We just finished a project for a couple who called us with an interesting problem: their “great room” wasn’t as great as it could be. Their large rectangular space had a fireplace on one end and a sliding glass door along one wall, and they just weren’t sure what furniture to buy, or how to place it in the room. Their existing configuration (two large sofas pushed against the walls) looked awkward, and didn’t work well for entertaining or watching TV.

Our first step was to find out how the family wanted to use the space. In addition to reading, watching TV and entertaining, their son needed to practice his keyboard and do his homework in the living room too. Our solution was to divide the room into a few functional “zones” that flow together.

entire LR

The middle of the room is the entertaining/relaxing/reading space. The comfortable Metro sectional is paired with two bright Grayson chairs that can easily be moved into different configurations for conversations or TV watching. Behind the sectional is a small table and chairs that offer a more casual alternative to the dining room table next door. This is a great little nook for homework, playing games, etc.

wooden crates

The unique bookshelves next to the table are actually wooden crates ordered from Etsy, which we stacked and layered to fit the corner space.

tv keyboard

The TV works well above the fireplace, and the keyboard finds a perfect spot next to it.

gallery wallWe moved an antique piece they already had against the wall, and created a gallery for them showcasing family photos and artwork. The Aero tables add a rustic touch to the room.

We also decorated their dining room, which was a blank slate. The clean simple lines of the table, chairs and bench make the magnificent Foucault’s Iron Orb Chandelier the focal point of the room. The clients chose to forego a rug in order to show off their beautiful floors.

dining room 2

If you’re perplexed by how to furnish and decorate your own “great room”, keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t push your furniture against the walls. Bring it out into the center of the room and create a living room/conversation area.
  • Use a rug to ground the living area and visually separate it from the rest of the room.
  • Try to buy furniture that is easy to move around for increased flexibility.
  • Furnish the rest of the room according to your specific needs. If you are a book collector, put bookshelves and a separate comfy chair in the corner to create a mini-library. If you work at home, put a table up against the back of the sofa to create a desk.
  • Make sure your room has a good traffic flow—can you walk through it easily without bumping into anything?

Let us know how you use your great room—tell us in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “How to make a big room work for you

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