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Living Room Trends – How do you use your space?

Living room, family room… whatever you call it, surely you’re referring to the same space within a home? 

Well, not necessarily. Though the differences can be so subtle that the two words are often swapped, design experts agree that the two concepts can be distinct from one another where a home has the room to do so. And in fact, this is the key difference between the two terms – it all comes down to the space you have available, and how you plan to use it.

Smaller houses, more multifunction

What caused the confusion between the two ideas in the first place? It all comes down to the issue of available floorplan. Going right back to the 17th century, many period properties boasted both formal and informal living spaces. 

In these larger, traditional homes, you would commonly find the more informal, family room situated in a private aspect towards the back of the home, where it would cater for a mix of relaxed cosiness and the more boisterous aspects of family life. 

The more formal living room, set at the front of the house, was reserved for more dignified (and tidy!) welcomes and gatherings. Yet, as we moved through the 20th century and homes shrank in size, the luxury of a “spare” entertaining room was lost. 

Instead, these new, smaller homes dedicated social space to everyday family life, featuring lounges and dining rooms but foregoing the formality of the “living room”.

Contemporary Life and the Two Concepts

Today, with more and more homeowners reshaping their houses to provide extra room, the idea of creating two separate living spaces is back on the table – especially in properties with large, open-plan extensions.

To help those of you who would love to revisit the idea of individual living spaces, we asked our design experts to offer a little more insight into the two concepts, and to share their best styling tips to help you achieve the perfect balance.

How to Create a Stunning Modern Living Room

Forget the stuffy formality conjured by the idea of a traditional “living room” and instead think of elevated comfort and entertaining – a luxurious haven where you can host and unwind in style. As always, the first consideration when designing your space is how do you hope to use it?

Plans for a more classic living room are usually more grown-up, revolving around occasional entertaining and a scheme that’s built for easy socialising. To create the ideal conversational layout, arrange two seating areas facing one another, with a table in between for drinks, games and coffee table reads. 

For maximum comfort, opt for plush textiles and fabrics that beg to be touched – opulent silks, rich velvets and tactile bouclé are all fantastic, on-trend choices for your living room.

A beautiful bespoke Home Bar is the perfect addition to such a space, transforming any unloved alcove into a gorgeously decadent social hub where you can whip up your favourite cocktails and mocktails in sophisticated style.

Flexible Sanctuaries

To cater for those moments when you’re craving quiet time, a made-to-measure Home Library will soothe the soul of any bibliophile, as well as offer open and closed storage to display cherished treasures and conceal more practical items.

And, if your sophisticated new retreat seems like the perfect spot to foster concentration or encourage productive homework time, one of our ingenious hidden desks is the ideal solution. 

Thanks to our custom design service, we can configure a system for your living room that serves a range of purposes, subtly packing this elegant space with smart multifunction that caters for all the needs of contemporary living – and looks stunning all the while.

How to Style the Perfect Family Room

What makes the ultimate family room? 

Where your living room should have a more adult feel, a family room should be just that – the ideal space for all the family to enjoy quality time together.

Unlike its formal counterpart, this space is likely to be in constant use and needs to withstand heavy traffic – so, to stay practical and stylish, base your scheme on casual, sturdy comfort with a soft edge.

The warmth of woods and rugged durability of metals like steel come into their own in a family space, as do easy-to-clean finishes and fabrics that will stand the test of time and rigour. 

When it comes to furnishings, family rooms require three key elements to succeed – plentiful storage to keep everyone’s possessions under control, some display space to showcase the family’s collections and a TV/media unit that provides a central focal point.

Our Modern Grey Lounge was designed by our talented experts to create the perfect family hub.

Fitted with our exclusive Levigo sliding doors, this versatile storage combination can be configured at a touch, smoothly transforming the function of this space from home cinema to games room; home library to showcase.

Stylish and minimal, this piece features our unique Concrete finish for a contemporary look that is hard-wearing enough to withstand the test of time – and everything that family life will throw at it! 

Choosing your colour schemes

So you now have plans for two different spaces that serve different functions within your home. Should you decorate them individually too?

Our design experts say no – in fact, they suggest that you create unity between the two rooms so you don’t end up with a disjointed feel through the ground floor of your home. This doesn’t mean that you need to replicate the same scheme through the spaces – simply that each should make a visual reference to the other. 

So instead of treating the two rooms as completely different entities, repeat similar tones, colours, finishes or patterns between the two spaces to create a cohesive look.

Have we inspired you to rethink your own space?

With a wide range of quality materials and finishes, a palette of more than 60 stylish colours and our talented design experts at your service, we can configure and custom-craft the ideal pieces to suit both your design dreams and your functional needs. 
Request your free brochure now to begin your Neville Johnson journey.