I got an email recently from a mom with a question:
I would love to know what you do about furniture. We are currently looking at getting a new couch for our family of 7 and are considering a sectional. I’m wondering what you’ve found to work best in your family (how to arrange all that seating so we can all watch movies together?) It would also be cool to hear how you arrange the kids’ bed room furniture (bunk beds for all, no doubt!)
Living room furniture can be a real challenge, especially if your living room is not huge. We are fortunate to have an open floor plan that allows me to rearrange a bit depending on what’s going on in the room. The part of the room officially designated as the living room is about 16×18, just barely big enough for 2 couches, a love seat, a recliner and a little round 2-seater chair. Here’s a picture of the space. On the right side of the picture is a bay window, into which we fit the third couch.
Below is a picture of the TV end of the room, including the little round couch/chair. On movie night we drag that chair more into the center of the room and turn it to face the TV. It is just big enough to seat two people.
For even more seating, I bought 4 beach chairs to provide a front row of seating for some of the kids. Since the chairs are so low, people on the couches can easily see over kids’ heads. And when the chairs are not being used, they fold up and fit into the coat closet. With everything arranged just right, we can fit 14 people for movie night. I’m not sure what we’ll do when our family grows more, but it’s working for now!
As far as sectionals, we’ve never owned one. But we have rented vacation houses in the past which gave us a chance to try them out and form an opinion. It seems that the person who ends up sitting in the ‘corner’ of the couch ends up with very little leg room, so instead of fitting 6 adults comfortably like 2 full couches would do, you only end up with seating for 5. Also a section severely limits your furniture arranging options, a big issue with me. (I love to rearrange!) But if you have a room that will easily fit a sectional, and your family is a little smaller than ours, it might be a good solution for you.
As far as bedrooms, with two of our girls grown and out of the house, we actually only have two people per room right now, plus an empty bedroom that we’re not quite sure what to do with. We have bunk beds set up in two rooms. Our littlest girls have a bunk that is a single on top and double on the bottom. Our teenage daughters have a high L-shaped loft bed that my husband made so that there would be space for dressers below.
Our big boys have the smallest room in the house, but they have captain-style beds. Each bed has a 6-drawer dresser underneath it, which makes for more floor space in the room. And our 13 year old sons just recently inherited a huge room from our just-married-and-moved-out daughter. It is 10×23– so no need for space-saving measures there. Over the years we’ve had lots of different configurations of kids and furniture, but with a little creativity we’ve always found a way to make things work!