5 ways to make your living space work harder for your household

A multifunctional living room
Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor

Time for a rethink? Create a work-hard, play-hard room with plenty of clever features and space-savvy ideas

We’re getting so demanding when it comes to our living rooms – it’s no longer one room, one use. From watching TV to dining, home working to socialising, it’s become a truly multifunctional space. Flexibility is key to creating a space that looks stylish while meeting the constant pressures placed on it. Here are our top tips to getting your multifunctional living space just right.

A modern dining area in a multifunctional living room

Make space to eat

Think about what you want to use your living room for, along with the things you’d like to change. If you’ve had enough of eating dinner on your lap in front of the TV, then see if there’s a way of reconfiguring the furniture to fit in a small table and chairs. Try a circular dining table as this will allow space to flow around it and will fit nicely into the corner of a room.

Think outside the box – just because you’ve always had your sofa against a wall, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work as well moved into the middle of the room, allowing space for a sideboard or dining table behind. All too often, we push furniture back against the walls to make space in the middle when actually we’d be better bringing furniture in and using those corners to create different zones.

A desk in a home office

Create a home-working hub

With more and more of us working from home, a mini office is high on our wish lists. The trick is to design a desk area that looks creative and inspiring.

Use a console table or slimline desk that won’t dominate the space, teaming with a comfortable seat that can double up as an extra dining chair when entertaining. Light your work area well with a statement desk lamp and add a few potted plants. A memo board, or even a cork wall, will allow you to put up pictures and ideas for inspiration and inject a little of ‘you’ into the space.

A sofa with grey throw

Decide on a theme

In a flexible space, choosing a coherent colour scheme will help the different areas to feel united. Opt for a Scandi or modern look, incorporating muted shades and subtle patterns that can be easily added to as and when your needs change. Keep furniture choices pale – oak or even white – rather than darker statement pieces that scream ‘look at me’. This will allow those zones – whether for eating, relaxing or working – to blend seamlessly into each other.

Keep patterns graphic or Scandi and choose plenty of textures that will allow you to create cosy areas. You should be able to move pieces around your living space, whether that’s a rug, piece of artwork or pouffe, to change things up easily.

A multifunctional social space

Make it inviting

Add a low-level coffee table, soft rug and a few floor cushions and your living room becomes a casual space to entertain, serve coffee and cake or enjoy supper with a glass of wine.

If you're looking for the right technology to enhance your sociable space, try a wireless voice-activated music system, such as Sonossmart heating that can be controlled through your mobile device or home assistant, such as Google Home or Alexa, and even a smart video doorbell, like Ring, so you can see when friends arrive without leaving the sofa.

Storage in a multifunctional living room

Curate cosy corners

If your living room is used by several members of your household, then think about setting up an area where people can do their own thing. This could be listening to music through headphones, enjoying the Sunday papers or shopping on a tablet. Make sure there’s a comfortable chair as well as a table or overhead floor lamp and a power point to charge up any device.

Choose a chair that can be moved into the main seating area easily as and when required, and don’t let clutter build up – a daily edit of the area will help keep it inviting.

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