Living Room BasicsA living room can be a formal space for receiving visitors, a casual space for your family to gather or a combination of both formal and informal uses.
Formal Living RoomsFormal living rooms are usually near the front of a home for receiving guests. A typical arrangement would be a sofa and two armchairs, or a sofa and loveseat combination. The formal living area can also double as a library for your home with the addition of bookcases displaying favorite books and accessories.
Informal Living RoomsIf a home has a formal living area, there is usually a secondary, more casual space for the family to use on a daily basis. These informal living rooms feature a more relaxed seating arrangement and usually feature a television for the family to enjoy together. The furniture involved is similar to the formal living room, but features more casual fabrics along with sectional sofas, chaise lounges and ottomans. This more comfortable furniture allows family and guests to kick their feet up and relax.
Only One Living Room?Many homes feature only one living room that doubles as a formal and informal space. In this situation, it is a good idea to have a room that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For example, a casual slipcover can cover your sofa on most days, but when guests arrive it can be removed to showcase a luxurious designer fabric.
Even when designing for small spaces, you can create an inviting living area for your family and friends. Small homes, lofts or apartments tend to have combination rooms where a living area flows directly into a dining or office area. Due to their close proximity, the overall look and feel of these spaces should complement each other. You can use lighting, color or textures to either unite or distinguish each room.
Interior Design for Living Rooms EssentialsMust-haves for your living room include many elements:
SeatingFurniture that is upholstered with fabric or leather is the most comfortable, but mixing in some non-upholstered furniture, such as a wooden arm chair or rocking chair, will create a more eclectic room. Seating can include:
- Sofa (sectionals and modular sofas are versatile pieces)
- Loveseat, chaise lounge, settee and chair-and-a-half (perfect balance for a sofa or use several instead of a sofa)
- Armchairs (wooden or upholstered in fabric or leather)
- Ottomans and benches (use as seating, foot rests, or coffee tables)
TablesAll seats should have arm-length access to a table surface for drinks, books, magazines, remotes, etc. Also, tables are a foundation for lamps and accessories. Types to consider:
- Coffee table or ottoman with a tray.
- Side tables or end tables.
- Consoles or sofa tables.
- Task lamps (required for proper reading light in the room).
- Ambient or general room lighting (this should be on a dimmer or adjustable so you can go from soft low-level to brighter for parties).
- These should be in keeping with the theme or style of your living room furniture. Many custom fabric draperies will feature fabric that complements the upholstered pieces in the room.
- Depending on the decorative and functional needs of your room, hard and soft window treatments can be used alone or in combination with each other.
- Hard window treatments include blinds, shutters, screens and specialty glass applications.
- Soft window treatments involve the use of fabric in draperies, curtains, shades and valances.
Color and TextureAdd color and texture to your living room with:
- Wall treatments (paint, wallpaper, f aux finishes).
- Fabric on your furniture or pillows.
- Flooring or rugs.
- Accessories and artwork.
- Window treatments.
- Basics of color design include choosing monochromatic, analogous or complementary color palettes.