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Design

Layout for the new living room

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Fin Mark

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Ashley

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.

DawnV

I like this idea, if there is room!

Amy Madeline

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.

The 4 chairs is a cool idea, too.

Like Lauren Liess’ new “hearth room.”
http://www.laurenliess.com/blog/FINISHEDHOUSE/Norman_16027LL_033.jpg

Kelly

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?

Claudia

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

Claudia

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

AMANDA

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

Hannah

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.

caroline

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.

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!

Mary

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.

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.

Maryse

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!

DublinIRL

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

Jude

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

Antonella

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 🙂

Katy

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!

Liss

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

amanda

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.

Jody

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.

jeannette

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.

Daria

Well, this is aggressive.

leia

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.
🙂

Lisa

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!

Ariane

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!!!

Taryn

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

Anna

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.

Courtney

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.

Melissa

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.

James

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.

Sarah Z

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…

Lilli

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 😀

TODD

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! 🙂

Amy

Option 4

Kelly

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

April

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!

Amanda

I like options 2 & 4 best

Jordan

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

Kimberly

Option 4!

Trina

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

f

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

S

Number 1!!

Maria

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… Read more »

YES, THIS!!!!

Jody

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!!

Eurides

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.

Susan

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.

Lizzie

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

Meg T

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… Read more »

Liss

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!

Danielle

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.

Laura

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

Désirée

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.

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!

http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

Noelle

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!

Molly

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!

Stacey

#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

Jane

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,

Angela

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!

Amy

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.

totally agree!

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

BW

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.

BW

That was nook not book sorry

mandy

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

Donette

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

Elizabeth

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.

Erica

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!

Alicia

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!

Jackson

Option #1

Katy

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…

Christine

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.

Jessica

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.

jane

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.

Darlene

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?

chris

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:
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/naomi-watts-liev-shreiber-nyc-apartment#2

Laura

That is a gorgeous layout in AD.

Katie

Option 1 looks to be the most livable.

Marcia

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.

Katie

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.

Linda

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.

mims

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.

Sandi

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.

Laura

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

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.

Teresa

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… Read more »

Samantha

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!

Carolyn

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

Carolyn

*hydralic* (oops)

Jeanne Atkins

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.

Susan

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.

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