Living Room Layout Challenge:
What Would You Do?

Our living room has lovely bones, elements that have outlasted many owners throughout its 100-year history. However, five of the best features of the room are also what make it so hard to decorate! The glass paned doors leading in from the foyer; the strangely pretty faux fireplace; the painted radiators, the shuttered windows and the pocket doors. Every few feet you bump into one of these five elements, limiting the options for furniture placement.

For the past few years, we have been happy with the way our arrangement looks — but finally I decided the room felt unwelcoming and there wasn't enough comfortable seating. So I made some changes to the furniture this week, and again found myself up against the challenges I faced when we first decorated years ago.

We have replaced our stiff vintage camelback sofa (for now) with two comfy Crate & Barrel Petrie armchairs, which I found for a serious bargain price on Craigslist. But once I got the chairs home, I realized how hard it would be to fit these chairs into my difficult space. The chairs are much deeper than the old sofa and take up much more room in general. It is especially challenging to avoid blocking the fireplace. I flirted with putting the sofa in front of the fireplace, but it just looked too weird to me.

I would welcome a fresh set of eyes! The first three photos are the latest version of our living room, with the new chairs. The last two are older photos (which appeared in a House Tour in 2010). Tell us your suggestions!

(Images: Photos 1-3: Catrin Morris; photos 4-5: Leah Moss).

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