How to arrange living room furniture
reading time: 7 minutes
How has the contemporary lounge changed? What functions does it fulfil within homes and how should furnishings be organised to get the best from it?
Initially intended as a reception room in aristocratic dwellings, the traditional sitting room - a separate room used only for relaxation and entertaining - is now very rare. It has now been superseded by the lounge, but in contemporary interiors this, too has become a function within a larger room, or at least is required to transform itself depending on needs and the time of day.
Very often the lounge is combined with the living room, which also includes the dining area (once upon a time, dining rooms were also separate), or - even more often - with the kitchen. The living area is perhaps the best term for identifying the room where the whole family generally spends most of its day.
Furnishing a modern living room: the essentials
Focusing solely on the relaxation area, which nowadays replaces the lounge as such, we can quickly list the absolutely essential items of furniture.
- comfortable seating: sofas, armchairs, poofs, chaises longues, hammocks ... anything that aids relaxation and enables you to read, watch TV, chat or relax alone or with others;
- occasional tables and/or other surfaces to take drinks, books, devices or anything else you use in the lounge;
- a bookcase or shelves for books, records (which are now very much back in fashion) and CDs (for those who still have any), or just a shelf to take the Bluetooth speakers connected to personal devices;
- smart TV or projector to transform the lounge into a home cinema, or for enjoying your favourite boxed sets.
Apart from this list it is also worth mentioning plants: although they are certainly not essential for everyone, they are an interior design feature with great aesthetic impact and some of them are able to improve the health of indoor air.
How should lounge furniture be arranged?
The layout of the furniture items in the lounge must be decided on the basis of the functional requirements and preferences of the people who live in the home: ideally, this very important task should be entrusted to a professional interior designer, who will be skilled in reconciling technical and stylistic factors and aligning them with the family’s requirements.
Watch out for some common mistakes:
- failing to provide passages or access to windows, doors and/or French doors;
- failing to choose (and highlight) a focal point or feature - which will be the conceptual centre of the room;
- failing to create a hierarchy of functions. What does this mean?
- If, for example, the lounge is also used for working, a space must be provided for this.
- Or if friends and relatives are often entertained at home, more seating, of various kinds, which may also be multipurpose or space-saving, must be provided.
- If the TV is not used very often, there is no point in arranging all the seating facing towards it: it makes more sense to design a relaxation/conversation zone which can be faced towards the screen only when necessary.
- Are there children in the home? The lounge must also be designed for them, so that they have a play area to be organised and tidied up at the end of the day.
And so on.
Depending on the position of the doors and windows, and after deciding the lounge’s functions, the seating and furnishings are arranged in accordance with room’s design. Very often, the size and shape of the sofa influence the layout of the rest of the furniture: the spaces left can be organised with greater flexibility.
When living room and lounge are combined: the modern living area
In most contemporary flats, the lounge is an integral part of the living room and thus also includes the dining area.
In these cases it is very important to design interiors with care, to define the boundaries of functions even if there are no partition walls.
With these open plan arrangements, the layout of the living room furniture must be consistent with the aim of defining spaces without physically enclosing them.
So multipurpose furniture which can separate while providing storage spaces or useful surfaces is an excellent idea. The dining room furniture can separate, supply storage or support the TV: a well designed layout is of crucial importance.
Marking out and defining spaces and functions: decorating the lounge with tiles
In situations of this kind, when spaces are fluid and versatile and open plan layouts are the general rule, the floor may become a crucial in both decorative and functional terms. Thanks to the infinite variety of sizes and material effects, nowadays porcelain stoneware is an excellent design choice for modifying the perception of interiors and furnishing them even before the furniture itself is added.