How many of you spend very little time in the living room? 

This room is the one room in the house that we spend the most money on expensive beautiful furniture for entertaining and then we never use it for fear we ruin our good furnishings.  How silly is that?  This room should be for living.  It usually has the best views and the most beautiful architecture.  Why have such a beautiful space and not use it?

A well organized living room can be used every day if we design it for living rather than as a showplace.  If your house is casual, then your living room should reflect the same casual style.  If the rest of your house is formal and you are very comfortable in dressy surroundings, then your living room should be formal too.

The most important considerations in designing your living room are; furniture that is ergonomic and functional, art and collection display and easy entertaining features. 

Furniture that functions well in the living room include tables, tea tables, nesting tables, library tables and even game tables.  A desk can add additional function to the living room, you can use it as a writing table, computer desk or just to add storage.  Desks can also double as sofa tables, this is nice to have a child doing homework or computer work who require minimum supervision and help while the parents visit.  The desk can also double while entertaining, as a surface for serving after papers have been cleared.  Benches, ottomans and stools ad versatility in seating.  

Furniture placement should be more functional than aesthetic.  Arrange your space for conversation groups and allow enough movable furniture that your guests can create their own seating areas.  This prevents wallflowers and allows for your guests to comfortably mingle within their own terms.  Cluster areas for standing and visiting are also important. You do not have to have all your furniture as one huge circle for visiting.  You can have 2 or 3 or even 4 conversation areas in a large living room.

Collection Display

  • Decorate with books.
  • Don’t just line things along the back of a furniture piece.  Group small and large objects together onto a platter or shelf.
  • Just because you are out of wall space does not mean you can not display a lovely art piece, use and easel on top of a chest or a standing easel in a corner of the room.
  • Drape art or decorative textiles, like scarves or blankets on furniture or screen dividers.
  • Mirror the back wall and add glass shelves to display Llladros, Armani, or other figurines, sculpture, pottery and collectibles.
  • Fill a bowl or cylinder with small items, like Christmas balls, colorful bracelets or even seashells and coral.


Copyright Cathy Sykora 2010
Tomorrow…for all rooms.  Picture hanging tips! ~Cathy