The current trend in home layout is open plan. In my house, the two front rooms have been opened up so that you enter through the front door and walk straight onto the living room which flows straight through to the garden.
On the plus side, this large room is bright and airy, getting light from both the front and back of the house. But it’s a room that needs to serve as a living, dining and play room. We also use it as a place to hang coats, a home office and an entertainment space.
To achieve these many needs, our furniture has been in many awkward positions. We’ve moved the kitchen table to the rear part of the room to form a dining room. Not happy with that, we then pushed the sofas back against the walls and let the kids have free rein to run up and down. At the moment, we’re using one sofa as a room divider to separate the space into both a living and play room.
While I’m still not convinced we’ve got it right, along the way I have definitely learned a lot about dividing up our space in the best way to suit our lifestyle.
One of the most important things is to get the right furniture in the first place. If you’re starting from scratch this can work out to be a little on the expensive side, but it can totally transform your lifestyle, unlocking new ways of living and working. A standard loan may be a convenient way to add this versatility to your home.
Once you have your furniture you need to think about how to zone your living space so it works for your lifestyle. This is where I can help. Here are my tips:
Before you get to work on moving furniture, take a moment to clear out any clutter. Do you really need all the books on your shelves, for example? Streamlining your possessions can help you carve out an extra bit of space that could be turned into a whole new zone. In our case, our huge CD and DVD collection went into ring binders, which made enough room for us to get a small desk and chair. For more great de-cluttering tips, visit the Miss Minimalist blog.
2. Organize your ‘zones’
Now you have a clear space to work with, your next step should be to list all the activities you’d like to be able to do in that room. So in our case it’s to watch TV, have friends over, play with the kids and do some work.
Then find the best space in your living room for each of these zones. We wanted our entertaining area around the fireplace. We also wanted our home office area as far from our relaxing space as possible.
3. Use decorative effects to divide the space
How you decorate your living room can really help divide up the space. For instance, you could have warm, red wallpaper on the walls of entertaining space and just plain white near the desk of your home office zone. Getting different rugs can really help with this too. We have a plain rug in the adult living space, and a colourful, spotty one in the kids’ area.
4. Choose your dividers
You can invest in actual room dividers – even a simple beaded curtain can be enough to section off a space. Low sofas make great zone dividers, without blocking too much light. If you’re looking for a new sofa, consider L shaped styles as they’re particularly useful for carving out space.
This is a guest post by guest blogger Tamsin McCahill on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank.
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