Decorating Dilemma: Michaela’s Family Room

Decorating a family room with navy blue

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

Our living room is awkwardly shaped, and our couches don’t really fit!

The room is 21ft long by 14ft wide. The two doorways are 5ft wide, one goes in from the front hallway, the second looks into the dining room. This is a traffic path in the house so I don’t want to block the flow.

I have tried the couches as shown but they feel too far apart to work well for conversation. I’ve also tried them in an “L” shape both in front of the hallway doorway and in from of the fireplace, but blocks the path to the dining room.

I would like to put the tv on the wall, either over the fireplace or between the windows, but I don’t know how to arrange the furniture. I think we need to replace what we have with a smaller couch with a couple of chairs but I can’t figure out where to place them.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Fireplace in room
long wall
wall with windows
fireplace on right

Dear Michaela,

What a fun re-design that will add several functional spaces to your beautiful room while still allowing easy traffic flow from your entry area through to the dining room. Since your room is elongated, dividing the length into specific areas will maximize the available space.

M Allen floorplan

Start by placing the Baldwin 3-piece Sectional, in Trilby Basketweave Drift, tucked in the front corner in front of the fireplace. Add 2 occasional chairs, such as the Gentry Chairs, will allow for lots of seating space as well as easy visual access to your fireplace and TV area. We suggest upholstering them in Davidson Herringbone Indigo to set the color story for your room. Our Square Tufted Ottoman upholstered in either Toscana Ikat Blue or Quincy Blue will add softness and visual interest. Remember to place a tray on the top to allow for the addition of accessories and books. To unify these choice pieces in a defined area, you should center them on our natural fiber Braided Jute Rug. Can you feel the “cozy” starting to happen? Behind the sofa, a larger Benedetta Black Console gives an ideal spot for a sofa light.

Instead of shelving on either side of the fireplace, consider the addition of the smaller Benedetta Console on each side and topped with our great Zinc Framed Mirrors to provide vertical interest. Our Mercury Glass Gourd lamps on the consoles will introduce the room with a little drama.

To finish off this front corner of the room, reposition your tall clock to rest between the windows, again providing vertical interest.

Living spaces benefit from beautiful textiles — they’re what give the space warmth. Adorn your windows with Suzanne Kasler Linen Panels in the camel color to provide the first layer of warmth for your room.

Now let’s look at the opposite wall. Our Tuscan 3 Piece in black finish would be a stunning group positioned on this wall and would be a great storage for books, family photos and other treasures. If you place the Tuscan group towards the left end of the wall, space appears in the corner which is a great spot for a table. Our Sidney 42” Pedestal Table in Hickory Brown, paired with 4 Constance Chairs in Black, will provide the 2nd conversational area and highlight the beauty of your wood floors. The black finish of the chairs will support the other black pieces in the room.

You have oodles of space for books, so let’s add a chair for reading. Our Stratford Chair and ottoman upholstered in the Toscana Blue Ikat Fabric will provide a wonderfully comfortable reading spot and will coordinate with the storage ottoman from the sofa area. You need to add an occasional table for a yummy drink. Our Olivia Mirrored Table is just right. Top with the Suzanne Kasler Small Gourd Lamp in French Blue for a soft lighting. You will still have your traffic flow from the entry area through to your dining room and a wonderfully versatile living space.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating a family room with navy blue

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How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.