The living room can take many forms and function in many ways. Whether you want a formal seating space or a casual great room for everyone to hang out, there are a few things you should consider. When planning the layout and design features for a custom home, overlooking these crucial aspects can detriment how much your new home works for you and how much you love it. So keep these 9 things in mind when designing your living room.
Where your living room is located within your house will greatly impact the design. If it’s connected to your kitchen, you may want to bring cohesion between the two rooms in some design way. You will also want to be sure that at the very least the rooms don’t clash. If the living room is more isolated though, the design can be more independent from the style of other rooms.
Lighting plays a big role in how a room should be laid out and designed. Is there a lot of natural light? What direction of exposure does it get? Where will overhead lighting be placed? All of this should be considered. Having a cohesive lighting plan will really help keep the room illuminate no matter the time of day. We recommend putting in a dimmer to so that you can set certain ambiances when desired. Windows and natural light will also affect interior design choices like paint color, flooring, furniture placement, and window treatments.
Before you even start planning your living room on paper ask yourself what you think the room will be used for most often. Will it be an adult space or a family-friendly room? Are you going to have a TV in there? What about entertaining? Knowing what you plan on using the room for really helps you plan and design for that function the best. So often people design these grand rooms with a massive fireplace and windows but they want it to be a family-friendly place. Now the room is a safety-hazard for kids and the TV has no good location. Avoid this mistake by thinking through function first.
The flow of a house is something that is hard to define but when a home doesn’t have it (or when they do), it’s obvious. A room should have both internal and external flow. In side the room itself, you want people to be able to move around furniture, have clear walkways, and know what the space is for. Focal points, couches, and rugs all help define the internal flow. You also want your living room to work well with the rest of your home. You want the room’s placement in the house to make sense.
When thinking about flow, people tend to picture themselves entertaining. Will people have enough room to hang out and mingle? How does the living room relate to other important rooms like the kitchen and dining room? People also tend to forget about things like how the living room is situated towards the bathroom guests will be using. You want the living room to be close enough to the powder room so guests can find it, but far enough away so that there is still privacy.
A huge mistake people make when designing living rooms in their custom homes is not thinking about furniture. If you have existing furniture you will be using in the room, take measurements and make sure it will fit. Make sure the room allows for every piece of furniture to have a home. So often people designing living rooms that look great, but don’t allow for good furniture layout. Either the TV has to be onto of a fireplace making it too high, or the couches always block a pathway. This is never good, and it completely ruins a room not matter how beautiful it looks.
6. Small Details
It’s usually the small details in planning a living room that dictates how functional it is. Things like light switches, outlets, and air conditioning vents matter. They should be in convenient, yet discrete locations. The last thing you want is to have no outlet close by for your television in your living room.
7. Privacy and Noise
Living rooms, after kitchens, are probably the room that sees the most action. They’re where you sit and have a glass of wine or have family movie night with the kids. When planning your living room, make sure you consider things like noise and privacy. Will your kids watching cartoons be too loud when you’re cooking? Do you want the option of closing a door? This is really where the debate between open-concept and separate rooms comes into play. While open-concept is more popular now, go with what works best for you and your family.
As custom home builders, there are countless times when a client wants a massive living room. So we give it to them. Once they move in though they are faced with the fact that space just is too big. Realistically think about how much room you need in the space. The larger the room, the more furniture it will need. This can be difficult, especially if you have a centered focal point that makes it hard to have multiple pieces. You want your living room to be proportional in size to the rest of the house. Make sure it’s the right size, not too big or too small.
We also stress thinking about the future for a reason. You want your living room to work in the present and the future. The last thing you want is to have a beautiful space, but after a few years, it just doesn’t function for your family anymore. Kids play a big role in this. If you have children, you want the room to grow with them, especially since living rooms are often where they spend a lot of time. Make sure it works for you in the future too. Will a step-down living room be too much of a hassle in old age? Are these expensive features going to decrease future resale value? Don’t let the future control your planning choices, but do keep it in mind.
Contact us to get started on building your new Toronto custom home, or to get more tips on designing your living room.