Singaporebrides | Home & Travel

March 2011

Home Sweet Home Series – Pt I

After the wedding, the next big event for a couple is their new home. Some couples may decide to consult with an interior designer, while others who are more creative or who are on a budget may prefer to handle the decorating job by themselves. Either way, a good and comfortable home is one that fits your personality and your lifestyle, no matter the size or configuration. We start our Home Sweet Home series with the largest room in your home, and give you some suggestions on how to start building your dream home together.

Congratulations! You’ve gotten the keys to your new home, and you can’t wait to start decorating. One of the most important rooms in your home is your living room, the first room to greet you when you get home from a long day at work, so it should be a room that relaxes you.

The living room has to be a practical yet comfortable space. It should be a casual, safe environment that is also flexible and inspiring; a ‘living’ room to accommodate the day-to-day activities of the family and a space to entertain friends. It is a room where people socialise – it is the main venue for gatherings, TV watching, relaxing with the family in the evening and reading in a comfortable armchair.

This living space is suitable for a couple with no kids, living in a small flat. The use of a bookcase as a room divider differentiates between the living and dining area

To support these activities, you need a comfortable sofa and armchair, bookcases, media storage, extra easy chairs or footstools for guests to sit on, a coffee table /side table, general and mood lightings, plus furnishings to complement and add some colour and ambience to the room. And if you are living with kids, perhaps a storage unit for their toys.

Krisztina Pohl, First Interior Designer from IKEA Singapore, gives couples some tips and ideas on what to look out for when putting together your living room.

Sofa, So good

You can have the best TV in the world but if your sofa causes you discomfort, you’re not going to be enjoying anything on it. Uncomfortable seating can turn your comedy into a horror film for your neck or back so it is important to find the right sofa.

When choosing a sofa, consider your lifestyle, or the one that you will be living as a married couple. If you intend to start a family soon, think practical and buy a sofa that has washable covers. Leather covers are great for those who love to throw parties every other weekend.

This simple and clean look is the best fit for a couple with young kids and a small budget and possibly small home. It shows optimal maximisation of wall space for storage

Think about how much space you have. A combination of a smaller sofa with several armchairs is an option if you don’t have enough room for a bigger sofa. If you have a small space or often have friends or family stay over, you might want to consider getting a sofabed. A modulus system is also a good solution that you can always add on to, or extend, if your family grows.

Don’t rush to buy the swankiest sofa, or what looks good in a magazine or your friend’s house. It may not work for you. Comfort is key, so make sure you and your other half spend lots of time trying out sofas to find out what you both like because you’re going to be spending a lot of time on it.

View in Comfort

Sometimes, bigger may not be better. An unsuitable size of your television may give you more discomfort than pleasure. The viewing distance from the TV depends on how large the screen is. The simplest method is to multiply the screen size by 1.5 to find the viewing distance. (The screen size is measured on the diagonal. Then, multiply the screen size by 1.5 for proper viewing distance.)

If you see pixels or have to turn your head to follow the action on TV, you’re too close. But if everything looks blur, you’re either too far, or may need a new pair of glasses.

This sleek living room depicts the style of a modern city-living couple that enjoys living the high life without budget constraints

Hidden or in Plain Sight?

You may have tons of books, DVDs and home entertainment equipment but the question is, do you want them to be seen or hidden? Most people choose a combination of open storage and closed ones. If you are an avid reader, you may like to put some lights above your bookshelves to highlight your collection. But if you tend to be a little messy, opt for storage systems that have doors or panels to keep your treasures hidden.

Smaller items can also fit into dual-usage foot stools; they can be easily found when needed, and neatly stored away when not in use.

A bright clean living room like this with a good example of how best to maximize storage space is best for a young couple with a small home on a small budget

Let There Be Light

Gone are the days when every light in the household was the generic white light. In your living room, you will probably have three types of lighting – a general ceiling lighting, functional lighting, and a mood or ambience lighting.

The general ceiling lighting gives an overall lighting to the room. Functional lighting can be for reading, like standing lamps behind armchairs, and for highlighting bookcases, display cabinets, or art pieces and photos, using smaller track lights. Mood or ambience lighting can add a cosy and warm feeling to the room. You can consider a floor lamp with a shade, a wall uplighter or a table lamp. It’s also recommended to illuminate the surface behind the TV so you don’t strain your eyes.

This is a living room of a couple that entertains a lot, with plenty of sitting area. A couple that lives here would probably have no issue with space or budget

It doesn’t matter where you get your furniture to furnish your living room; if you prefer a certain look that can only be achieved with expensive finishing, you will have to dig deeper into your pockets. But inexpensive pieces need not compromise on quality either. The most important rule of all is to go with your gut. If a piece of furniture feels so right it can’t be wrong, chances are, you’ll enjoy looking at it for many more years to come.

Images courtesy of IKANO Pte Ltd, © Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2011