Thursday, November 6, 2008

Arranging Living Room Furniture for Maximum Effect

The living room is today's most 'lived in' room, so it is important to make the most of the space you have. Get some simple expert tips...

For many years, the living room was the formal room in the home – a room that was only used for special guests. Families either gathered in the den or gathered in the kitchen. As times have changed, the living room has become just that – the living room. This has now become the room in most homes where the family gathers – relaxing together over a good book or watching favorite TV shows together, and even entertaining friends. We now tend to invite our guests and friends into the comfort of the room in which we actually perform the art of living, in a less-formal, more inviting atmosphere.

The arrangement of your furniture can have an affect on how the room is viewed by family and guests. Does the room seem open and inviting? Does the room seem small and crowded? You want to convey a feeling of welcome and comfort to your family and guests – allowing them to feel that they are free to actually "live" in the room. The first step is to determine what the focal point of the room will be – will it be an entertainment center or perhaps a warm, cozy fireplace?

One of the most important aspects of furniture placement in the living room is allowing for traffic to move through the room comfortably. You don’t want guests having to worry about bumping in to knick-knacks and other things as they move around the room. You want them to be able to move from place to place within the room easily. Depending on the size of your room, you may want to have one grouping of comfortable seats – close enough for conversation, yet far enough apart for individual privacy as well. For a larger room, you may want to have several groupings of comfortable seats, with a central focal point on the entertainment center or fireplace.

Large furniture should be placed along the walls whenever possible. This leaves more space for traffic in the center of the room. If your living room is used often – as is usually the case when the room is used both for entertaining and for family, there will be a lot of traffic – and by leaving maneuverable space, you are letting your family and friends know that it is okay to use this room for living, without them having to worry about breaking things or knocking things over.

For living rooms that are used for entertainment and family rooms, you can use furniture to your advantage. Many tables and entertainment centers have shelves and storage spaces that can be used to keep the room cleared of clutter. Games, movies, CD’s, and books can all be stored within easy reach without cluttering the room and creating a sense of less space. A great idea if you have small children is to use an area rug in an open space in the room, giving them a "play area" that can be utilized even when adults are entertaining friends.

When deciding on the arrangement of your furniture, you need to keep in mind the comfort of your guests, the amount of space needed for traffic, and the atmosphere that you are trying to create. Using small tables beside chairs offers a person a feeling of personal privacy within a room of people by giving them somewhere to put things such as their drink glass or a favorite book they may be reading. Use corners for things such as lamps and large decorative pieces, allowing them to add to the d├ęcor of the room without taking away space and making the room feel crowded. Whether your focal point is a fireplace or an entertainment center, you should arrange furniture that invites each person in the room to be a part of the group as a whole, and also allows them the privacy to take a break from the conversation when needed. The point is to make your family and guests feel that they are welcome in your living room and that this is the room for "living" – together.

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