Renovation series: lessons for living areas

Here is what to consider when renovating the living room, from interiors expert Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room


Consider how you’d like to use your living space. Do you want open-plan living or something you can close off? Is it a family lounge, with a TV, or adults only? Figure out if you want it to be formal or casual.

  • Scale is important. If you have a four-bedroom home, you shouldn’t have a small lounge or kitchen. How many people do you need to fit in there – both on weeknights with the family, and on weekends when you perhaps might entertain.
  • Living areas get major use so choose materials for their longevity as well as their purpose. When it comes to flooring in a living area, everything has its pros and cons. Make your choice based upon who will be using it. Wooden floors look great and are a good option for allergy sufferers but they can scratch if you’re a stiletto wearer or have a dog who likes to race around inside. Timber floors can also be noisy – soften them with a rug.
  • Read up on carpet before you make your choice. Wool is soft underfoot and great for our economy but it dents easily with heavy furniture and is easy to stain. Nylon repels water or dirt so it’s good with children around. It’s also better for allergy sufferers – go for shorter strands if you have a dust-mite allergy.
  • If you have the space, built-in furniture might be a good option. Think window seats with storage or built-in shelving. If you have an enormous TV, minimise the impact of it and provide balance with built-in cabinetry around it – some drawers for hidden storage and shelves to display your keepsakes.
  • Choose furniture that performs double duty. Joanna Hannah, marketing coordinator at Nood, says there is a wealth of small-scale furniture that can be easily re-purposed around the home as storage, seating and tables, such as the Conform Sofabed: “It appears to be a fun slipper chair but unfolds into a mattress as well.”
  • Living rooms are used all day (and night) long so be flexible with your lighting. Lighting at night doesn’t need to be super-bright – consider dimmer switches or lamps to change the ambience.



✔ Space planning
✔ Storage
✔ Flooring
✔ Lighting plan

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. Photography by: Martin Solyst/Living Inside.

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