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Living Room Design Ideas

What do you do in your living room?

Before you dive in to the living room design ideas shown on interior design websites, spend some time thinking about what you will be doing in your living room.



Once you know what activities the room needs to accommodate (not just the obvious ones), you can go on to think about how your conversation area and living room layout will work best.

After all, your living room needs to be a space that enhances the time you spend at home, not a source of frustration because the design isn’t properly thought through.

Living Room Activities

I’ve listed a few obvious activities below along with their storage considerations (never forget about storage!)

It’s also worth having a go at the design a house exercise to explore other activities that will be particular to you that will go on in your living room and will start the foundation for your living room design ideas. This is one of the things that came out of the exercise for someone...

"I’m into sewing and when it comes to the bits of a project that need to be done by hand I like to leave it until I’m sitting down to an episode of whatever box set I’m watching. So in my living room I have a storage spot for thread, needles, pins, scissors, thimbles (I bought a second set of supplies so I wouldn’t have to run around the house getting stuff together) right there in the living room – and a really good light so that I can see what I’m doing."

Anyway – back to the obvious activities

  • Reading (keep books in living in room? Need a table to set down the books that you have on the go?)
  • Watching TV (TV – and all the other boxes and maybe speakers that go with it – how about a screen and projector in the living room for movie night?)
  • Playing computer games (Nintendo PS whatever number we’re on now, X box, Y box, controllers, microphones – where am I going to keep all this stuff!!)
  • Playing board games.
  • Relaxing (that’s more like it)
  • Sleeping on the sofa or in a chair (because napping is good for you)
  • Pre or post dinner drinks with friends (where can people put their drinks down?)
  • Hosting friends with nibbles or tea (is your coffee table big enough?)
  • Hosting a big party (see the living room designs page to see how many people you can fit in!)

Big party entertaining is certainly a consideration for living room design ideas but don’t make it a priority (unless maybe you’re an embassy wife or something). I know I’ve sometimes spent hours fretting that a living room won’t work very well when we throw a New Year’s Eve party but it’s the activities that happen every day that really matter.

Next, think about any special objects that will go in your living room(s).

  • Are there any pieces of furniture, accessories or artwork that you definitely want to display in your living room? If so, make a note of them, and their measurements of course.
  • Are you going to have a piano in the living room?
  • Where will the Christmas tree go?


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