The living room is one of the key spaces within the home as it affects everyone who lives there plus friends coming to visit. Time spent planning a living room design is always time well spent, as there are so many elements to consider.

Function should be the first step in the design process. An important consideration is the location of the sockets for the T.V., as furniture and bespoke joinery can then be designed around this pivotal point.   The design and layout should create an environment that is ideal for watching TV but also focus on other areas of interest.

Another aspect, which will affect the room’s design, is the fireplace.  Normally this would be the central focal point of any living room as it provides great structure to the layout.  However a fireplace is not an essential feature as bespoke joinery can be designed to recreate the type of structure and symmetry a fireplace might provide.

To further enhance the symmetry of the room, the placement, size and proportion of the furniture is very important.  Two sofas facing each other with two chairs at one end gives the classic, formal living area while a large corner sofa will make a more informal cosy space.  Play around with the layout until you are one hundred percent happy with it as the large pieces of furniture become the bone structure of a design.

As regards fabric colours it is advisable to keep the large items of furniture neutral so they do not dominate the room.  Add accent colours through accessories, cushions and throws where required.  Textures such as velvet and linen can work well but it depends on the style and look you want to achieve.

It is usually of great benefit to have some form of rug or carpet in a living room not only to add to the warm, homely feel but also to absorb sound and reduce echo from the TV.   Patterned rugs can create interest but make sure if you do choose a pattern that you keep other upholstery more plain to balance the design.

Living rooms are areas that will be used during the day and in the evening so effective lighting is critical to their success. The layout of the lighting should work with the layout of the furniture so deciding on the furniture first is a crucial part of the process.  It is a good idea to have a mix of general and task lighting. General Lighting acts as the foundation of any lighting scheme and is usually designed in the form of a central pendant, recessed ceiling lights or wall lights.  Task lighting is another important part of the scheme and should be included for activities such as reading.  Finally the addition of a dimmer switch will create the perfect atmosphere for relaxing during the evening.

A beautifully designed living room can become a real asset to any home, as it is the ideal place to relax, unwind and entertain friends.   It is one of the core rooms of the house and its importance in everyday living should not be underestimated.

Jenny Allan