Living Room Basics: Ultimate Living Room Buying Guide
Living rooms are the social hub of the home. It’s a place to sit back, relax and catch up with friends and family in a cosy and inviting setting. With so many living room styles, shapes and designs to choose from, we thought we’d take it back to basics to help you create your perfect living room setting. We’ll cover everything from what furniture pieces to choose to colours and coordination. Sit back and enjoy!
Know Your Space
First things first: know your space. It’s best to start by drawing up a floor plan so you know what room you’ve got to work with. Don’t worry- this is far easier than it sounds. All you need is a tape measure, pen and paper! Alternatively, there are loads of apps that’ll do all the work for you. Some apps even let you visualise your future by placing it in a space. To see the apps we’ve chosen as the most useful, check out our blog: Top 6 Must-Have Interior Design Apps.
Living Room Furniture: Staple Pieces
There are certain furniture pieces that are signature of a living room setting. These are the pieces that will really stand out in your space so you’ll want to choose them wisely…
Sofas & Occasional Chairs
Sofa and occasional chairs are generally the biggest investment for your living space, so you’ll want to make sure they’re right for you. The most important thing to get right is sizing, which is best to do before you buy. For more information on sofa sizing, take a look at our Your Sofa Buying Questions Answered blog post.
- Seat Height
- Seat Depth
An equally important feature of living room seating is the comfort. Check the materials and quality of the sofa padding if you’re after a really cosy piece. For example, some sofas have a softer sit while others are padded but remain slightly firmer to retain their shape.
Chairs and sofas with high arms, such as the Ellis sofa and armchair, offer more support when relaxing and will create a bigger impact in your space. Fabric sofas such as the Studio will create a softer and cosier look. Leather sofas and chairs with a quilted detailing, such as the aptly named Luxe sofa, will instantly add a luxurious feel to any living space.
Coffee tables are a staple piece of living room furniture. They’re perfect for creating conversational areas where drinks and snacks can always remain at arm’s reach. If you choose a rectangular coffee table, it should be roughly one half to two thirds the length of your sofa. Round and square coffee tables are more flexible, it’s just a case of matching what will suit both your sofa and seating arrangement.
The height of your coffee table should always be slightly lower than the seat height of the sofa and chairs around it. As for spacing, around 36 to 46 cm will allow for enough leg room between your sofa and coffee table.
Make sure you know the size of your TV and of the unit you are considering purchasing. You don’t want a unit or TV that’s too big or too small! If you’re planning on putting a lot of electrical equipment on the unit, you’ll want to consider cable management as this will help keep your space looking tidy. Aside from housing electrical pieces like your TV box or DVD player, consider whether you want to use the unit for storage of books, TV remotes and other miscellaneous items.
You won’t want cables trailing across your living room floor, so check that there is a power socket near where you want to have your TV. And finally, consider what you’ll be using your TV unit for. Obvious answers aside, are you an avid gamer or minimalist? Consider what you need the unit for so that it ticks all of the right boxes.
TV stands and TVs are measured in different ways. TV stands are measured horizontally across the front while TVs are measured diagonally across the screen. Also, the measurement of a TV screen does not include the frame around the screen (which is sometimes referred to as a bezel). This is important to note as it means a 40 inch TV unit will not perfectly accommodate the size of a 40 inch TV. If you want to get a TV stand that matches up with the edge of your TV, measure the width of your TV rather than using the size given to you as this will be the diagonal measurement of the screen.
Living Room Furniture: Optional Extras
Side tables are such an underrated piece of living room furniture. Versatile, practical and stylish, they’ve got it all! In your living room, you’ll want to have enough surface space without overcrowding your room, and side tables will help you to do just that. If you’re a little pushed for space, you can group side tables together instead of having a coffee table. This will give you both a stylish and versatile surface space.
Alternatively, opt for a side table set that can be stacked or tucked away. That way you can bring out more surface space when needed.
As for sizing, side tables shouldn’t be much shorter than the height of the sofa or chair they are next to for both practicality and aesthetics.
Console Tables and Sideboards
The great thing about a console table is that you can style them in almost any space. Their cleaver sizing and shape means they take up minimal room while maximising the space. Opt for a console table in your living room if you don’t have room for a large sideboard, or if you have an awkward empty space you want to fill.
If you have the room or need the storage, then opt for a sideboard. Sideboards work incredibly well in a living space as you can style items on the top surface while storing away any miscellaneous items and clutter. A compact sideboard is a compromise between a console and regular sideboard as you get the best of both worlds: space saving and storage.
Living Room Spacing and Styling Tips
Here’s a quick rundown of best practices when it comes to living room furniture, from styling, sizing and colour schemes:
1. Inspiration. Start by looking through your favourite magazines and pinning pieces to your Pinterest board. For now, don’t worry about the cost, just start to get a feel for what colours, styles and materials you’d love to have in your space. There are always ways to create expensive looks for less. There are loads of ideas on our Pinterest page to get you started!
2. Focus. Decide on a focal point in your living room so you can build and style your furniture around it. Keep in mind that living spaces are highly convivial and conversational when choosing what to focus on, as you’ll want the space to remain open and inviting. Your focus could be anything from your TV or fireplace to your seating or a piece of artwork.
3. Back it up! This may sound controversial, but you don’t need to place all of your furniture against the wall… Sofas are great for creating different areas in your living room, especially useful if your room is open plan. You can find out more about our open plan living tips here.
4. Room for all. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to seat at least 6 people in your living room. Even if you’re pushed for space, this is easier to do than you think! For example, sofas like the Ellis 2 to 3 Seater are slightly larger than your average 2 seater sofa meaning you can always fit in a couple more when needed. Side tables and footstools are also ideal as they can double up as a handy extra seat.
5. Colourpop. You don’t need to have a bright green feature wall to introduce some colour into your living space. Instead, you can go for a more subtle approach through your choice of side or coffee tables. If you’re after something bolder, choose a coloured sofa or armchair. Make sure you choose a colour you love and not just the ‘in’ shade though, as you’ll be sitting on that sofa long after the colour trend is over!
6. Traffic flow. By placing furniture pieces closer together you’ll create a more intimate setting. However, you’ll want to leave enough room for guests to walk through. People should be able to comfortably talk to each other without straining their necks or shouting while also being able to easily get from one side of the room to another.
7. Coordinate rather than match. A living space that’s too coordinated can look a little forced. You want your space to work together but still have that WOW factor. To do this, choose two to three main colours for your room palette and incorporate them throughout different aspects of your space. This will tie the look together but lift your space and stop it looking too matchy-matchy or flat.
8. Declutter. A busy and cluttered living space doesn’t exactly scream relaxing home haven. Decide what you need in the room and what’s taking up space that could be used more practically.
9. Be realistic. We just suggested clearing away the clutter but that’s not to say you have to leave your surfaces bare. In fact, a living space needs those personal touches to make it feel like home. Otherwise, it’ll start to feel too posed and not lived in. Plants, photos and stylish ornaments are all simple but effective ways to give your living room its own personal style.
Show Us Your Style
Already have some Danetti pieces in your living room? We’d love to see how you’ve styled your space. Show us your style by posting a pic on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Don’t forget to #mydanetti!
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