Mine is a living room, my Mum’s is a lounge and my Nan’s was always a sitting room. All three are literally correct as you do in them what it says on the tin – live, sit and lounge (although more of the latter in my case!).
For us, the living room really is the heart of my family home where the communal television watching (arguing), homework doing (arguing) and board game playing (arguing) takes place. It’s a regular hive of activity where you are seldom alone which is why I love mine so much, even turning to give it a wistful loving glance when I go up to bed and it’s been left tidy with plumped cushions and neatly drawn curtains.
Calm and neutral colours are the key for mine – possibly unconsciously to balance out the daily mayhem – lots of subtle and complementary browns across the walls, furniture, floor and curtains. This may not be for everyone though; I get my colour hit from the rest of my home, but if you are undecided and trying to put yours together, here are a few tips on how to do it…
Colour – as mentioned, subtle isn’t for everyone, but I like a neutral base. Bright coloured furniture can be really fun but investing can be a brave decision! If you want a bit more of a lively environment but aren’t sure, go for a colour pop wall and remember that paint is easy to change so if you decide that a flamingo pink wall is a bit too out there for you, it’s not a decision that you will be stuck with until you’ve had your moneys worth!
Rugs – mine was initially purchased as damage limitation for our “tea on our knee” evenings, but on putting it down (and once the piles of books had been removed to stop the edges from determinedly curling up and tripping us all up) I realised how much it completed the room. Whichever colour, textile or pattern you go for, just ensure that the rug is not too small for the space as this can off balance the whole room.
Wall Decor – I have a gallery wall in my living room made up of an antique mirror inherited from my Nan, varying sizes of photos of my children, 3d stars from Avalon Interiors and book extracts from Bookishly among other bits I’ve collected (photo taken before everything was up). These tell a story for me and about me which I love. This may be too much for some, but don’t leave your walls blank as this can really kill the personality of a room. Whether your taste is abstract Picasso or an Ikea skyline print, show it on your walls!
Lighting – Consider levels, use and the type of atmosphere you want to create. I have two in mine – a Tiffany floor standing lamp for a bit of ambience and a basic but pretty raffia pendant from Dunelm for everyday, brighter lighting. Go with chandeliers, colour, spotlights…anything goes! Just make sure that you consider task lighting (next to chairs for reading and for hiding eye-bags for example), accent lighting (to pick up wall decor or fireplaces) and overall lighting (the big one in the middle).
Furniture – Start with the basics; places for glasses, places for arses (sorry) and be adaptable without thinking “I MUST have a sofa and two chairs”. Sofas come in so many configurations now (I know what you’re thinking and to answer your question, I have a 3 seater sofa and a love seat in the bay window especially for school bags and coats) that you don’t have to comply with the 3-piece suite tradition. Co-ordinate or clash with stain resistant fabrics if you don’t want to be following your children round with a spray can of Vanish, and brighten up neutral colours with eye-catching cushions (AKA den walls). Coffee tables are great for centre pieces and storage, and our industrial style coffee tables will complement most interiors whether modern or rustic. Finish off with storage solutions and media centres to hide away the fact that anyone does anything interesting in your living room at all; and our industrial style console tables which come in multiple size configurations and colours can add that perfect little finishing touch.
If you really just don’t know where to start, why not look at employing an interior designer? Many are within budget, and while some will complete the entire room for you including the shopping, many, such as Joy Home Interiors, will just create a mood board for you to give you a starting block. I think though that the most important point is to remember what it is there for – to bring you all together, so make it about you.
Be individual, be creative, be IronFire.