The living room is usually the first port of call for guests, for activities, and for relaxing. However, despite its central role in our lives, comparatively few of us put much thought into organising our living rooms properly. Instead, most are a strange mismatch of purposes and zones. A well-designed living room can rival a kitchen as the heart of the home, so it’s important to think about what you want to get out of yours.
Firstly, we need to consider that there are, essentially, only two types of living room: those that are lived in day-to-day, and those that aren’t. The first, a space which needs to multitask, needs an organising plan. The second, a space set aside for special occasions, requires a purpose. Before you do anything, decide which best suits your space.
Organising Your Living Room as a Multitasking Space
The average living room is commonly used for watching TV, reading, casual entertaining, listening to music, and small activities such as playing board games or doing the Sunday paper crossword puzzle. You need to think about what your living room will be used for, but you also need to consider its size and shape, as this will undoubtedly have an impact on its functionality.
Once you know what functions you want your space to have, divide your living room into zones. Each zone should feature one or two activities; for example, you might have a comfortable sofa and a solid storage unit for a television and games console zone, or large bookcases, an armchair, a magazine rack, and a floor lamp for a reading zone.
Put together a list of items and furniture you will require for each function. If, for example, you wanted to create an area for entertaining, you would include plenty of seating, a coffee table or end table close to the seating, and perhaps a sound system. If you wanted a place to listen to music, you would include a comfortable seat, a space for your sound systems, speakers, a place to store your music, and a way to ensure that you can listen in peace.
When you’ve worked out what you need, draw up a to-scale floor plan to best organise your existing furniture into your required zones. It can be hard to rearrange your furniture without a specific plan in mind, and it will help you visualise what space you have and where your zones will be best placed.
No matter what functions and zones you decide on, there are two ideas that should be included in your design. The first is to include plenty of shelving. Shelves are versatile, and can be used in all your functional zones. They also add visual interest to your living room’s décor. The second is to include plenty of containers in your zones, such as small bowls, baskets, or boxes. These will prevent loose items and clutter from taking up your available space.
Giving Your Special Occasion Room a Purpose
With your living room categorised into zones, your special occasion room now requires work. What purpose does it serve in your home? Many special occasion rooms end up being just a jumble of different functions, not really suiting any.
If you already have a family living space, the other room can serve as a formal living space, ideal for family occasions or less casual entertaining. Similar to the functional zoning for your living room, decide what you will do in the space and what items you will need. For formal dining and entertaining, include a dining table and an impressive sofa. If you want to use the room more frequently with your family, you might want to include floor cushions that can be used for many different functions, such as informal dining, a place for your children to have friends round, or even as somewhere to get away from whatever is happening in your zoned living room.
Your living room might be too small for all the function zones you want, so having them spill out into your special occasion room is a good idea. You can create corners and smaller zones within this space for all manner of things: a library, a desk for writing, or a hobby corner for items too big for use in your living room, such as an easel, a musical instrument, or planters.
The special occasion room is also the perfect place to display your favourite collections of art. Your casual living space will probably have more pictures of your family, but this room is ideal for having your own personal gallery.