How to Reclaim Your Living Room for Living
When did the living room come to mean “room where we watch television”? It seems like most of our living rooms and family rooms are now used to watch TV, instead of encouraging meaningful time spent with family and friends. I'm putting it out there that we need to reclaim our living rooms in an effort to create a simpler life of contentment and joy.
Every home is different of course, and there is something to be said for family movie time or cozying up on the couch with a pet and your favourite blankie to Netflix. But when TV watching becomes the sole purpose of our living rooms, instead of serving multiple purposes that go into a meaningful and purpose-filled life, it can hold us back from being our best.
Our envrionments play a big role in helping us build healthy habits that allow us to live our best lives. So setting up our homes to be functional, healthy and promote a simple and meaningful life is essential.
5 steps to reclaim your living room for better function and more meaningful living:
1. Do a major declutter.
Pick up every item in the room that doesn't belong there and either put it back in its place or put it in your bin for donating. Then evaluate your furniture. Do you have too much? Is it comfortable? Do all the lamps work? If there is anything you can remove, do so now. Remember, too much stuff means more time cleaning and occupying yourself with things that do not contribute to a life of value.
That said, if there are pieces that are functional but not beautiful, don't throw them away just to buy more. See if you can put in a little DIY time to fix them up to fit your refreshed room. I did that with an old IKEA floor lamp recently.
2. Determine the best spot for your TV.
It should be comfortable to view yet not be the focal point of the room. You don't want it distracting you from using your living room for good conversations, reading, dancing, singing or board games.
Perhaps you can wall mount it and make it part of a gallery wall? Can you hide it in an entertainment unit or within an open built-in bookcase? Try moving it to a side wall or placing it on a low bench like I did so that it's not front and centre in the room.
3. Rearrange the furniture for comfort and conversation.
Your sofa and armchairs should face each other to encourage conversation and create a more intimate space. Make sure to also have side tables that are easily reachable from each seated position so you can have coffee or tea or wine during your friend time. Introduce 100% natural fibre rugs (think wool, jute or sisal) for both comfort and sound absorbance. And ensure you have ample lighting - task lighting for reading is a must, and ambient lighting from a sconce or table or floor lamp make for a mellow, welcoming mood.
Forget about designing your living room for show - focus on relaxed comfort. You don't have to give up clean design when you're creating a living room to use daily; simply choose furniture that feels good, supports you well, and is arranged for real living.
4. Add elements of meaning.
Perhaps a book or music collection will encourage you to read or listen rather than reach for the remote at the end of the day. A few pieces of artwork (even DIY art) and photos will slow you down and make you smile.
5. Finally, be sure to bring in natural elements.
House plants, succulents or fresh flowers work well. Even driftwood, sea glass and rocks serve to ground us and remind us to breathe deep and relax into the moment.
Give yourself the gift of really living a simple life that's based on what you value most. It's not likely TV. :)