Arguably the most widely practised form of recreation since the invention of the colour television, “Netflix and chill” is the 21st century’s go-to activity for those who prefer domestic intimacy over sitting in traffic.
While we all love the sun for how it makes vegetables grow, for our necessary doses of Vitamin D, and for imparting pale skin with a bronze sheen, the potential distractions caused by sunlight reflecting off the widescreen are certainly not appreciated – especially when you’ve already put your feet up and sunk into a comfortable position to enjoy a movie. As long as you’re attempting to take in a movie during the day, blackout curtains will be a necessary feature of home theatres, and any self-respecting cinema buff will demand darkness for complete immersion in the film.
Curtains made specifically to block out sunlight are favoured by high-end hotels and tend to be slightly pricier on account of the greater thickness of material, but they are supplied by just about anyone dealing in drapery. You could also improvise your own blackout curtains by layering two sets of fabric over the other, hanging them from double-tracked curtain rails with a thicker and darker layer on the interior to stop any errant rays of sunlight from interfering with your movie experience – or to create an intimate atmosphere to enable any other plans you may have.
Coffee Tables and Side Tables
You may already have a comfortable sofa in place, but the living room simply isn’t complete without at least a side table, or a coffee table for larger gatherings. You’ll certainly see the need for one when looking for a convenient place to put your snacks and drinks without sacrificing the sanctity of your upholstery.
Lightweight tables with clear or frosted glass tops are ideal for providing cosy living spaces with a touch of elegance, and they will appear less intrusive when placed within reach of a sofa. Bonus points can be had with designs that sport additional drawers or compartments for storing remote controls, accessories, or your guests’ personal belongings.
Throw Pillows and Blankets
The more fuzzy textures you can throw at a sofa, the more comfortable your guests will be. Everyone from your cat to your bipedal paramour will be more inclined to stretch out and relax if your sofa is replete with multiple layers of thick fabrics and cushions to cosy up with. Besides, it’s far easier to toss a blanket in the wash than it is to clean the upholstery. The only problem to watch out for: getting up from the couch means surrendering your rights to your favourite pillow(s).
Anyone with a pay-check to burn can get any old television screen – but an upstanding connoisseur of film should have a projector and a retractable screen, or a dedicated section of plastered wall, for movie nights. Once you’ve conducted the cursory tour of your living room, and concluded it with a flourish of the remote control for the projector, your guests may find their own televisions at home a little bit underwhelming.
There’s a distinct touch of class that is imparted to a living room with dimmable lights – standard light switches just don’t have the same effect and the binary choice of “on or off” misses out on that intimate range between too bright and too dark. Besides making you look like you have complete mastery of your environment, dimmer switches also have to potential to save you some money by reducing the amount of electricity used for lighting.
Most televisions come with speakers already built in, but audiophiles and fans of cinema tend to agree that a more immersive experience can only be had with a dedicated sound system. There is a downside to consider when pursuing cinematic sound – your neighbours may be forced to listen in to what you’re watching unless you consider some soundproofing. With some careful testing and decoration around the room, you could build a cinematic audio experience by adjusting volume levels, fabrics, and pieces of furniture to achieve optimum sound output without letting everyone know what you’re up to.
Bean Bag Chairs, Recliners, and Sofa Beds
As with throw cushions and blankets, bean bag chairs, recliners, and sofa beds provide additional layers of casual comfort that make relaxation all the more certain. Bean bags especially – being symbols of laid-back recreation from an earlier era – are inviting for guests to laze around on, they are easy to move around as needed, and they speak volumes of a relaxed attitude. Having a sofa bed should also be considered by gracious hosts, especially if your guests have a tendency to stay late into the night.
Nothing else made in modern society can match the tactile sensations that come with a high-pile carpet on the living room floor. Just about any rug with an abundance of long threads imparts a literal fuzzy feeling on bare skin – but beware: with a fluffy carpet around, everyone might just end up on the floor for the rest of the night.