If you watch TV in the living room, choose the surrounding lights carefully to avoid television glare. It can be distracting to have a bright overhead light above or in front of a TV set, so ensure ceiling lights are dimmable, or use offset wall sconces or floor lamps instead. Specific task lighting, such as reading lamps, are important if you read frequently, have low levels of natural light, and especially if you ever work in your living room. A floor lamp spaced between two armchairs can also count as task lighting, as conversation is a task, too (at least in living room terms). Low-level table lamps and floor lamps help to create a cozy atmosphere in the living room, especially at night. Evenly space these throughout the room, usually toward the walls, to create an even, warm glow that bounces inwards. Think creatively about this type of lighting: groups of candles even fairy lights count.
Living Room Basics. There are a few important things to remember when arranging living room furniture. Establish the focal point of the room and arrange furniture around it. In some rooms the focal point will be an existing feature such as a fireplace or window, and in some it will be something you bring in to the room such as a television. Use the furniture to create conversation areas. People should be able to comfortably talk to each other without straining their necks or shouting. If the room is particularly large you might want to create a few different conversation areas. Don't forget about traffic flow. Leave enough room for people to walk around furniture so they can easily get from one side of the room to another. Pull furniture away from the walls. Having all the furniture backs touching the walls is one of the biggest mistakes people make in the living room. If the pieces are closer together it will create a more intimate setting. As long as the backs of the pieces are finished, there's no reason not to show them off.
If you have quite a big living room or an open plan dining and living room, you can use the pathway to separate the different functional areas of the room. The focal point of a room should be suited to the room's function. Create too many focal points and your living room will feel visually cluttered or confusing. Arrange your furniture around the focal centre of the room (which doesn't necessarily have to be the literal centre of the room). I've reluctantly included a black marker for television placement in the living room floor plan diagrams below, as the television is typically the focal point of most living rooms today. To quote Joey from Friends, “You don't have a TV? What's all your furniture pointed at?”. But if you don't have a TV, (good for you!) you can replace this with a console table or artwork or whatever you like really to act as an anchor for the rest of the room. Even better if you have a fireplace that would make a great focal point for your living room.
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