Evaluate Your Space: The Basic Elements of a Great Living Room

What stands between a "good" living room and a "great" one? A good living room, while perfectly serviceable (and maybe even nice to look at) isn't bad, it just isn't as awesome as it could be. A great living room draws people in, keeps them there, and leaves them happier than before. This won't be a checklist of furniture items or physical items you should add to a room; this is a list of the intangible qualities that distinguish a great living room from just a good one.

A great living room...

Has a seating arrangement that encourage conversation and sparks stories. It feels like the heart of a room — emphasizing that people are more important than things. It makes people at ease and feel like they want to open up.

Has the perfect mix of art that complements the room's style, along with a healthy dose of negative space to give the eyes spots to rest. It also has art that has meaning to the people who live in the space, so that every viewing fills them with inspiration.

Doesn't have any unnecessary furniture. It isn't filled with furniture you don't really love but don't have the heart to trade in for something better. Each piece serves a function, even if that function is just being something you love (but usually something more useful than that!).

Evolves and grows with the person who lives in it, changing so that it never gets stagnant. It isn't designed by following trends, but by following the new interests and growing tastes of who lives in the home. Vignettes are changed, colors updated and new styles explored in regularly.
Stays refreshingly clean on a regular basis. Not just so it's always ready to receive guests; so that it's a restful and healthy retreat daily.

Is a living room where the designer takes bold chances — and isn't afraid to fail. The kind of room where someone goes out on a limb to try something new, not knowing if it'll work or not. A room that isn't afraid of color, pattern or new materials.

Feels cozy, natural, welcoming, not like a design decor catalog. Perhaps most importantly, a great living room feels like you. Your personality, your likes, your quirks — they all are displayed prominently and proudly.

What would you add to this list of what makes for a great living room?

(Image credits: Pablo Enriquez; Katie Gard; Alana's Brooklyn Railroad; Kim Lucian; Alexis Buryk; Rebecca Bond; Carolyn Purnell)