Sunday, January 27, 2008

Suggestions For This Floor Plan......

I recently received an email from Tiffany who needs some help with her den. What I would like to do is give Tiffany as many creative suggestions that "you" the reader are able to come up with. Please read her description, view the pictures and leave a comment in the comment area at the end of the post. so she can get some help from all of us. I would appreciate your feedback and I know she would as well. You may have a room like this or have been in one similar. So take a look......and don't be shy!

We all see things differently....................

Hi there!

Thanks so much for being willing to offer advice about how to make a house more like a home without taking out a second mortgage! My name is Tiffany and my husband and I purchased our first home in Memphis, TN in June 2007. Overall, we are loving our 1927 bungalow. We are scratching our heads about how to make our living room more functional. Basically, the floor plan in the room makes it very challenging to fit a tv in addition to enough furniture to hold more than 2 people. We are a household of two, so it really only becomes a problem when company comes over. We try to entertain regularly, though, so we know we need to change the way it currently is. I have attached some pictures to help you understand, and I do apologize if they are huge. The room is 14 1/2 feet by 13 1/2 feet. As you can see, it has 3 doorways (including one set of french doors), a fireplace, and 3 windows. This doesn't leave much room to put any furniture against the walls! The corner that houses our tv is the corner that has the cable jack, so it will be tricky to put the tv anywhere else in the room. HOWEVER, we are strongly considering getting rid of our cable just because it is so addictive, so we would be open to hearing suggestions for other places to put the tv.We suspect that we need to get some different sizes and shapes of furniture to better fit in the room. We can part with almost anything in the room. All of the furniture in the room is second hand (and we will shop for second hand furniture if we need to replace anything!).The only pieces that have sentimental value to us are the floor lamp and the trunk, but those don't have to stay in the living room. Do you have any suggestions for a furniture arrangement that will allow for more seating in the room? Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it!


Here are the photographs of Tiffany's room.

Here is what I wrote back:
Dear Tiffany:

Your new home is beautiful and there is so much you can do with it. Your living area is a lot like mine. Although my room is a little bigger it has two sets of french doors, three single doors and three windows. It's an impossible situation because there is no where to put furniture. I landed up buying a sectional that faces the television and fireplace.

Here are some ideas. I would place that television right under the ceiling. They make television stands so you can mount your tv up high. I purchased one at Walmart and it cost me about 35.00. The one that is pictured below is mounted from the ceiling. The one I bought mounted from the wall on a metal arm. They aren't the easiest thing to need muscle! That's where hubby comes it. This will free up lots of space that is currently used for the television. These shelves also have areas to place DVD's and boxes. You can purchase brass channel (Home Depot or Lowes has it) that you can mount into the corner. This is where all the wires go, so you don't see them hanging down from the TV.

That takes care of the TV. You still can enjoy it, not have to move the cable and it gives you more room.
As much as I love the french doors, they are really taking up a lot of space. Could you remount the doors so they open into the other room? It's a thought.....imagine how much more room you would have. Do you really need the doors at all? Have you thought about taking them out completely and installing decorative wood corners (painted white to match your molding).
They also sell these in HD and Lowes. Not too expensive either.
This creates an "opening" without doors. I know that you probably like these door and want to keep them, but the room would become a lot bigger if they didn't swing into that room. There isn't much you can put against those walls that won't interfere with the swing of the two doors. Just a thought.

If you can get your TV mounted high you have the possibility of placing another piece of furniture under it. Maybe even a small chair with your floor lamp as a reading area. This area could also be used for shelves, books and decorative items. Of coarse you want that TV properly mounted otherwise it could fall onto the poor person under it. It has to be mounted into studs. Don't worry they come with directions.

If you move your couch directly in front of the fireplace (so when you sit on the couch you are looking at the fireplace) and eventually add two comfortable chairs in both corners of the windows, you will create a space where the fireplace is the focal point. You can entertain and also watch TV from either chair. Club chairs would probably work nicely because they tend to be smaller. Add a warm throw rug and drape some fabric from all three windows (something simple). Definitely keep the lamp and the trunk. The trunk could also be a coffee table (add a nice piece of wood to the top) or an ottoman (buy a piece of plywood, a thick piece of foam and cover with fabric and staple to the bottom piece of plywood.

I just looked back at the photos and realized that if you opened the doors into the other room it would interfere with another door. Well, you have the option of removing them, storing them and if you miss them you can easily put them back. I think the key is the TV. If you mount it high up, add the chairs, move that couch you will also be able to see that TV and entertain. The couch should be positioned into the middle of the room so you can walk behind it and doesn't disturb the flow of traffic.

One more tip: Measure those windows to see how many yards of fabric you would need to make some long swags that you could puddle onto the floor. Carry it in you wallet until you find some beautiful, discounted fabric and buy it up. If you don't sew or have a machine, don't worry. They make invisible hemming that you iron on. Install two brass hooks at the corner of each window and swag your fabric over it. It will look great and you'll add some more warmth to the room.

I hope this all helps you and if you have anymore questions please don't hesitate to ask. Would it be all right with you if I posted your email and pictures on my site. I think my viewers would love to see this? Please let me know. If not, that's fine too.

You are off to a great start.

Please leave comments below and thanks so much for participating and giving Tiffany your help.

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  1. My suggestion is to change out the french doors with pocket doors that resemble your french doors. You would open up a lot of space to get around. Also, you could get an updated LCD tv (flat ones) to hang above your mantel. Candice Olsen featured an LCD tv hung and disguised in a piece of art work. There was a remote to open and close the piece (right down the middle). I know my suggestions are expensive but your room doesn't allow too many options in furniture placement. Once you find a set-up you love, it will probably stay that way as long as you live in the house. So, you do it just once. We put pocket doors on our bathroom doors and I love the space it gave me. My bathroom was tiny and having a door open into it was too close for comfort. Good luck! (Love your blog Christy - keep it up!)

  2. I just quickly glanced at this "design problem" and I would suggest a few things to consider. Remove the doors so that you can free up the space dedicated to the door swing. If you still want to be able to have some privacy, install some beautiful floor-length curtains in the doorway to open and close on a curtain rod. Consider having the coach floating in the interior of the room at an angle. Having any furniture at an angle makes the room feel larger and avoids a boxy look. I see a coffee table - find some comfy but stylish bean bags covered in a fabric you love that will slide under the coffee table to pull out for additional seating when you have company. Thanks for the great advice, Christy! I'll be working on a design question to send you from my house!

  3. Hi Tiffany, Let me start by saying I think your room is beautiful. I love the fact that you shop for secondhand furniture. You can find so many treasures. I think the TV is fine where it is but a more substantial wall unit (taller and more shelves) to house the TV would look alot better. I would move the couch. While I love furniture on angles (mine is on an angle) I think the room is too small and you are losing valuable space. You can either push it under the window and closer to the door opening. I would add an otterman that doubles as an end table. They have a tray on top that can be flipped over when needed and you can use this as an extra seat when needed. I would also place a chair where your trunk is and a chair where your plants are. That should give you enough seating for entertaining. I hope this helps. I know whatever you do it will look great. Just have fun with it. Louann

  4. Hi Tiffany,

    You have a beautiful room to work with. I love the wood floors, and the light and airy feel to the room.

    I think that a major part of its charm lies with the french doors, although, quite honestly,I am a self-professed fan of french doors!

    It appears that the french doors provide a transition from a home office to a living area, which I think is not only a very nice look, but also provides some privacy and sound proofing from the living room.

    Admittedly, they do take up valuable wall space but, to me, they are very charming and add a lovely, striking feature to your living room.

    You have some wonderful advice from others who have posted. I just thought I'd speak up in defense of the french doors! :-)

    Enjoy your decorating project, Tiffany!


  5. Hi Tiffany,
    I really love the open feel of your room. Additionally, my confession would be that I'm a French Door fan too. Even though at times it seems to block off the room, it serves a primary function too. I'd recommend placing a longer couch in front of the fireplace. Play up the mantel, you have a beautiful piece of art in this decorative statement for the room.

    Select small chairs, you would need at least two. An area rug. Remember you can play up the color elements with accessories: throw pillows, decorative artwork and accent pieces too.

    A coffee table or something redone. Always think outside of the box and look around your home for items that can be utilized that you never dreamed would work. I like Tiffany's suggestion on placing the TV on a wall mount.

    Additionally, an above the fireplace would work also. Another aspect that would play up the room is to repaint the wall color a shade darker in order to play up the molding. If you opt to remove the French doors, I like the other suggestions offered as well.

    You could place a large mirror above the mantel. Noticed that you hung a picture there. I'd move the picture up about 7 inches in order to give the dimension of height (repaint the frame too). Currently it sits on the edge and it makes that area look smaller. Just a thought.

    I've got an out of the box idea for the mantel above the TV. Noticed your TV stand. What about putting the shelves above the mantel? Or you could mount the TV into a box (which your hubby could create for you - place the TV inside. Paint the TV box in the same color as your fireplace and molding. Replace the angle look of the TV area with a large indoor plant. Place it inside a gorgeous decorative pot.

    Like the idea of a sectional or your couch and a loveseat. If you simply move the furniture you will notice that the room will feel bigger. For a different look under $50 dollars. Buy some chocolate colored wood paint to repaint frames, coffee tables, end tables so that they have a same theme of wood look.

    You've got a lot of light which is a beautiful focal element of the room (so you want to enhance it). Love the idea Tiffany has suggested. Also would like to see more larger artwork in your room.

    What about enlarging 3 beautiful pictures that mean something to you and your family (maybe even family in a natural fun setting). Take it to a photo lab and have them enlarge it to picture size. Buy 3 frames identical in color - place them in it and viola you have fun family art.

  6. Thank you all for great ideas and thoughtful responses. Thanks too for taking the time out of your busy lives to help someone out with a design challenge.

    Hopefully a few more people will offer some advice. The more ideas, the better!