How-To Decorate When Your Front Door Opens Into Your Living Room
If you've had a living room where the front door opens into it, you can appreciate the struggle of trying to decorate it. You want to create an entryway so guests don't walk right into your family room and so you have a homey sitting space you don't have to keep spotless all the time in one room. Most decorating advice suggests you position the back of your couch to run perpendicular from the outer frame of your front door to create the feeling of a foyer with your couch, a sofa table and a runner.
Dana from House Tweaking does this with her front door and it's a great solution with hooks and a bench right by the door, but the back of the couch that creates two separate areas.
But what do you do if you have a situation like ours where the front door opens exactly in the center of the room?
Trying to place a couch perpendicular to the door frame would not leave enough room for a seating area at all and frankly makes it look like we moved into the house and randomly put our couch down and said, great that's it!
Determined to find a solution and ward off my husband's suggestion to "get a decorator," I scored endless sites and created a lot of floor plan options. The front door was the first issue to work around and next where to put the TV once the couch was in its place. The room was begging for the TV to go over the fireplace, but so many articles talked about the cons of neck strain, mixing TV wires with fire...and having to figure out where to put the TV box. I'm also a bit of a traditionalist in this sense where I really want to decorate our fireplace mantle.
After a whole lot of re-arranging, I settled on this layout. The TV was the hardest part with a lot of our wall space being taken up by windows and the fact that mounting the TV over the fireplace would be very difficult since our walls are made of solid brick. SOLID BRICK! The joys of an old home. We set the room up like this for about two weeks to feel out the foyer and seating space, but I got antsy. I didn't like that the back of the couch was to the fireplace and it made our seating area feel really small. The floating rug look also wasn't going to work.
Next, I tried to build off of our one "good" couch wall. The issue here was that the TV was awkwardly right next to our front door which felt like you opened the door and were immediately dropped in the middle of it. (A few people have asked what tool I'm using for the floor plans, it's Floorplanner, which has been great to get an idea of the room and how furniture scales in the actual room measurements.)
After working through a few more options, I wasn't really happy with any of them. There was really only one option that I even liked. I decided to our floor plan and challenge on Houzz. Have you ever used their advice section? I posted about my living room with my floor options and was overwhelmed with the amount of great input and suggestions I received.
Here is a reminder of what the room looks like with the front door opening right into it from the other side of the room. The fireplace is behind us in this picture. You can see the blue tape on the floor of where I marked to see what the couch would look like perpendicular to the door...so not a fit.
Here is what the group came up with:
I am obsessed. Even though the door opens in and looks at the couch, it's really the best set up to allow for a walk flow to all the doors that go in and our of this room. I have set the room up like this using the furniture we already had with a bench and our sofa instead of a sectional. The front door is to the right of the sectional in this image.
We have loved the set up so far. The chest by the door is where we drop off things when you walk in the door and the set up of the couch and bench makes the room feel structured when you first walk in but can be cozy at the same time. The TV is against the stair rail/wall, which works for where the couch is placed.