The days of separate living and dining rooms are gone – at least for a lot of us. These days, living-dining room combinations are the order of the day… but how do you pull it off? How do you stop the different functions and vibes of the two areas from clashing? How do you create a harmonious whole? If you’ve been struggling with the question of how to pull off a living room and dining room combo, then stop scratching your head and try some of our top tips instead.
Create Unity with Furniture
If you decorate your dining area with a traditional style of furniture and your living area with a contemporary style, you’re not going to do wonders for the general harmony of the room. To create a flowing, balanced look, do as inminutes.com suggests and choose a single theme for both areas… and then stick to it. If you choose a sleek, modern dining table for the dining area, look for sleek, modern sofas and accompaniments for the living area. Similarly, look for furniture in complimentary colors. The colors you use in the different areas don’t need to be an exact match, but if you want both areas to blend seamlessly, they do need to work well together. Think “unity” and you can’t go too far wrong.
Define the Areas with Bookcases
If you want to give a sense of separation and identity to the different areas of the room, a few strategically placed pieces of furniture should do just that. Bobvila.com recommends using open-shelf bookcases as a way of creating two distinct areas. Rugs and lighting can help further define the areas. All that said, it’s still important to maintain a sense of ‘one’. Try uniting the areas with a striking wall color to pull the two looks together.
Coordination is Key
Not everything in your living-dining room has to match perfectly. But everything should complement each other. If you’re not quite sure which colors will complement and which will jar, keep to a consistent color palette throughout both areas. The same applies to fabric patterns and wall art.
Choose Matching Window Dressings
Regardless of whether you prefer blinds or curtains, make sure all the windows in your living-dining room are treated in the same way. Although the different areas of the room can be given their own sense of identity, dressing the windows in different ways is a surefire way of making the room lose its sense of cohesion. Maintain a sense of unity by keeping the color palette and print the same. If your room is small, create the illusion of space by hanging the curtains slightly higher than you would normally and opting for a floor skimming length.
Look for Expandable Options
If space is an issue, look for furniture options that can be expanded and retracted at will. A dining table with leaves can comfortably seat a big party when needed, but can otherwise be left closed and pushed against a wall to maximize floor space.
Most of us end up combining our living rooms and dining rooms because of a lack of square footage. If this describes your situation, it’s time to get creative with the furniture you use. A full-sized dining table can be a lovely addition to a larger space, but more often than not, it doesn’t get used too often outside the holiday season. If your dining table spends most of the year gathering dust, consider taking apartmenttherapy.com’s advice and replacing it with a wide coffee table that’s high enough to work with floor pillows. Stack the cushions in a corner or keep them on the sofa when they’re not being used to take up even less floor space. If you’re not keen on eating your food at knee-height, a bar- cart makes a great alternative. Sure, it’s more suited to dips and chips than it is four-course dinners for parties of 5, but how many of us can really say we entertain often enough to justify giving up half a room to a table?
Double up on Duty
Why invest in a piece of furniture that only serves one function? If space is a problem, look for pieces that work overtime. One great option to consider is dining chairs that are comfortable enough to be pulled out and used as living room chairs when the occasion calls. As well as reducing the amount of floor space you’ll be using, you’ll be saving a heap of money in the process.
Keep Things Hidden
Floating shelves and wall racks are a great way to store everything from CDs to dinner plates. But beware showing off both dining and living room paraphernalia in the same unit. Unless you want to risk creating a confused space, keep everything safely out of sight behind doors or in decorative baskets or boxes.
Play with Light
As countrydoor.com says, light can make a big difference to any space. If you want to give each area of your combined living room – dining room a distinct feel, the right choice of lightening will do just that. A striking chandelier hung over a dining table will give a big clue as to that area’s function, while a few table lamps will light your living area up with a soft, cozy glow.
Clutter is the number one enemy of all small spaces. If your living/ dining room combo is on the petite side, keep the flow and make the most of what little space you have by avoiding anything that could rightfully be described as a ‘mess’. Keep anything that’s not part of the overall look and décor tucked safely away, and avoid leaving used coffee cups, dirty plates, piles of paper, or any other detritus on surfaces. Everything should have its rightful home: if it doesn’t, either find it one or throw it away.