Large living room looking a bit empty? Small living room feeling cramped? Stuck with ugly modern storage for the telly? Find out how to solve living room design problems and make your room work beautifully with our expert tips.
Zone a large living room
A generously sized room always feels like a blessing, but it’s possible for it to end up crowded at the edges and empty in the middle. If your room is rectangular, consider dividing it into two more intimate areas. Think function with a seating zone and a dining area or, if you eat in the kitchen, perhaps a TV section with seating focused on the telly and a sociable half with a coffee table, upholstered coffee table (like our Tuvan, shown above) or upholstered footstool at the centre.
How to divide the two areas? A sofa can delineate one zone, with a console table behind it to create a display area, and reinforce the separation. Grouping furniture around a rug can also draw the eye to a distinct sections of the room.
Stretch the space in a small living room
When a living space is compact, there are design strategies you can use to make it feel bigger. Try picking a sofa with a back that’s on the low side for an airier feel, or opt for the fine lines of a French-style design, which will keep the floor on show and result in a larger looking room.
Like the idea of a classic armchair with a high back? No problem! Simply position it in a corner for a cosy feel and to avoid interrupting the view through the room. Armchair won’t go? Then lose the arms, but keep the luxury with a super-comfortable seat that’s a slimmer fit, such as this Henley occasional chair, above.
Remember, too, that mirrors are always a boon in small rooms because they boost the light. As well as incorporating wall-hung mirrors, think of leaving space in your plan for a floor length design. Facing the window, it makes for an extra view of the garden, stretching the room’s boundaries, too.
Work with the living room’s assets
Consider your living space’s features, and whether you’re making the most of them. Perhaps the TV is near to a window or French windows leading to the garden? Swapping a dining table – shown above is our classic Pedestal dining table – to this part of the room allows you to appreciate the view when you’re sitting down for meals, whereas it’s not the focus of a television area.
Even a room not blessed with natural light can turn its vice into a virtue. Plan it as a cosy area instead – especially if it’s a room you use after dark. Choosing a dark but warm shade for the walls will up the intimacy levels. The essential? Good lighting including pendant and floor and table lamps.
Plan in the television
Without the luxury of a separate space for watching TV, it’s going to be an important feature of the living room. To incorporate it beautifully, avoid a contemporary glass and metal stand that clashes with the remainder of materials in your scheme. Instead, a painted TV storage unit or cupboard, including this Modular media tall storage unit, above, can complement other furniture perfectly.
Consider the height of the television, too. Ideally, it should have its centre at the eye level of the viewers to avoid discomfort and, in the living room, this generally means for those sitting on the sofa. (Compare this to a kitchen TV, which might be positioned for someone standing, or those seated at a breakfast bar.)
Wall hanging as well as placing it on top of a unit are possibilities depending on the seating height, the average height of viewers and – vitally – the size of the television. Whichever positioning option you choose, make sure there’s sufficient storage for the tech that goes with it to keep the scheme uncluttered.
For fabulous choices for your living spaces, including seating, storage and shelving, tables, footstools, desks and soft furnishings, visit our living room pages.