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Your living area is probably one of the few places that your whole family can just hang out together without any social pressures that might appear elsewhere. This is a space for reading while lounging on the sofa or playing video games from the comfort of a beanbag. It might also be a place for home crafts while watching TV or just sitting with a nice cup of coffee and watching the world go round.
For many families, finding the balance in the living room can be quite difficult. On the one hand, you might just want to sit and relax for half an hour before you put dinner on but your young kids want to rush about playing with their favorite, and most noisy, toys. So what can you do to create a relaxing living room that you can all enjoy?
Get the Lighting Right
The atmosphere in any room in any building is almost always down to what the lighting is like. Too bright and you will feel like you are a lab rat, too dark and it’s either going to feel spooky or just plain glum. Finding the balance is key to creating different moods and atmospheres.
Natural light is always the best way to bring light into any room and a north facing window is a huge advantage to have as the sun will illuminate the space nicely for most of the day. But even natural light can be too bright sometimes, especially if you are looking at a screen. A set of Venetian blinds is a good way to get the right balance of light as you can tilt them up or down to achieve shade where you need it without blocking the light altogether.
The right lighting in the evening is also crucial to how relaxed you feel. If you want to sleep well, you should reduce the amount of bright white or blue light you are exposed to in the evenings and use soft lights instead. Side lamps are good for this as they cast a smaller pool of light than your main lights, but candles will always be the best way to achieve that warm glow.
Introducing Soft Furnishings
It’s difficult to imagine a living room without soft furnishings, but it is how you use them that is key to creating a relaxing space. When it comes to interior design, people often focus on the look of the room without quite considering its functionality and how you want to behave while you are there. Thinking first about how you want to feel is always the best way to design any space.
Start with the cushions you have. A range of sizes, fabrics, and plumpness (for want of a better word!) will provide you with plenty of options for relaxation. A large soft floor cushion might be just what the kids want while you are watching a movie together, but a firmer, smaller cushion will support your head better while you have a sneaky nap on the sofa.
Throws are also a great accessory to have and there is almost nothing better than cuddling up in a blanket on a cool night. Or, from your kids’ perspectives, what better way to build a fort than with a blanket you can use to make the roof? You don’t need to have your throws out all the time, just roll them up and store them in a wicker basket next to the sofa for use as and when.
Plant it Up!
If you keep up with interior design trends, then you will already know that 2018 is all about bringing plants into the home. Your living room is an ideal space for a plant like a snake plant or an aloe which are both really easy to care for and will add a bit of structure to an otherwise soft space.
The recent trend for plants isn’t just about looking good, though. As animals, people should be in and around nature as much as possible for our health, but given that more and more of us are living in inner city apartments and we spend more time indoors, adding plants to our environment is beneficial for our health. As well as introducing more oxygen to the air, plants also give us an undefined sense of calm – we just feel better when there are plants around. Plus, the bacteria that plants bring in are actually good for our immune systems.
Set Some Rules
So now that you have your room in order, it is worth considering setting a few rules for everyone to live by while they use the living room. Now, this might sound a bit authoritarian, but think of it this way: every time you sit around the table to eat, there are certain rules to follow like not talking with your mouth full, and this is just the same idea but for the living room.
The first rule should always be compromise. This is probably the one room in the house where you will all need to be mindful of each other and be careful not to step on toes. Teenagers, in particular, can be quite touchy so try your best to be understanding of their needs as well as yours and your younger children. Teaching your kids to be accommodating of each other is definitely top of the list of parenting challenges and while you won’t always avoid every battle of wills, you can at least escape to your own kid-free zone!
The second rule should probably be applied to the whole house, but certainly to the living room and that is: tidy up after yourselves. This is a relaxing space but there is nothing less relaxing than tripping up over abandoned controllers or finding pots left on the side tables. Just putting things back in their right place will make a huge difference and give you all the flexibility you need to use the space how you like. And what could be more relaxing than that?