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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The New Living Room

I was chatting with a client the other day, and they told me that the thing that they loved about the new Living Room that I designed for them was that it didn't seem like a Living Room. I hope that what he meant by that was that the room felt warm and inviting, the sort of place where you might sit and read a book on a Saturday afternoon. What I hoped it didn't feel like is an old parlor where you only go on special occasions, that is, never.

Thankfully the way people live and use their homes has changed a lot, now people are not interested in having rooms that they never use, but it doesn't mean that every room should feel like a Den either. Here are some of my thoughts on The New Living Room:

  • No matter what you do, it is unlikely that the room will be used often, by a large group. So don't design it that way. Design the room for small, discreet seating groups, that way, when it is just you alone or you and a friend, it still feels comfortable. To do this, limit yourself to one sofa, then plan how the room will work with small groupings of people.

  • I have to admit, that while I want people in that room, I don't want them just watching TV, so I rarely will do a TV in a Living Room. There are already plenty of other places in the house for that.

  • Do not use furniture or fabrics you are afraid of. You will not feel comfortable in a space where you are constantly thinking about what to touch and how to keep clean. A rule of thumb, make the big pieces practical, the smaller ones the more fragile ones if you like. Then if there is a party or a large group, you can easily child and drinkproof the space.

  • You can spend a lot of money in this room, unless you are careful, so make it go as far as possible. Keep the major pieces pretty neutral, and add splashes of color or a sense of the seasons with pillows and accessories.

  • Finally, personalise the space. Put around a few framed pictures of your friends and family (matching frames please). Only a few framed pictures go a long way, don't cover every surface with frames, it doesn't say how much you love your family, it says you have no ability to edit.

Enjoy your Living Room, make it a habit to use it at least once a week, you will be amazed how useful it can be.


Maison Lunatique said...

Love the careful use of toile and stripes to balance the cream. It looks very inviting.

Linda Merrill said...

Great tips! I'm in total agreement - no tv in the living room!