When we imagine comfortable family lounges, we often picture large, slouchy couches, a coffee table filled with books or games, kids’ toys scattered around, and a family sitting around chatting, sharing conversations, meals, and fun.
In reality, modern family lounges can often be very different. The modern lounge can frequently feature members of the family sitting glued to their phones, the TV, or a games console, rarely interacting with each other or paying much attention to their surroundings.
This screen addiction can also mean that our lounges become very tidy, sterile, and inhospitable. They aren’t always the friendly, noisy spaces that we’d like them to be.
While your décor choices are unlikely to cure your family’s smartphone addiction, creating a more social lounge can encourage conversation and family time, and even make spending time without screens more enjoyable.
This can improve your mood, your relationships, and even your physical and mental health. With those benefits in mind, here’s a look at some of the easiest ways to turn your lounge into a social space.
Install a Cozy Fireplace
What could be lovelier than curling up in front of the fire with your family? While it’s an image that screams cozy family time, it’s not quite the same if you’ve got an old-fashioned gas fire or something that doesn’t work.
Investing in a marble slab fireplace is a great way to bring your family together, especially in the wintertime. A marble slab fireplace from World Stone Group will look fantastic and immediately upgrade the comfort, style, and atmosphere of your lounge.
Reposition Your Furniture
If your furniture all faces your TV, and the first thing that you ask yourself when you buy a new chair or move things around is “can we see the TV from there?” you are giving this screen all the power in the room.
Base all your decisions around the television and you are giving it focus, encouraging people to use it, and not inspiring conversation and other activities. It’s okay to have a TV, of course, and you want to be able to see it properly when it’s on.
But try to position it somewhere that it doesn’t pull all of the focus, and make sure at least some of your seating faces into the center of the room, towards other seats, perhaps over a coffee table.
Upgrade Your Coffee Table
A small coffee table might be ideal for a cup of coffee and a book. It can even be a great place to keep your TV remotes.
But what if you want to enjoy a family board game? You are more likely to play games as a family, and when you have guests over if you have a table big enough to do it, you can use it for crafts and other activities too.
Just make sure if it’s low, you’ve got plenty of cushions, and perhaps even bean bags so everyone can sit comfortably on the floor.
Choose a “Lived In” Aesthetic
No one is ever truly comfortable in a perfectly neat and tidy home. Your kids won’t feel free to play, guests will be on edge, and no one will relax. Yes, keep things clean, but don’t be so tidy that nothing is ever out of place.
If you are a naturally very tidy person, create a more comfortable atmosphere by adding color, accessories, and soft furnishings.
Make it Child-Friendly
A social family lounge has to have children in mind. Even if yours are a little older, your guests might have younger kids. Make sure it’s safe for children, and that there’s nothing that you won’t mind getting damaged or broken.
Add Cushions and Throws
Cushions and throws are the easiest way to make your lounge more comfortable and create a more relaxed atmosphere. Small touches like this will make people want to settle down for a chat, without feeling guarded, on edge, or looking for something to do.
Consider the Aroma
How comfortable and social your lounge is isn’t just about what it looks like; how it smells can also affect the atmosphere. Try to open the windows a little each day to let plenty of fresh air in and watch out for any unpleasant smells.
We’re not always aware of how our home smells, so try to pay particular attention when you just get in after being out for a while; that’s when you’ll notice any smells, whether they are unpleasant or not.
Keep it Warm
It should also be warm if you want people to sit in it and enjoy themselves. A fireplace will be a big help here, but be careful not to overheat, which can be equally unpleasant.
Have More Seats Than You Need
If you invite people around, the last thing that you want is for someone to have to stand, sit on the floor, or squeeze in. Make sure you’ve got more than enough chairs, consider alternative seating like giant cushions or bean bags, and if you are short on space, make sure there are some spares that you can pull in from other rooms.
Try to keep things like board games, craft supplies, movies, toys, and other activities in your lounge. This will mean that you and your family are more likely to get them out and do them.
But it can be messy, so make sure you’ve got plenty of easy-to-reach storage so that you can keep everything you’d want close to hand without sacrificing style.
Consider Open Plan Living
If you want to create a truly social family lounge where you can enjoy a wide range of activities together, an open plan living area, with a kitchen, dining room, and lounge all in one space can be a great option.
It won’t happen overnight but make a few changes to your décor and layout, and you might soon start to find that your family is spending more time enjoying each other’s company and having actual conversations, instead of sending each other WhatsApp messages across the room or wasting evenings scrolling through Netflix menus.