Welcome to Guest Poster Samantha Peters! She is a blogger who enjoys writing about ways to turn rooms within a house into more usable and enjoyable spaces (amen to that!). Samantha currently lives in San Diego, California where she lives with her dog Leona. I can totally relate to her quest to make the living room livable in the real world.
Ever since I remodeled several years back, I have always prided myself on my living room’s layout and design. It has plush tan couches, a Persian rug that is possibly the most valuable item in the house, and a cozy yellow lighting scheme that throws soft shadows onto the fireplace and windowsills. Most recently, I used painting contractors last year to add more color and warmth to the walls.
There’s no doubt that I am pleased with my living room’s design. There’s just one problem: the room gets almost no use.
My family considers our home’s common spaces to be the kitchen, the family room, and at times even the basement. We gather in the kitchen to talk and in the living room to watch television. We spend time in our bedrooms and track into the dining room whenever guests are being entertained.
But the living room? My design successes notwithstanding, the room goes all but unused.
I’d like that to change. While the living room has largely replaced the Victorian parlor as the formal center of a house, I don’t want my home’s largest room to gather dust and grow neglected. Furthermore, while I like the room’s look and am glad it possesses an elegant and clean feel, I also want it to feel more as though people live in it. The best way to do that, well, is to encourage that they actually do.
Here are a few changes I plan to make with that goal in mind:
I don’t want to introduce a TV to the living room, meaning that perhaps its best allure is as a great place to relax and read a book. With that goal in mind, I am going to reposition one of the couches so that it can fully take advantage of the room’s Southern exposure. This would then make for a great place to drink coffee and read the paper on a Saturday morning.
Keep A Library
I don’t mean adding a bookshelf and cramming hundreds of books into my living room. Instead, I’m going to get a new end-table with built in shelves and a newspaper rack. My family and I can use this table to store any books and magazines that we are currently reading, once again furthering my goal of making the living room a reading destination in the home.
Use The Fireplace
Probably the most unique feature of my living room is that it’s the only room in the house with a fireplace. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ve used the fireplace for several years. Hauling in wood, struggling with the lighter, and dealing with the smoke proved too much of a hassle. I’ve decided, in light of this, to change over to an automatic, gas-burning fireplace with synthetic logs. Sure, doing so sacrifices some of the authenticity and charm, but I’m hoping that this will translate into much higher degrees of family-wide use, especially during the winter months.
Add A Coffee Table
The addition of a coffee table will meld well with the room’s existing design and may even bring more traffic to the now-unused couches. I say this because my kids are constantly carrying their laptops around the house and doing work at the kitchen table and at the table in our family room. A new coffee table in the living room provides one more workplace option.
Hopefully these steps will help me get more use out of my living room. And, hopefully, they will give you some ideas if you’ve experienced the same problem. But for now I’m off to make some tea and curl up with a book. I’ll be in the living room, of course.
Great info Samantha, and good luck getting your family into the living room without a TV in there! If anyone can do it, I know you can with this great plan! ~Susan