LOVE your Living Room again!

Great Room and Living Room Design

It is no doubt that the Living Room or Great Room is one of the most difficult rooms to design.  Clients are always perplexed with how to deal with a fireplace, a tv and the seating in the space. My interior design brain goes into full on function mode right off the top. These are some of the questions I ask and you can ask yourself:

Who will be using this room? How many people are in the room on a regular basis?

Do you entertain on a regular basis or have lots of people who come over frequently? Small groups, large family gatherings, card clubs, etc.

What are those people normally doing in the room? Reading, watching tv, talking, playing games, doing puzzles?

Do you need reclining furniture or something other than laying on a flat surface to put your feet up?

Are there any people in the home that have specific requests? I have a client who's husband requests that he always sit dead center with the tv...

What are your "pains" for the current set up?

What is the focus wall?

Take a few minutes and evaluate your answers to my questions. Decide how many seats you need to have in the room and what kind of seats those are. 

In designing a living room we really need to draw to scale the room and start placing the items that you already have that cannot be moved.... ie- fireplace and any built in's. Also add the doorways.

There are some rules of thumb in designing great rooms:

1- You should never have a traffic pattern where people will be constantly walking back and forth in front of someone watching tv.

2- Don't get too big of furniture because it may look like it fits in the store but you really should measure it out and put it on the floorplan to make sure it fits. I'll never forget the time my clients didn't measure their living room and went to the store on their own to buy a sectional. In the store it looked like it fit perfectly. The sectional was delivered and it literally took up the entire room wall to wall and then to the other wall! It was INSANE! Furniture ALWAYS looks smaller in the store!

3-The proper height of a TV is around 45" from the floor to the center of the TV. The farthur away you sit from the TV, the higher the TV can be. If the TV is over the mantle, you will need to evaluate if it will strain your neck to look at it.

4. Ensure you have proper lighting beside any chairs and sofas to read. We usually suggest a small reading light and a side table beside any reading areas

5. If games are played you will need to address if it can be done on a coffee table or does a high top table or a small regular table or a drop leaf table is needed to play on

6. Do any of the people who come to visit or a member of the family need a firm seat to sit on. Some people cannot sit comfortably on sofas and upholstered chairs. They need firm seats.

7. Make sure all your pieces of furniture don't have all legs! This is tricky sometimes... You don't want the room to appear its about to walk!

Once the functionality and rules are addressed you can start laying out the room. We will draw the room to scale and start placing the furniture on the floorplan. Sometimes it is easy to figure out and sometimes it isn't! Sometimes requests just can't be addressed! You have to find a compromise if that is the case. We had a client who wanted a long sofa with a chaise on one side and a recliner on the other. She also requested that it be of good quality. We found the sofa but it was $699. Not a good indicator of qualtiy! I had never heard of the brand either... that was another red flag. They opted to drop the chaise and look elsewhere. 

Once the layout has been figured out its time to address the design principles and elements of making that room sing! We usually look at the project a couple ways. First, is there a focal point for each wall, is the room balanced? What accessories are needed for the room? Or what do you have that you would like to use for the walls. Next, we pick the window treatments and think about pillows as well as the wall color or wall paper. We have also been using japandi panels for walls or adding some fun board and batten or geometric wall designs. Finally we look at the flooring issue. Do you have LVP or wood flooring already? if you do you will probably want a rug! If you prefer carpet, does yours need replaced? Sometimes wall to wall carpet is really nice if you have a lot of people or kids who are there and they can sit on the floor! Carpet can also help to calm down the sound in the room. 

I feel that the icing on the cake is the window treatments and I want to take a few minutes to discuss the issues that arise all the time. We have clients who complain that they can't see the TV. The sun glares in and depending on the placement of the TV in the room, sometimes they can't even see the screen! We have great solutions for these issues. Blackout blinds are a great option and we can ever get a light lock for the blackout blinds so you don't get any light whatsoever when the shade is down. We also hear complaints about how the room is cold or extremely hot. Again, we use shades on the windows to help insulate the room from cold and heat. If blinds and shades aren't your jam, we make draperies with blackout lining, Those can be mounted on rods above the window and drawn to each side of the window to open and close. If its patio door or french doors we use vertical products like Luminettes from Hunter Douglas or Sheer Drape from Norman. We can also attach a shade to the french door itself that will have hold down brackets so they can be pulled down and wont swing when the door opens and closes. All in all, the window treatments are what makes that room feel like home.

In summary, feeling comfortable and secure in your living room is vital for our physical, mental and emotional well-being. With furnishings being placed well and functionality being addressed for your family it will provide a sanctuary where you can relax, recharge, visit with others, and just foster joy and fulfillment for your lives. 

If this blog post resonates with you we would love to have your comments! If you are now totally overwhelmed by all the decisions let us help you! Call or email us today and we will book a FREE Discovery Call with us to see what we can help you with!

Happy Designing! Love that Living Room Again!

Love Melinda