Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 17 Nov 2012 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you …. that’s you lot… the readers! This week’s email is from Dmitriy who is really keen to help – 2 incarnations of the space, a plan and some 3D sketch ups.

Hi, I am hoping that the Design Crew can help us with our living room. The main wall is at an angle, so the left side of the room is shorter than the right side. Ideally, we would like to create two distinct areas, a sitting area and a dining area, but we are unsure how to do this without breaking the flow of the room. We are not sure what to do with the fireplace, because the way it is positioned, in the middle, seems to really restrict our options. Right now we have two couches and a coffee table on the right side of the room, and we have a console table and a piano on the left side of the room. We have a TV above the fireplace, but this placement does not work very well, because having to look up to watch it is uncomfortable. We have a small dining table in the kitchen, but would really like to have a dining area in the living room. We are hoping the Design Crew can give some suggestions.

Although we like the couches we have, we are open to replacing them if their size and shape are not optimal for our room. Same goes for the console and coffee tables and the area rugs. The only piece we would really like to keep in the room is the piano.

Plan and 3D sketch ups after the jump.


Stacey says:

You definitely need to put your seating area in front of the fireplace. It would helpful to have one large rug instead of the 2 very different round rugs. Place the rug under the seating area to anchor the room. As is, your eye jumps around too much.

I would put the piano on the right hand side of the fireplace (if it fits).

As mentioned above, I would move the living area to the center of the room, placing one couch facing backwards the window and the other facing backwards the kitchen. If there's palce enough (sorry, I can't read the space right from the photos) you could use the space behing the couch, along the window for a dinnig nook, maybe with a rectangular table and benches.

I agree with the idea of one big rectangular rug beneath the whole sitting area. And a custom wooden tv unit on the left hand side of the fireplace.

The console could go in the runway, beneath the picture already hung there, behind the niche. Hung some larger art in the niche (I imagine something bright, like the kiss from Gustav Klimt, with a golden frame) and put some branches in the white vase.

Hope this helps!

g says:

piano to corner where couches are.

couches and round rug in front of fireplace – sort of forming a parenthesis around fireplace:

( rug )

dining table where the piano is

light to play by and gets the piano in a safe area where it is seen but not a tripping spot, gives cosy convo area and a convenient table area for eating where you can see rest of the room as well.

Penny says:

I am struggling a bit with the size of the space, but I am attracted to the idea of a narrow dining table against the niche (that is, the table length coming out into the room). No-one sitting the niche-end though – I'm kind of thinking trestle table style. The niche is a great focal point, but you aren't using it yet. You could place candles or perhaps even store condiments for the table on the niche base with some nice art above. You could also place the table slightly on an angle so that it runs a bit more parallel to the fireplace wall – you won't need right angles with the space you have!

As others have suggested, if possible put the piano on the other side of the fireplace near the window and bring the 2 sofas out into the room (one backing the window, the other roughly facing it but again, doesn't have to be square).

Or, for something different, if you are serious about replacing the sofas, you could consider a chaise sofa. The (inverted) L, or J shape might suit better than a C or ( ) shape. Something a little bit curvy, like this: – although you may need something a bit more svelte…

Sparky says:

I was so intrigued by the shape of the living room footprint that I decided to sketch out my ideas here:

SueE says:

First, let me just say that Sparky, your interpretation is inspired!! Putting the two couches together is brilliant and you even have the TV on an artist's easel… a long standing obsession of mine! I also like what others have suggested about putting the two couches as parentheses around the fireplace. One of the few design rules that are virtually unbreakable is that the seating area must focus on a fireplace if one exists.

I think those are the two best options of you want to keep the furnishings you have. But let me just say this in favour of replacing them; in my opinion the curved couches and rounded rugs add to the disorientation of the angular lay out. In rooms, we expect squares and rectangles. Although surprising the eye with angles and curves is one of the keys to making a place interesting, it is possible to do too much. If you can afford it, consider replacing the couches with a traditional straight back variety. An L-shaped couch would be ideal, placed so that either the back runs parallel to the window (although pulled away from wall) or so that the couch comes out from the left side of the fireplace and faces the window. Yes, I like that second option better. Then you could put the TV on a low table, perhaps the oval glass coffee table you already have, to the right of the fireplace facing the couch. A large potted floor plant behind the TV would fill the space behind it and counter the visual weight of the couch. Plus, with that window you've got the light to keep it alive!

My preference is to lose the piano as well as it is in contrast to the fairly modern furnishings you have. If you wanted to keep it, would you consider painting it? Imagine that piano in a glossy white or black! Either where the console table is now or in front of the window if there is room.

I like the idea of placing the dining table in front of the niche. I would paint the back a different colour, add some shelves, and fill them with bottles of wine!

Have fun!!!!!!

g says:

here's an alternate idea:

use one of the couches as a banquette for the dining area and the other one in front of the sofa, facing the fp.

piano near the windows still.

also, that console/server needs to be hooshed! use it for display/holding useful serving items but make it tidy. also could be a landing strip, but your hallways looks large enough tho handle that there instead.

Blanders says:

Your central problem is one of physics – you want to have a piano, a dining set, two couches, a TV and various secondary pieces of furniture all crammed into a badly-designed room in a cramped apartment. It's not the TARDIS. It simply won't happen.

The only idea that seems remotely feasible is to put the piano on the other side of the fireplace, then join the couches so that they form an arc sweeping out from the piano and around in front of the door to the kitchen, facing the fireplace. There might then be room for a small dining set over where the piano was.

jolene says:

Just a suggestion that hasn't been mentioned yet: how about a banquet style dining table up against the wall that currently has the console table. Similar to this picture: This would be a more efficient use of space when considering adding a dining set to this room. I also love the idea of connecting your sofas facing the fireplace. Good luck!

hv says:

There are a lot of good ideas, but why not move the console to the hallway and the piano where the console is?
The couches in circle but maybe not completely together. A light inbetween? and the beige round rug in front of the fireplace.
The tv could go in a other room. Or, as suggested, on the right of the fireplace with a plant.
You could put a bench against a wall with the dinningtable and some chairs. I would make a very a strong statement on the dining area with colours and stylish
furniture so it wont just be a added table with no style. A nice haging light on the table coloours on the wall, in the niche….
Don't forget to post the result!

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