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Decorating & Furniture/Entryway opens into living area


Hi Jenny:

I sincerely hope that you will help me, as I am in tears over this dilemma.  I live in a small house built in 1900 - very charming, but with some of the common limitations of the period.  The front door is located in the center of the front of the house and has transom windows on either side.  Sadly, it opens directly into the living space so that there is no foyer or place to rest when entering.    

The house is about 15' across in this front section, but there is a radiator (with cover) on one of the walls and a staircase on the opposite wall, which restrict the space substantially.  So basically, I can't block the traffic flow from the front door right through the middle of the room.  Not knowing what to do, I placed my living room furniture in the dining room area in front of the kitchen and made two sitting areas in the front space (where the living room furniture should be).  I have children and we are relegated to eating in the kitchen in our breakfast nook - it's ok for everyday, but totally inadequate when company comes or when we have a big meal.

Can you please help me understand how to configure the furniture in the large dining room/living room space so that I can have both functions in the house?

I have attached a photo - it was taken from the vantage point standing in the doorway looking toward the back of the house.  You can see the edge of one seating group in front of the stairs.  You cannot see the second seating area, which is to the left of the entrance.  I have additional photos if it would help.

I really appreciate your help!


Hi Tracy,

I didn't get the attachment, but I do understand your dilema.  What I would suggest is that you float your living room furniture in the larger of the two spaces.  Putting the back of the couch perpendicular to the door opening is a good start.  Then, allowing enough room to comfortably walk through, put your dining room furniture on the opposite side (the back side of the couch).  Run the length of the table along the natural (and longest) length of the room.  If you cannot use all your chairs around the table, double-purpose them in the living area as extra seating, allowing you to pull them to the table for gatherings.  

One of the things you may need to do is use either a drop-leaf table or a glass table to give yourself more visual space.  If you must go to glass, use as large a round as the room will allow.  

I hope this helps your dilema.  

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


Visit my web site at: Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.


College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

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BA, Psychology

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