DDH Decorating Ideas

A Living Room is for Living In by decordreamhome

A living room should be lived in!

After many decades in the decorating business I have never ceased to be amazed at how often the so-called ‘living room’ – and this seems to apply all over the world – is more often than not more of a ‘looking at room’, a room for guests to be impressed by; a room which is quite evidently ‘for best’. Yet it seems only logical to me –especially in these much more casual times – that your living room should be the comfortable reflection of your own tastes, your own interests, your own hobbies.

The lighting should be well thought out, outlets plentiful and efficient dimmer switches installed both for the ambience the combination can then provide and for maximum practicality before any decoration takes place. This applies particularly if you need to re-wire or add extra wiring or install any recessed ceiling or architrave lights. This means that you need to plan your furniture arrangement well in advance in order to have lighting and lamps precisely where they are most needed, and, of course, for maximum flexibility.

Furniture should be versatile enough to suit different needs (and differently sized people for that matter). So really think long and hard about your comfort requirements as well as preferred styles, not just for now, but for future possibilities.

The room’s various surfaces (floor, walls, fabrics, table tops) should be practical and hard-wearing or at least easily cleanable, so that you are not constantly apprehensive about spillage and grubbiness.


The placement of accessories should also be as flexible as possible.

The general arrangement and placing of accessories should also be as flexible as possible so that the room is as efficient for social gatherings as for one or two quietly chatting or reading; as relaxed for card playing as it is for listening to music. And if you have a family, the room really should accommodate all the family members and not be kept as a show room to wow your visitors.

Parents of small, messy children might argue that the child factor is precisely why family rooms need to exist and indeed, if you have a big enough home for both family and living rooms that is obviously sensible and certainly more relaxing.  Though I would argue, at least semantically, that the less-used room should then more be called, more accurately, a ‘sitting room’, or the more formal ‘drawing room’, ratherthan given the misnomer of ‘living room’.

However, many of us, especially apartment and small house dwellers, do not have the space to have both rooms or if we do one might be better used as a home office or study/library, or media room. Incidentally, one of the most practical ideas I have seen for keeping a full-time living room as tidy as possible is to have a large round table covered with a full length tablecloth under which miscellaneous toys and play things, and even files and work thing; can be swept when the occasion arises. A large and decorative armoire might serve the same purpose, as can a chest of drawers or a bureau with some otherwise empty drawers.


International Designer Mary Gilliatt


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