Living Rooms of the World

Across the world, homes come in all shapes and sizes. Within them, we all have our own unique nods to hobbies, interests and family, shaped by the countries and cultures we surround ourselves with.

The heartbeat of any home is the living room. It’s the place we congregate as families, discuss the day’s events and, of course, kick back, relax and binge on the latest box set. In fact, over the last few months it’s likely we’ve become more familiar with our living spaces and the versatility they offer than ever before, often trading Netflix for conference calls and the dinner table for home schooling.

But how do our living spaces differ around the world? What are the key aspects, and how similar are we when it comes to décor, styling and how we use the most important space in the home?

From London to the Philippines and beyond, 12 people from around the world kindly opened their doors to offer us a virtual tour of their living spaces and what makes them special…

Erica from London, United Kingdom

Erica lives alone in a flat in London and was uninspired by her plain walls when she moved in. Tackling each room one at a time, she’s created a unique and stylish living room for herself, complete with an urban jungle.

I wanted my flat to be a representation of me and my personality, so no matter which room you’re in, it’s full of colour

Why the layout?

It’s a small flat and I bought a lot of the furniture before I moved in, so had to make the most of the room I had! There are too many things, but I sort of love how full it feels.

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

My sofa. It’s a click-clack sofa so it becomes a bed (and is super comfy too!) and has secret storage inside of it where I keep all my secrets.

Helen from Clifton Springs, Australia

Helen lives with her partner and new-born in Clifton Springs, a two-hour drive from Melbourne, Australia. Their open plan, single storey house is airy and perfect for those hot summer months - important when temperatures can hit as high as 30°C!

The fireplace is just wonderful in winter (yes we do have winter down here as well!)

What do you use your living room for?

As it’s an open plan-style home, we’re in the living room pretty much all the time.

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

The sofas. They’re the perfect place for family cuddles, sharing wine with friends, eating chocolate and watching a movie…always a nice place to be.

Anjen from Quezon City, Philippines

Eleven people live in the home of Anjen, with four children and seven adults. It’s the home of Angen’s mother, with much of the décor influenced by her and Filipino traditions.

I love the relaxing vibe it gives when I hang out there. It gives me great comfort

What do you dislike most about your living room?

We have so much stuff around. We have too many ornaments and pieces of furniture, which is why the space is very limited. You can see the Santa Claus ornament from Christmas we forgot to take down!

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

The photographs. They’re something we treasure a lot because they symbolise our family. The smiles on those pictures will stay forever. Whenever I get down or sad, I just look at those photos and they make me feel better.

Peter from Chiangmai, Thailand

Peter lives with his family of three in a cabin in the Thai jungle alongside his two cats. Peter built the cabin himself and uses natural materials to blend in with the lush surroundings.

I really love the view to the jungle

What do you use your living room for?

Mostly for watching a movie or just chilling out.

Why the style?

The cabin was cheap to build and is easy to maintain. The colour scheme stays true to the raw material, bamboo and the skylight offers extra light into the home.

Jenny from Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Jenny lives with her husband on the Isle of Skye, Scotland in a house that oozes calm, with neutral colours. The laid-back but functional style makes it ideal for relaxing in, reading a book or watching the television.

We love the wood burner on cold, damp winter days

Why the layout?

We had a lot of existing furniture to fit in, so this layout made the most sense, having the sofas opposite each other for socialising, watching TV and sitting by the fire.

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

The most important thing is the family photos placed around the living room, and a painting by a local artist.

Taylor from Hawaii, USA

Taylor and her family live in a house in Mililani near the very centre of the island of O’ahu, 20 miles from Honolulu. Seven people live in the house, which is awash with browns, reds and beiges to create a homely feel.

Our family and installs in-home theatres, so the entertainment system is a key part of the design

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

The most important thing in my living room is probably the furniture. The couches were big investments, key to the design and flow of the room, and a necessary item.

Why the style?

The house has been remodelled over the years and interior design has been kept up to date. The style of the house is modern and the homeowners were going for a warm and cosy feeling.

Conrad from New York, USA

Conrad lives with his partner in Forest Hills in the Queens borough of New York City, in an apartment. The colour scheme offers a calm away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

An animal and world-traveller theme can be spotted across our apartment, two of our keen interests

Why the colour scheme?

The grey and teal colour scheme works well, contrasting with the red in the dining area to break up the space.

What do you love most about your living room?

The treasure chest coffee table is among our most loved items in the living room. Again, a nod to our love of travelling.

Anna from Stockholm, Sweden

Anna lives in a flat in Stockholm with her partner and child. The living space offers a modern take on 50s style furniture with Scandinavian influences and uses blues, purples and the occasional bright orange to brighten up the room.

In Sweden it can be light all 24 hours in the summer or dark a lot of the time in the winter, so you have to plan for both extremes

Why the layout?

The windows are at one end of the room, so to make the most of the light the dining table occupies this space. We like to host a lot, so here is where we can make the most of it. For the same reason it made sense to put the television at the other end so that it wasn’t overly affected by the light.

What do you use your living room for?

We use the space for our toddler to play in, for big brunches at the weekend and games nights through the week. On Friday night we have ‘Fredagsmys’. Friday is always cosy, and we cuddle up on the sofa to watch a movie.

Aloyna from Uzhgorod, Ukraine

Aloyna lives in a house in Uzhgorod with housemates and a pet dog. Living close to the woods, the colours and styling have been inspired by their surroundings and love of the natural world.

The armchairs and carpet are close to the fireplace as we love to spend evenings in front of the fire together with our dog

Why have you decorated your living room like this?

We have a lot of wooden elements and the fireplace in the middle of our room. It is quite important for us because 5 months of the year it is cold outside, and we need to stay warm.

What do you love most about your living room?

The fireplace, plants and green velvet armchairs are what we love most about our living room. They create an atmosphere of a warm and cosy family place.

Alex from Kumanovo, Macedonia

Alex lives with his partner in Kumanovo in North Macedonia. Their home combines a living, dining and cooking space all in one with the colour scheme offering a smooth flow between the three areas.

I like a minimal style. When I see a lot of stuff in a small room it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Why the colour scheme?

I like grey and pastel colours. They make me feel cosy and relaxed. I also added yellow to parts of the living space to break up the monotony and add a bit of colour.

Why the layout?

I like to have everything close together, so I enjoy having the kitchen, dining room and living room together. We separate them with the sofa.

Jeorge from Dhaka, Bangladesh

Jeorge is a student and lives in a flat in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. He rents a room which operates as both a living space and place to sleep, with dashes of his personality throughout the room, notably photographs and an impressive aquarium.

The layout allows me to find contrast between the room’s purposes, with the style making me feel comfortable

What do you use the living room for?

I use my living space to do my work, listen to music and socialise. As well as this, it’s also a place to get some rest and sleep at night.

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

My computer table and the pictures that I have around the room hanging on the wall.

Kristina from Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

The flat owned by Kristina is home to three adults in Mostar, a picturesque city on the Neretva River. The trio have used light colours to make the space bigger, perfect for using as a relaxation zone or to catch up with friends and family.

I love my decorations near the TV. They remind me of my travels

Why the layout?

The room is not very big, so using this layout offers us a bigger space. We decided to have a smaller sofa and chair so we could get more free space in the room.

What’s the most important aspect of your living room?

The most important part of my living room is the painting on the wall, which was actually created by my mother.

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