There's an old saying in furniture circles and it goes something like this: When is a room not a room? Answer: When it's an extension of your personality.
Whether you are purchasing furniture for a living room (or any other room in the house for that matter), your approach will need to take personality and taste into account. Other considerations include:
- Light and space
- The size of the room
- The architectural style of the home
- The functional furniture that must be included in the room before you start adding other items that aren't essential such as cabinets or ottomans and the like.
Given that the living room is used for relaxation, socialising, watching television or reading etc. it's one of the most used and therefore most important rooms in the home.
It is also a shared space that that quite often has an open plan layout that connects to the kitchen, dining room or in some cases, both. As such, there are some simple yet essential things to keep in mind when planning your living room refresh or renovation.
Spend some time
When you understand your room, you'll make better decorating decisions. Take the time to sit in the space and consider how it can be better utilised.
Of course it's important to measure the room (see below) and plan the practical aspects of furniture choice and design, but a little time spent just being in the space and learning to understand it in a deep, quiet way will give essential clues for how to best proceed.
Measure for success
Practically, measuring the room is one of the most important ways you can ensure you create balance and optimise the space. Simply viewing the room may provide misleading information as the placement of furniture, doors and windows can create optical illusions that give a false impression of relative size and distance.
Using a measuring tape (note the dimensions in millimetres not inches), measure the following areas:
- The overall floor space - length x width
- The ceiling height
- The distance between doors and windows
- The height and width of other interior elements such as the fire place, built in cabinetry and windows. (You will need to consider the location of these elements when positioning furniture to ensure it looks balanced and doesn't obstruct them).
It's a great idea to map your measurements either using a scale ruler at 1:100 for floor plans or 1:50 for elevations, or use graph (or grid) paper to ensure you have the room in proportion. This also makes it easy to mark furniture and through ways on your 'map' and get the balance and proportion of your room just right.
Understand the flow
How do people naturally move around the room, into it and out again? How many doors are there? You'll want to avoid putting a sofa in the middle of a natural flow, and understanding the room's movement and rhythm will also allow you to make good decisions about where to place furniture and guide the eye.
Be sure to leave adequate space between furniture to move about the room freely.
Create a focal point
A focal point will draw the eye and create a clear statement about personality and style. In a living room the eye is normally drawn to the sofa as it's usually the largest piece. However, even here you can distract the eye to a feature artwork or chair. A focal point is equally important, whether you're working with a lounge room or any other room in the home.
Given the numerous uses for the living room, lighting is a key consideration when planning your renovation. Ambient lighting should be factored into the design however, task lighting to assist reading, using the computer, watching television etc is essential. Floor lamps or side table lamps not only are functional, but they can accentuate the style and ambience of the living room.
Work with natural light
How will the light fall in the room? It's important to work with the natural aspect of any room and that includes taking care to ensure you've arranged your furniture to make the best use of the light at any time of year. This can have an enormous effect on the success of a room. For example, in a TV room, try to ensure that your entertainment unit doesn't catch the afternoon sun as it will make the TV screen hard to view.
The open plan nature of the living room means that flooring is an essential element to a living room renovation. Usually, to emphasise and enhance the space, the flooring will be the same material and application as the adjoining spaces. As such, incorporating a rug to define the living room space is a lovely addition to the room.
Like with flooring, the living room usually has similar window furnishings as the adjoining rooms to help highlight the open plan interior and maintain a consistent flow throughout.
Heating and Cooling
A big factor in planning your living room renovation is what heating and cooling will be employed. Given it’s such a large area of space, attention will need to be paid to what will be the most economical and efficient system for your interior. Think about the natural flow of the layout, the height of your ceilings, the natural light and in turn heat that may filter into the room. Keeping these factors in mind will in turn assist in creating a comfortable environment for you and your family.
We hope this has been of help when planning your living room and best of luck with your refresh or renovation.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your wish list of products, then be sure to check out our extensive range of Living Room products.
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