Creating a Cozy Entertainment Zone in Your Living Room

Americans spend multiple hours a day consuming media, with much of that time spent in the living room. That means every comfortable home should have a cozy entertainment zone in the living room. A designated entertainment area gives you and your family a welcoming space for hanging out and relaxing, something that’s increasingly important in an age when over 60% of Americans report being more stressed out than ever.

So how do you put together an entertainment area that’s dynamic, functional, cozy, and modern? It’s easier than you think. Read on for our best tips.

Consider a built-in, custom-made media console

One of the main focal points of your living room’s entertainment zone is going to be your media console. Even if you mount your television on the wall, you’ll want a media console for audio equipment, physical media, and power cord management.

While there are a variety of functional, aesthetically pleasing media consoles on the market, a custom-made built-in might make more sense if you’re going to be in your home for more than a couple of years.

A custom-built console will be made to your precise specifications, and will give a subtle unity and intentionality to your entertainment zone. You might even be able to build it yourself if you’re handy. If not, it shouldn’t be overly expensive to commission. By the time you eventually list your home for sale, your real estate agent can use the custom console as a selling point.

You can never have too much seating

Make sure you have enough seating for your entire family plus guests. Arrange sofas and chairs around the zone’s focal points, whether that’s the television, a picture window, sliding doors leading to outdoor space, or a gaming table. Complement your seating with plenty of end tables, a nice coffee table, and footrests.

Also consider multi-use furniture like ottomans that double as storage, or futons and daybeds that can be converted to sleep areas for guests in a pinch.

Add a bar

A small three-seat bar, in a corner or alcove, can make an entertainment space feel richer, more intimate, and more, well, entertaining. A shelf with a few curated bottles and a small beer and wine fridge will have you prepared for any kind of social gathering, and those bar stools double as extra seating. If you plan on entertaining guests on a regular basis, a bar functions as a valuable and natural socializing area.

If you’re not into alcohol, you could just as easily make this a coffee bar, with an espresso-style coffee maker that’ll come in handy in the morning as well as after meals.

Make it adaptable

Your entertainment zone might be used by your teen during the day as he earns a living streaming video games, and family TV viewing on an average weeknight. It might host big poker nights or book club meetings once a week, and large dinner or cocktail parties a few times a year. That means your entertainment zone needs to be able to handle different occupancies and activities.

A lot of a space’s adaptability comes down to how well it incorporates different “zones.” For smaller gatherings, arrange the furniture around a single focus, and for larger gatherings either open up the room or create multiple focus areas.

You can do this by rearranging furniture to split up the space, using longer items like sofas or tables to split the area, as well as using rugs or lighting to denote different “zones.” Convertible furniture also comes in handy here. We touched on ottomans with hidden storage above, but you could also look into multipurpose console tables (which can used as a desk, a room divider, or a sideboard), and chairs that can work at both the dining table and the bar.

Don’t forget storage

If you’re trying to create a cozy, calming space, the last thing you want is a lot of visible clutter, which is proven to cause anxiety. Make sure you install plenty of storage space so you aren’t stuck with a bunch of visually disturbing stacks and piles.

But also keep in mind that experts suggest using a mixture of open and closed storage. Putting everything into hidden storage can leave a space feeling sterile, so leave some elevated or open shelves where you can put items that also serve a decorative, personalizing function — for example, collectible records or Blu-rays.

Make it vivid

Part of making your entertainment zone cozy and welcoming is making it visually appealing. Add personal touches by hanging favorite art pieces on the wall, painting eye-catching accent walls, or installing vibrant wallpaper. “Cozy” doesn’t mean boring — make sure you personalize your space to make it somewhere that you actually enjoy spending your leisure time.

Install the right lighting

The right lighting sets the mood, while the wrong lighting ruins it. Avoid harsh, overly bright overhead lighting, and lean towards softer, warmer light from lamps. Use floor lamps to create pools of light that mark out different areas of your entertainment zone, and consider investing in some cordless, rechargeable table lamps that you can place around the room as needed.

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