It is more than likely, if you are downsizing, that you will be editing down to less rooms – perhaps one ‘great room’ space to live in rather than the ubiquitous and sometimes redundant ‘living room’ AND ‘family room’. Planning these new living spaces wisely is tremendously important to the ability to live comfortably and well.
Here are 5 things that should be prioritized in your new living room space:
1 Colors you love (look at our March 28, 2016 post for tips on choosing paint colors)
Color has the power to shift the whole mood of a room so plan your color scheme to accomplish your goals. Are you looking for a serene, calm space? A vibrant, energized atmosphere? A cozy, warm retreat? The right colors can help get you there.
2 Comfortable seating for yourself and a variety of guests
Plan furniture arrangements conducive to how you live. If you watch TV frequently or prefer the atmosphere of a cozy fire, seating that is arranged around the TV or fireplace, or both if that is part of your routine, is imperative. Seating pieces should be arranged for comfort and comfortable conversation – if at all possible, in such a way that someone passing through the room doesn't block the view of the TV or interrupt a conversation. Consider how you want to use the room first and then what you need to use it that way. Perhaps an ottoman to prop your feet while watching TV or reading? A sofa long enough to stretch out on? Perching spots for guests when entertaining? Fabrics that are durable and cleanable as well as beautiful? The days of the 'living room' with plastic protective covers on the furniture and invisible velvet ropes at the doors have, blessedly, come to an end.
3 Tables within easy reach of each seat
Coffee tables, side tables, console tables – all can make a difference in usability of the room. Tables need to be available to hold a drink, a book you are reading, a laptop, a flower arrangement, or the remote. Whatever your goals are for use of the room, plan your tables accordingly, but each seat should have access to a spot to put down a drink, at the very least!
4 Appropriate and adequate lighting
Well dispersed lighting can create a flattering atmosphere, or accent art or architectural features in a room. Lamps tend to cast friendlier light than overhead fixtures, and any overhead fixtures should be on dimmer switches, Lamps can provide reading light or ambient light or both. Fixtures and lamps can also contribute to the overall mood of the room as accessories in their own right. Choose both the lampshades and the bulbs for your lamps with an understanding of the impact they have on the quality of light and the resulting atmosphere. My personal suspicions that fluorescent lights were conceived by an evil overlord bent on destroying civilized society aside, choose what is best for you!
5 Personal, meaningful accessories and art
Favorite art that may have been scattered throughout a larger home previously, can have great impact gathered into a gallery wall arranged for best effect in your new space. And meaningful accessories or carefully curated collections will personalize your new space and help it instantly feel familiar.
The key to making your house into a home lies in surrounding yourself with the things you love and making your home furnishings and accessories choices serve how YOU want to live.