Defining Living Room Areas – How to Create a Space within a Space
Living room areas are defined first by the use and then the elements that can physically define the space. To start this process when planning the room we need to identify what we are going to do in the room. I’m principally identifying the family living room areas and will expand on the formal living room areas later in other articles and links.
Activities Undertaken in Living Room Areas
These include day to day functions but also some that you wouldn’t normally formally identify but none the less should be taken into consideration. Starting with the basics we include some ideas that may help prompt you into the space that’s going to be required and why.
Sitting. Its somewhere to rest or undertake an activity such as reading or conversation and refreshment.
Conversation or socializing. Discussion and interacting with others in a close environment.
Reading. An area that’s quites and allows you to comfortably read without strain on your arms back and eyes. Its a quiet area with good lighting.
Television. The television has to be located so that it can be viewed by many in the room comfortably.
Audio, radio talk or music. This may be an area that is for a single person to use a head phone set or for all to enjoy. With the advent of portable devices it has become less important.
Dining. The room may also contain a full dining table for have the facility to eat at a coffee table.
Card or board games. The area has to have a central place for the game to play and for the players to participate.
Children’s play areas. Should be to one side and out of the main circulation areas.
Office work at a desk that is away from the noise or busy areas and preferably facing away from distraction.
Sewing. Perhaps this is at a separate table or the dining table.
Clothing folding and ironing. While we have laundry’s its realistic to expect to do this mundane job in front of TV or if you have small children where they can be kept an eye on.
Art and craft, probably at the table.
Looking at the list it appears that the living rooms areas must undertake a lot of activities but you may be in the fortunate position that there is a room in your home allocated for each activity. However the vast majority of households don’t have the luxury of separate rooms so here are some ideas that may help.
The second part of the process is to identify what is to be stored in the room (as part of the activity) as the accessibility of the item will often denote where it’s going to be used and or what type of storage is required.
Telephone and directories
Noted and illustrated below is a living room area.
The three circles show possible focus areas but its lacking in storage and some areas such as the television look like they are going to demand attention.
Here, there has been more storage added and additional focal points and uses allowed for so that parts of the room take on a multifunctional role. The TV and entertainment appliances are hidden in cabinets and there are two specific sitting areas that have multifunctional roles. There is even space in the surround for an Exercycle or children’s play area that can be left as such and not needed to be packed away each day as well as plenty of space to the circulation areas for other activities such as the ironing without getting in the way of the rest of the room. While this is a fairly simple example, the intention is to get you to use your imagination and design ideas to plan the room for many functions.
Below I have added notes that are specific to the area.
click on the graphic for a larger image
Living rooms areas can be isolated or defined by:
Different Flooring. This can include area rugs that the furniture surrounds or even a hearth in front of a fire place. If there is a dining area in the room, tile or timber may define that space.
Color. Accent walls may add as backdrop to the entertainment area or specific display and art.
Decoration. This may be feature artwork, display or drapery.
Lighting. Pendants are a very good way to permanently define the space but standard table lamps are even better as they may add light for a specific function such as reading yet through their size and height still allow to define the space.
Furniture. As noted above the grouping of furniture defines areas.
See photographs and critique of other living rooms areas and their design.