Make a living room work around you

Beth Cochrane Beth Cochrane
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Living rooms are where you probably spend most of your time in the home. They're the space you kick back and relax in after a hard day's work, where you spend your evenings watching the family's favourite TV shows, where you'll spend those lazy Sunday days and  entertain your friends. Since it's going to be used a lot, for so many occasions and non-occasions, it's vital you furnish the room suitably. 

So what does this mean? It means choose the right furniture for the space you're working in. Obviously smaller pieces for smaller rooms or unusual shaped pieces for the odd angles and so on and so forth. Once you've chosen the style of furniture for the living room, remember to take careful consideration into placing it in the space. Where your furniture is positioned will make or break the design of the room.

Make the most of the space

Living rooms can come in all shapes and sizes, with or without fireplaces, low ceilings and high ceilings. Perhaps your living room isn't as large as you would have liked it to be? But don't fear because with the right furniture and a little bit of creativity you can still design your ideal living room.

One great space saver can be the illustrious corner sofa, which takes up less room than two sofas yet manages to give just as much seating space. Fireplaces can sometimes get in the way of furnishing your room, as it takes away an entire wall for you to put seating against. However, they also make an excellent focal point for the room, giving you a lovely item to design the room around. Think carefully about what kind of seating you have chairs for: do the two gloriously Victorian armchairs you've always dreamed of really fit into the space? 

Consider your family

Footballer's Pad Aquarium: modern Living room by Aquarium Architecture
Aquarium Architecture

Footballer's Pad Aquarium

Aquarium Architecture

Do you have a young family? Pets? Make sure the design of your living room works to suit their needs too. It's all about the simple things: avoid sharp corners at a child's eye height, make sure the material on your sofa won't be destroyed by the cat's claws.

Here, in the above example, we see the family's pet environment—the fish tank—actually  built into the design of the room. A wonderfully modern design method, this fish tank is full of colour and vibrancy, perfect to inject that extra bit of character into your room. Depending on how much you love your pets, consider similar treatment for your other animals. For example, cat climbing posts come in many interesting shapes and sizes, which can often add a sense of eclecticism to the room. Consider all possibilities before shunning your animals outdoors! 

Freshen up with furniture

Of course one of the main considerations in your living room will be what furniture to incorporate into the space. Sofa? Armchairs? Coffee table? Even bookcases and floating shelves should be taken into consideration. And the age old question: what to stand your television on?

Well, the most important point to consider before going ahead and designing your room is the space you have available. If you have a huge room then feel free to buy that impressive suite. If not, though, be more creative with your furniture. Try corner sofas or smaller chairs. Perhaps some floating shelves, which give you that much needed extra storage/display space without taking up any floor.

Awkward spaces

Whether your room is the perfect square or a lengthy corridor shape, there will be furniture to suit your needs. The above example is a really unusual shape: an almost cavern like room with a curved ceiling. The designer has done well to keep the furniture relatively low, allowing the ceiling to have its own breathing space.

The two matching armchairs also mimic the shape of the ceiling, which is a lovely detail. L shaped sofas can be wonderful additions to awkward spaced rooms or, forgo the idea of a sofa completely and opt for a number of smaller, easily placed chairs. Pinning your television to the wall can also be a great way to work around an awkward space, since it takes away the need to incorporate it into your furnishings.

Location, location, location

Don't just place your sofa in the place you first thought of. Spend some time moving it around, checking that its final resting place is the position in your room that works best. And think about what's important to your family lifestyle too. For example, if much of your time is spent gathered around the television, make sure the sofa is in the best viewing position.

If you're more focused on having intimate gatherings and conversations, position your sofa and chairs within close proximity to one another. Of course, where you place your sofa will also depend on what shape your room is and how much floor space you need. There are so many things to consider when positioning your sofa, so just make sure you think them all through before designing the rest of your living space.

The heart of the home

So much family time is spent gathered around the television. It's a great way to get the family together and be interested in a similar thing: sometimes feeling like a bonding experience. Even after it's switched off you can always discuss your latest favourite programmes or spend time discussing what might happen in the next episode.

So the position of the television in your living room can potentially be incredibly important, depending on you and your family. Ideally, you want it positioned somewhere with easy and clear view, without any obstacles in the way or light shining on it. And of course you want it in front of your most comfortable seats as you don't want hard seats stiffening your limbs when you sit down to your movie marathon! 

Do you have a well-planned living room? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments, below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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