Family living room ideas – designs and decor that kids and grown ups will both love

How to create a comfortable family living room that works for everyone
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  • Our family living room ideas are designed to keep the peace and help everyone relax. Because it’s important that everyone in the family feels at home – and nowhere more so than in the room where we come together to watch a movie or chat with our friends.

    The living room is the most sociable room in the house, so make sure it provides enough seating for the whole family, plus a few guests. If you don’t have the space for extra chairs, an upholstered or leather pouffe will do the job and can be used as a footstool when not needed as a seat. If you’re looking to buy a new armchair, check whether you have room to upgrade to a loveseat that can seat two people who are happy to snuggle up together.

    See more of our living room ideas

    Above all, your living room needs to offer comfort. If your room leaves you feeling cold, make it feel more cosy simply by adding soft texture. Plush carpet or a rug can transform the look of a room, instantly making it feel more welcoming. Deep sofas with plump seats adorned with a line of squashy cushions will entice the whole family to settle in and spend the evening together, rather than in separate rooms.

    A low-level table that can double up as a desk for drawing will be useful for everyone, and bean bags or knitted pouffes will serve as comfy seats for little ones. Choose hard-wearing flooring and loose-covered sofas with removable and washable covers that can stand up to a few spills.

    1. Create a gallery wall

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    Image credit: Clapton Fixed sofa bed, £299; frames and prints from a selection from the Anyday range, John Lewis & Partners

    What’s the secret to this joyful living room? The bold teal sofa bed teamed with clashing, colourful cushions are a vibrant starting point. However, we think incorporating the kids artwork  into the gallery wall is a genius touch.

    This family space doesn’t take itself too seriously and the graphic and painterly prints are an ideal base for swapping in and out your kids creations with pride. The use of all black frames also gives the gallery wall a cohesive finish. If you’re renting, try Command Picture Hanging Strips for an easy, drill-free way to secure the frames to the wall.

    2. Stay on top of clutter with a storage wall

    Family-living-room-ideas

    Image credit: Holkham utility baskets, £30 each, Garden Trading; Sarson blackened forge hooks, £9 each, Rowen & Wren.

    If storage space is at a premium or you want to avoid plastic boxes lined up in the living room, look to the wall to help clear the clutter. Hang wall baskets for a quick end-of-day tidy-ups for toys, books, magazines, iPads and other stuff that tends to lay about.

    Tech can be stored out of reach in the higher baskets. Use sturdy, decorative metal hooks that can take plenty of weight.

    Ready to tidy up? See our living room storage ideas

    3. Set up a flexible work space

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    A full family house may mean space is at a premium and a separate room for an office or homework station just isn’t an option. To create a slimline workspace within a living room, use adjoining floating shelves within an alcove or across an empty wall. Bear in mind the shelves may be leaned on, so secure with heavy duty floating brackets.

    Using this minimalist trick in place of a desk or traditional home office furniture means it won’t intrude on the living room. Pick a comfortable and supportive chair that doesn’t look too ‘officey’ allowing it to blend into the decor of the room.

    4. Utilise every nook for storage

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Make the most of the floor areas in a bay window with a built-to-fit seat. Drawers under the seat add storage and are more practical than a lift-up lid.

    The storage space is perfect for the speedy tidy up before guests arrive. Give each drawer a purpose to help keep it organised. Stash anything from toys and books to tech, chargers and consoles and games.  The angled end section doubles up as a built in side table.

    5. Invest in adaptable furniture

    family-living-room-ideas

    Image credit: Harry Three Seat Unit And Footstool Unit In Eucalyptus Smart Cotton, £2070, Sofa.com X Jack Wills

    Look for a sofa that will not only seat the family plus friends for a movie marathon, but one that features hidden storage too. This double duty design is aimed at catching the eye of families and ever evolving households.

    The very flexible friend Harry, is a modular sofa made for building, mixing and matching, so you can create a chaise, a lounger or modular sofa, all with a nifty stash space beneath. So as the household grows and changes, so can the modular pieces.

    6. Add a hidden bed

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    Image credit: Bed in a Bun foldaway guest bed, £745, Loaf

    It’s hard to believe there’s a bed nestled beneath this plump perch, but this smart seat transforms into a comfortable double. A multifunctional piece like this is ideal if you don’t have space for a guest bed in a spare room or bedroom – it’s a sleepover saviour! The lid lifts to create a plush headboard. The hideaway bed is available in 150 fabrics.

    7. Spark joy with colour and pattern

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    Image credit: Yoko corner sofa in honey velvet, £1,499; DFS

    Create an inviting, family-friendly living room with a yellow sofa. The pairing of the sunny colour with the blush pink walls is a warm, contemporary combination. Pop in a spotty footstool, layered monochrome rugs and a line up of geometric cushions for a fun, graphic injection to complement the block colour upholstery.

    Mix up the print scales, from large triangles to small shifting shapes. Echo these playful shapes around the room, pick sculptural vases and accessories and streamlined lighting.

    8. Create an area that’s made for play

    Family-room-ideas-kids-corner

    If you don’t have a separate playroom, it’s wise to dedicate one corner of your living room as a play area for the kids. Without one, toys could spread everywhere turning your entire living room into one big playroom – not ideal!

    Family living rooms require plenty of storage, so make sure everyone in the family has an assigned cupboard, drawer or trunk to hide their things inside. Make sure there is plenty of it – at the end of the day, you’ll be glad of somewhere to banish the toys so that you can enjoy some much-needed adult time.

    Here, brighter accessories added to a neutral background can be easily swapped as children get older and the function of the room changes.

    9. Add photographs

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Personalise your living room with an arrangement of favourite family photographs. A bare expanse of wall above the sofa or a sideboard makes the ideal spot. Choose frames that are identical in size and colour, and arrange in a grid formation to make a visual impact.

    10. Incorporate technology

    Create a media-friendly arrangement in a family living room. Choose low units that won’t overwhelm the room and keep the wall space above feeling open by putting up simple floating shelves. Go for a pale colour scheme for walls and furniture to give a unified look and hide all TV-related gadgetry in wicker baskets.

    11. Keep on top of clutter

    Dominic Blackmore

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    Create a clutter-free living room by keeping shelves orderly and free from lots of objects. Keep paraphernalia hidden in wooden storage boxes and store books and magazines neatly between stationary box files. Use the often forgotten space above the sofa a for single picture shelf to display coherent black and white family photos.

    12. Choose durable furniture

    Modern white living room with leather sofa

    Image credit: James Merrell for Livingetc

    Who says you can’t have a stylish and sleek living room in a busy family home? Paint walls a fresh off-white in a wipeable finish and update fussy curtains with clean-lined shutters.

    Choose hardwearing leather sofas for an easy-clean option;they look even better once well loved. Then add modern glamour with a show-stopping ceiling chandelier – it will be well out of reach of little fingers!

    13. Socialise the space

    Modern open plan living room with sunken sofa

    Modern family life can be busy, so create a living room that encourages you to stop for quality family time and enjoy each other’s company. Create and intimate space within a split-level, open-plan area by adding comfortable sofas in a communal group.

    The sunken effect is very impressive and is sure to be a conversation starter. Shades of fresh white wall with pink and blue accents will keep the room bright and friendly, while dark wood flooring introduces warmth.

    14. Use family-friendly flooring

    Large bright living room with colourful rugs and sofas

    Image credit: Clare Lloyd Davies/Future PLC

    Choose wooden floors for a classic look that is easy to clean. Keep it feeling snug with one large or several rugs.

    Storage is important so that bits and bobs don’t take over – a chest with lots of drawers is a good option, as each family member can have one or two of their own. The sheep is a cool quirky touch that kids will love – and it can even double as a seat when visitors are given priority on the sofa.

    15. Make room for everyone

    Be sure to put a large sofa at the top of your wish list! Not only will it play a vital part in family life a corner design to accommodate everyone and save space. The layout also means there is a large floor area for children to play. A neutral scheme allows plenty of scope to add colour and pattern, which makes for a fun room. Check out our guides to the best sofas and best sofa beds to find a super spacious and stylish option.

    16. Get in the zone

    Modern living room with ink blue walls and owl canvas | Ideal Home

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Openplan living is a great choice as the social aspect is perfect for family interaction. Design allocated zones for lounging, dining and working to keep the room organised. Use soft textures and uplifting colours, with plenty of cushions and blankets so that everyone can snuggle in comfort.

    17. You can never have too much storage

    Use a basic free-standing unit in multiples to create a bank of storage to fit your space and then fill them box files and colourful objects for interest. Use the space above to store rarely used items in boxes that blend in well with the walls.

    Baskets near sofas can be used for children’s toys so they are never strewn across the floor and coffee table with drawers underneath makes it easy to keep the surface clear.

    18. Get cosy

    Cosy living room with warm wood and lots of texture

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Large squashy sofas with plump feather-filled cushions provide all the temptation needed for a relaxing living room. Add atmosphere warming stove fire and plenty of wooden furniture.

    Related: Open-plan living room ideas for a multi-functional, family space

    Woollen or linen throws folded over sofa arms will visually soften the room as well as providing warmth when needed. Every one loves a blanket so make sure there are plenty to go around.

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