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Your First Apartment — Six Things Needed In The Living Room

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The living room is the area of apartment that is usually reserved for leisurely activities such as socializing, entertaining guests, watching television and relaxing with friends and family. This room is sometimes referred to as the sitting room, the front room (when it located near the front door of the house), the lounge or the lounge room. In fact, “sitting room” was the most common term until the late nineteenth century that “living room” was coined and became popular.

In many houses and apartments there is a “family room” which not to be confused with a “living room.” Family rooms are usually a more informal area, often multipurpose in nature, often adjacent to the kitchen, and usually smaller in size than a true living room. Living rooms are bigger areas within the home allowing more flexibility. The living room is appropriate for playing games, listening or even playing music, and chatting with guests, among other activities. They often have an informal look and feel to them that exudes a sense of comfortability.

Designing The Perfect Living Room

Full disclosure: this is a product review site, not an interior design firm. I make no claim regarding expertise in how to design the perfect living room. However, living rooms (at least in the Western world) typically contain a lot of the same items and are generally laid out in a similar fashion. Some of the usual suspects include tables, chairs, bookcases, lamps, rugs, sofas, wall decorations, etc.

One built-in feature of many living rooms is a fireplace, which is largely a historical holdover from a time when fireplaces were essential for heating the home. But in this article we will look at less-permanent features of the living room. So…you recently moved into your first apartment. You are looking to purchase a few items to fill your living room and make it uniquely your own. Here are a few items that you will need:

A Couch or Sofa. What’s a Living Room Without Seating?

A couch or sofa is probably the most crucial piece of furniture you will purchase for the living room. After all, what good is a living room if it is devoid of a place to sit and relax? Although buying a sofa seems like an ordinary and mundane purchase, the truth is there are so many sizes, shapes and styles of sofa to choose from that it can quickly overwhelm you.

First, you need to decide on what type of couch or sofa you want in your living room. Among your choices include sectionals, loveseats, chaise lounges, futons, sleepers and daybeds. Then consider the fabrics and materials of the sofa: leather, wool, cotton, polyester, linen and many more. Shape is important as well especially if the sofa is going to be in a corner.

Consider the number of people that you want to be able to seat. Obviously, a family of five is going to need more seating than a single person. How many cushions will you need? The standard rule for cushions is one per person. Consider how much use the couch will get and who will be using it. Kids will definitely be harder on a couch or sofa than adults, so pick your fabric and your color choice (white might not be the best for young children) accordingly.

Clearly, there is much to consider when deciding on a couch or sofa for your first living room. It is such a personal choice requiring deep thought and research. As a product review website, we are here to help you in your choice. We reviewed the Poundex Bobkona Colona microsuede three-piece sofa, loveseat, and chair set recently and gave it a very positive review. Check it out!

The Centerpiece of the Living Room — The Coffee Table

The coffee table is usually one of the last items purchased for the living room since it obviously is not as vital as the seating or lighting. Because of this, the style of coffee table that you purchase will often be dictated by the space that you have left to fill in the living room, as well as how it will blend with the other furnishings of the room.

Coffee tables come in an enormous variety of styles, shapes and materials. Do you prefer an all-wood table or a table with a metal frame and a glass top? Do you need your coffee table to have drawers? Do you want something practical or something a bit more formal? The answers depend on you and your family’s needs.

Just as we discussed with making a choice about a sofa, our choice of coffee table is also dependent on who will be using it. Are kids mainly going to be using it? Will this table see heavy use? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then delicate and easy-to-scratch surfaces are a no-go. Glass, in particular, is a poor choice with kids, not just because of its fragility but also due to fingerprints and smudges.

The coffee table is a critical component of your living room due to its placement–after all, it is the centerpiece! With so many styles and functionalities available for coffee tables, one could be overwhelmed when trying to buy the perfect one for their living room. Need a little help? Check out the Sauder Dakota Pass Lift Top Coffee Table in Craftsman Oak that we recently reviewed. Our editor’s simply adored it!

Let There Be Light…With Lamps

Lighting is an aspect of the living room that is often overlooked or taken for granted, as long as there is some sort of light source in the room that provides sufficient lighting. But lighting is a crucial part of the decor of any room, especially larger rooms such as the living room. Picking out the right lamp style and the right number of lamps for your living room will make a world of difference.

For starters, you will need more than one lighting source in a living room–it is too big just to use on overhead light or one corner lamp. If the room has four corners, plan on putting lamps in at least two of them–three would be better. Also, vary the projection of the lamps. Maybe have one floor lamp that throws a wide cast. Maybe have a table lamp that is throwing a downward cast. Maybe use one lamp to spotlight an object in the room.

Lamps are a great way to fill an empty space. A bare corner is a great spot for a floor lamp. That end table that is bare would look a lot better with the right lamp on it. Lamps turn your living room into a cozy space that is warm and attractive–a space that is more intimate.

As you can see, there is much to consider when deciding on purchasing lamps for your apartment’s living room. The right lighting scheme will utilize various styles of lamps, set at various heights, and projecting light at various directions. A great way to go is buying a set of lamps such as the Normande Lighting Three-Lamp Set that we recently reviewed. It is highly recommended by our editors and is a stylish and elegant way to light up your living room.

You Will Need a Television Stand

It seems to be one of the cardinal rules of decorating any living room–it must have a television. And with large modern-day flat-screen televisions, unless you are mounting them flush to a wall, you will need to purchase a stand to sit your TV on. While the TV stand is a functional piece of furniture, it also provides another avenue of expression for your interior decorating skills.

As with other pieces of furniture (coffee tables and end tables, in particular), the television stand comes in an array sizes, shapes, colors and materials. It can be made entirely of wood or it could be made from metal and glass. They can include open shelving that displays any equipment, videos or ornaments that you wish to exhibit, or they can include drawers or cabinet doors for enclosed storage.

The TV stand can be a very large piece of furniture, appropriate if trying to fill a large, open space, or it can be small and minimalistic if space is a luxury. A minimalist TV stand does one thing and one thing only: it holds your TV. But television stands can be multi-functional in terms of use as well; for example, a television stand can also double as shelving for books, filing cabinets, pictures or candles.

While not as much of a focal point in the living room as your coffee table or your artwork, the television stand certainly is something that draws attention from you and your guests when viewing your TV. It is critical to make sure that your television stand works well the rest of your design choices. Need ideas for a TV stand? How about this wood stand with open shelving that we reviewed recently: the WE Furniture 58″ Wood TV Stand Storage Console.

The Area Rug, the Anchor of the Room

An area rug is a popular item that brings cohesiveness to the design of any living room. Area rugs are most often used on non-carpeted floors such as hardwood or tile, but they can also be used effectively in a living room that is fully carpeted. An area rug is great way to blend together all of the design elements of the living room.

Of course, an area rug serves more purposes than just being a stylish addition to your living room. One of the primary benefits of an area rug, especially in an apartment without carpeting, is its ability to reduce noise. If you have ever spoken aloud in an empty apartment without rugs or carpet, the first thing you will notice is this: IT IS LOUD! Area rugs help dampen the noise by absorbing sound waves. They also silence foot steps.

Additionally, area rugs are just plain comfy to walk on, especially in bare feet. No one likes walking on a cold, hard floor in the winter. The softness of a rug is gentler on your feet, and you are less likely to catch a chill from walking on a rug as compared to, say, a tiled floor.

An area rug serves as an anchor to the other furniture in the living room. Make sure to place at least the front legs of your couch, loveseat and chair(s) on the rug, and the coffee table should be centered on it. The size, style and color of the area rug will depend on the decor of the room. Check out our review of Safavieh Milan Shag Collection area rug, which was given a high rating by our editors and has nearly a perfect score from users.

Artwork, the Finishing Touch

Wall art is the last piece of the living room we will discuss in this article, since it seems artwork is usually the final item that is attended to when decorating the living room. The flooring, the painting, the lighting and the furniture are almost always taken care of long before we get around to hanging pictures or paintings on the walls.

Though it is often relegated to the back of the line, artwork is probably the single most important piece of the interior design puzzle. The right piece of artwork creates a harmonious atmosphere. In fact, having some wall art gives your living room a finished look where bare walls (especially white walls) leave your apartment or house looking like you just moved in.

The most critical component of a potential piece of wall art is the color palette. Think about the colors already present in your living room and try to pick two or three colors that you would want your wall art to incorporate. Of course, if you are buying artwork before purchasing the rest of your living room furnishings, then you have the opportunity to pick any piece of art that inspires you; afterwards, you can design the rest of the living room around your chosen art.

Artwork quickly becomes a focal point in the room so do not take lightly your purchasing decisions. Wall art that is inappropriately sized or consisting of the wrong color palette can be off-putting. But the right artwork can transform an ordinary living room into something stylish and chic. So let’s get you started in your search for the perfect artwork: check out our review of this 3D hand-painted on canvas abstract artwork from V-inspire Paintings and see if this elegant and fashionable wall art fits into your design ideas.

Final Thoughts On Creating The Perfect Living Room For Your First Apartment

Creating the perfect living room for you and your family isn’t some mysterious thing that can only be understood by interior designers. If he follows a few rules and takes time to consider carefully each design element, the layman can put together an attractive and beautiful living room just as easily as the professionals. Make sure you have objects that convey comfort and relaxation as well as “WOW” objects that demand immediate attention from the observer. Have conversation pieces in your living room–something unique or bizarre–that will prompt guests to inquire about them. Most all, make sure your living room is an expression of yourself!

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