Modern kitchen countertops and kitchen cabinets are basically designed on the principles of basic one-dimensional geometric figures, such as squares, triangles and rectangles. Avoid, at all costs, relying on just a single overhead pendant in the living room — not only will it create a very one-dimensional, downward type of light, but it will do nothing to create the different moods required in this space. Instead, use a range of lighting types, such as wall lights, downlights within alcoves and a selection of floor and table lamps, in order to provide pockets of light around the room — and be sure to set them on dimmers.
Don’t forget to highlight certain features in the room either — a spot above the fireplace or tucked into an inglenook perhaps, or picture lights and even concealed lighting beneath built-in shelving or seats will all add to the interest of the room. If designed as part of your home – reflecting the way you actually live as opposed to how you think you might live – the living room can be the most important space. The other type of living room is the ‘snug’; a more introverted space where you could spend time alone working, reading or watching television.
Ensure the furniture you choose is all in proportion with the size of the room — compact sofas in large rooms leave the space feeling cold and cavernous, while a chunky, large sofa will just seem intrusive in smaller, cramped spaces. To us, the typical definition of a ‘lounge’ is no longer a singular room and is in fact two spaces, one of which is a comfortable and relaxing space where friends and family can be together in an informal setting. The living room is personal and needs to reflect the owners’ lifestyle — it is essential to analyse this first.
If you are building or completely remodelling, aim to position your living room in such a way that it feels like a retreat as opposed to a walkway — if you have to walk through it to access other rooms it can take away some of the relaxing appeal the space is supposed to have. Some of us want to feel cosy and see the living room as a space for watching television by the fire; some of us want to sit and read the paper with big bi-fold doors opening on to the garden.
Living rooms work best when they have direct access to the outside space, so if possible, locate this room so that you can open it up to the elements when the mood takes you — patio doors of some form not only add to the space visually but also extend the space when open. While fireplaces are the ideal, acting as the perfect anchor around which the rest of the layout is hinged, there are other ways of creating a point of interest.