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Is your living room under-lived in?


A Lived In Living Room Is Supremely Comfortable

A great living space is a welcome promise of comfort, function and beauty.

By its nature, you are reassured that it’s good to be home.


It’s in the details, all of them…


Conversation Areas Worth Talking About: If your living room has been loosely renamed The All In One Household Go-To Entertainment Center, then the key to success is to think functionally about what you’ll need for ease and convenience when arranging your furniture. Make sure you can sit comfortably while conversing with others.

Any room regardless of proper name has to be user friendly for the intended purpose. If you have to shout to make yourself heard because the seating arrangement is spread too far apart, or risk whiplash to crane your neck to look at whom you are speaking to, you have failed.

  • Start with the biggest piece, the sofa. Have two chairs flanking or opposing and a coffee table in the middle close enough for everyone to set drinks or food.  A sofa and a love seat at right angles and a chair or two opposite can work as well. Keeping the sofa and chairs within eight feet of each other is a good measure.  Allow 14” to 18” between the coffee table and the front of the sofa for easier access.

Chic and comfortable aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. Chic and comfortable can also be child friendly and pet-proof.  Lush, stylish fabrics are available in synthetics. Indoor/outdoor fabrics now offer beautiful options too. Another sure thing for easy mess clean-up are leather or vinyl, especially if you are using pale colors.

Don’t be stingy with comfort. One pair of sofa pillows looks underdone. Use two pairs. Here is an opportunity to mix in more texture and add color pops that are referenced in other areas in the room.

A large area rug and wiring for sound are extra credit pluses. Go for it all, but steer clear of formal/fussiness or no one will be comfortable.

Shed some light on your subjects. Put in extra outlets to ensure a mix of ceiling lights, table lamps and floor lamps. Think of using the lights in pairs too.

Why pairs?

Because creating a well designed space combines balance and composition, as much as comfort and function.

Make this fact your mantra for every room in your home and you will soon find yourself living in your dream of a personal oasis.

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“All of Man’s trouble stems from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Pascal.

Deal With It


It’s weird to walk into a home that’s alive with the heartbeat of living in every room, EXCEPT that special place reserved for Strangers and Guests. In actuality, your friends, family and assorted loved ones will be hanging out with you in the kitchen/family room/den, whooping it up altogether in good cheer. Did you really intend the Living Room to be reserved for people you don’t know and others you don’t much like?

Lost Horizon: John Saladino once said, “Space is the last luxury of the 20th century.”

That statement is even more true today.

Under-used rooms now qualify as Home Design Crimes.

To Be Fair: The English coined the term “Bed/Sit” for a large room where all the living is done. We call this a Studio Apartment on this side of the pond, but the concept is the same. It’s become chic as well as practical to dine in your library and use your dining table as your office desk too.

In other words, living in your living room is a given, when you are living large in a small space.

Sometimes a room isn’t used because you sort of forget it’s there. It’s situated off by itself and without a view into it from another room. Bear this in mind if you are planning a renovation. Find a logical, elegant way to create a traffic flow or at least a welcoming vista to prevent an orphaned room.

What’s in a name? The name “Family Room” automatically conjures an image of a big comfy sofa, a  big screen TV and maybe a big bowl of popcorn. So user-friendly, and casual, one doesn’t worry about eating sloppy pizza and cuddling up with the kids, cats/dog.

It’s time to make the Living Room live up to its name.

  • Zoning laws: The solution to a more lived in Living Room, lies in incorporating several activity options into that otherwise lonely location. Even if your living room isn’t large, creating distinct areas for specific purposes goes a long way towards re-orienting your perspective on where to go for common “at home” activities.
  • Not quite like changing seats on the titanic: If you want to avoid merely changing the location of the family room, keep the TV in the designated family room. That area remains the best place to keep the kids entertained and not under foot.
  • Make the living room the land of adults…or at least those pretending to be adults, along with other age groups who have been given instructions on how to behave. This is where you serve cocktails, socialize with guests, (flirt if there’s is attractive opportunity) and play games like Charades.
  • Speaking of games, a card table with chairs will enjoy frequent use. It’s perfect not only for card and board games, but as an out of the way place to do homework, office work, or hobbies. If space is tight, a 19” high coffee table does double duty.
  • Bookshelves stocked with your favorite “reads”, plus a few of those books you’ve always intended to get to, creates an opportunity for a quiet sanctuary. A fully loaded reading corner comes with an overstuffed chair, ottoman, a table to rest a drink on, table light and a soft throw. For extra credit, a sound system to provide background music is a very nice touch.

Next Time: Living Room Living #2: Make It Work

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Primavera: Allegory of Spring

 To “Say It With Flowers” seems inadequate


Still, honoring the arrival of spring can be more than the evident spring in your step. In the same way you distinguish between your cold weather wardrobe and warm weather clothes, consider where a “seasonal wardrobe” for your home furnishings and accessories can breathe new life into a stale winter environment.

Sing Spring with delicate water colors and soft fabrics.


Let it be Silly Season with those outrageous colors you have secretly coveted but were afraid to use.

Let me count the ways:

  • Slipcovers for the upholstered furniture are an inspired idea.  They can be removed for dry cleaning when necessary and offer opportunity for seasonal variety.
  • Switch out the bedclothes.  A different set of sheets, shams, pillowcases, blankets, bed spreads and/or duvet covers will give you the look of a redecorated bedroom, instantly.
  • Don’t overlook the effect of switching out the pillows on chairs and sofas too.  This goes for the throws and blankets that may be in use as well.  These small changes in color and texture make a notable difference.
  • Speaking of “throws”: throw rugs in certain areas can easily be replaced with inexpensive, light-weight cotton dhurries.  Stripes always look fresh and add punch.
  • Some of your window dressings can be switched out for lighter sheers or taken down completely this time of year.
  • Rotate your artwork and wall hangings. They have a big effect on setting the tone on your environment.  It’s a good time to lighten up and create a more playful “point of view”.

Meet Your Greens:

  • Nature is bountiful now so there is no excuse for not treating yourself well, and often. A gorgeous bouquet of flowers is always delightful, but don’t forget that using big leaves and fronds by themselves in glass vases can also be a striking arrangement. An additional perk this time of year is the availability of lemons or seasonal fruits to fill big bowls.  Your rooms will be scented in a wonderful way.
  • If you have abundant space and light, indoor trees are a wonder both for architectural effect and sheer beauty. Some flowering trees supply “scent opportunities” as well.
  • Terrariums and their distant cousins, Bonsai, are charming any time of year. A tiny little garden at your fingertips is particularly uplifting when the Winter Doldrums settle in.
  • Whether you choose vases of flowers or the drama of the gifted tree, don’t lose sight of the principles of balance and scale. A dinky waist high tree in a big corner looks silly.

Restraint and a plan will save the day.


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