chairs can swivel a little to face the tv. Our tv is on a hydraulic arm and we love it.

    Another modification would be to keep the sofa where you have it in option 2 and put another sofa facing the wall of windows with the accent chair over in the tv corner.

  364. I have a question: Where are you going to eat?

    And I have a suggestion that will probably tell you that I am no designer at all… But what about having the TV above the fireplace and hiding it behind some large painting when not in use?
    Also there are sidetables-like pieces of furniture that hide the TV. They open up on top and the TV comes out. Very smart! Here is a picture: http://www.functionality-world.com/fe_httphandler/ObjectImageHandler.ashx?objID=2915&type=horizontal&size=2 (I have no affiliation to them.)

  365. I envisioned option #4 the moment I saw your new living room! So beautiful! We had a similar layout in my parents’ old home but with the TV set to the side like in options 1 & 5. If the tv is large enough it’s still comfortable to watch from the sofa and chairs set up as they are in #4. Good luck!

  366. I say option 2. It feels the most realistic to your needs and like it would truly be liveable.

    Also, I only say this because it’s the second time it’s happened. Integrious isn’t a word. Perhaps you mean integral? Or it maintains a feeling of integrity to the design and the space?

  367. Hello Emily, I am currently starting an event design and styling business. I work with unusual spaces often and figure out the most sensible layouts. To me, it seems the two best options are the ones where tv is on the wall to the right of fire place- option 2 and 4. To alleviate the issue of walking in and seeing the back of couch, you could place a console table or an amazing shelving unit and style away. You may even be able to have two chairs in that area of the room so that’s what you walk in and see. I think the two couch option is unnatural, and in fact, draws away from the three beautiful focal points. If you choose option 2 or 4 you can always hide your tv behind a lovely piece of art., your trick in your book -which of course I own and LOVE! You are immensely talented and I’m completely inspired by your eye for all things design. You will make it beautiful! Look forward to seeing the finished product and good luck!

  368. #2! Maybe even put the TV over the fireplace disguised behind a piece of art when not in use?

  369. I also like the idea of a modified option 1. I think you could use the same style couch back to back (I would opt not to have a chaise on one side if that’s not something you already own). On the side facing the fireplace and chairs insert a coffee table to tie that area in – I think this would make it feel like a cozy, conversation area and more “formal” side. On the side facing the TV a large ottoman – you can push closer to the couch when you’re lounging and put your feet up but can also be used as your coffee table (add a tray on top and style it for everyday).

  370. Option 4 is the best and most casual/family friendly. I have the exact same layout in my house and the tv thing is fine. You get used to it.

    Other than that, I like Option 2 if you have a table behind the couch so you’re not walking into the back on the couch but a credenza type table with decorative pieces and lamps AND if you position the tv above the fireplace. Hidden of course either behind a piece of art or mirror.

    Whatever you do, it’ll be beautiful!

  371. Is it possible to angle the furniture at all instead of it being perpendicular to the wall? That might be strange since it isn’t that big of a room. You could always do what they did on Full House..and have the tv on wheels…because that’s realistic 😛

  372. Might I suggest the sofa facing the doors to the backyard and a daybed/chaise floating in front of the doors, with two lovely English roll arm chairs by the fireplace? I think the T.V. on a swing arm is a great idea!

    1. I’m also totally feeling the daybed!

    2. Oh, option one for sure!! You could stick a skinny table between the two sofas like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/148900331409833592/

    3. Hi Emily – when my girls were your kids’ ages, we lived in a home where the living room was our main family “living” space too, so I was challenged how to create zones and make it function for adults and kids. I like option 4 – but I would move the blue chair by the tv to the other side of the fireplace for more balance with the tv and mantle piece, and maybe get a smaller wood type cushioned chair for the other side that could be easily moved to function somewhere else if needed. On the other side of the room on the wall where you enter, I would zone for the kids – a wood table and chairs with space for them to look at books or play with puzzles (I loved figuring out ways to conceal my girls’ toys in our living space, but they were accessible to them). Or you could put some puffs or cute neutral bean bag chairs there that your kiddos could bring over to watch tv. Nice to have that wall concealed as you enter, so your living room looks like a living room when you walk in yet there would be a place for your kids to hang out for quiet play too. Beautiful home to work with, have fun!

  373. I think number 4 works best for your wants for the room. Window and TV use and inviting being the priority. I think cutting the room in half with two different sections makes it much less inviting and look crowded.

    But I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the end!!

  374. Option 2 with the TV hidden in a beautiful piece of furniture that lifts up when it is in use and down when it’s not in use. PERFECTION.
    Live in the place for awhile. Get a feel for how you’ll really use the room, access those doors, look out that bay window, walk through the space. Give it some time. It doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the chute. I do love the idea of back to back sofas with a slim console table in the middle, styled with a pair of beautiful lamps.
    Good luck!

  375. I don’t know if someone already suggested this…what if you put the tv on either side of the fire place by the shelves? If not I like option of sofa in front of the bay window

  376. Hi Emily,

    You’ve been given so many great suggestions today, but here is one more. I truly think that when you walk into the home, you’re going to want the fireplace to be the focal point (not a TV). For that reason, I would make a tweak to option #4 and put the TV on the other wall (by the bay windows). If the TV is there, you won’t really notice it. Plus, you’ll have privacy from neighbors being able to see through your front window what you’re watching. I know you don’t want to block the back doors, so could you push the couch/sectional a little closer to the fireplace area and far enough from the back doors so you can open them? Just a thought. Good luck!

  377. I might try to find a way to fit the TV in the shelving area on either side of the fireplace.

  378. Fun! I like option #3! I’m a big fan of different zones, especially if you have the room. Maybe keep the fireplace/bookshelf side smaller and more of a cozy reading nook. The other side could be larger with the sofa as a divider and incorporate the views through your doors and windows. Maybe a table with chairs in the bay window, too? I also like the idea of the TV on the wall opposite from the fireplace. Perhaps it could be hidden somehow with more seating (like an ottoman or bench) beneath.

    Check out this photo: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/fashion-designers-slideshow#11

    1. I like option 1 for all the functional reasons you do. Definitely best TV placement. I think the double sided couch could be a really imaginative piece of furniture for the kids. Old Hickory Tannery has some pretty tufted pieces and bet there are some cool vintage double sided sofas out there. The con is cutting the room in half for sure, but could be really cool!

  379. We had the same dilemma. We don’t have a “den” or a family room in our new house…just one living room. We are currently having built in cabinets/shelves made to solve our issue of not really wanting this room to just be a tv room….we have a massive fireplace as the focal point and wanted to keep it that way. What we did was have cabinets with retractable doors made and install the tv on a pivoting wall thingy (that’s right wall thingy…my mom brain just went dead) in the cabinet with open shelving above and huge drawers below for kid toys. We can hide away the tv and still have the open shelving above to keep that area for my books and knick-knacks.

  380. I had the EXACT same problem.

    I have learned that if none of the solutions seem exactly right, then there’s a problem with the way I’m approaching the challenge.

    We solved this by getting SWIVEL chairs.

    Put the sectional sofa facing either the door or the widow, and make your side chairs swivel. Restoration Hardware and PB/WS both have swiveling English roll arm chars with slipcovers, BTW. Then you can easily turn to face the TV, the yard, the fireplace, or the conversation area.

    Put the TV on an ARTICULATING / EXTENDING arm to bring the TV into the room and easily put it back out of sight. Get a screensaver with some art you like, or get mirror TV screen if you want it to disappear when not in use.

  381. I know this would be more complicated to execute, and more expensive too, but if you really don’t like the idea of having 2 areas ( one for the fireplace and other for the TV) the suggestion is too put the TV on top of the fireplace. – yes I know you would have to almost redo the fireplace, and that’s a problem, but it could work. This way you can have 2 armchairs and a side table by the bay window and a big sofa facing the TV and fireplace.

  382. I’d choose option 3. Lots of play space in front of the sofa and the cozy factor of the chairs in front of the fireplace. You could also insert a sofa table between the back of the sofa and the back of the chairs. But like you said, you might have to get a real sofa in there and move it around to make your final decision. What ever decision is made it sounds like a fun time to create your perfect space. Good luck.

  383. I like option 4. I can’t say why exactly but it’s the only one that made me go “okay yeah, this one”. I really wish there didn’t have to be a tv though…

    1. I think you should do 2 club chairs in front of the bay window (front of house) facing the back of the house, and then a section with right arm chaise and the TV on the wall next to the fireplace.

  384. I have littles, a flat screen, and french doors. I love having the sofa facing the french doors as in option 4. Moms don’t get to sit very often, but when my guys are outside playing and I can rest on the sofa with one eye on my laptop and another outside, it goes a long way towards recharging my patience for the rest of the day. We rearrange the furniture when we entertain to open things up so there is more room for lots of running kids and their parents, but for most of the time I need optimal running/lego room and a good place to watch outdoor antics before they get into too much trouble. I like the suggestion of 4 chairs, but find there is nothing as cozy as sick days when all the kids pile in a heap and watch a “Mighty Machines” marathon for the 1000th time. For that to be comfortable for me, as the one at the bottom of the pile, I need a sofa with chaise attached. I also love the idea of chairs flanking the fireplace and future shelves. Now that my youngest is in kindergarten, watching them take some solo time with a book is priceless. Once you get your kids in there, and play with the arrangement, this room is going to be great!

  385. You forgot one: Put two of the same sofa flanking the fireplace, perpendicular to the wall. It doesn’t block the pretty fireplace but makes a nice seating area. Then you can deal with the tv viewing area of the room somehow, with more flexible seating like moveable chairs.

  386. Option 4 looks most inviting. But before committing to anything, where is your light coming from? Our TV is opposite a beautiful bay window facing west, and in the evening during summer we get a reflection on TV from the window. So make sure you (or the kids) will be able to SEE the TV on Friday evenings or Sunday afternoons, whenever your TV watching time is.

  387. #4! It’s casual and airy and I can just picture a great dinner party full of lounging adults next to playing babies.

  388. 4 4eva. 4 4 sure. Go 4 it! (Number 4, Emily).

  389. Option 4 (best) or Option 2 (second best) Why?? I have 3 kids and LOVE having OPEN living space for them to flow freely through. Also, for my sanity! I’m already maneuvering around toys and don’t like extra furniture in the way. Option 1 is interesting idea but the kids/toys will follow you around the room and not stay on “playroom side”. Just go for ONE big open space and enjoy all your family time together! Good luck!

  390. I like the modification of #1 listed below but also think it might look like an upscale bar? Option #4 is probably where I would start but we all know it can take a while living in a new house before the layout works.

    I wanted to recommend wireless headphones. We got them when our second was on the way and even though our kids aren’t super sensitive to noise, we use them anyway. The sound quality is so good and you can sit farther back from the tv. We have our sofa on the opposite wall of our tv (perpendicular to our fireplace). My living room is smaller than yours (I think) but I was concerned about the TV being too far away. Not a prob though.

    Good luck. Emily! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  391. I like Option#4 the best, but with the chaise on the other side. Maybe even a full-on L-shape sectional sofa.

  392. I have almost the exact same issues and we finally landed on putting an English roll-arm sofa in the same position as the sectional in option #4, with the TV mounted on the wall opposite the fireplace (so in your case, the one with the hole in it).

    It’s not a sectional but weirdly the TV watching is fine… my husband and boys and I often cuddle up lying down with pillows at our back or we just sit normally, and weirdly the angle just works. It’s not how you’re used to watching TV, and I totally balked when my friend suggested it, but I love it now. And it’s really the only solution that worked for our room. Granted our TV is massive so that helps! Good luck!

  393. Option 4! Makes the most sense. Nothing worse than having a beautiful looking room that doesn’t function as well as you’d like. Back to back sofas look too tight. Good luck!

  394. I love option #1
    Go for two different sofas – with a table in-between (or not) i think this would look more your style (i think?)
    I don’t think having a tv that is too technical (hydraulics) is very kid friendly. at some point they will want to be able to come out and turn it on themselves and be able to sit on the couch and see it properly.
    watching the kids play outside is an awesome idea, but i am positive that you will create a beautiful outdoor space that you will be happy and comfortable to sit and watch them from!
    You could also add an extra arm chair in the tv side near the bay window so that your family can all sit comfortably on movie night!
    Just my 2 cents! But i am sure you will make any option work!

  395. Anyone else feel like it looks/feels a little strange though to walk into a room and just have a sectional staring at you??

    (I know it makes sense once you see the tv hidden on the wall to the right, but without that context, it just seems a bit jarring and odd to have a couch floating in the middle of the room…facing no other chairs…) haha but maybe that’s just me!

    I personally prefer something along the lines of #4 🙂

  396. http://www.jacquelynclark.com/2016/09/08/designing-urban-living-room/

    Back-to-back couch inspiration! Can’t wait to see this room come to life!

  397. Option 2 if there isn’t inadequate space for Option 1. Option 4 could work but I don’t like the chaise which appears to stick out and block the fireplace but it might work once everything else is in place – rugs, side tables, artwork etc so the bit sticking out doesn’t appear so prominent.

  398. I don’t think my comment posted! I’ll try again!

    #2 seems typical designer, #4 seems average family…I like #5 if you switch the couch and chairs…have the couch face out towards the doors (so you can see your kiddos) and the chairs face inside. Put them on swivels so you can turn to any view you want! Huge rug to make use of whole room, matching ottomans or stools in front of fireplace, TV on “boring wall”. So, from the couch, you would have the fireplace to the left, TV to the right, facing out the big doors, big windows behind you. You also could potentially look into your kitchen/dining space so there’s that connection too. And lots of open floors space, which is so fun for little kids!

  399. Option #2…..#4 couch facing away from fireplace seems weird……and choppy

  400. #4 all the way!!!!

  401. Option 4 has my complete and total vote. I’m all in! And yes, sad that the Bachelor isn’t on any time soon. Le sigh.

  402. I should add, as a mom with kids a little older than yours (8 and 7) – cartwheels are coming. Cartwheels are coming! And too much furniture limits cartwheeling area.

    But you are in sunny California, so maybe thats an always outside thing. 🙂

  403. I like option one the best. There’s something inviting about back to back couches. It makes sense for the room with a tv. also like the idea of 4 arm chairs instead of sofa

  404. What about instead of 2 back to back sofas, you use a backless sofa with high arms in the middle of the room so you have access from either side?

  405. No.2 or no.4… With rotating tv.. Nothing beats sitting in front of the fire watching tv

  406. Can’t wait to see how this house comes together!
    I personally like #2. With a throw blanket and a small styled table, you can make the back of the couch look inviting rather than weird.
    The only other suggestion/question is whether you could use a modular couch (or a 2nd separate couch) placed along the bay window side. There may not be room.
    I love lots of armchairs, but as a mum of small kids, I feel like ‘lying down’ is my new ‘sitting’ at the end of the day!

  407. Hi Emily! If you have the sofa centered in the bay window and a chaise or chair in the corner by the fireplace like option four, is there room to add two swivel chairs floating in front of the stair wall facing the fireplace? Then you could have the tv in a closed piece between the stairs. It is a beautiful room!

  408. Option 4 hands down. That’s what I envisioned before I even looked through all of the options. Sitting on the sofa, looking into the back yard (whether your kids are playing out there or not) seems so lovely. It’s great to have your home oriented towards the outdoor space. And the TV solution is pretty good for that layout.

  409. I actually love #4, I think it makes the most since taking into consideration the focal points. Plus it gives you a view to the outside space which as a mom would save my sanity. It’s the most inviting layout.

  410. Your living room reminds me a bit of how we remodeled our family room — we moved the fireplace to the far wall (as yours already is) and turned one wall of windows into glass doors (as yours already is), and the third wall (your street-facing wall) also has windows; my children are not currently as small as yours but they were when we remodeled it and I know what worked (and continues to work) for us. Our room is not as deep (long) as yours, and we placed our tv above our fireplace without decorative screening.

    Our set-up most closely resembles your #2. We have a console table behind our squidgy rolled arm sofa and I love having goodies on it, and by “goodies” sometimes I mean “crap.” But by “crap” I do NOT mean our winter holidays goodies (which my children either helped set up and / or love playing with), which we do place there every December!

    We also have smaller chairs and a smaller round table in the window on the left (the glass doors we added are on the right) as an auxiliary place (for cats, it turns out, although one child loves lounging in one of the chairs watching videos on his iPad with a cat in his hip), but even with it being so seldom used (only we have heaps of people over) it is just so lovely to look at, so inviting. And, you know, another place for me to scratch my textile obsession itch!

    I think you will be very sorry to cover up your stair window; I think you and esp your children will LOVE that peek-a-boo feature, even after they have outgrown that particular game.

    I think it is always better to have more seating, more cosy seating (like the sofa / loveseat), than four armchairs. A neighbor of ours with three children (two teens and a tween) has just four armchairs in their living room and it is uninviting (not enough places to sit) and honestly, that set up (apologies to all who adore it) reminds me of my gynecologist’s waiting room, or a very sad conference room …. My neighbor herself says it isn’t enough room for her family (of five), let alone when others come over. Her dog sure enjoys it, though!

    If our room were deeper (longer), I would still keep our long perfect-for-napping-and-family-cuddling sofa, but perpendicular on one side I would also have a loveseat and opposite the loveseat (so perpendicular to the long sofa but on the other) I would have two armchairs. Instead we have our two huge armchairs, on a slight angle, on either side. The armchairs can see the fireplace and tv, but they are mostly oriented toward the sofa and the windows.

    The thing is, you know what to do. You’ll start putting your furniture in and it’ll make sense. You’ll live in the room and you’ll realize “we need X there” and you’ll make it happen and write a post about it.

    We have our glass doors open to hear the birds chirping and the clack-clack of the shi-shi odoshi, and we can look out on our very pretty patio and backyard beyond. The kids and their friends can (and do) easily go in-and-out, out-and-in to the trampoline or pool, and I can (and do) watch them.

  411. I like Option #1, but maybe instead of two back to back sofas, you could do a upholstered bench or something that coordinates with the sofa. That way it wont seem so bulky, you have more ‘air’ on that formal side….and still tons of seating?

  412. I know you will hate this Emily, but I think this could be solved with the TV above the fireplace…

  413. I bet you already know that Option 4 is the best one. You get the comfort, you get the view, and you are not spliting this lovely room in half. It gives you plenty of space to entertain. It looks nice and you have a view on thigns that matter the most.

  414. Option 4 all the way- it seems like the most comfortable use of the space, is open to the backyard to watch the kids, and has the TV in a position that doesn’t really steal the fireplace’s thunder. I think if you create 2 separate spaces in the same room, you will just end up always using one and never using the other and it will feel a bit wasted.

  415. I feel strongly about option 4. I agree that you will need to bring a sofa in to understand how it will truly feel in the space. At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your lifestyle and it will be portfolio worthy because you always do beautiful work.

  416. If I imagine myself floating around your room, taking in the airyness of it, option 4 does it for me.

    I notice all your options have the tv on the wall (or in a piece of furniture on the wall). Just talking crazy here…but could it be recessed in something..a low piece of furniture, a bench? in front of the bay window?

  417. What about 5 with 2 regular sofas? You can have an ottoman or coffee table in the middle (maybe long and skinny) and stretching out on your own couch or cuddling facing forward (which I remember hurting my neck less).

  418. Option 4 is my favorite, but I wouldn’t to matching chairs in that scenario. One with a taller back and one of the blue chiars would be interesting. I agree that chopping the room in half with two different seating areas would make the room feel odd. Plus, visually, it feels like that sofa facing the tv has its back to the main focal point.

  419. #4 with TV on the niche’s wall

  420. #4! Don’t split your focus between 2 walls, put the TV on the same wall as the doors and hire a handsome man to fan you with a large fiddle fig leaf while you watch TV and your kids play in the yard.

  421. Option #4! It just seems the most functional and aesthetically pleasing out of them all. And I’m also not a fan of cutting rooms in half–I’ve done it in past apartments and it can feel awkward and squished.

  422. Hi Emily!
    Why not put the sofa (with a gorgeous sofa table& styling behind the sofa) in the bay window,custom mount the tv above the fireplace w/a customized art enclosure or beautiful tudor- style cabinet/doors to hide the tv when not in use, and place two chairs across from the couch that flank the OUTSIDE corners of the beautiful wall of windows. This way when you enter the room you see the beautiful bay window styled beautifully on the right,…your room is not cut in half with the sofa, your eye goes straight back to beautiful fireplace and bookshelves, and when sitting on the couch you have a beautiful view of/out wall of windows, a conversation grouping with the two chairs… that will also lend for tv viewing/fireside reading. Hopefully you could also add an additional chair ( angled ) at the end of the couch /left side of the fireplace area. I guess it would be a modified option #4- lol

  423. I’d do #4. I think it’s family friendly. You can watch the kids from the couch out to the back yard. You still have some extra stylish seating with the chairs..and you can watch tv. I just dont like the idea of two sofas back to back. I get the tv delima. my husband wanted it over the fireplace..I hate that. I won in the end.? Btw…beautiful home!

  424. Either number 2 or number 4. It doesn’t seem big enough to do the back-to-back thing without feeling crowded!

  425. Option 4. As an interior designer AND a mom of two young boys, it’s the only one that would really work for me. You need the floor space for the kiddos. Option 2 is nice but the sofa really has to face the tv, IMO 🙂

  426. I vote for option four. That has the best story …. sipping coffee watching the kids frolic while bemoaning the long delay of the next season of THE BACHELOR. Some cool non-infected plants, a great rug or two, art work on the wall surrounding the tv so it doesn’t look like a black box hanging there by itself.
    Yes, option four has my vote. I’d come for movie night and even bring popcorn.

  427. Number 4, I also like the number 2 with the armchairs by the fireplace suggestion.

    1. I love option 4 and can’t wait to see a picture of that sofa with cool objects behind it on a sofa table framed by that window. *drooling*

  428. I think option 4. I think option 4 is an absolute no brainer. You can see straight out into the yard from the couch to see the kids (especially useful in a couple of years when they can play with less supervision) AND it’s the easiest option to see the TV.

    I’m not sure why your picture uses a different couch though? One with a chaise? For me, the chaise just blocks the walkway to the shelving you will have either side of the fireplace and I assume kids toys will be on the bottom shelves there?

    I’d go option 4 with a regular couch with no chaise. Get an ottoman, kids can then move the ottoman around to build forts and it’s extra seating at a pinch.

  429. Love you Emily!! I’m leaning towards number 4… But with the blue chairs like shown in number 2. Your view walking in would be more open, you could put ottomans or poufs with the chairs for more comfy tv watching and the French doors would be unobstructed!!

  430. I’m working on a very long living room for a client that has 4 windows, 5 door openings, a fireplace and an original built in that thankfully houses their gigantic tv. It was a struggle but we ended up with an L shaped formation near the tv area and 4 swivel chairs with a round ottoman in the fireplace area. It was all divided with a substantial walkway between them. Their home is early 1900s-ish so the features are similar. All the furniture floats on one 22’x14′ seagrass rug but I layered flat weave rugs in each area to delineate the space. It’s big space to make cozy. Good luck!!!

  431. I like four, but get another chair to put in front of the fireplace too so the chairs also flank the fireplace. And the not matching chairs at all.

  432. #4, I feel that once there is a rug, side tables,etc, it will be very inviting and suitable to your living needs. Another option could also be putting the television with the hydraulic system on the wall that has the window to the stairs. It would probably angle the same way as putting it next to the doors. I normally don’t comment on blogs but I am totally in love with your new house and appreciate that you want to hear the opinions of your followers. Love your blog!

  433. I honestly felt a tightness in my chest until I saw option 4. doooooo it!!

  434. Well, I’m super late but OPTION 4!!! We had this exact situation in our current traditional, historic house. I like 4 best…all the others just seem awkward to me. And maybe it’s out of style, but we found a cool vintage armoire that we retrofitted for our tv. Not a dorky “media cabinet” but an actual antique and I thought it looked good.

  435. Gorgeous room! Love option 4 with the sofa facing the French doors and TV with its back to the bay window/front yard. I might even play with tucking it further back. A great sofa table back there, maybe a half round would look beautiful as a backdrop to the sofa and if it has a lamp on it, would be so pretty from the street.

    I think this version even lets you add a few more pieces for seating. You’ll love watching the kids and it’s both lovely and functional. Wow.

    Can’t wait to see what you do!

  436. How about a tete-a-tete sectional like this http://jiunho.com/admin/upload/product/1792624816_square1.jpg
    instead of back-to-back sofas? It could be arranged in different configurations when your needs change.

  437. Love your work Emily and I’m so excited to see your new space evolve! Have you thought about using the playroom as a den/TV room instead and making this space a true family/play space? I have a 4 and 2 y/o and we have a playroom that I hate being in because I feel like I’m trapped in kid land. I’ve found that a lot of their favorite toys have migrated into our main living space so that we can lounge on the couch, look outside and still let them play. I’d go with option 4 and add options for hidden toy storage. Let the play room be the tv lounge/movie room for adults (if that’s even an option space wise!) Or, you know, live in the space for a while and see how you really use it. Good luck!

  438. Number 1 &2 are not my favourite…While i like the symmetry of 1, it seems like the two couches take up a lot of space, and if it’s a room meant for kids to play around in too then less furniture is better for sure.
    I like that 3 creates a larger TV room viewing space and a cozier fireside lounge area..that’s kind of nice actually.
    Number 4 & 5 seem to have a more open layout which would be great for flow, entertaining and kids play. I like 4 best because of the additional seating of the sectional, although the TV placement still seems a little hidden (though perhaps thats a bonus?!)..

    Geez..not an easy answer!! Overall 3 or 4. Happy room planning!

  439. Definitely option 1 to optimize the most out of the area. Having seating for both sides of the room plus a more quiet and more entertainment division in place.

  440. I would actually put the tv in another room if that’s an option. That room with the windows and architecture just fosters conversation and I wouldn’t want a tv to be the deciding factor. Besides the light from all the windows will always be an issue with the tv visibility.

  441. Emily! I have been reading your blog obsessively for over a year now and I always think I’m going to comment, then selfishly go about my young-kid mothering duties and forget what I was going to say. But I love your writing for so many reasons, your sense of humor chief among them. When I got to the line above “I hope that one day my horses can enjoy a living room as beautiful as this” I grinned and thought, That! That right there is why I adore this blog.

    In my completely unqualified opinion, Option 2 looks the coziest and most comprehensive to the formality of the room. But really I’m just writing to say I love your work and can’t wait to see what you choose! No matter what it is, it will be gorgeous.

    Thanks for so generously sharing your homes and processes daily! All the best to you and yours.

  442. I would forget about the bay windows – it looks like they face the street. There is nothing greater than staring into your backyard with a glass of wine. We live in a tudor with a similar lay out. Option 4 is my favorite. Is the sectional centered in front of the bay window? I would just move the chair under the tv and place flanked next to its twin. This is a TV room. This is life. Do you have room for an outdoor living room? I’m in NY and I would die for one, but if I was in CA I would move all non TV “living” outdoors. Also, I think homes evolve as the family does. In your future you will have a fancy schmancy living room, but there is nothing greater than decorating to how people live! Oh, also, I don’t like the split room versions because then its harder to add chairs when you have a big group in the room. Congrats on the new home!

  443. Option 4… though I think you should give serious consideration to TV-in-the-playroom idea. My parents have this setup and their smaller TV room is quite cozy and we do all pile in there to watch TV. The living room is open and airy and gets its share of use, it just isn’t the TV spot.

    Your living room is pretty bright (windows and glass doors on the longer walls) so that will make it harder to watch TV there during the day anyway.

  444. Hi Emily! Such a fun post/challenge. I really like Option 1. As a mom of two little ones (3 1/2 and almost 2), I can definitely feel your “want it to be gorgeously styled, but let’s get f-ing real, we need function!” dilemma. 🙂 It’s all about cozy seating, Daniel freaking Tiger and lazy Sundays with our babies (on our furniture that is rugged enough to withstand some grubby little paws!) I have a large door that faces my backyard, but I have not once sat here and gazed outside to watch my children or enjoy the view. I am either 1.) Outside during all daytime hours playing with them or 2.) They are asleep for the night and I am plopped down with my laptop and “The Walking Dead” (and by this time it is dark and I can’t even see my cute backyard). If you and Brian are going to be sipping coffee while watching the littles, I have a feeling that will be on your charming patio basking in the sunshine (and not from the couch inside). Go for lots of seating (I like the idea of a love seat or 2 armchairs vs. another couch facing the fireplace?) and keep that TV out of the way, but centered and high on the tucked away wall. I can also see the kids LOVING a wicked game of “peek-a-boo” with one on one couch and one on the other. Let’s keep it real. 😉 You are so talented, I just know you’ll make it look incredible! Love your blog and your style!

  445. I like the idea of back-to-back sofas, but have you considered a tete-a-tete sofa similar to this one? You can change the configuration as needed>


  446. I like Option #1, but I don’t consider back to back sofas to be particularly “weird” as my parents have one and I’ve seen them in several other homes locally. I live in a historic neighborhood, so lots of large, old houses with grand formal living spaces. Back to back sofas are a common way of utilizing that space to create two separate seating areas. Though TVs rarely make it into those rooms, lol.
    My parents’ had a one-piece back-to-back sofa custom made by a local furniture maker. It was basically what you would expect to pay for two high end sofas, so not too bad or too good. They went with custom over buying two sofas and placing them back to back because they preferred the style of a one-piece and thought it felt “cleaner.” It can shave a few inches from doing two standard sofas back to back. Anyway, I’m sure if you google image searched back to back sofa, you have seen both possibilities.
    I personally really like this layout for entertaining, since it gives two couch spaces without looping them all around a center area like a coffee table. It helps with party flow where people are forming little clusters to talk, as opposed to all piling into a circle, so to speak.

    If you don’t like the TV focal point, then armoire against the wall with the long extension arm mounts to pull it out and turn it toward you. They make extension arms over 3 feet, so as long as your armoire isn’t too deep, you should be fine.

  447. Orion 4 for sure. You’ll be surprised how much you will sit and look out the window and read to your kids on that chaise. You can still watch tv, but it is easier to twist a chair around to see the tv better when needed, rather than move the tv around.

  448. I am a fan of the four chairs on the fireplace side with a round ottoman. On the other side, a comfy couch without the chaise option, which is comfy, but looks off in this setting. I hope you will have some lovely green plants in that bay window too! PS, I know everyone loves their tv’s but I am a fan of covering them up. I vote for creating a niche out of that opening and covering it with a beautiful vintage California plein aire painting.

  449. I vote the four chairs with round ottoman on the FP side and the couch sans chaise on the other for flow. Turn the window on the wall into a TV niche and cover that bad boy with a vintage California plein air painting. And I hope you will put some gorgeous plants in the bay window…also your Christmas tree? Can’t wait to see how it all comes out.

  450. I like #2 in theory or the variation in option 1 with the four chair idea or two chairs with their backs to the fire place facing a console table behind the sofa. But I have to say that I have a long living room like this and had a variation of option #2 for over six months and it never felt right like it was blocking the flow. We moved it so the it ran the length of the room similar to option 4 and it felt so much better, a more open and livable vibe. So I am all in on option 4. And I agree that you should not block your doors.

  451. Option 4! Room looks great and with your hydraulics you’re all set with the tv. Looking out the window is a winner for all seasons and you can still enjoy the fireplace. Plus the room is opened up more and allows space for kids to play.

  452. I like option 4. It will be nice to see your initial choice, and how it evolves over your time living there.

  453. I forgot to mention- thank you, thank you for doing this post! I think layouts are so difficult and it is so great to see all the options and your thought process on this!

  454. It’s option 1 for me.

  455. Go with option #4! It’s inviting when you walk in the room, allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of your backyard, and is still comfortable for watching TV. Hands down, I would go with option #4!

  456. I think I’m leaning towards option 4 or 5.

    1. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED???? You need this couch that doesn’t exist to the best of my knowledge (we could partner on this stellar idea, EHen) that is like a commuter train bench. When you’re entertaining your friends who believe that you don’t watch television, you can tell them that the tv on the wall is an ironic art piece. In this scenario, the sofa faces the fireplace and the club chairs live in the bay. They finish their blanc de blanc and water crackers, leave on their fixed-gear bicycles, and then FLIP, you easily slide the back of the couch over and flop down to watch The Real Housewives of That One Place.

  457. Love the renderings. Did I miss why you don’t want the tv above the fire place? I say #2 but with the tv above the fire place

  458. Hi. I feel your struggle, I do. I’ve been battling with my family room which is also my living room for years. I Have 3 wild boys so the room has to be cozy and kid friendly, but have “some” style and it is also oddly laid out with multiple focal points, like a fireplace in a corner. I’m wondering, and Maybe there is an obvious reason for this,.. But can you combine focal points and put the Tv above the fireplace and your couch facing that ..? And maybe on the “boring” wall
    Do like a bar cart or a table /zone to fill it in? Whatever you decide I’m sure will
    Be beautiful and can’t wait to see it!

  459. Option 4 with the sectional reversed, swivel chairs, and, maybe, a wide upholstered bench in front of the fire place.

    Or pick any of them and just throw some giant bean bag chairs in front of the TV. ;)-

    1. I suggest a comfy sofa with a sofa table behind close to the bay window. Then, maybe place two smallish chaises longue, or two chairs with access to a leather firm-ish ottoman, for watching TV, which you’re incorporating into your fireplace shelving (as suggested earlier) with base storage cabinetry. The kids could use the ottoman to stage Lego, cars or whatever.

      You could also have a couple of chairs mirroring the two TV-watching chairs. Or, you could place just two roll-arm chairs facing each other perpendicular to the sofa. Angled chairs are harder to navigate around, and symmetry would suit the space.

      Personally, I’d limit roll-arms to either the sofa or the chairs. Mix it up with a comfy, but more modern tuxedo sofa or similar. I’ve seen lovely stools or a bench located directly in front of a fireplace for added seating, as well.

  460. OPTION 4!! As a mom of 4 littles, I know that you will love the sofa facing the yard. And you can watch the TV in between squabbles!

  461. I saw this sectional & thought of your layout dilemma. It is too modern for your taste, but maybe you could find (or commission an artist to create) something similar. The link takes you to the product page, but page 15 of the Fall 2016 catalog shows a layout that is interesting for your space.

  462. Hey! I love that you ask your readers for suggestions! What about mounting the tv over the fireplace once the fireplace is redone? Obviously you’d need to make sure it was done safely in a way the tv wouldn’t get heated, but I’ve seen it done beautifully many times! That way the room isn’t broken up and there’s more space for the kiddos to play. I’m thinking a 3 seater couch facing fireplace/tv and a 2 seater sofa with the back to the bay windows, facing the outside doors. Add a unique coffee table + side tables + lamps + area rug + console table behind the couch facing the fireplace/tv and voila!

  463. 4 looks the best. Good luck that is tricky!

  464. What about Option 1 with only one couch facing the television? You could have a table at the back of it and an ottoman or bench with the two chairs creating a separate seating area by the fireplace? It could give you a bit more room to move through… tricky!! I’m sure you’ll come up with the perfect solution!

  465. I’d put the couch facing the wall of doors because it sounds like the most practical… OR the library option with the chairs facing the fireplace. I like the idea of creating that cozy “library” space and more of a tv/family room on the other side!

  466. Option #2 by far looks the most natural for that room and accommodates all 3 focal points. You could easily buy a swivel mount to hang your tv on the wall so that you can push it flat against the wall when you’re not using it and then angle it out towards the sofa for movie nights. Anywhere you’re sitting in that layout you can easily glance out the side doors to the backyard to watch kiddos. And how awesome will your Christmas tree look in that bay window?

  467. Something to consider from a Mom’s POV- I have a very messy 9 year old and a normally messy 4 1/2 year old and I think anything upholstered near that door to the outside is going to suffer. Little guys will jump, bump and get sticky muddy hands -that you swore you just washed- on whatever is directly in their path. I vote for #4 but I’m pretty positive whatever you do it will be awesome. Totally love the house. Congratulations!

  468. I think the best option would be to have the couch (not sectional) facing the backyard windows, chairs flanking the fireplace, and a backless chaise lounge or two stools across from the couch in front of the backyard windows. The TV would be on the stair window wall.

  469. Option 4 all the way. It gives you everything you want.

  470. I would either do #4 (you’re against the bay windows, but still getting the great light and can still see them from the armchairs and not having your back to any of the other 3 focal points or pathways). Or get an L shaped sectional so you can be ‘facing’ two different directions. Or have some chairs by the fireplace (angled inward a bit) where you can see the whole room or the fireplace, and put a loveseat up against the TV wall where you walk in. Leaves the room open, with seating options for any direction.

  471. This room is going to be divine! And kudos to you and yours for claiming it for the use that best suits your family- you do you! I vote TV placement of #4, two chairs flanking the fireplace (which also can block the ever-expanding reach and destruction of those little adorables!), sofa in front of the gorgeous windows (so you can lounge there with wine and watch the kids play through open doors, and a bench lengthwise when you walk in (so kids can flop across it, tumble all over it, etc. but it doesn’t block the visual space). This house is going to be heaven- can’t wait to see it all evolve!

  472. I’m solidly in the #4 camp. Are you completely opposed to putting it above the fireplace? What if you had artwork or a mirror on a hinge that was easily moveable to conceal the tv when you aren’t using it? I’ve also seen where the da make the tv look like its a mirror when it’s off. Just a few (less extreme) examples!! Love your new home & can’t wait to see what you do with it! You’re totally my spirit-animal-designer.

  473. Option 1: too much furniture! The room will feel too crowded. Option 2: i like this better. But i wouldnt put the tv on a piece of furniture, but on a tv mount that can come out and rotates – thats what we have in our bedroom. Another option as it has been suggested is to put the tv in the play room. Thats what we did in our house. We also have a 1926 dutch colonial with several focal points – very difficult layout. Wish i could post some pics. Looking forward to seeing what u will pick. 🙂

  474. Option 4. All. The. Way. It embraces your big beautiful backyard and will make kid watching easier and it seems most natural for TV watching, which you can and should do (no judgement for great rooms!). The fact that you say it feels best when physically in the room seals the deal for me. I would have the chaise side toward the fire place if you must do sectional, but think it would probably look nicer to have traditional sofa with ottomans (we have a chaise/sectional now and I regret it, comfy but not pretty).

  475. #4. It’s the best option to include a little toy area “hidden” on the other side of the couch and you could have little bins and kid books on the lowest shelf to the left of the fireplace (as you’re looking at it). I know you have a playroom but kids like to be with their people and if their people are in the living room, that’s where they want to be (or outside where their people are still in eyesight, even if their people’s eyesight is really on the tv…)

    1. Depends on where the playroom is also. In our house, the living room is separated from the tv room/ playroom by french doors. So we can be in the living room while my daughter is playing in the tv room, yet feel we are all together.

  476. Option four was the only that made me say, “Ooh.” automatically, and I would throw out options three and five completely. They both seem awkward without any significant gain. After number four I would consider two or one. Personally, my husband and I would choose number one almost certainly, largely because it’s the best compromise between our conflicting motivations (TV-viewing comfort vs. aesthetics and flow).

    Good luck with it all! If it makes you and the family happy, you did it right. 🙂

  477. do option #1!

    you can have grownup space and kid space all in one.
    consider a Xmas party — grownups chatting by the fire, kids watch tv

    couches don’t have to be exact same style, but looks best when from same line @ same store I think. I like the little sofa table in between them, but might make layout busier

  478. I would use the section from option 1 (only configured with the chaise to the left) facing the fireplace, the chair placement from option 5, and TV from option 4 (only mounted on an arm so that you could angle it into the room when watching).

  479. Not to sound to full of myself, but I believe I’ve found the perfect solution to your layout issue. You need something modular and adaptable, that can quickly move from facing the TV to being cozy by the fireplace to watching the kiddos play in the backyard. Ideally, it would come with midcentury style in a beautiful shade of blue. Could something so perfect actually exist? Look no further than the Retro Tillary by West Elm! It has a simple cushioned platform to lounge on, but the backrests are moveable (I believe they stay in place with magnets) allowing you to change the direction your sofa’s face in no time flat!

  480. I think you could make any of these work, but I like Option 4 best. Second choice is Option 1. Good luck, can’t wait to see it!

  481. So, I have this same problem with a hard to layout living area. I have four littles. We live in a state where we have cold winters, and my kids love the fireplace, we put a gas insert that clicks on with a remote, and my kids love it, we sit at our table and play games by the fire all winter and do lots of indoor smore roast! That being said I like option 1 or 3. With kids you don’t want a second sofa to have to keep clean, so I maybe lean toward option 3, as long as there is enough room for the whole family to gather at once and have fun. Also the cozier the space feels the more you will use it! Keep the furniture kid friendly, it will get dirty!

  482. I have a similar situation at my new home as well so I pick 4. I think 4 has the best layout for furniture placement, tv watching, and seeing the kids in the backyard. I also like the look of the setup if you aren’t watching tv. You can still enjoy the room as a family room to hang out in. Especially since you aren’t using those exact pieces I really think you can make the layout in 4 work the best for you. You still have design space against the wall opposite the fireplace too.

  483. What about putting the tv over the fireplace and focus the furniture toward that side of the room

  484. Option 4 all the way! It will look great once styled and you’ll appreciate having a good view of outside and the tv from the couch.

  485. Definitely 4!

  486. “I hope that one day my horses can enjoy a living room as beautiful as this” -Girl, you crack me UP!

    As a parent of a 2 1/2 year old and also a stickler on what “feels” right, I say option 4. It checks off both the form and function boxes for me. Happy nesting!!

  487. Another idea: (I had suggested this before)… but if you still are unsure of how to put a dining room in your house (if you expand your kitchen into the current dining space), I would suggest doing something like Option 1 with a tight close family room/TV side near the fire place, but then have a dining table and chairs on the other side, near the “boring wall” Seems to work in pictures…maybe in real life it would be too cramped…just a thought…

  488. Hi Emily!
    I just wanted to say I feel your pain! We have a similar conundrum in our living room (long, big wall of windows to the back yard, awkward furniture placement possibilities, nowhere else to put the t.v) but as one mother to another, a thought to keep in mind with the back to back couch possibility is, do you want your kids bouncing back and forth between them and doing ridiculous gymnastics maneuvers over the backs of both couches? We did the double couch thing for awhile but changed it as I couldn’t stand all the bouncing, flailing, accidental kicking that two couches back to back induced in our three kids lol. I would say either option 3 or 4 get my vote. P.S Love the new house!

  489. The first thing I see in this room is the arch line on the fireplace.
    I would use this line to design the sofa shape w/it floating, facing the fireplace. To enable a smooth eye line around the room and circular walking area around the room through to the outside, bay window and play zone. Staring on fireplace wall would take shelving all the way up continuing to carry the Tudor style wood into the shelving, and then tile fireplace with color pattern with built in tile artist feature which opens above a mantel, matching the shelving and ceiling arches and opens, then folds back to reveal the tv. You could add one library latter floor to ceiling to scroll from one side to the other of the fireplace wall to easily access shelving. Place matching funky velvet wings with some curve, with brass wheels on them for multiuse on either side of the fireplace and to be able to move for movies. Add rug, storage style oval coffee table for blankets for movie time. Then in the bay window a petite English chaise in a funky fabric.
    At back of sofa, a curved credenza to store children’s toys. I maybe crazy; but I would build a built in within the back wall which includes a second tv, which is invisible until opened, the built in would be for children’s books, toys, with a fold out desk/craft table and at the bottom vertical doors which open with craft paper on a spools and folded short children’s stools.
    would place a round rug centered in the play space open for creation, with a couple moveable bean bags.
    If you closed off a doorway you could also use the corner area for a knock with small play/art/reading zone instead.

  490. How about two sofas facing each other (the backs facing each of the windows) & then a big upholstered ottoman in between. That feels the most balanced to me (or the second sofa closest to the yard could be a long upholstered bench or chaise as well if a sofa would block too much view). The TV could still be in the hidden cabinet so you can view it from the one couch & put your feet up on the ottoman.

  491. Wow, there are so many good ideas in the comments. My first instinct is option 2, but with the tv in custom built ins to the side of the fireplace, or option 4 with a swivel arm mounted tv (is that what an articulated mount is?). And with a loveseat facing the fireplace. But the idea of a tv on a rolling cabinet is kind of awesome, too.

    P.S. Integrious is isn’t a word.

  492. As a mom with kids just slightly older (almost 5 and 1.5), I thought I’d weigh in even though you’re pretty unlikely to still care 500+ comments down. 🙂 We have a weird layout in our living room too (big sliding doors to the outside, windows on each of the other two walls that make it hard to figure out where to put the TV), so I’ve played with a lot of layouts.

    My advice: think less about watching the kids in the yard FROM the sofa in the house, because I bet you’ll do that mainly from the lovely patio area OR while you’re doing active stuff like cooking and cleaning (do you have a sight line to the back yard from the kitchen? VERY helpful!). I love having my kids play out in the yard by themselves, but I can’t really imagine watching TV while they’re playing there… for one thing, they would probably want to come in and watch with us, as and kids get old enough so that they would have questions about disturbing news reports or teach their fellow kindergarteners new four-letter words, you will probably not watch much of your adult TV with them around!! And, obviously, as we try to keep screen time SOMEWHAT low, we try to preserve the illusion that we don’t watch hours of TV each day. That’s what after bedtime is for. 😉

    Instead, think more about how your kids would play IN this room. All the options but 4 and 5 mean that you don’t have sight lines to big parts of this room from the rest of the house. Do you really want to have to walk around a sofa to see what your toddlers are doing VERY QUIETLY in that hidden area in front of the TV? We’ve had some layouts in our living room in which made the living room itself very cozy but meant we couldn’t see whole swaths of the room from our kitchen, and they work out a lot less well. Where will your kids play on the floor? Where will they do art projects? Our kids have a play area on the second floor but actually spend so much more time on the main floor, because that’s where I get stuff done like dishes and food and very occasional cleaning. :-p Right now our sofa has its back to the big glass doors that go outside and it works best for us– If I ever do want to watch the kids while I’m sitting on the sofa, I could always lie on one arm and look over the low back. I really don’t think that’s ever happened, though!

    Could you put the fancy hydraulic hidden TV cabinet right in those bay windows? I can see why you might rather look out into the back yard, but a nice cabinet could look pretty there, and the architecture of the bay window is so pretty.

    1. *that hidden area in front of the sofa (in options 1 – 3), not in front of the TV

  493. Definitely option #4. Being a mom, there is nothing I appreciate more than free floor space in the living area, so that we can all hang out together. The TV will work just fine in the corner with one of these wall mounts (https://www.amazon.de/PureMounts-Wandhalterung-PM-Move-23B-vollbeweglich-h%C3%B6henverstellbar/dp/B00B9AMS7I/ref=sr_1_17?s=ce-accessories&ie=UTF8&qid=1473406260&sr=1-17&keywords=tv+wandhalterung).

  494. We don’t have a tv, only a computer because our place is so small, but when we have more room for a tv, I really don’t want to have to look at a blank black screen eating up a wall so I’ve always dreamed of a PROJECTOR!! I think it might be something to consider in a room like this, if you can close up that little window. There is this really great model now (I think it’s Sony?) that doesn’t have to be pulled back from the wall more than a couple inches and it is portable to take it around the house (special movie in bed night?) or outside (I’ve always dreamed of backyard movie nights too!!).

  495. Dear Emily, after seeing your design through your blog posts and your book “Styled” I am very positive that your living room will eventually look fabulous and unique. Can’t wait to read a reveal post!!

    Back to solutions… I like option 1 the best. What I see as possible improvement of current state is closing the “window” above TV and putting TV on that higher position or even better… Instead of TV you can install projection screen which will cover that wall between stairs (and you can enjoy movie theatre evenings but with more cosy and intimate atmosphere).

    And please don’t “turn your back” to your beautiful bay windows with traffic outside. Probably all you have to do is to plant more greenery in front of the windows and in near future you will enjoy beautiful flowers and soothing green view.

    I wish you and your family (together with your working team:) all the best!


  496. option 3 for sure. all the other options make the room feel smaller and crowded.

  497. I LOVE number 4! Good luck lady! xx

  498. I think your best bet is to put the TV over the fireplace. Otherwise it looks like an afterthought that you tried to fit in. I would not put it on the wall by the doors outside. Having seen what tvs look like when mounted on arms to come out, I would avoid that at all costs. And I would not split the room in 2 zones, as it cuts the room up to much. I’m unfortunately not a fan of any of these options.

  499. I prefer layout #1. I like that both sides have an inviting feel.

  500. Option 2. I agree that the back of a sofa is not a welcoming way to enter a room. However, Option 2 will be the nicest when you are actually sitting in the room, which will be most of the time. Can’t you just put a pretty table with plants behind the sofa?

  501. Option 4!!! It prevents the room from being too choppy and the tv doesn’t end up being a focal point. You barely notice it. To me, that room is all about those gorgeous windows and that backyard. Whatever you do, I know it will look great!

  502. I don’t have to pretend very hard, because I had 2 small children and I loved arranging and rearranging our space constantly for fun and function. I would love to be in your shoes, but this room is tough! How about a much cozier, less formal, lower slipcovered sectional facing your TV/fireplace wall with a large low chunky coffee table for snacks, Thomas trains, and putting your feet up during the Bachelor ? I know it’s not typical Emily style, but maybe you can make a version of “”It’s Complicated” meets “Parenthood” meets “Styled?!” Then use the back portion of the room behind the sofa for a big library/dining table with comfy seating. This area can be so functional: family dining, games, kids’ coloring (and then homework as they grow) buffet space for entertaining adorable Orlando et al, etc. Above all, keep spending every minute you can with your beautiful family and enjoy your new home. Best wishes?

  503. Good job Brady, it’s such a pain in the butt to do these renderings. I love the comments on this! The whole thing made me think of this old chestnut from domino: https://cdn.decorpad.com/photos/2010/06/06/aceedb4f17f5.jpg maybe you could float a chaise in the middle and just let things get weird 😉 I can’t wait to see the progression!

  504. Tough choice, but probably Option #4. Good luck!

  505. I like #1 the best. Maximizes seating. Although I would do a matching sofa (to the back one) with a coffee table or ottoman instead of sofa w/lounger. And if you hang the TV higher, maybe put a couple cube ottomans on casters under the TV for more seating. Would you still have room to put a couple small chairs & table in the little bay? A floor plan of these would also be helpful in order to see actual space. 🙂

  506. Is there room to put facing sofas in front of the fireplace? Hang the tv a little higher on the backyard door wall. Use fireplace shelves for tv equipment. In the rest of the room there could be comfy chairs with a low table for future kid projects etc.

  507. Option 2 with a movable mount for the TV so you can pull it out and angle it as needed.

  508. Option 4, option 4. A million times option 4.

  509. Definitely Option #4. It seems to me it gives you everything you are hoping for. It is a very beautiful and inviting layout.

  510. We have a family room with a similar layout. We have two matched sofas perpendicular to the fireplace with the tv behind one of them. We have a game table in the space opposite the fireplace which is nice for movie/meals once in a while and gives us four extra chairs in the space when we want more seating. Good luck.

  511. I love all your options but I think you will enjoy the room for all you want it to be with #4. I think you will love the view outside and it will be nice if you ever entertain out there to have the people in seated in the living room feel like they can see what is going on outside. Whatever you do will be great.

  512. Could you do something where your tv is over the fireplace, but when not in use goes away or looks like a piece of art or something? That would be cool. As always, I can’t wait to see what you do!

  513. I prefer option 4, with the TV on the wall opposite the fireplace. Perhaps using swivel chairs, but not necessarty. I love that you can look out at the backyard, not the street view, while enjoying the fireplace or TV…whatever is happening. Love the space!

  514. As a mom who constantly is battling between a pretty room and a functional room for kids, option 4 really appeals to me. But adding in an extra sofa or loveseat facing the fireplace would allow seating that faces all directions without it being too formal. At first, the back to back sofa option seemed right, but then #4 popped up and it was like “Ah, that’s it!” It just feels right. Imagine having those beautiful backyard doors open with the kids playing and just being able to plop on a comfy couch to watch your kids. This just sounds like heaven. Or snuggling on the couch while watching your kids’ favorite movie…. you may not be so into the movie but you could still enjoy the fire if it was chilly or gaze out the window. You might even have room for an adorable little kids table with chairs between the two stairways. Knowing you, you’ll make the perfect decision. 🙂

    1. #3!#3! Still open and larger living with a cozy fire place nook in back. Or I would suggest somehow putting the TV over fire place with large couch facing fire, club chairs either side looking back and as you said a nicely styled sofa table behind the couch when you walk in.

  515. Definitely #4! Makes the most sense.

  516. Definitely #4!!! As a mom of three and a designer myself, 4 is the most liveable, open, and will style beautifully!

  517. Option 2 or 4.

  518. Not that you need another opinion….#2 but house the TV in one of the side shelving areas beside the fireplace, perhaps with matching custom cabinets with doors below on both sides. Gives you storage for toys and less pretty stuff that a family room typically needs. The TV can literally sit on one of the base cabinets and you could shift the 2 chairs to the bay window area if you want to change it up a bit.

  519. I vote option 3 or 4.

    Also, I really appreciate seeing this side of the design process. It’s dilemmas like this that make me feel like I’ll never get to that magazine-like design. so it’s cool seeing how the pros approach this issue.

  520. Will the big bay window have curtains? Any thoughts about putting a cabinet with hydraulics in front of the bay window – you could shut the curtains for viewing TV? You have so many other focal points as you mentioned and the view isn’t ideal….

  521. Terrible space-planner here, so weighing in just on parent/practicality aspect. Designs 3 or 5 or variations thereof that have the TV on the “boring” wall would be my only choices. The whole hydraulic, extend out into the room in front of/near a doorway to the rest of the house with small children just screams heads-knocking into it/banged into regularly by laundry baskets (or am I the only one that only does laundry folding in the TV room?) or tossed items/whirling dancers, and breaking regularly to me. Then the TV sight line is also towards your kitchen area, which will give you more of a open feel.

    I love, love, love this house, so I am really enjoying you taking apart the difficulties of designing a modern life in a vintage house.

  522. So glad to hear that designers struggle with our problems too! Something I remember you mentioning was making the bookcases beside the fireplace deeper and floor to ceiling. What about putting the tv in the shelves and that way you can still use that wall as the focal point? It seems like it may be the best option here. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  523. Hi Emily,

    Congratulations on your beautiful home! I too have an English tudor with a very similar living room layout. We have option 2 with a sofa table and a console table against the wall behind that. It’s worked out really well. We have a club chair on the right hand side and a pair of teak Hans Wegner armchairs on the left. I inherited a few great mid century pieces from my grandparents and didn’t think I could make them work in this house, but they do! Along with your blog, I go to British designer/architect Ben Pentreath for inspiration. He’s really great at mixing traditional English with a bit of modern. Ps- we don’t have a tv in the living room but still use it more than any room in the house. Have fun!!!

  524. I’d like some kind of modified option 4. Since you don’t want/need to look out that window it may be the best place to put a couch.
    But I have to agree with some of the comments – my husband is the only one that watches TV on a TV 🙂 though my son is not young anymore. Then again, he never watched tv. We would usually watch a dvd together & that’s about it.

  525. Option 4. It makes the most sense to me. Your main focal wall–the fireplace wall–is the most visible and you have a clear view to your backyard. A beautiful sofa table with lamps could be seen through the window from the front of the house, which would look very inviting. Overall, the room would feel more open with that arrangement. Just my two cents 🙂

  526. How about modifying #3 by moving the sofa closer to the TV, put a sofa table with storage baskets underneath (for some toys for the kiddies) and make the arm chairs swivel? That way the chairs can either focus on the fireplace or swivel to watch the little ones play on the floor behind the sofa. The swiveling chairs can also act as extra seating if you need for more people to view the dreaded TV. You can also add a window seat with added concealed storage. As a mom of a tiny one myself, I know as much as I’d like to have a designated play space verses public entertaining space, it NEVER stays that way. So planning for storing that stuff is always handy.

    Have fun in your new home! The great thing is you can always try it one way for a while and rearrange as you live with it and find what works best for you.

  527. My vote is for Option #4! It feels the most open and solves your TV viewing problem nicely. And as a Mom of two little ones myself, I think the couch facing the outside is so lovely! You’d always be able to enjoy the view, whether the doors are opened or closed or your kids are inside or out!

  528. What if you divided the room, but not quite so dramatically with 2 sofas or with sofa backing to chairs? I say, hang the tv by the fireplace and place a sofa on the opposite wall, with a large, cushy ottoman in front of the fireplace and then and old-english spindle wood chair in front of the t.v., that wouldn’t block the view, but would help balance the sofa + add that around-the-fireplace coziness. Put a side table by the sofa and stack some floor cushions under the tv and add a tall lamp by the doors to further balance the weight of the sofa.

    Then a tall narrow table that goes in the bay window for pretty things without blocking light and acknowledging the “feature” aspect of the spot. Finally, two armchairs + table facing the door-wall with library shelves floor to ceiling replacing the wall/hole-in the wall. That way you have another cozy relax/play area and the shelves “mirror” the opposite wall and in effect, unifying the divided areas. Emily, I think you could do some of your wizardry to make it all work together.

    1. Loving option 4!

  529. HATE Option 1 – really not sure why the back to back sofas bother me so much! 🙂

    Option 4 is the way to go!

  530. Option #4 with either a beautiful freestanding TV that you can remove when you have guests/a party, this one by Samsung is great: http://trendenser.se/2016/march/sponsrat-samarbete-samsung-seriftv-pa-spinneriet.html
    and/or a screen dropping down above your yard doors, for the cinema experience… with concealed projector in the ceiling by the bay window, or in your coffee table. Screen will be concealed by the curtains etc when rolled up. More discreet than if it’s above the fireplace, and a 2 in 1 window treatment! (though I’m sure you’d want curtains too). We have the Samsung TV in our current – period – house, and had the projector/screen over french doors in our last house. All works a treat.

    And for the style of room, I would say, don’t get too hung up on a traditional sofa, a mid-century or even modern ione can work SO WELL with period features… Just think of the French/Parisians!

    I could definitely see a corner sofa (with the shorter end, but longer than a chaise, facing the fire) by B&B Italia, or Moroso, or Living Divani, or Zanotta orrrrr….any other super comfy Italian maker in this room. Just go deep and cushdy! The sofa in that room is going to make a statement, so why not contrast it with the setting.

    1. OR…

      two beautiful matchingcarved/panelled antique (but tweaked) or bespoke tall (like 2.5m) cabinets either side of the fire with the TV in one, and doors tweaked to be pocket doors, so that they’re open most of the time for easy TV watching, but can be closed when entertaining, and no one knows there’s a TV in there. And still lots of storage for toys, games and rubbish! maybe the other one can be a drink cabinet, even could house a built-in fridge and tap/sink!
      You could put beautiful open storage on the back wall, and a table by the bow window with lots of beautiful books and objects displayed there too.
      I hate when the TV is on show by the side of the fire, but if it can be concealed, it’s ok.

      1. BTW another amazing house with back to back sofas is Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/naomi-watts-liev-shreiber-nyc-apartment#3
        dreams are made of this stuff!!!

        However, just thought about this, but if you only used a part of the living room for ‘living’ purposes, say half, or 2/3, you could use the remaining space, closer to the kitchen, to have your formal-ish dining table and then you can have your massive kitchen with dining island too!

  531. Is there a reason (besides the bay window being a focal point) that you’re not considering doing facing sofas? I feel like with a four person fam it’s a layout that would accommodate lots of comfortable TV time snuggling and laying out to watch TV, especially as the kiddos get bigger. You could focus on making that fantastic fireplace and surrounding shelves a MAJOR focal point so the room is more focused, maybe with some smaller chairs and a side table between them in front of the fire (space permitting). Is there just not enough space to have two sofas, one with its back to the bay window, one with its back to the doors?

    I was thinking maybe it’s less about having so many focal points and homing in on your real needs–so maybe less focal points, but the one or two you do choose to emphasize you can do up big (like awesome EH shelf styling, my personal favorite) after you’ve addressed the practical needs of the room.

  532. I have the exact same layout as you in my family room…and it took me years to figure out the TV fiasco. Your problem is those bookshelves on the sides of your fireplace. You need to get rid of those… (I know, it’s sad) but you need one of those walls to put your cabinet and TV….(option #4 except slid over to that wall). I know you’re worried about balance and the other side of the fireplace… I used a fig tree (same height as tv on the other side), its perfect! Seriously, try it.

  533. I love option one, it is my preferred. Having lots of nieces and nephews, it would be FANTASTIC to have separate sitting spaces when you have company, kids one one side, adults on the other. Also its fantastic for entertaining, tons of seating and many areas for socializing when you have an adults only party plus you’re not blocking any of the views.


  535. I really like option 4. It has a looser feel that seems more conducive to the look you are going for. I have a house without a living room and a small child. We have no where else to realistically put the TV and I won’t cram it into a teeny room just so that the only living space we really have doesn’t have a television. It does make it complicated with the fireplace we have at an angle, the window right next to it and the french doors on the opposite side of the window but we make it work. Your room is much bigger than mine and I’m sure will be gorgeous when it’s done. 🙂

  536. I’m so happy you’re discussing these things, because I have a very similar living room (1932 tudor) and 5 years later still am figuring it out. I vote for #2. But, I have point out that it probably will not be a cuddling/relaxing tv spot. At least that’s not how it’s worked out in my house. Maybe this is what we give up when we don’t have a dedicated family room when we get to have the schlubby comfy sofa? I complain about this on the daily, but we splurged and had a custom case-type sofa made since this is our main visible room, so I’ll continue living in purgatory until forever. But, that’s something to consider.

    1. #4. In my opinion, family life trumps all. When your kids are a few years older, you’ll probably use the room differently and you can switch things up at that point, but for now, I would do what works best for your life. Also, I’d be interested in seeing if there are any modular sofas that you would recommend. That could be a fun way to mix things up however you want at a moment’s notice.

  537. Out of your options, I vote #4 all the way. It seems the most inviting and practical. Maybe with other furniture you would like it even more?
    Also, we have an open concept kitchen and living room. We end up playing, eating, and watching TV most of the day in these rooms and I really love being able to see my daughter playing or watching TV while I am in the kitchen cooking.
    I would want to be able to see the kids while I am in the kitchen and they are in the living room or while they are outside and I am in the living room, so those aspects would be important to me.

    1. Love how you are sharing the design process in your new home, which is beautiful by the way! I know it’s not your favorite, but I like option one. I think the back to back sofas could really work.

  538. I love option 4. Casual, comfortable, and just makes sense!

  539. Why is a TV on an easle crazy? Restoration hardware sells them so it’s got to be legit. They even have them on casters. Fit a lightweight canvas artwork over the TV if you’d like. Then roll to position wherever it needs to be (kid area or in front of sofa for adults). I’m definitely into the portable TV option and some variation on #4.

  540. Hi Emily!
    Love, love, love your new house AND love, love, love all the old ones! Option #2 is IT!!! Can’t say enough for facing the fireplace AND watching Sunday afternoon football. SO COSY. Also think making two spaces in a long room like this makes sense…you could make the opposite end a lovely seating and chatting with friends area when you are entertaining. Yup, it could be back to back sofas. Can’t wait to see what you do.

  541. So tough! I personally like option 4. It keeps the rooms looking open. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  542. I’m a mom of 3 kids and a blogger of EZHomeIdeas.com and I completely understand your dilemma. My vote is #4. As you said, you bought the house for this room and you want to use it. That arrangement makes the best USE of the room. Period. If you aren’t using the room the way you want to, does it matter where the furniture is or how pretty it looks? I don’t think so. A home is meant to be lived in. I’d love to know what you decide to finally do!

  543. Option 4 for the win- as a mama of 4 littles, I love the couch facing the backyard and the tv 🙂

  544. Oy what a quandary!

    I prefer Option 4 but without the chaise. Suggest a movable pouf ottoman or something so you can lounge as needed.

    Or Option 2 with a rectangular table behind the back of the sofa. I’ve seen this done and it makes the sofa feel completely grounded. It could also be kid friendly table with a few chairs and a place to stash toys and junk underneath. You could Computer while you watch the munchkins frolic outside.

  545. What direction does each window face? How does the light affect the placement of the TV? Of course you can use window treatments to block the light, but I see this room’s aesthetic tied to the view. While placement of the main seating facing the window is a big win I would choose comfortable seating for viewing the TV as a priority. It allows you to sit comfortably for enjoying the landscape. How often do you use the fireplace? Yes it’s a gorgeous focal point, but in my mind second to what is outside your windows. Of course it’s within you ability to quickly rearrange the room to accommodate guests. You have a beautiful new home. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  546. I vote for option 2 with one modification. If its not a safety issue, since you are remodeling/updating the fireplace/bookshelves wall anyway, can you design it to put the TV above the fireplace? It would be a shame to split the space and you’ll probably end up choosing one side of the space and not use the other side that much.

  547. I like Option 4 the best, except I’d keep the tv on the stair wall. The bay window and hence the sofa looks quite central so the distance shouldn’t be any greater. You can at least try it before going to the expense of getting a hydraulic version made for the other wall. In my opinion the fireplace is fantastic but too small for a tv on it, unless you can get a small one that looks like a mirror. I wouldnt want to mar the view of entering that gorgeous room with a immediately seeing a tv. I’m sure whatever you decide will just be lovely.

    1. Oh forgot to say I would also add a third armchair next to the sofa so there is one either side of the fireplace.

  548. I would definitely do option 4 but I would use a streamlined sectional so half of the couch looks at the tv (over the fireplace) and the other half looks out at the yard. Then put two beautiful chairs in the windows with a side table between them.

  549. I have no training, and obviously do not know the measurements of the room, so this suggestion may be way off base, but I would play with a modification of option #4. Instead of having the chaise be left facing on the sofa, what about having a right arm chaise placed closer to the French doors in place of the chair by the fireplace. Instead the other chair, you could use a padded ottoman / seat that would allow for traffic flow. The TV could then be mounted on the original wall, and because the chaise would be lower the fireplace would be visible from the entry to the room. Depending on space you might be able to echo the ottoman on the other side of the chaise or end of the couch to provide a fireplace chat area. Again, space dependent you might be able to use two loveseats slightly angled into the bay window area instead of a single couch.

  550. I love Option 4; Option 1 is wonderful but my impression is that your not a big TV family. Therefore moving furniture or TV (however you were planning with Option 4) would be best design wise. I would do something on the other side, creating a balanced look. I’m excited to see how you are designing your house!

  551. I like 4 the best by FAR but I would just mount the TV on the wall with an articulating wall bracket that will come away from the wall and will turn. Style the wall with art and 3d objects to make the TV part of the design like you would be so great at doing. Much cheaper than the hydraulic cabinet. I have a sofa in that style you picture–it is not flexible. I am going with a sofa and ottoman soon, not one as a coffee table, but as an ottoman to act like it is a chaise, to be used on either side. A larger sofa too, definitely, to bring the arrangement closer to the fireplace. (another reason to ditch the chaise.) To really watch TV, when your kids are older and not all over your lap or the floor remember that TV watching sitting up straight on a sofa is just no good, nor are the formal chairs. Movies require slouching, laying,…..lol. But seriously.

  552. Option 2. The room demands symmetry around the fireplace and this is best for that, plus will be comfortable for tv watching and you can lounge on the sofa to keep an eye on the backyard! Also, a sectional just isn’t working IMO. Stick with straight sofa.

  553. “My friend Scott has that sofa, too and it’s one of my favorites ever.”
    I am LOVING that sofa also and wondered where I might find it?
    (Please excuse me if someone has already asked this question. I just couldn’t get through all 600+ comments!)
    Thank you!

  554. I’m really wanting a beautiful chaise/daybed somewhere. I love this layout: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/750x/92/a3/3e/92a33eee7507e0c13967569795b38039.jpg

  555. Option 3. Overall thoughts: This is California. You’re not going to spend much time sitting in front of a roaring fire. Two chairs facing the fireplace should be plenty, with a small round (or vintage) table between. If you have a comfy throw rug (or whatever they’re called) in front of the fireplace, the kids will probably sprawl out on that. If there’s room, maybe put one of those longish, narrow tables behind the couch (handy to put kids’ things as well as Mommy’s keepsakes). Close up that hole in the wall, but don’t fill the whole thing in. (More on that in a moment.) Instead of hanging the TV on the wall, try to find a cool vintage-y looking TV cabinet to put there…if that’s even possible…it looks like you might have a grate on the floor in that area. I live in Glendale in a 1926 Tudor and I bought a TV cabinet at an Arte de Mexico sale years ago. Quirky looking and hand carved. Great for hiding the TV and you could also put the kids’ games and such in it, AND it would be a nicer “focal point” than just a TV. As for that hole I said to close up: on the stairway side, put in a custom-made stained glass window (if possible, with lighting behind it to make up for the natural light that won’t be shining through any more). There’s a really nice, talented stained glass craftswoman named Susan Wallis in Sierra Madre (her company: John Wallis and Associates. John was her dad.). She’s made two truly vintage looking stained glass windows for my place. Ummm, I guess that’s finally all I have to say. Good luck!!!

  556. Maybe this has already been suggested… Can’t be bothered to read through the 600 + comments. I’m wondering if you could do option 4 but nestle the couch into the space where the vary window is. Maybe you put a sofa table behind it with light loving plants. This option gives you best of all worlds: view of fire place, backyard and TV. And if you push the couch back a bit into that space…. You also open up the room. Just a thought. But seriously… What do we know… You are Emily Henderson! I feel like I’m advising Picasso on shades of blue. You got this!

  557. I think I would bring the pieces into the room and play with the arrangement. My room is arranged like option #2 with a beautiful handmade sofa table behind the sofa from an artisan in Florida. I love it because there’s plenty of room on the floor for the kids to play (when they were younger) and now for our dogs to play-haha. It’s also nice not to have a split focal point, and I love having the sofa face the fireplace and tv (no neck cricks-lol.) My in-laws have an arrangement like #1 in their mountain house, but their room was so long it seemed the only solution. I think having the pieces in the room will make the decision for you!

  558. Option #4! With the backed up to the pretty window, you will still note the beauty of the architecture and the light (without focusing on the view), and will open the flow of the house to the fireplace (for oh-so-important family s’mores nights), and of course, to the doors to the outside. Also, less potential for your kids to do running flips over the couch (that’s what mine would do anyway!)

  559. There are a lot of comments – so sorry if this is a repeat. I suggest getting a projector and pull down screen for tv viewing. We do this on family vacations and my nieces and nephews LOVE it cause it feels special and fancy. And then it tucks away and hides when we do not need. We also have friends who did this in their tiny apartment to save space. Works wonders! Do it!!!

  560. Definitely like #4 the best. It feels the most comfortable and is workable with the TV. #2 would be second choice. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  561. I love the house and it will be interesting to see how you solve the many issues that appear as you settle in. As much as I like the idea of floating the sofa in front of the bay window to take full advantage of watching the kids in the back yard, it seems like Option 4 would be very uncomfortable looking off to the side to watch tv for a movie night. I can imagine the kids fighting for the spot on the sofa with the best angle.

    By putting the TV on the wall with the steps, it makes the room about the views and not the machine.

  562. Having never been in the space before, I like #4 the best, with the television on the wall opposite the fireplace. I would suggest a few tweaks to make it useful for your needs. Instead of a sofa with a chaise have you considered an english roll arm sectional? (I LOVE the idea of an english roll arm in your new house btw!) I fully understand why designers shudder at the word sectional because many are huge and include cupholders, however, yours wouldn’t be. It would be timeless and beautiful.
    A sectional would provide a place for more friends, or an amazing place for the whole family to curl up together. More importantly it gives you two focal points – one side will face your new back yard and the other side will face the television. I would keep an accent chair by the large doors to the back yard, and then place two additional accent chairs on either side of the fireplace, in front of the bookshelves (which you should totally take up to the ceiling around the chimney). Then you would have a second cozy area to drink coffee or converse next to the fireplace.

    Best of luck! We are all cheering for you!

  563. Option #4. We had a similar problem with how to layout our living/family room space. One wall was the fireplace, one was windows with street view, one is open to the dining room and the other is a non focal point wall (which would be where your lovely access to your yard is.) Once I finally decided that the sofa did not need to face the fireplace but could be adjacent to it life got so much better.

    1. We also plan on getting a L shaped sectional (we live in a super casual 1960’s house) but had discussed using 2 sofas (that ended up being too formal for us). So I would add number 4 minus the second chair and adding a second sofa.

    2. My favorite living room arrangement I’ve ever had was with the fireplace perpendicular to the coach, rather than facing it.

  564. OPTION #2 AND PUT THE TV OVER YOUR FIREPLACE. whoops, caps lock!

  565. I realized I was feeling tense until I was #4. Love it!!!!

  566. I found a beautiful room on Lark & Linen’s blog that shows back-to-back couches. Just wanted to share since you mentioned having trouble finding any good examples from all your internet searching 🙂

  567. Option 3 but with a way bigger, L-shaped (on the bay window side) sectional. I know it eliminates your dreams of english roll arm but I think you can go “period appropriate” with the chairs and accessories. Then you can watch the kids play in the back yard, have plenty of seating, have the tv on the wall that makes sense, etc…

  568. I think option 2 is the best for your living room. Swivel chairs (not obvious ones) will work the best. I have designed many of our houses and know that this is a difficult problem. Make the back of the sofa shape interesting and walking into it may not annoy you as much. Love, Robbin

  569. I apologise for not having read all the previous comments, but just in case nobody has said it already, I’m going to say it: GET A PROJECTOR instead of a TV. We just installed one and I love it to pieces because you get a huge screen area when you’re watching it but it takes up zero wall real estate when you’re not. If you love watching tv, but don’t think that a huge black screen is a compelling design element in your beautiful new room, a projector is your new best friend.

  570. I would change the shelving on the side of the fireplace to able to accomodate a TV in whichever side works best. So the TV is just part of the other items displayed on your shelves.

  571. We have no couches where we watch tv. Kids squirm, dad has restless legs. You’ll like having your own spot. You can pull an after bath sweet smelling child onto your lap, but you can also send him to the couch.

  572. Option 4!

  573. Option 4 – open and inviting. Love that the tv can hide in the piece of furniture keeping the formal-ness of the room when needed. Couch facing out to the yard, can just imagine sipping coffee staring out wrapped in a blanket.

  574. Hi!

    I will not choose any of those options or at least not exactly that way.
    When looking at the fireplace: A “U” shape sofa and instead of putting a TV on one of the walls. On top of the fireplace area, I will put one of those projection screen. It can be hidden on the ceiling when not in use and it is a great option to keep the double purpose of Living room and family room together.
    Two chairs can be put facing the U shape coach.
    To keep a kids friendly environment, I will probably try to have a coffee table that can hide toys…and maybe create in the lower part of the two bookcases area two small “two doors cabinets” that can also hide toys when needed.
    Love your blog!

  575. I know what I would do. 🙂 A riff on option #3. Really, if it’s your main tv, the only serious option for the tv is the “hole” wall. No one wants to crane their neck looking at a tv on a side wall or squint to see a small tv on shelving to the side of the fireplace. I would find the biggest, comfiest couch that could possibly fit and place it facing the tv (the hole wall). On the back side of the couch, place a narrow console table with two lamps. Flank the console table with again, the two largest comfiest chairs that can fit that are the same height as the couch (who wants to look at the back of chairs?). This solves watching tv and also allows cozying up to the fireplace (if you get large enough chairs then a child can sit with you to read stories by the light of the lamps while looking at the blazing fire). A wonderful bench or outdoor couch can be used on the patio to watch the children play — or you can watch them play from the dining room while you’re sitting at your computer writing your next post. 🙂 OR, I would find four large swivel seat-and-a half chairs and place them in a circle with a very large ottoman in the middle. Swivel to watch tv, swivel to look at the fireplace, swivel to watch what’s going on outside. Could be really great and cool. On another note, have you seen the new Anthropologie catalog? The Journey Home? Holy Wow. There are so many inspirational ideas of very traditional interiors with amazing furniture. There are velvet couches and sectionals that are beautiful — tufted or sleek and modern. I’m not affiliated with Anthro in any way. Just a customer. Good luck!

  576. Option 4. 100%.

  577. I’m too lazy to read through the comments… Has anyone suggested a combination of option 1 and option 4? Use the tv area from #4 and treating the fireplace area as an englenook? This shouldn’t block any of the focal points, making everything accessable and usable.

  578. Option 4 is ideal for me

  579. Option 2 🙂

  580. Something to consider too would be to turn your TV into a mirror so it also doesn’t require hydraulics furniture and could exist as decoration and less electronics.

    I too have a room where the fireplace and windows are focal points, but it’s a rental apartment so hanging the tv is difficult and the space is small. Any suggestions for renters with similar issues?

  581. Okay, I really like the idea of two identical sofas back to back, mainly because I am so in love with Liev S. and Namoi W’s Soho living room (I love the whole house). Their style is much different than yours (do a google search), but I think you will still appreciate it. Their living space is much bigger than yours, but just saying! Good Luck Emily!

  582. How about skip the sofa(s) and go for swivel chairs with ottomans? Easy to push about and makes for great sight lines and groupings. You can orient them for adult conversation about the fireplace, then swivel to watch TV. Cluster them about a coffee table for movie night pizza or adult appetizers. Or morning cartoons and bagels. A generous chair allows a parent to cuddle one or two smallish kids. Chairs could even be rocking and swiveling, so comfy. If you designed them, they wouldn’t be the clunky man-cave type of chairs, but would be pretty and appropriate to the room.

    I wrote all this before I read the comments and realize other people have come up with this idea also. I will mention that a friend has a family room with 4 leather swivel tub chairs and a coffee table, and it works fabulously. Looks pretty, too.

  583. Perfect timing – we have a similar dilemma with the fireplace and TV, and our new sofa is being delivered tomorrow! We decided to do something similar to what you have done with option 4, and seeing your layouts further cemented my decision. I think it’s lovely, so that’s my vote for you, too! 🙂

  584. I just thought of something. Would a double sided tete-a-tete couch work for options 1, 2, or 3? This is one I’m thinking of off the top of my head, but you may want something a little less tufted/opulent: http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/39480447.jsp#/

  585. I’m sure this has already been said somewhere in the comments (so many!) but I’d vote for a version of #5, but flipped so that the sofa faces the doors. A little like your #4 but without the chaise and with the chairs not angled. I always prefer sofas to be parallel with the longest walls in a room because it does so much more for the flow of space; and that way it’s not blocking the doors to the backyard. Angling the chairs seems to push them too far apart. Whatever you decide, it will be beautiful as always Emily!

  586. Emily: clearly, Option 4. You know it. You presented the best for last. (As you said it, Option 5 was just to cover the bases.) I do like the first commenter’s Option 1 modification idea, but then as the conversation continues with others weighing in on this and further modifying, it becomes clear a simpler approach is needed for the space. The “European inspiration/watch children play in yard out windows as you lounge” concept is what to run with IMHO. Also must say following another commenter’s mention…Liev S. and Naomi W’s SoHo living room is SICK. And brings it back to the point: sorry, it looks like you don’t have that kind of space to work with in creating various zones for the room! Excited to watch this all unfold over the years from this room to the next!

  587. Unless YOU really want to watch TV in this room, I think that you should find a different place for the TV and let this room be the fancy show pony that it wants to be. I can also say that it’s less fun entertaining with families if the TV is in the main living space. You’ll want to put on a movie for the kids and you’ll get kicked out of your loveliest space. I think a projector in the play room could be something to consider…

  588. Option #4 for sure!! It’s the best choice for design and function.

  589. Love #4. I like that the layout is kind of more open and looks cozy – less stuffy. Plus it looks like the couch faces the back door, which could be a plus – let the kids and their friends run outside and play and you can keep an eye on them from the couch. Just my thoughts.

  590. What about option 3 and instead of having the chairs facing the fireplace, put them it front of the fireplace facing each other with a cool ottoman in between. You could even add sofa table and stage the heck out of it, like only you can.
    You could also have them facing out into the room flanking the sofa. I don’t like the idea of having the 2 chairs facing the fireplace, it seems very contrived, and not very practical.

  591. Or….what about option 4, but instead have two matching sofas, and the blue chairs flanking the fireplace facing out into the room? This way you could entertain 8 people easily, more with an ottoman on wheels in he middle. I will shut up now, since I am late to the party anyway. Good luck!!

  592. Ya need to do option 2 for sure. With the nice sofa table and lamps you are talking about when you walk it there, it will be great looking and good for your needs! It’s not the right size in there for 2 sofas. What a wonderful conundrum to have! fun!!

  593. This is a hard room to design. Have you considered a projector instead of a TV? We just got one for our living room and I love the flexibility. We project onto the wall and have a HUGE “screen.”
    We can also move the projector outside for outdoor movie night. Still doesn’t solve the layout issues, but might help with the TV placement?

  594. Hope this is not a duplicate post. I bought a 1968 contemporary ranch four years ago and have a very similar problem. I have struggled and not arrived at a solution yet. I have a L-shaped seating area around the TV with a love seat and sofa and vintage slatted coffee table. In front of the fireplace, to the side I have a midcentury daybed sofa, an Italian glass and wicker coffee table, and a contemporary white leather chair. The separate spaces work, but I don’t love the room as a whole. It feels too busy and like too much is going on. Can’t wait to see what you do.


  595. In option 5, switch the sofa and chairs so the sofa faces the French doors and the chairs face the window. Then put the TV near the fireplace like in option 4.

  596. Option 4. Definitely.

  597. Sometimes in a new house you need to wait, with older not perfect furniture to see how the room “lives” and how your family “lives” in the room. You need to be and live in the house and wait for the room to answer. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.

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