Layout Ideas For Your Great Room

May 27, 2013

Customizing your living space to work well takes a keen awareness of how you like to live.  It also takes an eye for space, color, size, and most of all function. The time you spend defining your needs and experimenting with different layouts can be a lot of fun and very worthwhile.

In the case of the great room (living room) layout of your custom home, the end result will be visible to visitors.  If they like it you will get double benefits from taking the time to customize.

If you live alone and don’t have many visitors, your house will generally be smaller and you may have multiple functions for the great room of your custom house, but the principles of design will remain the same. Here are some things to consider:

  • What uses do you require from this room?
  • If you live with others, what are your common needs?
  • What will be your focus of attention?
  • When people walk through the room, where will they be going?

Living With Others

If you live with others, it’s a good idea to include them in your planning. If they aren’t, you may inadvertently create a room in which they feel uncomfortable and therefore won’t use. Living with others will also generate more visitors. The great room, therefore, becomes both a place to relax and converse for inhabitants and a primary greeting place for visitors.

Define Characteristics

A room is easier to design when you define qualities to focus on. Some key characteristics living with others evokes are “welcoming,” “comfortable,” and “inclusive.” What kinds of furniture embody these three characteristics? What colors or combinations embody these characteristics? For example, what would happen if you chose your favorite color for the primary one, someone else’s for secondary, and an accent color that the most divisive of your cohabitants likes?

Determine Focal Point

Where does the eye travel when you first enter the room? Where does it linger? That’s your natural focal point. Design the layout to emphasize it. If there isn’t one, create one. A fireplace is a natural focal point; so is a bank of windows. You can lay out a seating arrangement around the fireplace that encompasses it or one that faces the windows. If there isn’t a natural focal point, walk into the room and see where you automatically want to stop. Try arranging seating in that area and let the rest of the room flow around it.

Consider Traffic Paths

Hosting visitors also generally requires feeding them. Whether you do that in the great room or serve in the kitchen, you will want to place furniture so there is a direct path open to the kitchen. You will also want a direct path open to the nearest restroom. Design your layout so there is a seating arrangement that traffic flows around (rather than through) to both of those places.

There is more, but including just these three design elements in your initial layout will produce a satisfying, effective living space.