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All your furniture facing the TV? 6 common living room layout mistakes - and how to fix them

Louise Dockery offers solutions to make your living room flow.

WE PROBABLY ALL spend more time sprawled out in our living rooms than we’d care to admit, and boxset bingeing aside, a comfortable living room is crucial for helping you switch off and relax at any time of day.

When it comes to comfort, we often think the only necessities in a living room are a comfortable sofa and a cosy temperature. But flow and layout shouldn’t be overlooked either. The correct furniture placement will encourage conversation, appreciation of natural light and an overall feeling of balance.

If you worry that there’s something not quite right in your living room, here are six great ways to change up your living room layout. 

Mistake #1: Pointing everything toward the TV

Many Irish homes seem to take styling tips from Joey Tribbiani, whose entire interior design motto was roughly, “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?” There’s no need for everything in your room to be centred around the television.

Of course, it’s nice to have a comfortable viewing spot, but it’s also nice (and important!) to have a space to sit and chat without the distraction of a TV. It doesn’t exactly promote easy conversation to have a line of seating facing nothing but a screen. 

Solution: Rearrange major furniture pieces so that at least some of the seating faces each other, a window or even a nice piece of artwork. If you can put your television on a swivel mount, you’ll be able to move it when you’re hoping to maximise viewing potential.

Mistake #2: Letting furniture line the walls

Following on from the above point, there’s a common misconception that lining up all of the furniture against the wall is the optimum arrangement. In reality, this set-up often leaves a room feeling empty and creates a lot of dead space in the middle of the floor. And because it gives off the impression that you couldn’t comfortably fit furniture, it reads as though the room is actually smaller than it is. 

Solution: To create a spacious feel in your living room, leave at least 12 inches between the back of the sofa and the wall. You’ll also want to leave ample room between furniture, if you can manage. 

shutterstock_246996334 Source: Shutterstock/Filip Miletic

Mistake #3: Keeping all furniture the same height

When all of your furniture is the same height, your living room can be really uninteresting to the eye. In fact, with furniture of all the same shape, texture or size, there’s nothing to move your eye around the room.

Solution: Add some variety and balance to your space by mixing up the height of the furniture you place side by side. For example, a stove beside a side table, beside a pouf, beside a coffee table draws the eye low and creates too much busyness at the same level. Create more visual harmony by mixing in a tall bookcase or even a large statement lamp with artwork hanging overhead. 

Mistake #4: Skipping storage options

No one in a cluttered Irish house should be passing up the opportunity for storage options, and the living room is a place where you should have at least a few storage solutions. You can easily keep clutter at bay and order in check with both hidden and open storage. 

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Solution: Obviously, shelving is great for books and knick-knacks, but consider adding a coffee table trunk or window seat to keep blankets and toys when they’re not in use. Ottomans or footstools often have hidden storage underneath as well. 

Mistake #5: Blocking a window view

If you’re lucky enough to have a nice view, that should absolutely be the focal point of the room. Don’t cover it up with curtains, or worse, have all your furniture facing away from what’s outside. Embrace mother nature’s handiwork instead of just watching documentaries about the outdoors on the TV beside it!

Solution: Frame the window with lighting and mirrors on either side to draw your eye over to the beauty beyond. Clear away furniture that conceals your vantage point. Your main goal should be to enhance the view, not to  distract from it. 

Mistake #6: Ignoring lighting

We’re not blessed with much sunlight in Ireland, so lighting forms a big part of our interior design arsenal. Relying solely on an overhead light is bound to leave your lighting situation severely lacking – when it’s on, it’s blindingly bright, and when it’s off, it’s pitch dark.

Solution: Work with your home and not against it. If you know that certain parts of the room enjoy short-lived but amazing sunlight, build around that area with comfortable seating, a side table and a stack of your favourite books. For other, darker corners of the room, create atmosphere by adding a lamp or wall sconces. 

photo-1554995207-c18c203602cb Source: Unsplash

More: Can’t stand the tiles? 7 low-commitment ways to change up your flooring – without starting over

About the author:

Louise Dockery

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