Congratulations to Christine – she is the lucky winner of our first Design Challenge which was announced last month.


When Christine first submitted her entry, she wrote to me saying that this could not have come at a better time. Her and her husband just bought their very first home. It is a 1933 Spanish Hacienda located near Los Angeles. Christine wrote that they had been on a ten month house hunt and after seeing about sixty to seventy homes, they finally found their dream house! It’s a three bedroom, three bathroom home that still retains most of it’s original features including hard wood floors and a beautiful copper, brick, and wood fireplace. To the side of the fireplace in the living room are original built-ins and french doors. Size wise, Christine said the room isn’t that bad, however it’s the only common space in the house (if you notice on the drawings there are hardly any full walls as each side opens to another room or hallway). Christine said she would like as much seating as possible and for it to be comfortable.

While Christine did email me an inventory of some existing furnishing she would like to try to use, she also mentioned if they didn’t work for this room she would be able to use them elsewhere. She said they have a 5′ x 8′ rug but I had to specify a larger 9′ x 12′ rug to define the seating grouping and to be proportinate to the room. She said she had a small 10″ drink table – which I did scale in on one of the plans and a table of that size could be a “floater” and used almost anywhere. Lastly, the tv is a must for the room and will be placed over the fireplace.

Take a look at some solutions to Christine’s Design Challenge:

By emailing me these pictures of the space from many angles including some adjacent rooms, I could get a good visual on the flow of the room and architectural style. These images feature the previous owners furniture. Christine wrote to say since they moved in they have been painting. I’d love to see what colors they’ve chosen!




Christine provided me with the dimensions of her living room with this sketch. Without ever having seen the room, I was easily able to take these dimensions to accurately draw up her living room.

In this first of three furniture floor plan layouts, I am designating the sofa in the center of the room facing the fireplace as a focal point. The seating grouping is defined by a 9′ x 12′ area rug (repeated in all three plans). I opted to place a side chair on one side and an ottoman or bench on the other side which can also be used for additional seating. I feel it’s important not to block off the entry (which opens right into the living room) so putting a piece of furniture there that is less obtrusive (such as an ottoman or side chair). A small console table on the narrow 24″ wall can function as a place to set down mail or keys and help define the entry.


As in the above furniture floor plan layout, the sofa is the centerpiece of the room “floating” in the middle of the space thus allowing for flow and around the sofa into the seating grouping and creating a corridor behind the sofa.


A console table of this scale would be ideal for the entry.


A side chair such as this one from Pottery Barn would make a great chair in any of the furniture floor plans I’ve drawn.


Normally, in a “formal” living room I opt not to specify a sectional sofa. However, Christine mentioned for a brief moment they had a sectional sofa in the space and liked it. She is also placing a television above the fireplace mantle and so this living room is not your typically “formal” living room. The placement of this living room is a “hub” leading to the dining room, kitchen, hallways, and other rooms – not to mention the front entry leads right into the living room. I think placing a sectional sofa in this living room can still look elegant if it’s done right. The sectional I am imagining is of smaller scale with clean and simple lines. I’ve also indicated a sofa back table so that from the dining room one is not seeing the blank back of a sofa.

This picture demonstrates the idea of using a small scale sectional in the living room. Because the back wall of the room should be left without any furniture against the wall due to needing a corridor, the idea of placing narrow picture shelves along the wall with artwork or photos creates a focal point upon entry.


For the third furniture floor plan layout, I opted to open up the “backside” of the room by placing a sofa to one side and a pair of chairs on the opposite side. Since the front entry is on that side, I feel it is best to leave that space open so as one does not walk right in on top of furniture. It provides for better flow and circulation.


A furniture arrangement with a sofa to one side of the fireplace and a pair of chairs flanking the opposite side is similar to the layout I featured above.


Thank you for all the interest and submissions we received for this contest. Each and every one of you who wrote in mentioned you really needed the help. I wish I could have helped all of you but for the purpose of the contest, we are featuring one very lucky winner. For those of you I was not able to select, I did write back offering a coupon (promotion) for my services. I do want to let all the Material Girl readers know, us MG bloggers are practicing interior designers and do offer virtual interior design services to any of you wherever you may live. Part of the contest is to showcase our talents and should you wish to engage in any of our services we are all here to help with any of your interior design needs. If any of you would like help with space planning, feel free to email me and I would be happy to pass on the same promotion I offered the others.

And don’t forget – Lauren is providing a bathroom makeover for her Design Challenge this month! You could be featured next!!

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1 Comments to 'WINNER! Design Challenge: Space Plan for your Living Room'

Jill 15 Jan 09 at 10:42 pm

Great house and your ideas are all spot on!

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