Designing A Living Room

When I was growing up, there were two kinds of living rooms:  “company” rooms that were always spotless and ready for anyone who should come over to visit, and living rooms that people actually lived in.  With the price of real estate these days, most of us can’t afford a room devoted to “company” and rarely are there any rooms in our homes spotless for very long. As a good friend once told me, “If you want to see me, come on over.  If you want to see my house, make an appointment!”

Living rooms can still serve multiple functions if they are designed properly.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Furniture:  living rooms serve both the family and friends, so seating should hold family members plus at least two.  Do you have a large window?  Group some /most seating to take advantage of the view.  Not all seating has to be together.  There is nothing wrong with a couple of chairs off to the side.  Don’t be afraid to move furniture away from the walls, too.
  2. Ease of use:  is there a clear path through the room to the kitchen?  Is a chair right in front of the door?  A furniture grouping may look great, but it has to function for your family too.
  3. Color scheme:  most of us tend to go with a safe neutral color.  Its great for resale, but unless you plan to sale your home in the next year, pick a color YOU like.  If your living room is on the north side of your home, choose a warm color to make up for the lack of natural light.  If it gets a lot of sun, you may want a cool color to balance it out.  Or go with a strong color on one wall.  Talk to the people in your paint department for suggestions on color ideas and treatments.  Painting is one of the easiest ways to bring a big change to a room without spending a lot of money.
  4. Accessories:  Less is more.  Living rooms tend to be the places we show off all our photographs, collections, libraries, and heirlooms.  That can make this poor room a little crowded!  I look at everything as a “dustable”.  I have to keep it, so I have to dust it – and that takes time and effort.  Do I want to display it enough to dust it all the time?  Maybe not.
  5. Flooring.  The trend is moving towards hard floors (wood, cork, stone, etc.) with rugs instead of wall to wall carpet in our main rooms.  I think this is a good thing.  Hard surfaces are easier to clean and disinfect, don’t trap allergens like carpet can, and in many cases, last longer.  Consider replacing your flooring when your budget allows.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can have a beautiful living room that can serve multiple functions with ease! Tell me about your living rooms.  What purpose did your living room have when you were growing up?

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