From tranquil refuges to colourful displays of art, our living room vary wildly from house to house, each representing a facet of the homeowner. With the world now so interconnected, we can even take inspiration from different countries, finding new styles to try. But how much does culture come into play when defining our living room choices?
Even from person to person, living rooms can be so different. Some people might have every gadget under the sun in there, and others might enjoy just a few, subtly elegant ethical homeware on their coffee table. But the biggest impact on living room design is usually down to culture and climate – necessity from different weather conditions, for example, may make one design more effective in one country than another.
Join us as we take a virtual tour of the world’s living rooms!
Your kitchen might be the heart of your home, but the soul of an English home is surely the living room. Traditionally, this room in the home is used to bring the family together and discuss what happened throughout the day. It’s also a great space to occupy guests.
A television is a staple of an English living room, with 27.02 million households in the UK having one by the end of 2018. It’s the main way we consume media and keep up to speed with the drama on iconic shows like Emmerdale and EastEnders. The television is usually placed on a stand in the corner of a room, so that no matter where you’re positioned in the room, you can still watch it.
British sofa choices usually end up being plain coloured and fairly small. However, although this design may sound simple, it’s compiled with cushions and throws to add a bit more character. Think threaded patterns and bold colours that bring the room together and make everything stand out.
Photo frames are a key feature of British living room design, showing family and friends. Brits like to mix and match with frame styles and colours and place them in different areas of the room, including wall and unit placements.
Flooring comes in two main options in Britain; carpet or floorboards. Wooden floors are usually a dark/natural oak and are accompanied with a bold rug. However, this is often a no-go for those that have softer surfaces in the room.
Fireplaces, both old and modern, are beloved features in many a British home. However, more people are installing stoves into their homes and forming the iconic inglenook look on their chimney breast.
Living spaces in Japan often have the traditional tatami mat. These mats were once used by the wealthy but became more commonly used and can now be found in almost every home in Japan — so much so, living rooms are now referred to as tatami rooms.
But tatami mats aren’t the only Japanese-style home décor. There are other elements used throughout Japanese living spaces that make them incredibly unique. Japan is big on sliding doors, which are usually referred to as fusuma or shoji. Although they are both different in appearance, they both give an edgy-studio look. Fusuma doors are made up of wooden frames that are covered by thick, opaque paper and can usually be removed to create a larger space — these are usually accompanied by wooden transoms. The shoji differs slightly as it is covered in translucent paper which allows the light to filter into the room.
With sitting on the floor being quite a common behaviour in Japan, low tables are preferred. However, during the colder months, heated low tables (kotatsu) are popular. Essentially, they are covered by a blanket and are heated underneath. For those who opt to not sit directly on the mats, cushions are usually used. Often, they are put on top of low chairs that don’t have legs to support the back.
A general rule of thumb for the Japanese is to keep the room minimalist – unlike other countries, Japan’s living rooms don’t have a lot of items inside. A clutter-free space allows them to properly clear the mind once they’ve returned home after a busy day at work.
An Arabic home is often swathed in bright colours and elaborate patterns. Usually, Arabic homes are filled with some of the most luxurious pieces of furniture that truly have the ability to catch the eye. These living rooms all embody a sense of community and are one of the most important rooms in the home for Arabic families, as it’s a place where everyone can get together and bond, usually on an evening.
Gold is a popular choice in the living room, and in Arabic culture in general. The colour is associated with royalty and luxury; so Arabic families are bound to use it throughout their homes. On top of the colour gold being used, these living rooms usually include lots of prints which delivers a strong presence within the room.
Oftentimes, patterns and designs are woven over many of the main furniture of an Arabic living room. Sofas, in particular, usually take a curved shape and are decorated with countless cushions that are there for presentational purposes.
Much like British living rooms, Arabic living rooms commonly have a coffee table in the centre of the room, for symmetry. These coffee tables are then dressed with plain throws with a patterned runner positioned on top. You’ll then find vases, fruit bowls and other essentials.
A rather eye-catching feature of Arabic living rooms is a low-hanging chandelier. This centrepiece is sure to be a hit with the guests!
In France, living rooms are symbolic of luxury. A traditional French living room will have a high ceiling, which allows everything else in the room to be grand in size and mirror the look of the Palace of Versailles.
Lovers of art, the French often display an array of different sized artworks on their walls. Not only that, colours differentiate too, although this does depend on the set décor. However, in traditional settings, the paintings are usually big and bold with aims to capture the imagination.
Living rooms in France have high ceilings, allowing for lush, long curtains. To offer a regal feel to the room, these are often tied back and curved in shape. The French pride themselves on the sharp details of their furniture, and the threads of their curtains are no different — with intricate designs making each room feel bespoke.
Sofas in French living rooms tend to be rather bulky, with lots of padding. However, the design is more noticeable than other countries we have mentioned. A common sofa design in France is the use of thick stripes that are symmetrical.
Finally, for the French living room, the feature piece is commonly a large, beautifully embellished mirror. With large mirrors and high ceilings, the entire room can be captured and make the room feel much bigger than it actually is!