I think for most people, the living room sets the tone for the rest of the house. It’s like the introduction or forward to a New York Times Best Seller. It should make you and your guests want to come in and explore the rest of the home.
There are 5 items that are essential to any living room:
- The Wing back Chair
- Club Chair
- Coffee Table
- An Ottoman (or a pair of stools)
I think the primary objective is to make the living room livable. It’s like a beautiful wedding ring, why have a gorgeous diamond that is never worn. I think function comes first. Secondly, the make or break of any room, but especially living rooms is space planning. A living room is often used for multiple purposes, but I think it is foremost a conversation space. The arrangement of the furniture should always facilitate conversation. Again, function before form.
The aesthetic draws me to traditional style design; however, any interior designer of worth will always say that space planning is the most important element of any design. This is even true in the kitchen; just because cabinets and appliances are stationary does not mean space planning isn’t involved.
To begin, I think it’s always wise to inventory the room in its empty state. Get a feel of the space that you have to work with. Next, locate the focal point in your living room. In many of today’s homes it is very common to have more than one focal point, keep this in mind when space planning. The most common areas to focus on are the fireplace and windows.
If your room has both a fireplace and a window with a view I think using the one you prefer more as the main point. Personally, I think the view is primary and the fireplace is secondary in a primary way. What I mean by that is in the day, the view is what is seen first and I think it is ideal to orientate the sofa so you can appreciate your view and by night you can appreciate the fireplace. The best advice I can give, however, is to do what you feel is best for your space. This is only my opinion.
One thing people have habit of doing is pushing their furniture against the walls. I understand it. We see this long expanse of wall and think we have to put a sofa there, but more often than not, the sofa should floating in the room. It should be given a prominent place because it is truly the anchor piece of furniture. All of the other pieces should be placed around it.
Sample Space Plan
Coming up - Part II: The Selection of a Sofa -