Make your open-plan living area more conducive to work and play with screen dividers and versatile furniture pieces that draw the line
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly heightened the importance of our homes—both as a sanctuary and as a multifunctional space where the boundaries between work and leisure continue to blur. Here, we gather some tips from interior designers on how you can maximise the use of your living room if you're now spending more time at home:
1. Create divisions when needed
“While working in a shared space with your family is not ideal, sliding doors can help close up a flexible living space when peace and quiet is needed,” says Angela Lim, director of SuMisura. Creative director of Upstairs_ Dennis Cheok concurs on the effectiveness of such moveable partitions. “A living room can feature a reading nook that can be expanded or retracted from the main area with the use of sliding doors or foldable screens.”
2. Look for multi-functional pieces
If your work-from- home routine is set to become the new normal, consider investing in multifunctional furniture to enhance the flexibility of your living room.
“Make sure you are getting as much out of the space as you can; every piece of furniture needs to have multiple functions,” advises British designer Katharine Pooley. “For example, the coffee table could be durable enough to double as a children’s work table and have some built-in storage under a hinged top; storage is key to keeping chaos at bay.” You may not even need a desk, if you’re used to working on a laptop. “For laptop users, all that is required are a comfortable seat, a table at an appropriate height, and a power source located within reach,” says Cheok.
As the saying goes, less is more—remove bulkier furniture in lieu of lightweight pieces that can be easily moved around depending on your schedule for the day. “If you need to use your living room for work or yoga, consider losing an armchair or two,” recommends Pooley.
3. Include accent pieces that spark joy
Ultimately, your living room should bring joy to you and your loved ones, especially if you’re planning to spend a lot more time at home together. Incorporate decorative items and artworks that contribute to its cosy ambience. “Make sure the space is mentally healthy for you—add mirrors, artworks, or anything that creates feelings of serenity and light,” advises Pooley. “Large plants could also create separate moods in different areas of an open-plan living room.”