Sometimes we lose track of the actual purpose of interior design and home decorating. It’s easy to start thinking of your home as a personal canvas on which to create with total freedom, making our house into precisely the sort of place we feel comfortable in and want to spend time in. We choose the colours, the fabrics, and the look and feel of objects that appeal to us.
This often results in ‘Museum Syndrome,’ of course, where no one – including you – feels like they can kick off their shoes and touch things. It also means that the common areas of your home – especially the living room, where your guests will congregate – don’t feel at all welcoming. That sort of tone-deaf design might be pretty, and it might appeal to you, but it’s also one reason your guests are always checking the time and making excuses for an early exit. Decorating your living room is as much about making your home feel warm and welcoming as it about colour palettes and sightlines. Here are some easy ways to ensure your living room is a place your guests can actually live in.
The worst thing a living room can be is perfect. If your living room looks like it was taken directly from a magazine spread, chances are it wasn’t designed with actual use in mind, meaning there will be no conversation vectors, no comfortable way to sit, and no sense of welcome. Worse, people will probably be afraid to put their drinks down, to stretch out, to relax. Decorating your living room should be all about the opposite: Making people feel like they can live there.
That means embracing a little imperfection. Mismatched furniture, even if it’s high-end, makes people feel like they can put their feet up and relax. Choosing durable fabrics might make the space seem less luxe, but it will make your guests more comfortable as they won’t spend the evening paranoid about spilling the wine.
Living rooms live or die with the seating. When designing a living room, think about three things:
- Your seating shouldn’t be arranged to face a television, or arranged so everyone is facing the same way. Easy conversation requires people to face each other.
- The more choices in seating, the happier everyone will be. One uncomfortable chair set equals a silent, awkward room. A comfy mixture of lounges, ottomans, and other choices arranged in loose groups equals a room buzzing with conversation.
- Give people places to put down drinks – side tables, coffee tables, trays on top of ottomans – and give them plenty of conversation pieces, from interesting coffee table books to knick knacks to spectacular art on the walls.
One final note is your lighting choices: Make them adjustable. Searing bright light doesn’t make a room cheery – adjustable light does. Dimming down the light adds a soft element of relaxation to a space.
Make your living room inviting, not forbidding – even if it means dialling back your personal design POV. And if you need some help with conversation pieces, pick out a few choice images and click here and we’ll have your guests buzzing in no time!