How to Set Up a Living Room You Can Actually Live In

For a number of years, living rooms have been headed down a path that is distinctly unfriendly towards the idea of being lived in. Modern living rooms are good to look at and nice places to visit, but living is a completely different matter. Many people grew up with the childhood memory of nice couches that stayed covered in plastic, never to actually be touched by humans.

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Then there are the houses with two living rooms. We took to calling one the “family” room. That is the one kids can actually enter and plop down on a comfortable chair. The other is a showroom waiting for its appearance in the pages of a popular home magazine. The living room has become a fantasy rather than a place to live. It is high time we reverse that trend. Here are some things you can do to design your living room to be a more lived-in space.

Family Entertainment

If you want your living room to be a place where people come together, you have to put things in it that you enjoy as a group. Playing games and watching TV are two examples. As it happens, both of those things can be done on a TV, making it unnecessary to carve out two spaces for those things.

Satellite TV service providers tend to offer the most advanced hardware for watching and recording your favorite shows, up to six at a time. That is important in today’s family, as not everyone is on the same schedule. Since everyone can watch their favorite shows, there will always be something interesting for the family to watch.

Where to place the TV depends on how much time your family spends interacting with it. If it is only used rarely, then a small TV hidden away in a cabinet will do. But if it is being used by someone all the time, it should be large and prominently displayed, even mounted on a wall provided you have a wall that can support it. Don’t be afraid to make the television a major part of your furnishing decision.

Lighting for Living

Modern TVs like dark rooms. Projectors like rooms even darker. But what about when you are not watching TV? A dark room can feel oppressive, not suitable for casual living. You can control the room light by artificial lights. But if you have the gift and curse of multiple large windows, then you have to figure out how to control the amount of light coming into the room.

It often comes down to which window coverings serve you best between curtains and blinds. For many rooms, window shades may be the best option, as they have a simple elegance that can complement any decor. They don’t retain odors like curtains, and they do an excellent job controlling the amount of light you get, from black out to full daylight. With the right window coverings, your living room can go from theater room to sun room in a snap.

Comfort over Luxury

When it is time to purchase furniture for this living space, make sure you choose furniture that is more comfortable than luxurious. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be nice. It just has to be livable. If you have kids, it is somewhat cruel to have furniture that is too precious to be touched and used by everyone in the household. If you are going to be watching programs that last two or more hours, the furniture has to be comfortable.

Watching TV is not the only thing you do in a living space. During quiet times, you may want to read a book or newspaper. It is good to have at least one chair devoted to upright sitting with its own lamp for reading and relaxing. Regardless of your rules, people are going to eat in the living room. Provide TV trays and cup holders that can be easily used and put away.

To build a living room around living, you need to incorporate family entertainment, use flexible lighting, and include furniture that is comfortable.

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