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Questions to Ask Before You Redo the Living Room

Creating your ideal gathering spot begins with the answers to these questions.

By Jan Soults Walker

You know your living room could serve you better, but what really needs to happen to get the look and function you really want and need? These questions will help you launch the design process.

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Stephen & Gail Huberman

Do you have adequate space?

  • Does your current living room footprint meet your needs? How well does the layout flow for family life, activities, and entertaining? Do you have a spot for reading? Conversing? Are there other activities for which you would like to use your living room?
  • If you'd like more space in the living room, can you borrow square footage from adjoining spaces? Could you open it up to the kitchen or to a formal dining room or breakfast area?
  • Would adding on allow you to create a better connection to the outdoors from the living room? How will local codes and regulations influence the design?
  • What are your furnishing needs?

    Gideon Mendelson
  • Do you find yourself scrambling for additional seating when company comes calling?
  • Do guests seem comfortable in the seating you do have? 
  • What's the condition of the furnishings in general? Do the pieces suit your style?
  • Is the seating arranged so that everyone can easily converse? Are some guests separated from the group? Are people too far apart? Too close together?
  • Are occasional tables handy? Does everyone have a spot on which to set a beverage or a book?

  • For more ideas, check out:
  • How to Arrange Furniture
  • Choose the Perfect Coffee Table
  • What are your storage and display needs?

  • Is your living room cluttered with books, newspapers, CDs, or other items?
  • Are you able to personalize the space with some treasures?

    See our 6 (Deceptively Simple) Living Room Storage Ideas.
  • Does the style suit you?

  • When you walk through your home, does the look of the living room flow with other areas?
  • Is the style updated and a true reflection of your tastes?
  • How do you feel when you spend time in the living room?
  • Is the lighting adequate?

  • Are guests sitting in shadows?
  • Do you have lighting for reading and other tasks?
  • Can you adjust lighting levels to suit the time of day and mood?
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