Living rooms cater for many needs. They are for relaxing and socialising, listening to music and entertaining. They can also be used for eating and drinking, watching TV and playing. Modern living room design tries to cater for the whole range of activities and making the most of the space we have often becomes a top priority when thinking about decorating and furnishing the room. The trend in modern living rooms is for a more open design – you need to look carefully at the quality of natural light in the room and how to supplement it with additional light sources. Wooden furniture with a natural finish is a good choice as it tends to lend a light and airy aspect to the furnishings, as well as giving some much-needed warmth and character.
Now think about what you actually need, and what you might desire to have space for – in other words, separate your needs from your wants. For instance, you might need space for a sofa, TV and music, lighting and a coffee table and sideboard. You might want space for toys and books, DVD and CD storage and your hi-fi speakers. What you can actually fit into your room will depend on the size and shape of the space you have. You may have to be ruthless in your choices – it is important to obtain a balance between the areas taken up with furniture and open areas you use for access around the room.
A good sofa is high on the list of essentials. After a hard day at work you often cannot beat just throwing open the door and collapsing in front of the TV to catch up on your favourite programmes. Or perhaps you prefer to listen to music or even just flop around and do nothing. Whatever your choice, you need a comfortable sofa as a key foundation in your design. Be careful with the size and shape – if it is too large it will simply take up too much space and dominate the room, and if it is too small you may not be able to fit as many people on it as you would like to.
Open spaces do attract clutter. The more space we have the more we try and fill it, often with things that could easily be tidied away if only some storage had been planned for them. Built-in cupboards are a solution here but if your room does not suit this style, then think carefully about some other options. Solid oak sideboards or oak cupboards work very well. A natural wood finish helps to keep the living space look open and spacious, and their solid construction will resist many knocks. Solid oak, and indeed solid pine, can be easily looked after – minor scratches and marks are easily sanded away and a light application of oil or wax will bring out the natural warmth and give the furniture a really mellow appeal. Cupboard space like this will give you plenty of room to tidy away toys, DVDs and books.