Two seating pieces can double your fireplace pleasure

November 13, 2009|By ROSE BENNETT GILBERT / Creators Syndicate

Q: How should I arrange furniture in a large contemporary living room with a fireplace on one wall adjoining a window on the side wall, with the space open to the dining area? I plan to buy a new sofa, but I have no idea where to position it. We like modern sophisticated things. What's your advice about arranging them to best enjoy the fireplace?

A: One superb solution is to buy two sofas, not one. Or two love seats, alike or not, and set them at right angles to your fireplace wall with a cocktail table between them. Perhaps put a lamp and little tables by opposite arms, so you have light by night as well as day.

To further define the living "room" within the overall space, you may want to add an area rug under the cocktail table and a room divider of some sort between the seating and dining areas.


In the photo we show here, designer Larry Laslo uses an antique Biedermeier-style burl daybed to mark off the living room. Open on both sides and upholstered in tender green leather, the daybed is a brilliant stroke, gently defining the two spaces without actually blocking them off.

The very presence of a daybed - a charming echo of a by-gone era - adds visual interest and visceral glamour to this essentially contemporary house (designed by Studio B Architects and made of rammed earth).

With its sotto voce wood tones and elegant simplicity, the room rightfully earned its place in a new book that's all about glamour, to wit the name: "Metropolitan Home/Glamour," written by Michael Lassell and published by Filipacchi. With 240 pages of rooms with glamorous ideas, it's a book that you, with your large contemporary living room, would particularly enjoy.

Q: What inspires design genius Oscar de la Renta?

A: His own home, it seems. Make that homes. He has three: in New York City, the Connecticut countryside and beside the ocean in his native Dominican Republic.

The three make for very different sources of inspiration, all of which could be felt in his most recent collection for Century Furniture. Debuting last month at the High Point Furniture Market, the collection includes an utterly sophisticated tufted red-velvet love seat ("Like one he has at home," our guide explained). Plus, there are come-hither casual rattan pieces that conjure the Caribbean. And just for the fun of it, a gaggle of silk taffeta-covered dining chairs, each in a different brilliant color to make a merry rainbow around any dining table.

Of those, de la Renta's round "Tuxedo" table is a show stopper in gleaming, high-gloss black and white. Start saving: "Tuxedo" retails for approximately $15,000 - now we know how he's accumulated so many homes.

For a closer look, check out de la Renta's latest at

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