A great place to start when you’re designing a living room is with the basics.
“It’s about building the space that feels right to you,” says John Vancetti, a Toronto architect who is designing a new condo building in Toronto’s Westmount neighbourhood.
The idea is to have the room look contemporary, inviting and comfortable.
“You don’t need a huge space, just a good mix of elements,” says Vancetti.
“If you’re looking for something simple and simple but not overly cluttered, it’s a great space to start.”
He recommends trying to create an ambiance that feels like a family member or friend is sitting down for dinner.
“People can sit on the sofa and relax,” he says.
“But if you’re planning a big event, you need something to look after them.”
“This is how a family will be at dinner, with their parents,” says Andrew Jones, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Architecture and Planning.
He says the main elements of a living space should be a place to sit, a table, chairs and tables.
The walls should be low, open and have minimal furnishings.
“The living room needs to be big enough to have people sitting around,” says Jones.
“When you have people in the room, you want them to have space for conversation.”
To create a room that is inviting, create a simple but inviting feeling.
“Don’t forget about space between people,” says Mr. Vancucci.
He suggests choosing the most appropriate room size for a room and using the size and position of the couch to guide your design.
For a sofa, he suggests going for a chair that’s about a foot higher than the length of the sofa.
This height makes it easy for the person sitting in the chair to sit.
“Use a chair as a platform to create a space between the person and the sofa,” says Vince Pritchard, an urban planner with the Ryerson Urban Design Centre.
“There should be no walls around the sofa, which will make the space feel comfortable and inviting.”
For a table or table-like furniture, choose one with a low-height, rectangular piece of wood.
The table-shaped pieces are the most practical.
“Avoid the more traditional rectangular pieces,” says Pritchers.
“Instead, use a table that’s longer, with a raised edge,” he adds.
“This makes it easier for people to stand up on the table and to put their feet on the surface.”
Design your space for people You can also create a “dining room” for people with different skill levels.
“Dining rooms are ideal for people who have a lot of experience with food, but have trouble with the concept of ordering food, so they might prefer a small table or chair,” says Ms. Vincetti.
“For people who don’t know how to cook, they might want a small dish or small serving tray, like a plate or spoon,” says she.
“And for people that do have a little bit of cooking experience, they can have a more traditional, classic style table.”
Designing a living area for people without experience is another way to design a space that creates a sense of belonging and community.
“What you want is a place that’s inviting, but not overwhelming,” says Chris Tippett, the CEO of Vignette.
“In a home, you can’t really have people going to the kitchen, but you can have the kitchen and the living room.”
The more people you have in the space, the better.
“We need to have a space where people are able to come in and connect, which is very important for any social event,” he explains.
“That’s where the conversation can take place.”
The kitchen can be a great place for people of all skill levels to gather, says Vincetti, as well as for people looking to connect.
“A good place to put a book is a great thing to have for someone that’s not a cook,” he said.
“I think that a lot people would prefer to go into the kitchen than sit at the table.”
For an outdoor seating area, use wood, but don’t add too many chairs.
Instead, use an open plan table with a height of three feet.
“Create a space for seating that’s a bit smaller than the number of people in it,” says Tippetts.
“Try to use the same type of materials.”
Make sure your space is open to all and for everyone.
If the space is too big for one person, a group of four or more can fit in a small space.
“Take a step back and look at what people are doing,” says the architect.
“Look at what they’re doing with their phones.
Look at their faces.
They’re not just doing something, they’re really enjoying it.”
Create a sense that everyone is part of the conversation.
“Consider whether you’re a meeting