LIVING

How to Make Your Living Room More Inviting

03/15/2016 10:27 EDT | Updated 03/15/2016 10:59 EDT

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Is your living room functional but not as inviting as you’d like? Don’t fret. There are several simple ways to make it feel more like a room you actually want to hang out in.

1. Don’t make the TV your full-time focal point. Televisions, like smartphones, can deter conversation. Don’t let your TV take away your valuable social connections.

If you have the space in your home, move your TV to another room, such as a den. This way, you can actually live in your living room, whether that’s talking to your significant other, kids or friends you’re entertaining.

If your TV must go in the living room, consider concealing it behind cabinetry. You can also partially or fully insert it into a wall niche or built-in and add doors.

2. Anchor floating furniture. If your sofa sits in the middle of your living room, anchor it with a sofa table so it doesn’t look like a floating island. This will make the area seem more structured and substantial instead of looking as though something is missing.

You can put a lamp or two on the table to create a reading spot where side tables won’t fit. Plus, a sofa table draws your eye away from unsightly upholstery seams or lesser grades of leather on the back of your sofa.

Ideally, the table should be a bit lower than the sofa back. Tables substantially higher tend to look a bit off and can knock the back of heads.

3. Embrace nature’s softer side. Slick and polished surfaces can feel hard, and their reflections have a tendency to cause eye fatigue — not exactly the hospitable feeling you want in your living room. Texture will add visual warmth and a richer, more tactile experience.

If you prefer the sleek look, don’t think you need to go with a rustic theme to add texture. Look for chunky woven fabrics for furniture and throw pillows, grass cloth or fabric wallcovering and natural-fiber carpets. Linen is a great choice too. Notice here how the upholstered table catches the light beautifully.

Natural materials like wood, and even a few references to flora and fauna, will also add warmth and a semblance of peace to your space.

4. Throw in some curves for inclusiveness and comfort. Curves are intuitively more inviting than rectilinear shapes. Rounded and soft, they tend to make us feel more protected and comforted.

Creating a quasi circle, this pair of curved sofas fosters inclusivity. One side completes the other, so neither sofa feels cut off, making conversation more relaxed.

Granted, curved sofas aren’t exactly commonplace or practical in many rooms. But you can introduce curves in other ways, such as on rolled arms, rolled backs and turned legs. American midcentury modern furniture designs tend to be organically shaped with gentle contours.

5. Rest your arms. Arms that sit too low on sofas and chairs top my list of pet peeves. Before you buy furniture, sit down and test it to make sure that not only the arms, but also the height, depth and back angle are reasonably comfortable. The last thing you want is a sofa or chair that looks nice but that you avoid because it’s uncomfortable.

6. Avoid having fans directly above seating. Ceiling fans cool in the summer and improve air circulation for heat distribution in the winter, but rotating blades aren’t psychologically comfortable to have spinning over your head. Even if they’re securely anchored, many folks feel apprehensive sitting directly beneath them.

Locating a ceiling fan central to the room but over a circulation space or even a coffee table, as shown here, is a better approach.

7. Maximize greenery for better health. The decor in this room is gorgeous, but the fiddleleaf fig in the corner is what leaves a lasting impression.

It’s well-known that plants are good for our well-being, boosting our moods and cleaning the air. Not bad for a comparatively small investment that also adds a lot of natural beauty.

8. Aim for flexibility in lighting. Similar to dressing in multiple layers in winter, layering drapery panes over shades for maximum light adjustment in your living room will make it more pleasant to use at different times of the day and year, as well as for various activities.

Drapes also visually soften the hard-edged appearance of Venetian blinds while adding style.

Having flexibility in your artificial lighting also will make your life in your living room more comfortable and varied. Add a dimmer to overhead lights and make sure you have plenty of table lamps near seating groups. Your mix could include table lamps, floor lamps, overhead fixtures, like chandeliers or pendants, as well as wall washers and sconces.

9. Wrap yourself up. A cozy throw is perhaps the easiest and cheapest living room addition. It’ll get loads of use in the winter, and even in the summer by guests who may not fully appreciate your AC setting.

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