The key to creating a living room that works for the whole family is to formulate a smart plan that meets everyone’s needs. In some ways, it’s easier to describe what this doesn’t mean.
For example, it doesn’t mean allowing your kids’ toys to litter the living room floor so that adults are constantly stepping over or around them. It doesn’t mean filling the room with favourite precious ornaments that are just asking to be knocked over and shattered by a passing child And it doesn’t mean allowing your television or a noisy gaming machine to dominate the space completely so no-one can hear themselves think.
Once you start to consider such things it becomes obvious that an ideal living room is one which has zones to suit your family members so that everyone can comfortably co-exist.
Let’s start with promoting comfort in your living room. Ideally, your furniture will be perfect for family get-togethers. Whether you are watching TV together or playing a board game, for example. Washable, removable covers for sofas and chairs are ideal for living rooms as accidental spills are soon remedied. Hardwood waterproof flooring is also a good idea, with the addition of a few rugs in different parts of the room.
A neutral décor works best with pops of colour in specific places, where you want to create a relaxing place to read, for instance, or an energetic play area. The best window treatments are California Shutters as curtains and blinds can be fussy to operate as well as hazardous to younger children. Shutters, on the other hand, will fit snugly to your window openings and you can choose your preferred style and colour from a wide range of options. I’d absolutely love shutters in my living room!
If your home has a separate play area, then encourage your children to make the most of it and allow just a few favourite toys into the living room when appropriate. They may also like to play in their bedrooms; however, there are times when you may want them to be supervised.
If you accommodate them by creating a comfortable corner in which they can play you are better able to keep their activities confined to a specific part of your room. Items that work well are good storage, which can often double as low-level seating, small tables for colouring and drawing and comfortable beanbags to encourage them to relax while playing. Use a bright area rug to define their play zone.
Precious items are best stored away until children are older. Alternatively display them safely in a secure cabinet or certainly above head height. You might find that as your children grow, certain items must slowly ‘move up the walls’ via suitable open shelving. That includes electronic equipment as well as delicate ceramics or books.
If you like to display family photos why not make a collage in a large frame to mount on a wall, rather than leave individual photos on a tempting windowsill or sideboard, where little fingers can reach them. The minimalism in Scandinavian décor has a lot to recommend it.
Most families have their television in the living room, as it’s convenient for communal watching. Frequently they are wall-mounted to create more space, and that also helps keep them out of reach of younger children. If you have games enthusiasts at home, you might wish to consider the benefits of allowing a second set to be used as a monitor in bedrooms or in another part of your home. That removes the worry that younger children, for example, may be exposed to unsuitable material or that gaming will dominate the shared space.
The key to achieving this successfully is to set family rules for time spent gaming, the games permitted, total screen time as well as restrictions on gaming late at night. Every family is different, however, it’s usually possible to reach an agreement (even with sulky teenagers) if you’re firm about rules on school nights, and a little more flexible at weekends or during holidays. Bear in mind that last year researchers from Oxford University found some guidelines on restricting children’s screen time may be overstated.
Finally, make the most of those comfortable seats, small tables and window shutters when you’re preparing for family movie night. Use the tables for the family’s favourite refreshments (remember your sofa covers are washable) and make good use of the shutters to create your cinema-quality blackout. Sit back and relax with the whole family and enjoy.
These are all things we considered when we redecorated our living room and the balance of everything is working really well. 95% of toys are now in the boys bedroom. The TV is out of reach and we don;t have many items that are breakable.
* Collaborative Post