Arranging lounge to be cosy
March 31, 2012 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me arrange a comfortable living space for comfy sitting around with friends, reading, watching tv. See the sketch up and photo of the room here (not my furniture, this is previous owners). Most interested in suggestions for type of furniture (e.g. 2 chairs, a sofa, a coffee table this size and shape) and where it should go, but specifics ("this sofa", "paint this colour") good too!

The current orientation of my dining table is shown in the plan, the other grey box is a sideboard. I don't mind the previous owners furniture, though not exactly what I would choose. The photo is taken from near the entry door.

The view from the window (predominantly of the neighbour's ugly building and the fence) is not as nice as the view through the sliding door (leafy trees), so I currently have my sofa on the wall by the bedroom door. I do own the space outside so could look at outdoor screening options.

The window in the living area is about 80cm from the floor, so low furniture can fit underneath it.

I have a flat screen tv (32") that I am happy to wall mount. I need to put the dvd player/media box somewhere, as well as the soon to arrive router. If I can fit my small printer into some storage here too, that would be good. I want to watch tv comfortably, but would prefer it didn't dominate the space (to the extent that is possible in such a small space).

I would like at least one sofa which is long enough to sleep on (for me, which means at least 1.6m on the seating part).

I have a reasonable but not huge number of books I would like to shelve. Additional closed storage for kitchen overflow items would be good.

On the wall next to the bedroom door in the small alcove is the intercom, which cannot be moved.

I would like to make the space inviting for people to sit down, have a drink and a chat. Although I know people like hanging around a kitchen, it seems people always opt to sit at the table rather than the lounge area.

What sort/size furniture and where should it go? I own the place and am looking to buy new furniture, so anything is possible. Type/size of seating? Coffee table - shape? Build in shelves?

Also any other suggestions for furnishing this area to be cosy, beautiful and practical - paint, window treatments, knock yourselves out!
posted by AnnaRat to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'd definitely get something for the TV/DVD player/etc. that could also be a storage place for books...something like this might be an option, though maybe not as big/wide. I love entertainment centers that have multiple uses like that one...cause I've got too many doo-dads and thingamajigs to display, and not enough places to put them LOL.
Building in shelves is also great if you'd prefer wall-mounting the TV. I love our built-ins, though it's a hassle if you don't plan it out well ahead of time (and I speak from experience there, unfortunately). Since you're looking to not dominate the space if possible, I think built in shelves might be better as entertainment centers tend to take up tons of space (or at least, they always feel like they do). Wall-mounting TVs definitely provide more storage options for other stuff, if you could even get a corner shelving unit built in I bet it would help open up some.
Have you thought about one of the sofas with open ends on one side? They are typically long enough to sleep on, but also seem to provide more seating options for guests. I'd also suggest an oversize chair and ottoman if you've got the room or if you don't want a huge couch, but still want something comfy and easy to sit in. My chair/ottoman are much fluffier than the one pictured there, but any I've sat in (many hours were spent in furniture stores 'butt comfort level' testing these chairs!) seem to be relatively comfy, to super duper ultra awesome comfy. OR even go so far as to get a papasan chair! They come in a gazillion sizes and even 'double seaters' that are loveseat-like, and lots of them have ottomans too, which I think are always a good option for an extra chair or two when needed.

Color-wise...the room has lots of natural light it seems, so I'd definitely keep that as much as possible. Myself, I like darker colors in well-lit rooms. But I think I'm the odd one when it comes to paint color schemes...I'd end up with a butterscotch color on the walls, and a nearly white color with a brownish hue in it for baseboards and trim. But that might look hideous on the whole room. LOL. My former apartment had the exact color scheme described above and was lovely, but we started our new house colors that way and it was terrible...definitely go to your local hardware store (Lowe's, Home Depot if they're near you...they have GREAT paint sample selections) and grab as many of the little color sample things you can carry. It really helps to have the color in your house to compare under your own lights and window light. The VERY light yellow we chose for our kitchen came out dandelion-ish after the recommended 2 do make sure to test the colors at your house before buying a ton of paint.

And window treatments...I personally love horizontal wood blinds like these (which can also be found for much cheaper and just as good of quality)...they look great but also keep out a lot of light when you want them too.

Sorry for such a long post, love to see a pic or two from what you end up doing with the place when finished! =)
posted by PeppahCat at 11:58 PM on March 31, 2012

Have a play with floor plan options with this. Saved me swapping the furniture around last time I moved.

As for making the tv less of a focus, try to put it in a corner, or at least put a chair along the same wall as it so you can close the circle when people are around.
posted by kjs4 at 3:19 AM on April 1, 2012

If I were you, I'd avoid heavy browns, russets, (and any other traditional, muted color) and really take advantage of that light with clear glass tables and scaled-down furniture to maintain a sense of spaciousness and openness. You can't go wrong with tall bookcases...cabinet doors along the bottom shelf solve a lot of storage problems without the expense. Good luck!
posted by doreur at 3:55 AM on April 1, 2012

This is the land of small rooms. I'm very jealous of the light and air you have there. Our customers have been buying sofa/chaise combinations like this, and pairing them with square coffee tables and small squarish upholstered club chairs that can swivel. The sofa/chaise comes in a variety of styles now to suit your taste, and can be purchased at any length you prefer. I think I would use that along the sliding door wall, since the chaise has no back to block the view across the room.

I think I would use the bedroom sharing wall for a narrow-ish console and hang the TV above, centered on the wall. That way, when it's on it won't dominate the room until you are well into the seating area. Shelves could certainly be installed around it. The only drawback would be whether the rear throw speakers on the TV would be heard in the bedroom.

One other suggestion for bookshelving would be to build long, low, horizontal two-row bookshelves with legs and use them parallel to the chaise as a very low room divider between dining and living. You would have room for a lamp and tchotchkes on top.

I love the light in there - I think I would keep the background neutral and get one or two large colorful pieces of artwork and let that do it. As long as privacy isn't an issue, I would do the "window" decorating outside, as you suggested.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:03 AM on April 1, 2012

A quick layout here.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:14 AM on April 1, 2012

I always like to arrange my living rooms so that the sofa and other seating face each other, and the tv is past the end of the sofa - when there are a few people, they all face each other, and when you are alone, you get to lie down on the couch to watch tv. rooms where all the seating faces the tv end up feeling very dismal when people are over, and everyone ends up in the kitchen where they can face each other. You have a nice open feeling room there - a good way to keep a room open is to have small end tables beside each seat for people to put their drinks on instead of a coffee table in the middle of the room. I don't get why coffee tables are so popular - if they are close enough to be able to reach your drink without leaning way forward, then you're barking your knees on them and they make the room feel cluttered.

as far as furniture arranging - I would put the sofa against the far wall under the window. Mount the tv on the wall where in the photo hangs some artwork, and have 2 armchairs in the other 2 corners of the lounge diagonally facing the sofa and each other. this will leave an open path into the lounge from the dining area, inviting people in. if you have more people over than can sit on the sofa and armchairs, they can pull the dining room chairs into this space. some handy end tables, (preferably ones that have some little drawers or shelves under for extra storage) a low bookshelf against the wall under the tv and you have a cozy room. Richly coloured textiles are always good, too - get some nice soft pillows and a small lush blanket. Another fun idea would be to mount a curtain rod on the wall above the tv, and hang some really great fabric or an interesting wall hanging from it to cover the tv when it's not in use. When you're watching it, the fabric just gets pushed aside like a curtain.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:12 AM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all for your answers, and halfbuckaroo, thank you for taking the time to do the lay out!! It does look a better arrangement than the current one, but part of that is probably having the wrong furniture now too.

I will take a bit from all of these answers in my re-design - I currently have a lot of dark brown furniture that came from when I lived in an older style house where it worked well, but it is too heavy here. Ebay, here I come! Coffee tables are often a bit useless when I think about it - the good thing my current one does is store a lot of books that need to go on the shelves (that don't currently exist). But yes, perhaps it has to go.

I have previously had a 'tv at end of sofa' arrangement which confused my grandmother terribly as she thought I must sit on the sofa at a peculiar angle whenever I watched tv!

Yay, it is exciting to plan a nice space!
posted by AnnaRat at 5:33 PM on April 3, 2012

maybe the coffee table can go against the wall under the tv, if there is room

and yea, I love decorating!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:30 PM on April 3, 2012

« Older Wood furniture that's built to last.   |   Help me identify this pest (w/ microscope pictures... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.