When did the “living room” come to mean “room where we watch television”? It seems like most of our living rooms are now used to watch TV, but family rooms and living rooms should serve many purposes and encourage meaningful time spent with family and friends. In an effort to create a simpler life of contentment and joy, the living room is an essential element. 

How to reclaim and simplify your living room in 5 easy steps

So this week your task in the 52-Week Simplify Challenge is to simplify and reclaim your living room for living. 

1. Do a major declutter. Pick up every item in the room that doesn’t belong there and either put it back in its place or put it in your bin for donating. Then evaluate your furniture. Do you have too much? Is it comfortable? Do all the lamps work? If there is anything you can remove, do so now. Remember, too much stuff means more time cleaning and occupying yourself with things that do not contribute to a life of value. 

That said, if there are pieces that are functional but not beautiful, don’t throw them away just to buy more. See if you can put in a little DIY time to fix them up to fit your refreshed room. I did that with an old IKEA floor lamp recently. Check out this and these other projects to give you ideas. 

IKEA Lamp hack - simplify your living room

2. Determine the best spot for your TV so that it’s comfortable to view but also doesn’t become the focal point of the room. You don’t want it distracting you from using your living room for good conversations or board games. Perhaps you can wall mount it and make it part of a gallery wall? Can you hide it in an entertainment unit or within an open built-in bookcase? Try moving it to a side wall or placing it on a low bench like I did so that it’s not front and centre in the room. 

how to position the tv low and off centre so it's not a focal point

3. Rearrange the furniture. Your sofa and armchairs should face each other to encourage conversation and create a more intimate space. Make sure to also have side tables that are easily reachable from each seated position so you can have coffee or tea or wine during your friend time. And ensure you have ample lighting – task lighting for reading is a must, and ambient lighting from a sconce or table or floor lamp make for a mellow, welcoming mood. 

4.  Add elements of meaning. Perhaps a book or music collection will encourage you to read or listen rather than reach for the remote at the end of the day. A few pieces of artwork (even DIY art) and photos will slow you down and make you smile. 

how to simplify your living room

5. Finally, be sure to bring in natural elements – house plants, succulents or fresh flowers, or perhaps even driftwood and sea glass. These things ground us and remind us to stop and breathe. 

5 steps to reclaim and simplify your living room

Give yourself the gift of really living a simple life that’s based on what you value most. Relax and have fun with it! And if you need a bit of help, work with me so I can give you a floor plan and design board to reclaim your living room and make it the best space in the house. Check out the e-fresh options