As the continuous reference to the film, Groundhog Day, is mentioned weekly on Zoom calls, I cannot help but think of the most relative line of the movie this date: “Sometimes I wish I had a thousand lifetimes…Maybe it’s not a curse. Just depends on how you look at it.” March will be a year in quarantine. A year we have been sheltering in place, in our homes. As clients call frustrated over rooms that are ‘not working’ for them or sending photos of hand-me-down furniture that is not their taste, I give them permission to release these items. Proclaiming with my motivating mantra of ‘Why are you keeping it if you don’t like it?’ Your home is to be a reflection of you and your style. Take back that living room that has become overrun by Colonel Mustard & Park Place pieces and transfer it back into a place you want to be.
In former times, the living room was once the receiving room, a place where telephone calls were taken or drinks had before dinner. These rooms held the family’s nicest pieces of furniture. After World War I, a plague of influenza was taking many lives faster than they could bury the dead. Between lack of storage and wishing time to mourn, the bodies were often stacked in the living rooms. As the influenza outbreak ended and people began to socialize more rather than refer to the room as a ‘death room’, the name was changed to ‘living room’. The idea and hope was to bring life back into the home. As we continue to spend this time in our homes, let us dive into impactful changes for the living room:
The anatomy of color… Color affects mood. It is a fundamental piece of the room puzzle that can even change its shades throughout the day depending on light and the sheen used in the paint. As an avid designer who adds bright colors to my client’s homes, after this past year, I am adding more subtle softer pastels and calming patterns that people can ‘live with’. While navy is still on-trend, we all could use serenity now and turning towards neutrals is just the ticket. Think of the paint on the walls as a backdrop to a great stage, then bring colors in with fun toss pillows that your kids will love to snuggle up to.
Zones within the room… With everyone home, you may all be looking for a place to relax. My solution is creating zones within rooms. Make your rooms multifunctional. You have the sofa for viewing tv, the desk area for tag team school time, and perhaps a game table for after-hours fun. As book sales are on the rise, why not promote an area in your home as a reading nook? A delicious leather club chair, lamp, and throw blanket and there’s your afternoon.
Workhorse furniture… As the living room is doing double duty these days, so should your furniture. Springing for a quality sofa that you can sink into after hunching over your Zoom calls or the kids can recline back for screen time is my biggest suggestion. Hide the excess books, games and crafts in a stylish coffee table. Rather than search for all the remotes, trick the kids into remembering where they go by storing them in a brightly colored box. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Let there be light… with window treatments and lamps! Open the drapes and let a new day in. Natural light is important for our natural circadian rhythm, and to fight off seasonal blues. Rather than disrupt this need for vitamin D in our body, curate the light coming in with the appropriate sets of panels or light filtering blinds for more privacy. If there is not enough light in the living room, bring it in through high hats (if remodeling) and table lamps. These options would suit a side table, or behind the couch to separate a room.
All work and no play… We may never have this time at home, this opportunity to embrace each day. Cherish the time with your loved ones and fury friends. Take up a family hobby such as reading hour or game hour. Sit around a beautiful antique table and make rainbow crafts. Display the art in a rotating art gallery made by shadow boxes. Pick up the book, paintbrush or running shoes that have been set down for far too long.
As we are not passing hors d’oeuvres or hosting holidays in the living room these days, convert it to a place you love living in. Give yourself a break in making drastic changes overnight. Selecting the right pieces to change your living room takes time. Remember it is about the process of finding items you love not that you are just living with to fill a space. So get inspired! I gave you a running start. I hope to hear when this is all over, your friends and family are just as much in love with your living room as you are.
Reach out if you need me to do it for you! Happy decorating. Best, Marisa
For more design inspiration, find me here: Marisa Orlich Interiors