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How to make your living room work for the whole family

Designing a living room that works for the whole family herd is harder than it seems. But don’t worry, we’re here to lay out the musts and must-nots for any family living area, making sure you stay sane in a household filled with different opinions.
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The living room is the heart of the home. But it can sometimes be hard to remember that it’s not just yours (especially if you’re the one in charge of décor). From partners to children, to temporary family lodgers, the living room acts as a hub for all household activity outside of the dinner table. But with different visions for what makes the perfect room of relaxation and recreation, how can you please your children, yourself and your other half all at the same time? From corner sofas to storage solutions, we’ll walk through the best tactics to keep a happy household with a practical but stylish living area.


Save space (and avoid arguments)

Perhaps we shouldn’t talk about it openly, but everyone knows the frustration of having to abandon their spot on the couch for a visiting relative. And sometimes, a kitchen chair simply doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to relax on a Sunday evening. Lucky for you, corner sofas allow more seating space than a traditional three-person couch, and are perfect for both small and large rooms. For those with families that seem to grow weekly, this Eden Fabric Recliner Sofa should be more than enough to accommodate the Sunday-lunch-club.

But what about those guests who always seem to linger? Enter the corner sofa bed. Something of a revelation in the world of practical interior design, they combine all the luxuries of a spare room with the benefits of a super-comfy sofa. And that’s just the beginning. Many of them now include storage space, ideal for holding spare linen (or hiding clutter from the in-laws). And that’s not mentioning the fact that corner sofa beds are also popular with the kids when they have their epic (noisy) sleepovers. Best way to avoid being kept up all night by their late-night chit chat? Banish them to the lounge and keep the upstairs kids-free for the night.

Divide and conquer

Your living room sees a lot in the space of a day. It might be a cinema one minute, and a coffee shop the next. That’s not even counting the times it acts as a playroom, a bedroom and (hopefully) an oasis of calm in your otherwise frantic day. Finding a layout that suits all these functions can be a challenge at the best of times, but it gets even harder if little ones are in the mix. To address the problem head-on, divide the room up with an activities area at one end or in a corner of the room, distinguishing the space with lots of twinkly elements to make it child friendly but tasteful too. Think fairy lights, soft blankets and plump cushions – perfect for playing on, but also stylish. On top of this, make sure there’s storage space to hand for clearing away toys and games when it’s time for the adults to relax. Finding a stylish location to stash the goods, like this Ercol Romana Small Sideboard, means you can maintain the room’s aesthetic appeal while keeping that Monopoly board (with far too many pieces missing) nearby. Now nothing will get in the way of your monthly book club.

Find storage in unlikely places

Nobody enjoys an overly cluttered living room, but it’s an all too familiar sight for busy families. Whether it’s a mass of tangled wires, a heap of magazines or a half-finished jigsaw puzzle, there always seems to be something on the floor. With that in mind, grab every opportunity to create additional storage. We love coffee tables that are designed specifically for stashing things away in, as they provide ample space for kids’ toys without taking up unnecessary room. Find one in neutral tones, like this Arles Coffee Table with Storage, to instantly upgrade your space while decreasing the clutter.

Technology, the great integrator

It may not be the most fashionable opinion, but we just don’t think a living room is complete without a television. It keeps the kids entertained, allow you to have a romantic date night over a film, and allows you all to come together to watch the latest reality show (or maybe that’s just us). With all this in mind, it’s key that the device blends seamlessly into the room. For wall-mounted options, make sure the television doesn’t jut out awkwardly, but sits sleek and understated in an area of natural focus. If you have a more traditional model, seek out furniture specifically made for housing TVs, like this ALF Rossini Capri Entertainment Unit.

Make it your own

Space-saving furniture, clever storage and special areas aside, the only way to really make the living room work for everyone is to mark your territory. It’s a family space, so make sure that meaningful mementos and photos of your nearest and dearest take pride of place. Scatter framed pictures, school awards and keepsakes from holidays around the room. Arranging items in groups of three is good shortcut for keeping things balanced, but it’s most important to make sure that something special to everyone in the family is included.

So there we have it! Our guide to make sure the whole family stays happy through every evening or extended visit from the grandparents. Although we can’t promise you’ll feel comfortable around your in-laws, your living room will be ready for almost any eventuality.


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