Whether you call it a living room or a family room, your primary living space should accentuate and accommodate your personality, your interests, your stage of life, and every other aspect of “you.” How well does yours reflect your current life? Does it need an update or an overhaul?
Don’t let your living room turn into the kids’ playroom, with toys scattered to the point you can’t walk through the room without stepping on one.
Don’t let it be a sterile place dedicated to occasionally entertaining guests who sit in uncomfortable chairs while wondering “is it too soon to leave?”
Take back the joy of your living room! Make it a place where you LOVE to spend time. Here’s how:
Pinpoint Your Lifestyle
Before reimagining your space, consider your stage of life. Are you:
- Single and a homebody?
- Single and frequently entertaining?
- A couple with many eclectic interests?
- A career couple who are seldom home?
- A family with young children?
- A family with teenagers who like to entertain their friends?
- A group of adults living as roommates?
- A grandparent who frequently cares for the grandkids?
- An older couple with no children or grandchildren at home?
Regardless of who you are and how long you’ve occupied your home, you’ll enjoy it more if your primary living area reflects your current lifestyle and serves your present needs.
How Much Floor Space?
Open spaces are always more enjoyable and luxurious than cramped, cluttered, or claustrophobic rooms. Sometimes, however, floor space is more than pleasant—it’s essential.
- If you have an infant, be sure to include some open space for them to play on a mat or a blanket, for developmental reasons.
- If you have young children or teenagers, you may need more floor space to place floor pillows for watching television, reading, or playing games.
- If you practice yoga, the living room may be the ideal place to roll out your mat and start stretching!
- If you are older or having mobility challenges, make sure there is enough clearance space between your furniture to easily use a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair.
- On the other hand, if you entertain a lot, it may be more important to fill your space with extra seating. (Unless you prefer standing parties!)
Creating the best living room may involve removing several pieces of furniture—or replacing some items to fashion a space that meets your current interests, needs, and physical situation.
What Type Of Furniture?
Furniture and layout decisions will depend on your personality and interests, as well as those of the people living with you. One living space can have several “interest” areas serving multiple purposes, including solo pursuits and group activities.
If you are a working couple who enjoys hosting weekend wine tastings, look for comfortable furniture that won’t be hurt by an occasional spill. Ditto for the floor coverings. You may also want to include a freestanding bar and a hutch for stemmed wine glasses.
Do you like having friends over to watch sports? If so, you’ll probably want to have plenty of seating and surfaces for snacks and beverages comfortably arranged around an enormous television.
If you host a monthly poker game, you may want to dedicate one side of the room to a table and comfortable chairs with good overhead lighting.
If you are a single person who loves to read, your top priority may be a great lounge chair. Position it near a bookshelf holding the rest of your collection.
Be sure to include a good reading lamp, either resting on the floor or perched on a side table that can also hold your tea or coffee and a short stack of in-progress books.
If you are a couple who love to read, make it two chairs! (You might be able to share the table… maybe.)
Married (or Not) With Children
If you have young children, your top priority may be managing the constant clutter of toys! Carve out space for attractive, lidded storage containers. Also, consider adding floor pillows or bean bag chairs for moveable child-size seating.
If you have teenagers who enjoy playing video games, you may need to provide comfortable and moveable seating and ottomans to facilitate gameplay. To maintain an enjoyable space for others, however, incorporate storage options that keep games, consoles, and controllers out of sight, when not in use.
Do you have a particular hobby? If you enjoy chess, checkers, backgammon, or puzzles, position an appropriately sized table, a couple of chairs, and a floor lamp in one section of your living room.
Have a green thumb? Consider adding open shelving near the largest window in your living room to display your favorite green guys.
Cat lover? Dedicate one section of your living room to sisal-covered wall shelves, so your feline friends have places to climb and perch.
Are you a movie lover or an audiophile? Look for furniture to store, use, and display the accessories for these pursuits, as well as comfortable seating for watching and listening.
Make It Happen
If you live alone, it’s relatively easy to plan and implement changes to your living space. If, however, you share your space with others, your first step involves letting each person define their preferences and priorities.
Compare lists. You may need to make a few compromises, but with a little brainstorming and creativity, your living room layout and decorating decisions can be custom-designed to suit the lives of everyone in your household!