Choosing the right furniture for your family room, den, or living room can take some planning, especially if you have several age groups under one household like ours had. In fact, even with the three of us, we are Sheldon Coopers at heart, with our “spots” and favorite chairs.
I fondly recall the challenge we had years ago, with our living room furniture, when my son was little. We would spend a lot of time there, as it was the largest room in the house and allowed him to “drive” his unicorns (I know, right?), his reindeers, and his trains. And of course, Goldilocks and the three bears was a story he never tired of hearing, at the time.
“Who has been sitting on my chair?”
We used to have one of those solid wooden sofa sets. While they were stable, we found that all kids who visited us, including the resident prince, preferred to stand or perch themselves on the arms of the chair or sofa, ensuring that we permanently had our hearts in our mouths. And if one of them knocked their tender heads on these, don’t ask. We eventually sold off the set and switched to cane furniture, my all-time favorite and that worked really well.
Still, there’d be bits and pieces all over the house—a favorite stool, chair, or the futon being dragged wherever convenient. Over the years we’ve donated or sold some of our furniture. Then, of course, I’m in the process of decluttering.
I’ve often wondered whether we should have planned before acquiring all our stuff—especially since I am really keen on getting those bookshelves up—a long pending birthday project, as we still have some mismatched stuff in that room. Unless I find a home for them or relocate them, the bookshelves will remain a dream.
Of course, we now know that furniture can be both functional and stylish. Today, whether it is a quality playpen for an infant or the best lift chair for an elderly parent, there are many designs and styles available on the market without having to break an arm and a leg or waste weeks with a carpenter.
Moreover, another challenge in today’s fast-paced world is to get everyone together in one room. Teenagers, naturally, want their own space, toddlers have a hard time sitting still, and parents just want to bond with the family together, at least a few days a week!
Part of the solution is to give everyone a comfortable place to sit and be themselves, just like we have done.
There are so many options according to age-groups.
Playpens are great for both sleeping and playing when baby gets older. It’s an ideal way to keep baby safe and enjoy quality time together. They can even be folded and stowed in the trunk of your vehicle when you travel.
Bassinets are a cozy bed for infants. They are ideal for up to about six months and since they are mobile, can be moved from room to room.
Then there are swings. I remember rigging a cloth swing for our son when he was little and he would swing in it for hours, enjoying the rhythmic motion, all the time wide awake. However, swings can be noisy and a distraction to others in the room.
What about furniture for toddlers?
When our son was a toddler, we had a sturdy inflatable chair he loved. This is now lovingly used by a friend’s kid.
Foam chairs are cushy, comfy chairs that most toddlers love. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles. Many conveniently come with covers that can be removed and washed easily.
If your child loves cartoon characters like Disney princesses, Dora, or Sesame Street, character chairs are a good option. These can be purchased with your child’s favorite character on them. They may not fit with the rest of your décor, but that’s the least of your worries because your toddler’s happiness will more than make up for it.
Smaller furniture, like our two-seater sofas or couches/loveseats, are also a good idea. Kids love them too, and when they have their very own couch or loveseat that is just their size, they’re sure to want to sit and spend time in the room where it’s placed.
Coming to teenagers…
Bean bag chairs are fun, comfortable chairs that can be placed just about anywhere. There are dozens of designs, colors, and styles to choose from. Let your teenager choose the style that fits them best, and they’re likely to use it regularly. They’ll spend more time in the living room if they have a chair they can plop into.
Futons are wonderful. I almost cried when we sold ours. These are both functional and stylish and also come in a wide range of colors and styles, with super-comfy mattresses. They double up as seating in a room and can be opened up for sleeping. And they’re great when you have unexpected guests and have to set up a bed.
Oversized chairs with cushions are also nice and comfortable! Add cushions and footstools to put their feet up and your teen will be happy to relax!
Depending on how much room is available, loveseats can be great for adults (parents, specifically) to sit while enjoying family time.
Another wonderful option is a glider chair. I coveted one from the local furniture store for years but didn’t succumb to the temptation as we just didn’t have space. These are comfortable and suitable for both men and women. Many designs offer a lock feature for when you want a stationary chair.
Couches are the happy place for most families. A big comfy couch is the perfect choice for all adults who converge in the living room at the end of a long day.
For aging parents and seniors, mobility may be an issue. Getting into and out of a regular chair or comfy couch can be a problem. That’s why lift chairs can be the ideal solution. The motorized mechanism helps lift them out of the chair and helps them get into it easily.
Even rocking/glider chairs can be easier to get in and out of as well, but it is best to try and stay away from ‘big comfy’ couches that you sink into. They can wreak havoc on weak or frail bones.
When each member of your family has their own ‘spot’ to sit in, gathering in the living room makes for a comfortable, peaceful time, where you can talk, laugh, watch TV, play games, or just sit in comfortable silence while you enjoy each other’s company. With modern families spending so little time together, the right furniture could change that in the years to come.
Do your folks have their own favorite spots at home?
Which one is yours?