ask a designer™ – war between the television, fireplace

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ask a designer™ – war between the television, fireplace

Q. I hope you can help with a room layout dilemma. We have a family room that is 15-ft. x 19-ft. It is our main living space.

This is the first room you enter when you walk through the front door, so it also serves as a passageway. Our house was built in 1920 and has since been remodeled. We have a wonderful historic fireplace and mantle in this room. So hanging the TV over the mantle is not an option; but since it is our main living space, we have to accommodate a television in the space. Our problem is that we cannot figure out the best way to layout this space. We want to maximize the space and create an open family room environment. Can you look at the attached floor plan and offer any suggestion?—B.R.

A.The war between TV and fireplace is very common. There is no magic solution. Two seating groups is ask_a_designer_fireplace_165x220best or better yet, two rooms, but reality is what it is. In this room, the historical fireplace is not as much a challenge as the small bits of walls we have to use. The corner of the room by the front door is out of commission because of doorways.

I began by placing a sofa and sofa table in front of the stair case.  The room is very long and can stand the extra piece of furniture which can hold good looking decor items. The sofa can’t be very long or it will crowd the space by the chair. Rather than placing the television at a sharp angle to the sofa or in front of the window, I placed it in the corner. Glaring light may be controlled with window treatments.

A chair-and-a-half fills the void in the long wall and could possibly swivel to see the TV. A pretty chair with interesting shaping has its back to the door.  A 9-ft. x13-ft. rug anchors the group together.  Lastly, you may enjoy an upholstered ottoman as a coffee table and to rest your feet. This works opposite your request to have an open room, but since most people like to be very relaxed in watching TV, you will likely enjoy it.  In all, when a room’s function is people gathering to sit by the fire or watch TV, closing off traffic is not too much of a negative.

ask_a_designer_floorplan_fireplace_179x220tying two areas together with color
Q.We would like your help remodeling our Tennessee Suite in Jackson Hall of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. So far, we have planned  
a chocolate leather sofa and chair, classic stained wood cabinets, and a very red rug. We are thinking about a tan ceiling and a brown wall. We have chosen a tone-on—tone taupe fabric for a curtain, but would like your help with that as well. What can be done to make the drape function best for our guests?—J.M.

A.I love the red and brown scheme for a dressing room and waiting area. It is classic and comfortable. I would reverse the plan for paint, though putting the tan behind the leather so you can see the sofa and place chocolate on the ceiling. This room is made for sitting, so there is no need to emphasize height. The brown will not feel heavy in this environment. The nondescript drop ceiling will vanish this way.

The red carpet and gorgeous cabinetry demand more drama of the curtain than a simple taupe drape. I think two layers would be best.  The functioning layer can work from a commercial quality rod with rolling ball carriers for easy function. We have one company that makes a track in a brown finish that will fit right in.  Let’s line the curtain with black so that the guest at the makeup mirror has a clean backdrop behind him. We will top-stitch the edge so that the ivory and black stay put. Next, an outer layer of classic swag and panel in black and golden tan have depth and strength equal to the red carpet. The chenille fabric will never wrinkle and the pole on the right can butt up to the wall. No one will ever miss the  
finial! There you have a strong column of color and pattern that links rich ceiling to rich floor while the beautiful browns play off the golden tan along the walls.

Editor’s Note: We welcome all questions related to home design— ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice, Trends & Traditions, in Nashville for 18 years. Visit or call 615-601-0552.

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