They say the kitchen is the heart of the home – if that’s the case, then the living room is the lungs; a dedicated space for taking a deep breath. It’s one of the sole spaces in the home purely for relaxation and recharging with friends and family, so it’s important for the design choices imposed upon it to honour this function flawlessly.
The living room is a deceptively simple space design-wise. Traditionally, it only consists of a few items of furniture – seating, surfaces, entertainment and decoration. However, these few pieces carry a larger share of stylistic weight than rooms with more components, so mistakes are likely to be amplified.
Read on to unpack the most common design mishaps and how to avoid them.
In a large room, a centrally placed coffee table can act as an indoor roundabout for the surprisingly high-traffic area that is the living room – especially if, in true roundabout fashion, they’re circular like our Catana retro round tables. However, if you have limited floor space, consider adding nest tables like our set of three Nostro side tables for adaptable use.
Start seeing corners as a design opportunity and not an inconvenient, awkward extra space. Our range of stylish corner sofas, like the Adam L shaped chaise, create a cosy nook out of a disused corner with ease. For variety, a diagonally placed armchair, such as our Stark armchair, adds another visual profile to the space.
Not weighing up furniture
We don’t mean in kilograms; heavy materials like wood can weigh down a space, while lighter materials like plastic and metal can fade into the background. Assess what works for you.
Try not to let décor bog down every available surface. The odd heirloom, vase of flowers, or cluster of family photos is perfect, but over-ladening can make the space feel stagnant and gather dust; in a small room this looks cluttered, in a large room it makes it feel like a museum. Keeping tables and cabinets sparse is a good way to stimulate use of the space, as this encourages informality and therefore relaxation.
In a room with plenty of long, horizontal wall space, still making optimum use of that space by mounting things on walls and standing vertical furniture against it can be tempting; however, these types of room benefit hugely from maintaining a steady height throughout furnishings. Imagine an invisible band running at a third of the height of the wall – and don’t let anything exceed that line. This gives a steady composition to the room and helps the space feel taller and more grounded. Alternatively, small rooms with high ceilings benefit from reaching up; learn more in a previous article here.
Accidently impeding light
Light is a precious commodity in all homes, so think carefully about how to place items to avoid blocking windows or other sources of light. Also consider the textiles of window treatments; heavy curtains can facilitate the space doubling as a spare bedroom and make it cosier, while light, gauzy coverings help make a room airier and fresher.
Trapping sockets and other entertainment access
It’s easy to get excited about rearranging and refreshing your living room and forget about how the ease of using the space gets impacted by a clumsily placed item of furniture. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting your wrist stuck trying to plug a phone charger into a hard-to-reach outlet or having to shimmy your book out of the end of a bookshelf that’s been blocked. Make sure to allow yourself to live with your new layout before making any final decisions, to keep it a relaxing space to use.
Only using ‘the big light’
Having one light in the middle of the ceiling to use for all living room lighting is not the best use of electricity; it provides little to no task lighting or ambient lighting at all. Both functions can be achieved by adding standing and alternative hanging lamps, while also enhancing the visual composition of the room. The Morom floor and desk lamps are a sculptural and practical addition in either size. Remember, pendant lamps aren’t just for the kitchen – our Room 9 pendant lamps can be hung solo or in a cluster to read by, or on a dimmer switch to set the mood.