The living room’s been an issue since the beginning.

At first this was mainly because we didn’t have very much furniture as we started our life together.  As I slowly found more pieces and began to move them around, I discovered that the room was actually rather difficult to put together well.

1.  It is 12×17 and has three doorways, creating a T-shaped traffic pattern that breaks the room into tiny areas.  Proof:

Living room traffic pattern

2.  It has a 17 foot blank wall that you see immediately upon entry through the front door.  Scroll up to the picture again and you’ll see.  You can’t put most furniture along this wall because it will get in the way of the pass-through traffic.

3.  Our sofas (besides being old and worn out) seemed too big for the only region of the room large enough for a conversation area.

I couldn’t even get things settled well enough to be able to see what other pieces the room would need to finish it or how to implement a color scheme.  It seemed like all the furniture arrangements that I tried either blocked traffic or made the conversation area hard to get into.  Why couldn’t I figure something out that retained an open, welcoming feeling and allowed people to sit across from each other?

It was depressing.

Being in the room was also depressing.  All the furniture was against the walls,  so it was basically a playground for the cats, and there was not enough color to bring things to life.

the cat’s meow

Sad corner with grandfather clock

full room view

After 14 months of struggle, I finally admitted that I needed a little bit of help figuring out how to make this room work. Luckily, I had an ace up my sleeve for that.

For a while I’ve been receiving design e-newsletters with great before-and-afters, plus truly useful decorating tips, from My Design Guide.  (They are not sponsoring this post in any way, I just think they do a good job and want to share.)  They offer a Quick Fix room re-design  as a free incentive to try their services, and I was Very Very Pleased with the quantity and quality of advice I got for free!  Their website is clunky to navigate, but I think worth it.  For the quick fix, you send them three or four photos of the room you want help with, and they email you back in a week with all their thoughts and suggestions.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll tell you what they told me to do.  What do you think this room’s solution would be?