How To Plan A Just-Right Living Room


How To Plan A Just-Right Living Room

Is your living room the social heart of your home?

If not, it’s time to transform it into a space where everyone wants to hang out. Think of the room as a stage and fill it with scenery that will instantly make your guests feel at home. Here’s how to create a great social life, all from the comfort of your sofa.

1. Slot in lots of seating
Make sure you have a variety of seating options in your living room that will work just as well for a few as for a crowd. When it’s just you, your family or your housemates, you can sprawl out on the sofas, but when you have guests around, you want to ensure everyone has a seat. That might mean having a couple of spare armchairs that can be called upon or, if space is tight, turning a footstool into a perch. When extra seating is needed in the room pictured above, the two armchairs can be simply moved sideways and the window seat comes into play.

2. Create a feet-up mood
The most welcoming living rooms actually invite guests to put their feet up, be it on an upholstered pouffe, a chaise lounge or an indoor lounger, as seen here. If you’re worried about getting footprints on your furniture, ask your guests to remove their shoes, which will make them feel even more at home.

3. Add an extra layer of cosiness
Dress the sofas and chairs with plump cushions to add an additional layer of comfort. Drape a throw over an arm of the sofa, so people can pull it around them on cooler evenings and choose a thick-pile rug or carpet that was made to dig your toes into.

4. Get a fire going
Sparking a fire in the hearth, or in a wood burning stove as shown here, is an instant conversation starter. It’ll create a welcoming atmosphere and everybody will be keen to learn how to fan the flames. Guests will also come in closer to enjoy its warmth. If a real fire isn’t an option there are some great electric heaters on the market that look cosy and create a similar feel.

5. Include perches for drinks
If friends and family often descend on your home, it’s probably because you’re known not just for having a comfy living room, but for your excellent hospitality too. So as well as having a coffee table, make sure you have side tables at either end of the sofa for guests to rest their drinks and nibbles on. A nest of tables can also come in useful.

6. Weave in a cocktail cabinet
A permanent home bar might be going too far, but if you’re entertaining, an impromptu cocktail bar will give your room that boutique-hotel honesty bar feel. Here, the sideboard is the perfect spot for a cocktail shaker and some drinks.

7. Fit mood lighting
The latest lighting technology can transform your living room at the flick of a switch, giving it the air of a romantic hideaway before transforming it into a sophisticated night club. If you don’t have the budget for high-tech lighting, a simple dimmer switch and targeted side lights can help to create your desired mood.

8. Make it super comfy
If you want to encourage people to spend time in your living room, not only do you need extra seating, it also needs to be cosy and comfy. For extra snugness, opt for sofas in rich, tactile fabrics, such as velvet. If you flopped onto this sofa, you’d never want to leave.

9. Cue the music
Get the party going with a tune or two. Install the latest integrated sound system and choose music to suit the mood via your smartphone or tablet.

10. Flow into the dining area
Having an open-plan living and dining area like this will create a hang-out mood, as the party will naturally spill back into the living area once everyone has eaten. When you’re entertaining a crowd, it’s natural for different clusters to emerge and an arrangement like this allows each group to find its own space.

Source – Anna Tobin, Houzz /
Hero image: Tony Murray