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Universal Design in the Living Room

Creating a Welcoming and Functional Space

Gone are the days when the living room was simply a place for adults to unwind with cocktails and cigarettes, leaving curious children to eavesdrop on their conversations in hopeful anticipation of uncovering a secret superhero identity. Today, the living room has evolved into what we now affectionately refer to as the Universal Community Room – a multifunctional space where iPhones, iPads, Netflix binges, and laptop work seamlessly coexist.

Open Space

In this modern era, the traditional barriers between rooms are breaking down, with walls being knocked down to merge the living room with the kitchen. This open-concept design fosters connectivity, allowing conversations to flow effortlessly while preparing meals. However, if knocking down walls isn’t feasible, there are alternative strategies to create a sense of unity within the space.

One effective approach is to remove the framework around doorways, blurring the boundaries between rooms and fostering a cohesive atmosphere. Additionally, opting for uniform flooring throughout the living area and adjoining spaces eliminates the visual segmentation that can occur with different flooring materials. Another way to give the illusion of flow and “freedom” to move from space to space is by installing flooring on a diagonal which also adds visual interest and a contemporary flair.

Enhancing Ambiance with Wall Color

The choice of wall color plays a pivotal role in shaping the ambiance of the Universal Community Room. Instead of adhering to the conventional all the walls being the same color, the ceiling and trim white, consider a more nuanced strategy. By painting three walls in a mid-tone shade from your color palette and reserving the darkest hue for the fourth wall, complemented by the lightest shade on the ceiling, you can create a cozy and inviting environment with subtle depth and dimension.

To combat the institutional feel often associated with uniform gray walls and white ceilings – now known as “Millennial Graying”, consider painting the trim, walls and ceilings the same color. This bold yet harmonious approach eliminates stark contrasts, resulting in a more cohesive and visually expansive space.

Elevating with Art and Furniture

In rooms with lofty ceilings, strategically placing wall art just above the window frame can create the illusion of larger windows and capitalize on vertical space. Embracing curved and rounded furniture pieces offers a refreshing departure from the ubiquitous square and rectangular forms, infusing the room with softness and fluidity.

When selecting seating options, prioritize versatility and comfort to accommodate guests of all preferences. Diversify seating arrangements with plush chairs, ottomans, and inviting poufs to ensure everyone feels welcome and at ease.

Putting in the Finishing Touches

To complete the transformation into a truly inviting Universal Community Room, attention to detail is paramount. Lighting plays a pivotal role in setting the mood, so incorporate a mix of floor and table lamps to create layers of illumination. A vibrant area rug adds warmth and personality to the space, serving as a focal point that ties the room together.


With the furniture arranged thoughtfully, lighting fixtures strategically placed, and decorative accents in place, your Universal Community Room is primed for memorable gatherings with friends and family. So go ahead, extend those invitations, and prepare for evenings filled with laughter, camaraderie, and perhaps a spirited game or two by the fireside.

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