Create an informal, welcoming space for your family and friends to relax in with these simple tips and ideas
What is the living room for, if not socialising and relaxing? After a long week at work, there are few things better than kicking back with a glass of wine and a good movie, to enjoy a chilled evening with friends and family. But if your living room is too stiff and formal, it might not provide a relaxed atmosphere for conversation to thrive in. If you want to turn your living room into a warm, welcoming space for both relaxation and entertainment, follow some of the simple ideas listed below.
Large sofas and seating with wide gaps between them can be intimidating for guests. You either have to sit together with empty space all around you, or else try to keep a conversation going from opposite ends of the room. This makes it more likely that a large gathering will descend into lots of smaller conversations, while a smaller one will focus on something that requires less effort, like the television.
To help break the ice, move your seating closer together. If you have a spacious sitting room, create a more intimate seating area defined by a large rug. You want your guests to be able to relax, without having to strain their necks or sit up straight for the sake of projection.
Vintage sofas and sectionals
A soulless living room doesn’t exactly invite intimacy. Introducing furniture with character is a great way to bring personality to the space, and no furniture has more character than vintage furniture. Whether it’s a restored Victorian studded leather sofa, or an early twentieth century salon chair, antique furniture makes an excellent conversation piece, while also adding some history and guaranteed uniqueness to the room. For inspiration, why not explore websites like Vinterior, which feature a varied and tasteful selection of sofas and sectionals to fit any living room design.
Choice of seating
While we’re on the subject of seating, it’s best to give your guests some say on the matter. Some people like to sit up straight, others prefer to lounge. Try to cater to the many ways your guests may want to interact with one another, by providing cushions to make up for lack of seating, blankets for those who like to relax, and enough free surfaces for drinks and snacks to be rested on. Giving people a choice makes them feel welcome.
While bright colours may seem more lively and energizing, if you want your living room to be a relaxing place, more neutral colour palettes are a better choice; making your room attractive without being too distracting or jarring. You can scatter some sharper colours around in the form of cushions, plants or vases, to create points of focus and interest, should you wish.
Show some personality
Give your new (and old) friends some idea of who you are. Do you paint? Collect vintage toys? Play a musical instrument? Then put some evidence on display! Even a striking artwork or children’s drawing will spark conversation and genuine intimacy.
Fill your room with things that are useful, as well as attractive, to show that your living room is a place to do some actual living in. Throw a blanket over a chair, put a lamp in a dark corner, have some books for your guests to flip through. If the living room feels homely, then people will want to make themselves at home in it.
There is a limit to how ‘homely’ you should make your living room when you have guests to entertain. A few functional artefacts of daily life are fine but try not to throw everything including the kitchen sink at your space.