Decorating Dilemmas: Jami’s Open Floor Plan

Dividing a large open living and dining room into two distinct spaces

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,

I need some tips! We have a large living/dining room combo and are having trouble arranging the living part. The room is 19′ x25′ with a double window and single entry door on one end and a double window with French doors on the other. There is no fireplace and on one side is a 15′ opening to the kitchen, and on the other side is a 4′ hallway entry.

The dining is at the front near the entry door. I haven’t bought my dining set yet because I’m not sure what shape or size I want. We just can’t seem to get the furniture placement right. We just bought this house recently and I’m kinda stuck – haven’t even put up curtains yet. Can you give me any tips so I can finally feel like I’m moved in? 

Thanks for your help,






Dear Jami,

Thank you for sharing your decorating dilemma with us. We have some great ideas on how to arrange your furniture to give you that “moved-in” feeling.

Let’s start with your floor plan which is the foundation of any great room. It has a natural circulation and traffic flow which makes it very welcoming and inviting for all who visit.

As you come into the house, we suggest our 2-Seat Dorchester Bench on the left wall. Benches are great solutions for small spaces and entryways because of their practical appeal. We think you should pair it with our Suzanne Kasler Signature 13oz Linen Farmhouse Cushion in Camel for extra comfort. Next, hang a grouping of Morris Seabirds above the bench to introduce color and visual texture to the space.

We love our Casa Florentina Farnese Dining Table (which has a 97″ oval top) because it extends with either one, two or three leaves for a big crowd. Our Capistrano Chairs at the ends and our Parsons Chairs, covered in our Ballard Essential Indigo Twill, for the sides of the table will create a beautiful dining set that blends with what you already have.

We suggest our Dehavilland 3 Drawer Console in Rubbed Cream to complement the dining set and to serve as storage for china and serving pieces. We love our Morning Light Stretched Canvas hung on top of the console for color and warmth. Anchor the canvas with two of our Maria Buffett Lamps paired with our copper silk shades.


Moving to the living/family room, we have arranged the furniture for better circulation. We opened up the room by moving your sofa to face the window and positioning your two recliners side-by-side against the window. We added our Kashan Rug to ground your room and bring more color into the room. For a couple of finishing touches, we think you should add our Buffalo Check Panels to both windows for additional warmth, intimacy and privacy that you wanted!

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Dividing a large open living and dining room into two distinct spaces

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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.