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Decorating & Furniture/L-Shaped Room Layout Dilemma


Our home is a 50's rancher - style is somewhere between traditional and country.  We are much more casual than formal.  
Here's our problem:
In absence of a sketch, picture a bird's eye view of an L-shaped living/dining area (short L is in lower right. Exterior wall of the long portion is 21 ft. long (approx. 11 ft. is picture window with double-hung window on each side).  Width of long space is over 14 ft.  Inside wall is almost 12 ft., leaving almost 10-ft opening to the short part of L (i.e. dining area).  On the right-hand side of the long L is a fireplace.  On the left-hand side of the long L is a wall (almost 10-ft.)with a 4-ft. opening to the entry hall in the upper left corner.
Currently we have a sofa (area rug and coffe table) along the interior wall and a love seat along the left-hand wall.  There are 2 swivel chairs with a small table centered on the picture window.  Problem:  The layout is too far away from the fireplace and doesn't provide a cozy grouping.
We are considering placing a sofa in front of the picture window (w. end tables) - sofa would now face the dining area (area rug and coffee table).  Next, a built-in entertainment center on the left hand wall.  Swivel chairs (upholstered and rotate 360 degrees) positioned to left of center.  Also, a large comfortable chair in the opening to the dining area to provide some break between the 2 living and dining areas.
Seems that the above layout would permit view of fireplace and TV (at opposite end).  We've ruled out a small sofa facing the fireplace since this would form a barrier to easy walk-through.  My wife has a concern about the sofa facing the dining area - however, I should mention that the dining area exterior wall (bottom of short L)is almost entirely picture window.
I wish I could have provided a sketch, but hopefully you can visualize the room.  WE NEED HELP!!  Any ideas on how best to layout this room.  We know that we want fireplace to be more of a focal point and aren't that crazy about TV's over fireplaces.  We are open to any ideas!  Thank you in advance!!!


Thanks for writing.

From what I can gather, you need to pull the furniture off the walls and make a grouping around the fire place. A lot of times you can make something like a fireplace seem to be the focal point of the room when in reality you may have the t.v. in plane view. To do this, you may need to move your t.v. into the area of the fireplace, maybe placing in next to the fireplace down the wall a bit. This way, if all your furniture is facing the firplace, you can still see the t.v but it will not be a main focus.

Another option would be to make two settings. #1 if front of the fireplace. This area could be more intamite (try a couple of chairs and an endtable with a lamp facing the fireplace almost giving it that "den" feel) #2 area would be your main setting area. This would contain your couch and t.v. To divide the dining room from the living room, try putting the back of the sofa to the dining room with a sofa table in back of the sofa with two lamps in it along with family pictures. Again, you must pull the furniture away from the walls for this to work.

Good luck!


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Benjamin Cottrell


I can answer any questions on interior design including color, room arrangment, floor and space planning, lighting, fabric, furniture, and where to buy home decorating products.


Residential design and Architecture as well as landscape design, visual merchandising, and sales.



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