The living room is perhaps the most used room in any home. It receives the most foot traffic, it’s where guests typically gather, and it’s the room that’s always put on display as your home’s first and best impression. For this reason, when buying your first home, it’s important you give your living room a bit of extra attention and ensure it is furnished properly. Here are some must-have living room essentials for first-time home buyers.
Start With a Theme
First things first, you want to consider the sort of theme you want to use for your living room design. For instance, if you want something that reflects current trends in home décor, you can choose modern living room furniture that helps keep the room feeling fresh and stylish. Alternatively, you may prefer the nostalgic comforts of vintage furniture—the stuff that was considered “modern” when your grandparents were buying their first home.
There’s no wrong theme to choose from, so pick whatever design philosophy speaks to you and your preferences the most! The important thing is that you stick to the theme you choose so that your living room ties together, and all the furniture complements each other. Having a room full of mismatched furniture can make it feel messy and claustrophobic due to all the clashing colors and design elements.
The Almighty Sofa
What part of the living room is more iconic than the sofa? A sofa is a great way to share the space with friends and family; you’ll want to be extra particular to find a sofa that is comfortable according to your preferences so that you can spend time lounging, socializing, or simply binge-watching your favorite shows in comfort. Expect your sofa to get a lot of use, so pay attention to what kind of material your sofa is made from, as some materials are more durable than others. For instance, a leather couch will last you for years, whereas a linen one is shorter-lived but tends to look nicer.
A Reading Chair
As a classic combo, many people get a reading chair to accompany their sofa. This not only provides an extra space of seating for guests, but also gives you a pleasant, personal place to settle into and enjoy a good book, movie, or any other form of relaxation and entertainment. There are a wide variety of armchairs available that can help you work with however much space you have—such as streamlined and minimalist chairs for smaller spaces or larger, more indulgent chairs to maximize comfort.
A coffee table is always nice because it acts as the focal point of the living room—something for you and your guests to gather around. It also allows you to bring refreshments into the living room for further enjoyment. It’s also a good opportunity to display decorations, potted plants, or potpourri to add extra character to the room. Unfortunately, coffee table books are sold separately, but rest assured there’s no shortage of them out there.
When choosing a coffee table, make sure you have the measurements of your living room beforehand. You don’t want to get a coffee table that takes up too much space and gets in the way of walkways. There’s nothing more annoying than banging your knee up against the table whenever you’re trying to move past it.
Carpeting and Rugs
If your living room is already carpeted, then you simply need to keep the carpet clean and cared for to ensure your living room floor remains comfortable and appealing. If you have hardwood floors, or floors of any other kind of material, you should consider laying a rug over it. A nice big rug for your living room is another opportunity to express your style. Furthermore, it’s just nice to have something soft and warm under your feet rather than cold and hard. A living room with no carpet or rugs will always look a bit barren, and a rug could be just the thing you need to pull the room together.
Lighting the Room
Never underestimate good lighting. Lights can completely alter the feeling of a room depending on the source, the intensity of the light, and how well you take advantage of it. Obviously, you don’t want anything like the LED lights you see in office buildings; lamps, candles, or even a fireplace are all great ways to create a cozier environment. These light sources have a more personal touch with softer and warmer light. You also needn’t just choose one type of light source; in fact, it’s recommended that you use multiple sources in a technique called “layering.” By layering light sources, the room will feel much more natural and comfortable.
Plants and Decoration
This is, perhaps, the most subjective of the must-have room essentials for first-time home buyers. However, we strongly recommend including plants in your design schemes. Greenery is naturally pleasing to the eye and adds a fantastic natural element to the room. It makes the living room more interesting to look at by adding a pleasant contrast to the man-made furniture—as long as you take good care of it, of course.
Other common decorations for living rooms also include artwork. It doesn’t have to be anything as expensive and grand as the Mona Lisa—posters and pictures also count. Your artwork speaks to your character and provides topics of interest to talk about with your guests.
The Magic of Mirrors
Mirrors are a great addition, especially for smaller living rooms, because they provide the illusion of space. Mirrors reflecting the room back make the space feel so much larger, which is great if you have a nagging sense of claustrophobia whenever you enter the living room. Furthermore, mirrors also help reflect light, helping you keep rooms well-lit with natural light during the day and ensuring every corner is flooded with light.
Entertainment and Comfort
Lastly, don’t forget the little details that allow you to enjoy yourself—namely televisions, blankets, game systems, or whatever you desire. The living room often doubles as an entertainment area, and there’s nothing wrong with placing your hobbies on display. It’s your home, so make sure that at the end of the process, your living room is personalized and reflects your preferences.