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Array Design Studio is located in Cleveland, Ohio and has designed projects throughout the Midwest

Universal Design in the Living Room

  • Posted by Array Design Studio
  • On March 29, 2018
  • living room, universal design

When thinking about Universal Design in the Living Room, it’s not like it used to be. The living room used to be where the adults sat to have their cocktails and cigarettes while you spied on them from around the corner hoping they might say something like, “Man, my double life as Superman is getting really hard to manage.” But alas, dad was not secretly Superman.

New Use

Now a day, the living room isn’t being called the living room anymore. We’re now calling it a Universal Community Room. Think about all iPhoning, iPading, Netflix watching, lap top work that’s being done there, the word universal feels more than fitting.

Open Space

Walls are being knocked down to open the community room up to the kitchen, which can keep the conversation going while prepping for dinner. Knocking walls down not an option? Not a problem, there are ways around it.

One is, removing the frame work around your doorways. This gives the illusion of the two rooms sharing space instead of keeping feeling like each room is its own compartment.

A second way is by making the flooring all the same. When you have the flooring different in each room it can make the rooms feel like they’re in their own spaces, but that might be something you want! If you’re feeling a little fun, you could even put your flooring on a diagonal. Floorboards for example, instead of parallel to the walls, but them on a slant. BAM! You’ve got yourself some pretty fresh-looking flooring. You can give it a try before you commit, just ask your contractor. (Or me, you can ask me too, I’m a design contractor 😉 )

Wall Color

When you get a color palate from the painters there’s usually 5 shades per strip. Very light on top and very dark at the bottom. If you want a shadow effect that defines your space, you can paint three walls a lighter middle shade that you would choose from your palate, the forth wall the darkest color on the palate and the ceiling the lightest color. This will give a warm and cozy feeling to the room.

Want to eliminate the cubical feel? Gray walls and white ceilings…yuck. Paint the walls and ceiling the same color, cubical feeling gone.


Tall walls? Have your wall art sit just over the edge of the window frame. Doing this will make the window appear larger and it will take advantage of the two story void you can sometimes be left with.


It feels sometimes like we’re living in a world of edges. Square windows, rectangle doors, square fireplace, square walls, square TV…and on and on… edge after edge. Well I say no more! It’s time to soften those edges! Bring in round tables, rounded chairs, and flowing window treatments. Get yourself out of the box!

When thinking about the sofa, think about avoiding the awkward “Have a seat!” and only offering the middle spot on the couch. This is my nightmare. “Uhhh thanks…” Make sure there are a few options for your guests. Try adding puffs or comfy chairs, a round ottoman, lots of alternative seating.

Finishing Touch

To finish off the look of the universal community room, think about the arrangement of the furniture and lighting. Floor lamps are just as important to creating a warm inviting space as table lamps. Add some more flare to the room with a colourful area rug, you can even put it over your carpet! No judgement here.

Once your lighting is sorted, your rug is out, your furniture with its many options are arranged, you’re all set to send out those invites for a great night of drinks and board games by the fire.



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