It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of “I want” when planning your living space. However, the rest of your family will want and need different things, so be sure that you’re keeping them in mind you’re creating a family-conscious living space.
Choose flooring that’s easy to clean
The floor is easily the most abused part of your living room, especially if children are present. They’ll drop things, spill food and generally cause a mess that you’ll have to spend your ‘free time’ cleaning up. Some companies offer luxury vinyl tiles that snap together with barely any room between them, meaning that you can mop up any spillages without it leaking through to the floor below – these generally don’t take long to clean, either, and you can swap them out if one happens to get damaged somehow.
Once the flooring’s down, what then? Well, if your children are usually occupying the middle of your living room floor with toys and games, consider getting a thick rug to make it more cosy and comfy.
Have plenty of storage
A family living space will be used by everybody, including extended family that are staying for a few nights. Everybody can have their own drawer, box or section of the shelf where they can keep anything that they might need at a moment’s notice. Mixing everything together can cause a lot of confusion when everybody’s scrambling to get the thing they want, and makes it much easier to tidy up if they leave clutter lying around.
It’s very difficult to stop younger children from messing around with things they shouldn’t be, whether it’s bottles of cleaning liquid in the bathroom or sharp cutlery in the kitchen. The living room is no exception, and you probably own some decorations or possessions that might put them in danger: medicine, batteries, landline phones and anything that’s small enough to be a choking hazard.
Buy large sofas that will seat everybody
The worst part about having too few seats is that somebody will need to sit on the floor – this isn’t always a problem, I like sitting on the floor, but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Choose a sofa that’ll seat everybody, ideally with a spare seat somewhere else for guests or a family pet, and you’ll find that spending time together becomes much easier and more enjoyable simply due to the way you’re all sitting near one another.
Of course, there’s the question of “one large sofa, or two medium sofas”? It really comes down to what you think you’ll need more, but if you have enough horizontal space to fit one in, a single longer sofa is generally a better choice. Older makes, like Chesterfield sofas, can hold an entire family without being impractically big, freeing up more space elsewhere for extra furniture and decorations.
Balance the temperature
Everybody will feel comfortable at slightly different temperatures, so it’s important to try and find the best balance between everybody’s preferences. Make sure there’s a steady supply of blankets and warm pillows nearby in case somebody is starting to feel a chill: this can also help if they catch a cold or need to lie down and rest for a while.
Radiators and open windows will also make a difference in how heat moves through the room. Try to plan around the temperature rather than just ignoring it – you wouldn’t want your baby’s ‘play area’ to be boiling hot or freezing cold.
Mix different furniture styles
Modern furniture is wildly different from the classic designs you might have grown up with, and it’s easy to get carried away with a certain style while you’re decorating. Remember that your home’s living space isn’t just for you – it’s meant to be used by your entire family, and you need to avoid basing the entire room on your own tastes. Ask them for ideas and see what kind of materials or colours they’ve expressed interest in.
Try to avoid letting style get in the way of practicality, too. It might seem fun to have a sofabed sitting in front of the television, but you’ll take up a lot more floor space without adding much to your day-to-day routine. It might be better to put your focus on keeping the room open and accessible instead of cluttering it up with extra decorations that don’t do anything and could break easily.