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New living room layout…maybe

Today I spent some time rearranging the second bedroom, which has multiple uses: guest room, office, and general storage facility. I want it to also serve the purpose of a workout room, so I was trying to clear a decent amount of space in front of the television. I was marginally successful; you can see pictures here. (Note that I do someday plan to put the Christmas decorations away…)

Doing that put me in the rearranging mood, and I decided to start thinking about how I want the living room to look. I found a floor plan of our apartment at the rental company’s website and, armed with my trusty tape measure and Photoshop, added in all our furniture. Here’s the current layout:

The big purple block is our couch, and the gray boxes in front of it are Sean’s area. (Light gray is the floor where he sits; dark gray is the kotatsu.) The red blocks are the loveseat and chair, and the long, darker red rectangle is the coffee table on loan from Brooke. The big black rectangle is the TV, the big black square is the dinner table, and the smaller black boxes are the bar table and its chairs, the media cabinets, and a file cabinet.

It’s actually a pretty decent layout, given the awkward utility closet jutting into the room and all the doors I have to work around. I really like the way it looks. However, it’s inconvenient in a couple of ways. First, Sean is facing the back wall and not the television. This wasn’t really a big deal before, but lately he’s taken to sitting in my seat (the loveseat) to play video games on the TV, only to have to move when I get home. Secondly, having Sean’s sitting area right in front of the largest couch means a lot of sitting area is wasted. No one who comes over wants to squeeze in and sit behind him, so the couch is limited to perhaps one seat, rather than three or possibly four. I am also somewhat unhappy with the placement of the bar table in the dining room; I kind of like it, but it annoys me that the stools aren’t next to it, and it isn’t serving its normal purpose.

So for about five hours I’ve been rearranging colored blocks, trying to discover a better arrangement. Here are the phases I went through:

Phase One: Too Awkward

This kind of works, but the loveseat is facing a chair that is at a 90 degree angle, which is bound to look ridiculous. Meanwhile, the chair is floating in the middle of the flow of traffic.

Phase Two: WAY Too Awkward

I thought maybe putting the TV on the opposite wall would help. It’s a neat idea, but ultimately results in a Family Circus-style path through the apartment. I kind of liked the thought of having an artificial hallway leading to the bedroom door, but it’s not really practical and possibly unsafe.

Phase Three: Ludicrous

Perhaps, I speculated, giving up on 90 degree angles would do the trick. This is the result. Ultimately the seating problem still exists and most of the seating has a very poor view.

Phase Four: An Accident Waiting to Happen

What if I used the TV as an artificial wall? Well, someone would knock into it, of course…especially given the small passageway between it and the loveseat. I liked the effect this closing-off had on the dining area, but that’s about it. There still wasn’t a very homey feel, and few decent views. Plus, Sean was probably too far away from the TV.

But then, finally, I came across this arrangement:

I’m not perfectly happy with it, but it feels like this is the best I’m going to be able to do. The TV stays where it currently is, to keep it in sight of most of the room. The loveseat rotates 90 degrees and moves to the corner; Sean slides up next to it, leaving enough room for him to walk around and for people to sit. The full couch becomes my seat, with the coffee table in front of it and plenty of room for others to sit, and then the chair rounds out the room, leaving an open area for the bar table. Sean’s file cabinet ends up next to the loveseat and becomes a much-needed end table.

What’s nice about this is that the flow of traffic isn’t changed; people can walk in a straight line from the front door to the back door, which is optimal with this floor plan. I don’t really like how the TV looks right now, but once we get a table for it I think it and the media cabinets will fill out the wall better.

Of course, I haven’t actually moved anything yet…I’m so exhausted from thinking about it that I think I’ll just relax for now ;)