I am Kati Curtis, and I am the principal of Nirmada Interior Design here in New York City. When designing a living room, I always first look for a focal point in the room, and really design around that. Oftentimes here in New York City, the view of Central Park, a fireplace, a painting, anything really that you can find as your focal point, design around that. Do not just stick with traditional layouts, but really do something flexible that has a central point to it that is going to work for you.
Ask what else is happening in the living room. A living room no longer is just a living room. Do you entertain a lot? Do you have pets? Do you have kids? These are all things to consider. A living room is no longer just a formal place where people hang out. It can be the TV room, it can be the family room, it can be a dining room, it can be a home office, these are all things to consider.
Also consider what materials you are selecting. If you have pets and you have kids, silk is probably not the right fabric to put on your sofa. You might want to go with something more durable like a nice Ultrasuede or something that is going to stand up to red wine, pets, kids throwing food, those kinds of things. And now with advances in technology and fabrics today, you can do all those things without compromising the look. Consider lighting and audio-visual. This showroom is a great example of how to incorporate light and sound into the design of your living room.
We use systems now that can actually be controlled from your iPad or your iPhone. So when you are driving home from work, you can set your shades to open, you can set your lights to come on. If you are having a hot date later you can set the music. So when you walk in the door at the end of the day, everything is already set for you. And this not only is a convenience, and something that is really great from a technological standpoint, but it saves energy too, because you can control the HVAC, you can use sun control and control the shading in the room. So you have killed two birds with one stone. It is really just a great system.
When spacing your sofa and a coffee table, leave eighteen inches between the edge of the coffee table and the edge of your sofa. This allows plenty of legroom when you sit down and also easy access to a drink or an appetizer that you are going to set on the table. So consider those few tips and you will have a successful living room that you are happy with for years to come.