From ALTAR YOUR SPACE by JAGAT JOTI KHALSA
THE LIVING ROOM: THE RENAISSANCE OF THE FAMILY ROOM
If the dining room is a place for eating; the living room is a place for being. It is perhaps the most public and multifunctional room in the house. Here we gather and socialize with family and friends, watch movies or TV, relax and nap on the couch, play games read on rainy days or weekends, hang out with the children or simply sit in the atmosphere, doing nothing at all.
An ideal living room is a place that draws you and others, one where you feel nurtured and comfortable. Traditionally the living room is the central room in the home, but it doesn't have to be traditional. It doesn't have to be a showcase room. It can be as formal, casual, whimsical or exotic as you are, or as you want it to be. Again the bottom line is that it delights your eye and sensibilities, serves your practical needs, has warmth and personality and makes you feel at home. It should be a space that allows all the moods of your life the fun and light hearted, the sensual and serene, the quirky and creative, the sublime and spiritual.
Many people like to go the formal route with their living rooms. Conservative leather couches and chairs, stately polished cabinets and tables, fine rugs or quality carpeting, traditional art, cherished family portraits and heirlooms and, of course, quality lighting can all add up to a stunning and elegant central room in your home temple.
Your living room can also be as original and eclectic as your personality and history. This is the living room as personal museum or visual biography, a three-dimensional mosaic of images, objects and treasures acquired in the course of your life adventures. You can have unconventional, offbeat couches, chairs, cabinets, lamps and tables; lively colors, fabrics and patterns; unusual carpets, rugs or wall hangings; lots of plush pillows and even beanbag chairs.
My living room is designed for my family's particular needs, as well as for beauty and comfort. Because we have a young child, all the furniture is soft or has rounded edges. The arrangement of elements is orderly and spacious, and the pathways are clear. We have an altar with statues and figurines. My daughter, Pritam, is welcome to open, close, play with, touch and enjoy everything in the living room-and she knows it. Everything that's within her reach is fine for her to touch, pick up and play with. We have pledged not to make the living room mantra, "Don't touch that." After all, it is her home also. Anything we'd rather she not play with is well out of reach, on high shelves or inside cabinets. I designed space for how we want to live in it, feel in it, be in it and move through it. It's perfect for where we are in our lives right now.
The main factor in creating an environment is that it be consistent within itself, and have its own singular harmony, mood and expression. As with all design, this singular harmony will come out of you, and you'll recognize when it's there. The only limits are your imagination and your patience with, and commitment to, the process. The X factor to look for is that spark of inspiration that emerges once you open to it and are willing to rely on it. And, as always arbiter is your gut.