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Ideas for laying out the new family room

The sun-filled family room is definitely my favorite room in our house. It has lots of windows looking out to our outdoor garden and french doors to our little covered porch. It’s the perfect room for enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or hanging out on the sofa to watch a movie at night. It’s the room that I have been most excited about finishing.

This 20′ x 11′ space will be used a lot by the whole family, and will need to have functional pieces of furniture to address all the activities happening here. Not only will it be a family room, it will also double as my office space. I plan on making our living room a bit more polished while this room will be casual and relaxed. Being my favorite room, I’ve thought of lots of ideas for laying out this space.

One of my first thoughts was to do a really amazing wrap-around built-in that would have everything I need. It would be designed to have a TV console, deep seating with cushions and lots of pillows, storage cubbies underneath the seating for baskets, and a ledge for all my plants with a lift-up top to store toys, blankets, etc.

A couple of years ago, even before we moved back to our house, I designed such a built-in. This is what it would look like.

sunroom_2_8 knotty alder

sunroom_4_8 knotty alder

sunroom_3_8 knotty alder

How awesome, right? This really would be my dream, complete with very expensive terra cotta tile floors, naturally. A challenge with this concept though is the window sill height off the floor. The windows would meet with the seat cushion so you’d be leaning against them, which isn’t ideal. I could design bolster pillows made to wrap around which would be a good solution. Still, this built-in would be expensive to do. Too expensive for us to do right now, but I’d like to think that one day we would build it. What do you think of it?

Until then, I came up with a plan that would work just as well, and it would accommodate the sectional sofa we already have. So I wanted to share the most current furniture plan I have come up with for this room. Here’s my sketch with a list describing each piece.

Family Room Furniture Plan

A. Sectional sofa. This is a piece we already own. It’s a great vintage sofa that we bought for under $400 from our friends over at Atomic Furnishing and Design. It’s two pieces, on casters, and can easily be separated into separate sofas. It easily seats 7-8 people, and I just think it’s amazing. This is what it looks like, currently sitting in our living room.

sectional sofa with swatch

People have asked me if I plan on reupholstering it, but I like the original fabric, and it’s in excellent condition.

B. A pair of accent tables. I’d like something that could be easily moved when they’re not needed.

C. Area rug. I’m looking for something that would have good contrast with the sofa, but not be too dark.

D. Media cabinet. I’m looking for something for the TV, to hold our wireless router, and to hide kids stuff.

E. Arm chair. Floating an arm chair here would help to define this space from the office area.

F. End table.

G. Ladder shelf. This is a piece that Jaga originally built for our bathroom. I’m hoping it will work in front of the window to hold plants, as well as some office supplies. Jack will no doubt try to climb it.

H. Desk. 

I. Office chair.

J. Storage cabinet. This would be for storing files and office supplies, and possibly my printer.

K. Wall shelves. I’m thinking of open shelves for books and more office stuff.

This room will come together over time as I can’t afford to purchase everything at once. But having a plan now is definitely useful so that I know what I need in case a good piece comes along on Craigslist or something. Having a layout is also helpful for considering electrical needs because the electricians are here this week and we referred to it when planning placement for outlets and switches.

I often get asked for advice on how to best lay out a room, and I’d like to provide tips in a future post on this topic. If you have any specific questions on planning your space or on a challenge you have, let me know in a comment here. I’ll use them to help me create this how-to guide for laying out furniture.  It means so much to me to hear from you!



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  • Hello, Scarlett
    September 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    We’re building our house now, and as it stands, the only space for our couch is to be about three feet away from the wall, in a corner, beside a patio door. This will mean major headaches and neck cramps when watching movies. I don’t know if you could help us on this matter?


    • Tamara
      September 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Emory! So, I found your floor plan on your blog! (So cute!) I understand your challenge, so great question. Any chance you could also do sliding barn style doors on the inside, since the door swing is taking up precious space? You could perhaps float your sofa in the room then, and even get a sectional that would nicely define the living area from the kitchen. Traffic flow and door swings are one of the first things to consider, and in your very small space, you might want to consider reducing the door swing space. You could even consider having only one french door operable to create the same effect. This will also make the room look larger, and a coffee table would easily fit without interfering with doors. Hope that helps and thanks for your great question and for reading! xo Tamara

      • Hello, Scarlett
        September 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

        Well that was very diligent! Thank you! I wish that in hindsight we would’ve only ordered one door, rather than a set of patio doors. However, they’re about to install them in a few days, so I can’t get out of returning them.

        I also thought about moving the couch into the middle of the house, nearer the front doors, but I’d like to put our table in the middle, since we don’t have anywhere else to put it. However, I’ll take this all into consideration! Thanks ever so much!! It’s so kind of you!! 🙂


  • A moodboard for the family room and the sofa that inspired it | The Made Home
    October 16, 2014 at 9:10 am

    […] be too difficult to plan out the rest, like chairs, side tables, cabinets, and rugs. Here is the furniture plan I put together for the family […]

  • Old Dog Some New Tricks
    November 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    What software do you use for your various floor plans? LOVE what you did in your sunroom (bounced over from AT)

    • Tamara
      November 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Oh Thank you!! And great question! I use AutoCad to create the plans and then Photoshop to add color. xo

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