The living room is the space where your whole family comes together. Whether it’s to watch TV, play boardgames, or just hang out, it’s one of the rooms that gets the most use in your home. Naturally, you want it to be comfortable and welcoming for everyone, so it must meet everyone’s needs.
In families with children and pets, the living room must be, above all, practical. What is practical will depend on your family and what your specific needs are. Generally, we’re talking about space, comfort, entertainment, ease of maintenance, and making sure that everyone who spends time here feels welcome. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Hard-wearing fabrics such as leather and sturdy natural fibers make the best choices for your soft furnishings.
- When it comes to color schemes, you’ll want to go with something that won’t easily show stains or that can be concealed.
- The furniture itself should be comfortable, safe for children and pets, and not fussy in the least.
- All your furniture should be arranged in a way that makes sense and that is comfortable for everyone (seating facing the TV, no delicate objects in the middle of the way, etc.).
- Everyone should be able to have a good time together in this space, so be sure to include means of entertainment, including boardgames, books, toys, a TV, etc.
Work with calming, but unpretentious colors
While you may be dreaming of a chic, all-white living room, the reality of that is grimmer than you think. White and varieties of cream and very light beige are notoriously difficult to maintain and keep clean and crisp-looking.
Especially if you’ve got children or pets that have access to this room, that white will not remain white for long, whether we’re talking about a rug, a sofa, or even walls.
It’s much more practical to opt for a color scheme that is still calming and inviting, but is way lower-maintenance. Deeper creams, rust colors, browns, grays, and even navy can still look incredibly elegant, but they take chocolate stains much better than white does.
Choose hardy fabrics
And speaking of steering clear of all things pretentious, that includes any fabrics that are particularly delicate or fussy. That means that your dream Millennial Pink velvet sofa may be out of the question. You don’t want a toddler dumping soda on that and ruining it instantly.
You also won’t want any cushions that are overly adorned and may get damaged or hurt your child – cushions that have beading on them, for example, can be a choking hazard.
Instead, opt for leather for your sofa, as it’s extremely durable and really easy to clean. If you specifically look for them, stain resistant rugs are available for purchase and will make your life much easier than that shaggy cream rug you’ve been eyeing. Natural fibers are also good picks.
Say no to fussy furniture
It’s a great tragedy that the most beautiful furniture is also the fussiest. Glass coffee tables with abstract shapes and sharp corners are a no-no. So are overly shiny surfaces, in general. Not only because of the risk children hurting themselves, but also because of the sheer amount of fingerprints it would attract.
The same goes for delicate, eyelet curtains that might get ripped or caught. They’re expensive, and they’re easily ruined, and that would be a shame. Choose some regular curtains, instead. You may want to make them blackout curtains, if you’re going to turn your living room into a theatre on the regular. It makes all the difference.
Wood is always an excellent choice for furniture, because it’s hard-wearing and it doesn’t require any special attention. It wipes clean and can always be repainted or stained if needed. Plus, it doesn’t show any paw prints.
Include comfortable seating
Seating is one of the most important elements in your living room. Your sofa must be comfortable, and it must be large enough to seat your entire family. When shopping for a new couch, you want to try it out and see how comfy it’s going to be for hours of lounging with the family.
In addition to a sofa, you’ll also want to add equally comfy armchairs, cushions, footrests, ottomans, blankets, etc. You’re looking to create a space that is warm, inviting, and comfortable.
The softer and cozier your seating is, the more practical it is. Yes, the very structured, trendy sofas look great, but do they hold up to hours of use every day? Probably not.
Ensure everyone’s entertainment
After seating, the second most important element in your living room is entertainment. Obviously, a great TV is a staple of the modern family living room, and there’s never been a better time to buy a new one. The choices are varied, depending on what you’re looking for.
Smart TVs are all the rage right now, and they enable some cool functions you may not have had access to before. For example, they connect to the internet, and you can install apps that you already have on other devices.
In addition, the newest generation of TVs have much better resolution and offer a higher quality image with enhanced clarity and visual details.
You probably also want to have books in this room, and board games. Seeing as this is a space where you’ll spend time with family and friends, having these options will make this time together that much more entertaining.
Create a layout that makes sense
If this is going to be a family room, then you need enough space for everyone, and that includes any children and pets you may have.
Listen, the coffee table may look best right in front of the sofa, for example, but if that’s gonna make it very likely that your children will bash their heads on the corners while they run around, then perhaps it’s better to place it farther away.
At the same time, if your family enjoys a lot of movie nights, you’ll want to make sure the TV is visible no matter where you’re sitting.
What’s the bottom line?
The living room is, oftentimes, the heart of the house, just like the kitchen. It’s where everyone goes to have a good time or just to spend quality time together. While there are many beautifully designed living rooms, they don’t always take into consideration the needs of a family.
A living room that is practical for your family must meet your needs in terms of design. That includes all manner of different aspects, such as colors, fabrics, layout, and even the type of activities your space allows for.
The most important thing, when designing this space, is to make sure that your family will feel comfortable here. Every family is different, so you need to adjust for your particular needs.