Multi-functional living rooms: a simple guide

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Living rooms are important, and we feel that they don’t get the recognition they deserve. Their roles as places of peace and socialising are essential to families. They serve as meeting spots. Relaxation venues. Gossip rooms. The space where we devour our novels and magazines, or fall into an afternoon nap.

But a living room is so much more than just a space with seats. Ever wondered what else you can use your living room for? No doubt there are hundreds and hundreds of ideas, yet our styles, personalities and family dynamics help us to narrow our options down quite considerably.

Take advantage of your living room space (and those creative ideas in your head), and see how you can add some multi-purpose to your living room.

Decide on your required space

Creating a multi-functional living room is by no means unique. However, doing it correctly means some planning beforehand. This involves deciding what you want to do with your space. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve will make this project much easier. 

An organised living room projects a calm and graceful ambience. This needs to blend into all aspects of the room, including the colour, furniture, decor, etc. See in our accompanying example how the entire room is joined together by the colour scheme and elements.

The importance of the layout

As is the case with all spaces, the layout plays a major part. What is placed where determines the comfort and aesthetic factors, and is thus not something to be taken lightly. 

See our example above for reference. Notice how the emphasis of the living room has been placed on visual balance. The furniture has been placed in such a manner as to form a pleasing relationship with one another. The large mirror and lengthy couch on the one side balance out the two single chairs and windows on the other side. And the exquisite choice of colours (light neutrals form the palette, while splashes of cools and warms serve as the visual placeholders) combines everything in a soft and vibrant vision.

Double-duty furniture

modern Living room by Monstros
Monstros

Sala—vista geral

Monstros

Just because it’s old, doesn't necessarily mean it’s over. Your multi-functional living room can breathe new life into antiques, especially if your environment is modern and bright, as seen in this striking example by Portuguese renovators Monstros

Bring in that old cupboard or sideboard which doesn’t fit into your newly renovated modern dining room any more. Add some spray paint (if necessary) to fit in with the living room, et viola: a new bookcase or displaying cabinet! 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with bright colour combinations. A good mixture of cools and warms can add a truly vivid look to your living room.

Have a seat

Seating is the primary function happening in a living room. So, how about adding an additional option which stands out? Note this unique chair in our example above. It certainly becomes the focal point because it stands out from the rest of the furniture. Now how about adding a bookcase to turn it into the reading chair? And there you have a living room which doubles as the reading den. 

Or how about adding two chairs and a chess set? Game night is on!

Get creative with corners

eclectic Living room by bilune studio
bilune studio

soggiorno

bilune studio

Corners can be real head scratchers, but they can also serve as unique inspiration for decor and furniture options. How about adding a small table and some chairs for an additional dining spot? Or for when the gossipers stop by for a chat and pot of tea. 

Chairs and floor lamps also make great corner fillers, or even a simple side table and painting/mirror above it. Get creative!

Get low

A lot of people opt for low sofas these days. These are clearly meant more for comfort, yet they hold their own in terms of style and sophistication. Consider some low sofas for your living room, as they can function superbly as extra sleeping space, or purely as lounging spots for reading / doing absolutely nothing.  

We just love the passion in this image. Details, patterns, colours, and materials all play deliciously together to form not only a chic living room, but also one where we can either lounge with a magazine, or catch up with a friend – with equal amounts of comfort.

Hidden storage

modern Living room by homify
homify

Sam's Creek

homify

At first look, our reference image blows us away with all that fabulous wooden surfaces. High ceiling, twinkling lights, amazing fireplace, glossy wall coatings… And then it hit us that this living room comes with a hidden storage area in the wall. 

Now how’s that for a hidden gem in a living room? Hidden shelves behind a cabinet that serves as part of the wall. It’s a living room / bar area. Surprise your friends after dinner with a nightcap by casually sliding the wall to one side, and watch the smiles grow as you pull closer those beverage options. 

Speaking of storage, see our hot tips when it comes to: Cool Simple Storage Solutions.

Adorn that ceiling

And how about sprucing up your living room ceiling? Not strictly multi-functional, we hear you say, yet this is a definite way to add some character and dimension to the room. Notice the charming combination of wood and stone on the ceiling in our reference image above. It is echoed faintly in the bookcase behind the one couch, which ensures a nice flow between the decor and furniture.

Although we are not suggesting replicating the Sistine Chapel on your living room ceiling, be creative about your options. Skylight? Painted landscape? How about using lighting fixtures as decorative objects? The possibilities are endless.  

Satisfy your inspiration by checking out our sublime variety of living rooms here on homify.

How have your made your living room a more functional space? Do share good tips with us...
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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