Alternative Uses For Your Living Room

Like most colonials, our home has a family room and a living room. And like most homeowners, we spend a lot more time in our family room than our living room. In fact, my 7 year old still gets confused when I use the term “living” room. It’s now just known as the “red” room in our house.

With some minor changes and a lot of inspiration, you can turn your living room into something you’d actually live in! Here are some possible uses and design tips to help you get started:

Home office – Home Office means different things to different people. It could be a place to pay bills and file paperwork, or a place for kids to do homework, or you may run a business out of your home. Whatever your definition, focus your design around the function of the room.

  • Provide a clear surface on which to work. It’s easy for a desk or table to become overrun with “stuff” resulting in no place to actually work. Tight for space? How about a table that drops down from the wall when needed (like a Murphy bed)?
  • Add a comfortable desk chair that is adjustable and doesn’t squeak (trust me on this one!). If your room has carpet, consider a plastic floor protector to help you wheel around easier.
  • Add lots of hidden storage, but be sure to clearly label your storage units so you know where to find things.
  • Lighting is key! You will need overhead as well as good task lighting. If there is no overhead light, add some up-lighting.
  • Select functional accessories that add personality by do not cutter the space. But be careful not to make it too institutional – it’s still your home, after all!
  • Keep the palate light and bright to inspire energy.
  • Minimize and secure cords as much as possible. Go wireless wherever possible.

Library – Love to read? Have a great book collection? Turn your living room into a cozy place to curl up with a good book! It’s like having your own coffee house.

  • Add lots of shelving. Rather than just adding bookcases, consider customized bookshelves built around a window to create a window box seat. Not only will you get additional storage, you’ll add a wonderful focal point to the room.
  • Instead of a traditional sofa or loveseat, opt for two or three comfy club chairs (depending on space). Gather those chairs around a round glass-top coffee table with a wood shelf underneath to show off some of your favorite coffee table books.
  • Provide task lighting for each reading chair. Pharmacy lamps are great for this. Make sure you also have enough lighting to see the books on the shelves.
  • As a library, you can comfortably use darker paint to create warmth.
  • Accessories – add a warm toned rug, soft throw blankets, and pepper the walls with black and white photography to create a coffee house feel.

Toy room – A toy room can be a great compromise between parents and kids in the eternal battle of toy clutter!

  • Opt for shelving with attractive bins that can hide the clutter inside them, and allow for pick-up in less than 5 minutes. Open storage looks messy, even when the room is picked up. Avoid a collection of mis-matched toy organizers – they look tacky!
  • Make sure the room is comfortable for grown ups as well as kids -add a comfortable chair or loveseat.
  • Add a kid-sized table and chairs. Tip: put a machine washable rug underneath to survive craft time!
  • Keep the room bright with cheerful colors, but avoid “cutesy” – save that for their bedrooms.
  • If your kids enjoy movies, add a TV and DVD player.
  • Set clear rules for cleanup, and stick to them!

Media room – Do you enjoy watching movies? Create your own movie theater in the comfort of your own home!

  • Add French or pocket doors and light-blocking shades to create a dark, quiet environment on demand.
  • Add a large screen TV with surround sound.
  • Add a dimmer switch to better control the lighting. Add task lighting to allow for discreet multi-tasking while watching a movie.
  • Depending on how many people will be watching the movies, add enough comfortable seating. Tip: use two loveseats angled at the corners of the room opposite the TV, and toss a couple bean bag chairs behind them for extra seating when necessary.
  • For decor, just frame a few of your favorite movie posters and hang them on the walls.
  • Don’t forget the DVD organizer and a handy remote control holder!

Mud Room -Depending on the layout of your house, you could convert your living room into an oversized “holding cell” to accommodate coats, back packs, shoes, calendars, cleaning supplies, dog bed, pet food and much more. You get the idea!

  • Assign a “locker” to each family member (don’t forget the family pet). Lockers provide vertical storage that makes good use of the space while hiding its cluttered contents. It’s a great storage solution for jackets, purses, backpacks, and more. Lockers can be wood or metal, whichever you prefer.
  • Add wall hooks for guest coats, umbrellas, etc.
  • Add a shoe rack for wet or dirty shoes. Place vinyl placemats underneath to protect your floor.
  • Create a mail box for each member of the family to control mail flow.
  • Add a credenza or file cabinet to file all that mysterious paperwork that wanders into the house.
  • Create a message center by painting a wall (or part of a wall) with magnetic and/or chalkboard paint. Make it “pop” by adding a large empty gold leaf frame!
  • Add a colorful rug. Rather than get one large rug, opt for a couple smaller rugs that are machine washable.
  • How about a small drop-leaf table and a couple chairs for small projects, or for putting boots on?

Stag room – What can I say? If you must have one, here are some ideas:

  • Add a pool table, and a dart board (if room).
  • Include a bar and some bar stools.
  • Opt for a darker paint color that won’t show wear and tear.
  • Display your favorite neon bar sign, deer head, or other prized possession.
  • Add a juke box in the corner if you like.
  • Don’t forget the traditional “dogs playing poker” print!

Overwhelmed? Call an Interior Re-designer in your area. They specialize in making rooms work using what you already have. It’s a very cost-effective way to bring new life to your old room.

It’s time to start actually living in your “living” room!

Living Room Styles

A home must look ‘lived’. In the sense, it must give a comfortable ambience and most of all a congenial environment to unwind. Most of the living rooms these days are regarded a time for the family to meet. With open kitchens, the best creations are seen from the designs that are endorsed by top interior designers. The basic arrangement in a central room must be comfortable seating along with the décor that is pleasing and soothing to the eyes. It is certainly a play of colors that is brought in by wall paintings, photos, television sets and most importantly a sofa set. Most compact rooms also allow a dinner table to be house in a main room.

The best idea for a room can be positioning the television set in the most appropriate place. That is not a very movable part in a room. Hence, it is best to allocate other furniture if your television unit is strategically placed. You can always lend a lot of smartness to your rooms with intelligent space management. A sofa can also give you a lot of different décor if you invest in the lightweight variety that is so easy to move. Lights make a lot of difference to the décor. The LED lights are in, you have your choice in the most stylish ones, and chandeliers too for living rooms are very much affordable.

When you choose furniture, you can look for modern ones. It is true that vintage is in but you can always make your choice in the retro concepts that are very practical. Even while you choose artifacts for your room, it is advisable to get a single or few pieces in the best makes. Several antique pieces may not justify the décor of your room. Rugs and carpets totally depend on the weather conditions. Good quality floors in marble or wood are the best for all living rooms. It is great if you can strike a deal for the upholstery when you shop for your bedroom furnishing.

A good set in sofa or wicker chairs can do so much to your style. If the room extends to a patio, it is great to get a bit expressive with your concepts. They can include hanging lanterns, a small wicker stool, and the many essentials you need for a patio. This is one way to create a warm feeling in your room and patio.

Optimize the Space in Your Living Room With Corner TV Cabinets

If you have limited space in your living room then you may find it difficult to store and display your television equipment. Modern televisions are large and all the associated equipment can take up a lot of room. TV stands can take up a lot of floor space in your living and could intrude on the overall design. A good solution is corner TV cabinets. These pieces of furniture are shaped to fit back into the corner of a room and make the best use of areas with restricted space.

Types of TV Corner Cabinet

TV corner cabinets are available in different designs so you should be able to find a style to suit your living room. If you have a modern décor then one of the glass, plastic or metal corner TV stands can be a good option. These smart, contemporary looking TV stands are widely available and come in a good range of different shapes and sizes. They are also affordable and are a cost effective way to store and display all of your home television equipment. If your home has a more traditional décor then a wooden corner TV cabinet can be a more suitable option. You should be able to find a finish to match your own furniture whether it is beech, oak, maple or pine.

Setting up TV Corner Cabinets

You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you are setting up a corner cabinet from a flat pack kit. Once you have done this then you can install your television equipment.

Firstly you will need to make sure that there is adequate ventilation for your television equipment. DVD players, set top boxes and recorders can all get very hot as they are operating and so they need good ventilation if you are going to store them in a cabinet. Look for a TV corner cabinet that has plenty of air flow sections in the back or sides. Many wooden and laminate cabinets have only thin back panels so if you do not have adequate ventilation you could carefully cut a few air holes in the panel yourself using a jigsaw. Ensuring good ventilation for your television equipment will prevent it from overheating and increase its life.

Think about what height you need the television for comfortable viewing. If the cabinet is not high enough on its own then most modern televisions come with their own stands which you can use to adjust the height. You can also buy table top TV stands that can provide more range of adjustment.

When you are installing your equipment you need to think carefully about the cables and wiring. Corner TV cabinets have restricted access at the back so it may be easier to install all of the equipment with the cupboard slightly out into the room. Then when you have finished you can carefully move the TV cabinet back into the corner of the room out of the way.

Living Room Cleaning Tips

The living room is undoubtedly the most trafficked room in the house. This is not surprising seeing as it is where the family converges to touch base, connect and communicate. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it gets dirty quickly and needs to be cleaned as frequently as possible.

Only problem is that you probably don’t have the time to clean it as frequently and as thoroughly as possible. So, how can you clean the living room quickly, thoroughly and without missing the important spots?

The quickest way to do that would be to hire a cleaning service. Most reputable living room cleaning services have staffs that are trained to effectively clean the house without missing any spot. And the good thing is they can come in on designated days to clean the house -whether you’re around or not. So, unless you’ve arranged for them to come every day, you still need to know to clean up the room and house every day. The following tips will help you do that in less than 15 minutes.

Ensure that All Cleaning Supplies are in One Place

This will save you a lot of time later. The best way to do this is to have all of them in one handy carry on basket that you can reach when you need to. The items you should have in the basket include Swiffer cloths or pledge mitts, long reach duster (perfect for getting to high hard to reach places), micro-fiber cloth, cleaning agents, disinfecting and surface wipes, Windex and a mop.

Declutter the Couch

How great your sitting room looks does not matter if the couch is cluttered and un-arranged. So, start with the couch. Rearrange and fluff the couch so it looks clean and tidy. Remove all clothing materials, that don’t belong on the couch, toys and any other thing there. If your kids left their toys there, just gather them in one place and transfer them to their toy box or closet. If you have a portable or hand vacuum, use that to get rid of crumbs, hair, and dust particles on the couch.

Throw all Unnecessary Items in the Container or Basket

Put this in the middle of the room and dump all the things that shouldn’t be in the living room there. This is a more effective use of your time and is always better than running to different parts of the house to replace things.

Fix the Coffee Table

If there’s a coffee table or a center table in the living room, wipe it down, dust it and rearrange the items therein. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make sure that they are neatly and decently arranged so the table doesn’t look untidy.

Vacuum The Living Room

Now, vacuum the whole living room. If you did the first four well, vacuuming won’t take too long at all. This will help remove and eliminate all outstanding dirt and dust. If there is water on the floor, be sure to mop the floor and clean it before vacuuming. All these won’t take longer than 15 minutes -20 minutes tops- to do. So, do them and your living room will end up looking very tidy and clean.