With the size of the housing units squeezing with time, the traditional living room is now becoming a multipurpose room. The living room is the place where all the family members spend time together in different activities like watching TV, playing board games or just holding conversations. Usually, it is the same room, which is used for formal and informal entertaining.
For a living room that has to serve as the multipurpose room, zoning is the best solution to tap the functionality and comfort from the available space in the most efficient manner. This article tells how to do it.
Key to successful zoning: Having non-disruptive and fluid traffic patterns
While chalking out the zones, the first, and the foremost thing is to have a fluid and non-disruptive traffic pattern. The zones of the living room should be defined in a way that a person can walk through the living room without facing halts and obstacles. Along with that, the traffic pattern should also ensure that people do not have to walk through a conversation area and that any pathway is not in front of the TV.
Tips for non-disruptive and fluid traffic patterns in a living room
Use the following tips to make sure that the traffic pattern of the living room is fluid and non-disruptive.
Plan according to the location of the doors
Most of the doors from other rooms open in the living room. The traffic pattern should be such that it is possible to walk from one door to another smoothly. Sometimes the space in the doorways allow placement of furniture. It is okay to place a piece of furniture by the wall in the doorway, however make sure it is not a bulky one. The bulky pieces in the doorways serve as a visual hindrance.
Remove the obstacles (flow breakers)
Anything in front of the door halts the traffic and imparts an unwelcoming feel. So, steer clear of that. Other than this, the sharp edges of the furniture also create bumpy traffic. The edges of the furniture should be rounded to ensure safe and smooth traffic.
The essential zones for a more functional and comfortable living room
Unless a living room is too tiny, these two zones must be present in it.
The conversation area
The basic pieces of furniture for a conversation area are a coffee table, a (three-seated) couch, and two chairs (or two single-seated sofas). If the space allows, a love seat can also be included. The furniture placement should be such that everyone is audible to everyone without raising the voice. The ideal configuration is that the two chairs face the couch with the coffee table in the middle. This allows comfortable conversation sessions.
However, in today’s living rooms the couch is in front of the TV, with the coffee table in between. In such a case, go for a U-shaped conversation area with the TV as the focal point. The furniture placement should be such that every person should be able to reach the coffee table without difficulty.
Reading couch/Day bed
If there is enough space, every living room should have a place to curl up with or without a book. This space would require a couch preferably with a single arm and a little side table. The side table would carry some books and (if possible) a lamp.
This zone can be created by the window, or behind the couch of the conversation area or even by the wall of a doorway. If the reading couch is in the door way, adorn the wall behind the couch with fun family pictures or a soothing piece of art for a clearer definition of the space.
The optional zones for a more functional and comfortable living room
If one is fortunate enough to have a spacious living room, one or more of the following zones can be added to the living room for increased functionality and comfort. The requirements of a family might differ from another; nevertheless, all of these zones in a living room have proven to be very useful over time.
The percentage of American telecommuters is continuously on the rise. Even the regular office-goers telecommute occasionally. Some homes dwellers who are not telecommuters like the idea of having a separate area for correspondence. Having a separate work or correspondence area also ensures that the important (and unimportant) mail and documents are safe from accidental food spills.
Kids’ play area
The clutter of kids’ toys in the living room is a major problem faced by many parents. One way to deal with that is to have a separate area for kids’ activities in the living room. It will keep the clutter away from the main conversation area. The kids (and their friends too) are going to love a space of their own. Of course, they also do not like to be frowned at when they clutter the coffee table or run amidst the adults’ conversations.
A quick breakfast nook
While some people are tired of seeing their kids clutter on the coffee table, others are tired of seeing their own food spills and food remnants on the coffee table. For them it is a good idea to keep a separate place for grabbing a quick bite.
A craft/hobby nook
Unless the hobby is a noisy one, this is a win-win solution for everyone in the home. The person who pursues a hobby has a separate place within the family room and other family members do not have to tolerate the clutter.
Personal experience, observation, and insight