Living Room

5 steps to take charge of your living room

How to make it a haven for leisure and entertainment
Chris Warnes

Unlike the busy kitchen and bathroom spaces in your home, your living room is a place to entertain, relax and recline.

It still needs to be function however. What shape is yours in? Whereas your kitchen and bathroom tend to require a daily tidy-up and wipe down in the course of their use, the living room can become a repository for build up of the detritus of daily life, making general tidying frustrating and cleaning even more difficult.

 If it’s in need of an overhaul, here’s where to start.

1. Take stock

Before you do a big clean and clear out, look around at how the room is functioning now.

“The first step is to go through and understand what’s really happening within your space,” says Tiffany Buckins, head of interior design as IKEA. “It’s really about trying to understand the real practicalities of your space. It’s not the sexy part of the project, but it’s the part that will ultimately make you happy in the end.”

Ask yourself:

What are the activities that are happening inside your living room?

When you’re all together with your family, what are you actually doing within that space?

What brings you joy? Is it game night? Is it movie night? Is it being able to have everything within easy reach?

Consider all whether your layout, storage, lighting and decoration supports each activity. Make a list of what works and what doesn’t and write down anything you feel needs addressing.

Here are some examples:

How are you storing kids’ games?

Are your throw rugs clean and in good condition?

Can you find the remote when you need it?

What’s cluttering up your coffee table?

Take charge of your living room | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Armelle Habib)

2. Declutter

Over time you may experience a build up of– be it magazines, newspapers, kids toys, washing baskets or AV equipment and games. To help streamline the space, do a speed clean, ready for a deep clean.

3. Deep clean

We mean everything!

  • Vacuum first, then dust where you don’t usually bother to – the back of bookshelves, bottom of baskets, pokey corners and under the stairs.
  • Dust light fittings and wipe clean
  • Brush away cobwebs in ceiling corners
  • With a clean, damp cloth down surfaces, along skirting boards, window sills and door frames
  • Wash windows – you’ll be amazed at the difference!
  • Do another quick vacuum to capture any residual dust
Take charge of your living room | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Jody D’arcy)

4. Rethink your furniture and layout

“I’m not sure if it’s necessarily always a good idea just to redo your home based on a trend, or something that’s happening out there,” says Tiffany. “It’s really [more about] thinking through the functional aspects first, before you ever set foot in a store for inspiration, or go to the website or Instagram for inspiration – know what you need first.”

Consider adding a rug, or statement chair to the decorating mix. This is an ideal way to demarcate a zone for private retreat with a book or to listen to music, but also allows for flexibility in your furniture configurations.

Pairing an armchair with a sofa creates a conversation area that can be shared by everyone gathering in your living room. Alternatively, you might like to position your statement chair for optimal TV viewing.

In terms of choices of fabric and style, work with the rest of your room. “A true statement chair would be one which allows for contrast,” says Joy Simonson, senior interior design at Coco Republic. “Whether this is in size, shape or colour. This is a decision based around the personality of the room and the people living in it.”

Take charge of your living room | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Annette O’Brien)

5. Style it up

Now that you have a sparkling clean space with a brand-new furniture layout, embrace your inner stylist and take time to display things beautifully.

For things that need to stay in your living room, put together storage solutions that make them at once accessible when needed and tidily stored. A basket for throws, a stylish box or basket(s) for toys, labeled boxes for movies, CDs and bits and pieces you use daily.

Stack books and magazines neatly – colour code them if you’re inclined to. Line up your baskets, group vases together on a shelf or mantelpiece. Make a special effort with your coffee table and celebrate your prized pieces.

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