The changing face of the living room

Posted: 13th Mar 2019

For the past few years, the kitchen has been the undisputed heart of our interiors, yet now, John Lewis & Partners has revealed that the living room is taking over

The report, entitled 'The Things We do in Our Living Rooms (and the things we wish we hadn't)', looked into how we are using the room, along with any changes in our behaviour.

The study was conducted by talking to 3,409 shoppers, with over half saying they spend the majority of their time in this room - nearly twice as much as that spent in the kitchen.

Unsurprisingly, watching TV proved to be a popular activity, with 96 per cent saying they'd done that in the past month. Other activities included:

- Sleeping (68 per cent)
- Entertaining (63 per cent)
- Ironing (27 per cent)
- Nail painting (21 per cent)
- Working (19 per cent)
- Dancing (19 per cent)
- Changing outfit (13 per cent)
- Exercising (12 per cent)
- Applying makeup (9 per cent)
- Meditation (6 per cent)
- Making cocktail (5 per cent)

However, with half of the UK workforce predicted to be working remotely by 2020, there are already changes in the way we use it. For instance, 19 per cent said they had worked from their living room in the past month, while those who aren't paid to do so are still using it as a space for life admin.

There have also been shifts in our shopping choices - we're no longer looking for traditional desks with storage. Instead, we'd rather find style-led items, with sales rising by 80 per cent year on year.

We're also turning our backs on the three-piece suite. Instead, we want a velvet sofa with accent chairs, as we look for stand-alone, statement pieces instead of matching wooden pieces. We're also embracing maximalism and multi-functional living, as opposed to minimalistic Scandi-vibes, while the living room is very much a separate zone within the house.

Content by Terence Conran Balance Metal Low Table £399

Office chairs are also enjoying a renaissance, but Brits now want ones with a soft, homely vibe, instead of a more technical feel. Chairs made from wood are growing in popularity, while fabric is the material of choice, compared to plastic or mesh seating (up 125 per cent year on year), as Brits look to achieve an office space which can be blended in. After all, we don't want to be reminded of work when we don't need to be.

It's also interesting that nearly a third of us are using the living room in a way we wouldn't have done five years ago. 19 per cent now eat in theirs, 15 per cent have naps, and five per cent snuggle up on the sofa under a duvet.

Everyone also has a living room habit that they wish they could change. Two-fifths would like to have fewer meals on their laps and TV dinners, while just under a fifth would like to do less ironing in there. Nearly the same amount are out of the habit of answering the phone when they eat or watch TV as well. 

Cape Large 3-Seater Sofa Edie Dusky Pink £1,349, Duplet Day Bed £899

The name of the room is also shifting - the younger age groups stick with 'living room', as do two thirds of millennials. However, the older generations are more likely to call it the 'sitting room', while middle-aged group (35-54) prefer the 'lounge'. And for one per cent, it's either the 'TV room' or the 'drawing room'.

Lead image: Belgrave Large Sofa Harriet Mustard £1899, Zag Berber Rug In Saffron £400