Part 1 - Space Planning & Composition, Designing your Living Room
Planning the layout of a living space, and indeed any room, is all about assessing the space available and then creating functional zones for the different activities that will take place in that room. Whether that be reading, listening to music, conversation, watching television, relaxing in front of a fireplace or if you have an open-plan living area - cooking, entertaining and dining.
How you position your furniture is key to harnessing the functionality and flow of the space, whilst helping it look more aesthetically pleasing.
The living room is one of the busiest areas of the home and used prodominantly for welcoming and entertaining guests, to a space where the family can gather and relax.
Layout that assists communication is therefore essential.
One of the starting points for designing your living space and considering composition is to identify the key focal point in the room.
A fireplace or log burner, for example, is a natural focal point and one that you would generally build your room design around.
In some more modern structures, a television, media unit, piece of art or a bookcase might be the focal point.
Think about how the room is used. This is especially important when it comes to the placement of furniture – seating in particular.
If the television is the central focal point, has seating been positioned in such a way that it can be viewed easily.
Where there's a fireplace, it would be natural to group seating around it - positioning two sofa's at right angles of the fireplace so they face one another.
Assess where windows are. Is there are lovely view? You don't really want to arrange seating so you have your back to any view, so consider how you position your furniture so you can enjoy it.
Where you place the furniture will inevitably dictate how that room is used.
Four way seating grouping is flexible and can float in the middle of a room or sit up against the wall. It encourages conversation and eye contact. Very often it can be used to optimise a view from the sofa while adding extra seating.
Be aware of the natural desire for personal space. Unless this is for family use, the sofa will need to be large enough for strangers to feel comfortable sitting on it together.
There is a certain formality in the symmetry of this arrangement. This arrangement also encourages eye contact and conversation.
Be aware of the matter of personal space.
Seating flush to the wall
An important space saving tool and can be used to make the best of a view.
Using seating as a room divider
In large or open-plan rooms where there is a lot of space to play with, using a long sofa to break-up and zone the space is a useful tool.
Another space saving way to place furniture, enabling you to view guests and any focal point.
In a room that is tight for space, it is natural; to use a wall to anchor large pieces of furniture – sofas especially.
Consider the composition of the room.
Adding a centrally situated coffee table, ottoman or beautiful armchair in a different fabric will create interest and help fill out the room.
The use of rugs will also help zone a space whilst pulling everything together and add structure.
Console tables positioned flush to a wall or to the back of a sofa are great for introducing extra surface space for lamps or used for storage.
Leggie console tables, indeed anything that isn't flush to the floor, will help create the illusion of space, as the viewer can see through the object.
Remember, form should follow function.
You don't want to create a space full of unimportant items or objects just because they are pleasing to you.
Aim instead to create a space that is equally efficient and appealing.
In our next blog in this series, we will offer you tips on how to decorate a living area.