The Living Room – From Abandoned Museum to Family Gallery

By Erica Schalkwyk, Form Interior.

If you were part of one the more recent vaccine registration groups, you are a kid of the 80’s and likely remember the notorious and ominous formal lounge. The door was mostly closed, the lights switched off and it was an extremely secretive room. The mystery surrounding this room was due to you not being allowed in there at all costs. You could much rather gain unauthorized access to the sweets draw as opposed to your mother’s museum of antique ball-and-claw furniture, white fabrics and array of tasselled cushions. The space was apparently for entertaining, but even the fine town ladies were never hosted there – out of fear of spilling their Chardonnay.

Enter the 21st century and we no longer have the energy or financial means to keep up such pretences. The lounge became the living room as an ode to it’s core function being a room that the whole family can enjoy and (heaven forbid) LIVE IN.

The modern living room has a TV because for any hard-working and great sporting nation like ourselves – relaxation, entertainment and sport are one in the same. It has enough comfortable seating and lounging space, unfussy surfaces, accent rugs and art, as well as plenty of natural light and greenery. The living room has literally gone from never being used, to being the favourite room in the house where families can find their safe space, entertainment, comfort, and joy.

The living room not only houses the above-mentioned functional furniture items but is a beautiful representation and tribute of who we are as a family. Modern furniture not only serves the purpose of usability and sustainability, but offers a unique design aesthetic that opens up a world where a chair can become art. What a privilege to be able to view and sit on one’s art. Everything in our home becomes an expression of who we are.

In conclusion, comfort is the most important element of creating a successful living room and while you consider functionality, make sure that you absolutely love each piece in this space. Curate the couch, occasional chairs, coffee table, TV stand, rug and side tables as a gallery filled with meaningful and expressive art. Invest in stain resistant table surfaces and fabrics, washable cushion covers and rugs. You can thank me in 10 years once you’ve messed litres of wine and no one got divorced in the process. Live in your living room. Besides, you and the people you love are by far the most important and irreplaceable pieces in that space.



I absolutely love FinOak flooring. It’s the most affordable real-wood flooring that won’t require you to break the bank.


Treat yourself to Lemon Wallpaper. It’s designed by real South African artists and printed locally, so you can even change the colours if you need to.


Our paint brands are all good so I’m going to give you my two favourite colours. The first one is Plascon Phantom Ship and the second is Earthcote Dandelion 50% Lighter. It’s the perfect warm white and charcoal for every neutral space.


I love a comfortable quality couch. If you don’t want to have it made by an upholsterer furniture maker, invest in retail stores, like La Grange Interiors. It is also locally made so you can custom the comfort.


Look no further than Hertex for affordable options and Lund Rugs for more investment pieces.


I love our South African Designers like Egg Furniture, Studio 19, Douglas and Douglas, Bofred, Anatomy, Jacobs Collection, Dokter and Misses, Jo Paine, Mash T and Houtlander.


Visit sites like State of the Art, Artist Press, Art it is and Jasper and Jute for prints.

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