• Couch – check

  • TV – check

  • Coffee table – check

  • Rug – check

  • Entertainment console – check

  • Table lamp – check

Right. So you have all the “mandatory” items for a lounge. Now it’s just about making it feel like a happy and inviting living room. Here are the four most important considerations:

Fix the focus

Most rooms in a home tend to have a focal point. In the bedroom, for example, the bed is typically the focus because it usually occupies most of the space. But this also helps in planning the design of the space as it gives it a fixed point around which to work. The same is needed in a living room and because lounges can take on many functions, the focal point varies from home to home.

Before doing anything else in the lounge, decide what the focal point is going to be. In some cases there might be a “natural” focal point, like a fireplace or a big window with a magnificent view. Then you would want to arrange the furniture to be pointing towards the fireplace or the window.

In spaces without these features, you simply need to decide on your own focal point – it could be the television, or the the large sofa or that antique dresser that is so beautiful one can stare at it for hours.

Position the players

With your focus fixed it’s time to position “the players”, or arrange the furniture. The best way to go about this is to think about how you want people to use (and enjoy!) the space. Consider creating “conversation areas” and making sure the furniture promotes communication in a natural way.

A big furniture arrangement no-no is positioning it against the walls. Simply, it looks awful and tends to detract from the intimacy you’re trying to create.

Don’t be afraid to move things around until you find the right setting for each piece, or even discarding a chair or side table that doesn’t fit the space, or the look and feel you’re going for.

Layer the lights

Lighting is magical. It has the ability to transform a space by enhancing the atmosphere and overall aesthetic.

It’s all layer layer layer when it comes to lighting. This involves combining accent, ambient and task lighting in the right proportions to create mood, as well as visual breadth. Think beyond the conventional ceiling light in the centre of the room and opt instead for a combination of downlights, floor lamps and wall sconces.

Polish the silver

Accessories maketh the outfit, they say (do they??). And objet maketh the living room. Also, decorative scatters, interesting heirlooms, books, candles, throws, art prints and the like. These personality pieces is ultimately what puts the life into (the) living (room). Dust off and display the pieces you love. Print those gorgeous holiday photos, frame them and put them out where they can be seen.

And if you’re buying, go local. Gone are the days where it was cool to make our homes look like replicas of American, German or Scandinavian ones. Here at the bottom end of Africa we have the most stylish, eclectic and original variety of home decor items that there’s really no reason to look to Europe, America or Asian for inspiration.

The most gorgeous living rooms – make that homes – are the ones where the preferences, passions and quirks of those using the space is polished and shining for all to see.