Thursday, April 1, 2010


Question: Please help me with the furniture arrangements in our small house. We have some furniture and would like to purchase a few new pieces but don’t know what. We also want to maximize seating for our Daytona 500 party.


Santa Clara, CA

Answer: In a nutshell, you want comfortable, uncluttered living with additional seating when necessary. The layout I've created for you has some interesting furniture solutions that just might fit the bill: the furniture has several functions and is attractive at the same time.
Let's start with the entry; the long wall is the perfect place to put a console cabinet. This closed piece of furniture provides attractive storage space, a much-needed commodity in any small home. Over this console is a tall mirror that makes this tight space feel more open. Moving into the living room area, we'll put the recliner near the window on the left of the fireplace. Next to it is a small, round end table, and behind the chair goes a floor lamp that provides good light for reading.
A tall, thin plant behind the recliner adds interest to this corner.
In front of your draped window is a 7-foot sofa. This will be the single largest piece in the room. I've put its back to the window to create the beginning of the seating area for entertaining and socializing. Two people can sit comfortably in it, three people when necessary.
Next to the sofa is a pair of end tables. These are closed pieces, so you have a place in which to store coasters, napkins, etc. On one table you can put a small vase of flowers, on the other, a nice piece of sculpture or a small piece of art on an easel.
Behind the sofa is a console, or "sofa," table. You will see in the floor plan that two little squares are indicated behind it. These are two small ottoman seats that are tucked under the console. When you need additional seating they can be pulled out and brought into the room. If they're on casters (little wheels), moving them will be that much easier.
On top of the console table is a pair of 30-inch-tall lamps that illuminate the sofa area. At night they will cast a lovely light onto the drapes.
In front of the sofa is a 4-foot-square coffee table. But it's not just any table. Remember, I mentioned that the new furniture will have many functions. Well, this table has four seats tucked under its surface. When needed, they come out and become seating. The entertainment unit on the long wall is made up of three sections that are shallow. The side units have shelving for books, DVDs, CDs, etc., and the middle unit is the TV. The new dining table is close to the kitchen and has six chairs with it.
I suggest that the table's top be glass so this small room doesn't start to feel too cluttered with furniture. The six chairs should be upholstered slipper chairs. They'll look nice when brought into the living room to serve double duty when you have an audience for the races.
By now, with the large sofa, the two ottoman seats that move into the room, the four seats under the coffee table and the six dining chairs, you have enough seating to invite a lot of friends to watch the Daytona 500 with you. This doesn't include the recliner, which can be swung around if absolutely necessary for one more to join in the fun.

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