My husband said an interesting thing to me the other day. He said “Since the baby was born, I feel like we’re really living in the living room.” I knew exactly what he meant – prior to, say, the baby becoming mobile, our living room was a pretty room that didn’t have much going on. Our TV and all our books are downstairs in what you might call the family room, my workspace was in my home office, and the kitchen is so the hub of our house. We just didn’t spend much time in the living room unless we had people over who wanted to sit instead of hovering in the kitchen.
But once the baby was born and started getting into everything, it seemed like the living room was the easiest one to childproof because she still didn’t have her own room and my office was full of things like crafting supplies while the so-called family room contained my husband’s desk. So the living room became play central. We switched out the carpet for play mats, put a Little People’s Farm on the game trunk, and if you can imagine it, inflated a ball pit, right there in the middle of everything. Now we spend a lot of time in the living room (though the baby’s room is almost finished and certain things like play mats will be moving in there).
So how can you start living in your living room without having a baby and filling your living room with toy cars and build blocks and dollies? Think about how you’d like to use your living room – would you like a reading room? A place to hang with your kids? A media room? Then decide what you can put in your living room to make that happen, like floor-to-ceiling book shelves, play mats, a huge TV, or whatever. Don’t put a lot of other stuff in there that won’t fulfill those objectives. That will help you avoid the kind of clutter that will make the room feel uninviting. Make sure the lighting supports whatever it is you want to do in your living room.
And then spend time in your living room! Instead of sitting down at a kitchen chair to flip through that magazine, stretch out on the couch. If you’re writing a letter, sit down at that writing desk that usually does nothing but collect dust. In fact, keep your stationery, stamps, and envelopes in said desk. Make an effort to live in your living room until it becomes a habit, and just like that, you’ll have a whole new room in which to while away the hours.