The living room is a treasured space where the family can come together to relax at the end of a busy day. For most of us, the living room is one of the most social rooms in the house – where we greet visitors, entertain friends and unwind in our free time.
What we need in a living room is a functional entertaining space that’s also a reflection of our sense of style – it should meet the demands of family life but also act as the space where we welcome others into our home. Our team of Houseologists have pulled together their top ideas and inspirations to help you design your living room.
01.Living room design basics
Before you can begin adding your own unique touches, these are the essential need-to-knows to help you create a standout living room space in your home:
Ask what the space is for
Let practical considerations about your lifestyle be the starting point when you design your living room. Ask yourself key questions such as: Who uses your living room? What do you use the space for? Do pets and children play here? Is this room reserved for when you have company?
Establish a focal point
Choosing a focal point will help you to arrange your space and give the eye a natural place to rest when entering the room. The fireplace often provides the living room focal point as this can create a cosy, relaxed atmosphere. A statement coffee table is another example of a piece that can act as the key feature to build your design around. Try styling up your coffee table with a chic ottoman tray to incorporate key design features and enhance your overall scheme.
Consider traffic flow
The living room is a busy family space where people will be regularly coming in and out of the room. Consider the traffic flow as you arrange your furniture, and make sure it is easy to move through the space. Creating awkward corners or tight spaces will make the room feel cluttered and smaller than it is.
Create conversation areas
Seating is key when considering how to design your living room and creating conversation areas will ensure the space feels comfortable, welcoming and encourages people to relax and chat. Position sofas to ensure that they are not so far apart that people are unable to hear each other or for smaller spaces or stylish recesses, pair a couple of armchairs with an ottoman for an intimate conversation space.
Start in the centre
Maximising space doesn’t have to mean putting all the furniture against the wall; instead, build from the centre of the room outwards so the space feels intimate and welcoming. Try sketching the layout on paper first to save several time consuming moves.
Living rooms are multifunctional spaces that often need to accommodate a whole range of activities from working at the computer to watching television. If you are looking to condense your furniture, consider some space saving living room design ideas such as mounting the television on the wall, coffee tables that offer storage solutions or extendable dining tables.
02.Living room layout
When choosing furniture , it's important to consider proportion as well as practicality and style to ensure that your living room layout works. For example, if you have your heart set on an oversized sofa, consider that you may also have to go for a larger coffee table so that there is cohesion between your furnishings - so ensure that you have plenty of space to accommodate this.
Your sofa is the key piece in the living room so getting it right will ensure the room flows. As well as the style and size of the sofa, take time to choose the perfect upholstery for you, think about the texture, colour and pattern and look at how durable the material is. For a successful living room layout, arrange your seating to create sociable groupings so people can interact easily. If you are struggling for space, choose a smaller sofa and use ottomans, chairs and footstools to add additional seating.
A rug is a great way to add texture and dimension to your space and will make it feel rich and cosy. You can choose a plain rug to accent your colour scheme or make a bold statement with a graphic or patterned rug. When it comes to placement, rugs should be no closer than six inches and no further than two feet from the wall, touching or in the centre of the main furniture in the room.
Coffee tables often form the centrepiece that the rest of the furniture is arranged around. If you’re going to use a table in the centre of your space, pick a bold statement piece that is large enough to be within reach of the sofa. If you need more space, pick a table with storage or swap out the traditional coffee table for smaller side tables or an ottoman that can double as a seat and a flat surface to place trays.
If the living room is where you and your family watch television then you’ll likely need storage for any equipment that goes along with it. Consider a compact media stand or unit that will keep wires safely out of view but can also double as a surface on which to place accents and accessories that bring the room together.
03.Living room lighting
Once you have your living room layout and furniture nailed, it's time to turn your attention to lighting. Lighting schemes are often left to the end of an interior design project but this can truly make or break a scheme. It is important to balance the functional lighting with the ambient or decorating lighting for a stylish, cohesive scheme - the best decorative lighting fixtures will balance functional needs with the style, age and character of your home.
Use table lamps and desk lamps as both a decorative and functional feature in the room – think about how you will use the different areas of the room and ensure the lighting is appropriate for the purpose. Table lamps, for example, will create a softer effect but may not provide enough direct lighting to a desk or corner chair where you sit in the evenings to read so opt for a task light or floor lamp instead. Installing a dimmer on overhead lighting can also be a good idea to allow further flexibility in the scheme.
Once you have the essential pieces of furniture in place, turn your attention to the finishing touches that will pull your design together. Accessories are the finishing touches that complete your room and complement your design scheme as well as helping to creating a gorgeous room that invites you to relax and unwind.
Cushions and throws
Cushions and throws are great tools for adding a flourish of colour, texture and pattern into your space. Versatile and inexpensive, you can rotate these throughout the year to reflect the seasons. Layer a few different textures to create depth in your space and use cushions and throws to help create the impression of a warm, inviting room to relax in.
Adding accessories offers the opportunity to put your favourite things on display and also show off your unique personality. Interior accents like candles, ornaments and wicker storage baskets help to create an atmosphere where it’s easy to relax and unwind. Keep your look consistent by choosing pieces with subtle repetition; for example across shapes, materials, colours, theme or time period.