Living Room Makeover | Planning Part 1

The first post discussing how we planned our living room makeover.
If you have followed the blog at all, you may have seen our Living Room Makeover Introduction. For a quick recap, this is the living room in the house before we moved in:

Needless to say we were not too inspired by their setup. Because this room is sort of long and narrow for a living room, we had a bit of a challenge ahead of ourselves in regards to laying the room out. The previous owner had their TV above the fireplace in the built-in TV nook. That was not working for us. It enhanced the narrowness of the space and we also didn’t want our TV above the fireplace. Thus, by process of elimination (no TV on the fireplace wall, no TV in front of the windows, and the room is open to the kitchen) there was only one wall that was a candidate for the TV (if you’re playing along at home, this would be the wall with the green recliner in the picture above).

The only real problem with this is that the thermostat would be located directly above the TV and the heat rejected off the back of the TV would affect the sensor year-round. So, instead of running new wire and installing a new thermostat, we bought a Honeywell Wireless thermostat that is battery-operated and can be mounted on a wall if desired or can be set anywhere else you would like. It’s quite convenient for anyone who wants to move a thermostat without messing with new wires running in the wall (you do have to run wires to a wireless hub but that can be installed in the attic or crawlspace or wherever you air handling unit is.

honeywell wireless thermostat

Now that we had that out of the way, we had to get to arranging furniture. Again, the long, narrow room created a bit of a challenge since the entry hallway dumped into this room, it is open to the kitchen, and the stairway to our 2nd floor empties into the living room; we had a lot of egress paths to respect while still making this functional as our main seating and entertainment area. This is where Google SketchUp came in handy.

I have mentioned Google SketchUp in a few previous posts and I highly recommend it for an easy, intuitive, and free way to not only arrange furniture on a 2D plan but also provide 3D mock-up of a space which can be crucial when you are trying to have some sort of true spacial awareness. With a little extra work (which I did not get into for this room), you can also render these images with textures and lighting to really create a very professional look. For this task however, I went with a simple approach. It looks a little rough, but the main goal of this exercise was to pick the furniture and the layout to create an open but still functional living area.

google sketchup living room model

Ignore the colors and some of the decor choices, as this was early on in the planning and the physical layout was the importance of putting the model together. This was done fairly quickly in one evening. Notice the trim and shelves around the TV nook, the trimmed windows, a mid-century style couch, a complementary chair, a coffee table, end table, floor lamp, table lamp, area rug, and then finally some leaning wall shelves in the back corner. An additional volume of space was blocked out in the foreground for a bar cabinet or bookcase (we ended up going with a bar cabinet as noted in this bar cabinet post.

So, while not the best example of SketchUp, we weren’t presenting this to some design client or a portfolio of any sort; it’s just another free tool for the home DIYer to utilize when planning a space. Next post will be a mood board of sorts as well as a discussion on the custom Younger sofa that anchors the room.

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