A mansion living room is the place that accommodates the family members for a variety of activities. Before we proceed with some design ideas and decoration tips, we have to clear the term “mansion” as many people use it to describe a large house. Tracing the origin of the word and its development, we need to point out that the word “manor” has the same root and is used to describe the territory granted to a lord who occupies them, hence the word “mansion” would be used for a large sized property.
There are quite many arguments for the size of a mansion, however. As per experts the size of a mansion is between 5000 and 8000 square feet (550 – 700 square meters) of floor space or even more. Some definitions say that a mansion is a large and impressive house with refined design, expensive finishing materials and features (amenities) that include tennis courts, swimming pools, large foyer entrance and wide bespoke staircases, etc.
Most of us think of large historic mansions occupied by aristocratic families with grand ballroom, sophisticated furniture and exquisite decoration. Modern house architecture, however, presents amazing examples of large homes which are lavishly furnished and decorated, with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, huge living space, special entertainment area including a movie theater, library, large size windows, fascinating landscape and a multiple car garage. As most realtors and property experts agree, despite the lack of legal definition, a mansion is a large home built with best materials and finished with finest woodwork, stonework, fabrics, etc., equipped with luxurious amenities and large outdoor area.
Mansion living room – a formal or informal living space
Defining the function of a mansion living room is not very difficult. Having in mind that mansions have an extensive floor space, it is logical that the owners can separate the formal and informal areas of the house. Whichever term is used – a drawing room, sitting room or a formal living room – it describes an area near the entrance of the home used for accommodation guests and visitors. These rooms are presentable, furnished with comfortable seating, elegant side tables, expensive curtains and decorated with artwork.
A living room or a family room is a space dedicated to family gatherings which is designed to be functional, comfortable and convenient for the daily activities or entertaining. When talking about mansion living rooms, we assume that this is the informal area which is used by the occupants of the home. Of course, despite its informal character, the design and decoration still feature high end materials and finishes. What would you expect to see in a mansion?
On the first place – high ceilings are a typical feature of luxury homes. They make the room larger in volume, airier and lighter. Greater height does not limit the options for spectacular ceiling designs and depending on the style of the home you can see coffered ceilings, dome ceilings, stained glass ceilings, elaborate crown molding, fabulous ceiling medallions, murals, etc.
Large windows or French doors which provide a view of a beautiful garden, landscape or panorama are another common feature of luxury homes. In addition to the natural light that they let into the room, they offer access to the outdoor area – a veranda, deck, etc., where the occupants can enjoy magnificent views and fresh air.
A fireplace is also a common element in the design of the interior. It can be the focal point in the room, decorated in the relevant style and gathering the members of the family around for an evening drink or a rest in the end of the day.
Flooring materials would feature refined materials – marble, polished natural stone varieties, high end hardwood species, antique rugs, etc. In modern houses with open plan concept area rugs and flooring, in general, is often used to define the functional zones.
Fabrics – curtains, upholstery, pillows – feature different textile chosen to match the decor style. High quality leather or luxury upholstery fabric, draperies and curtains of finest textile – you will see only the highest of quality.
Furniture, as in any living space, offers comfort and coziness. Sofas or sofa sets, coffee tables, side tables – you will find all of these in a mansion as well.
How to decorate a mansion living room?
When choosing the design style for a mansion living room it has to be in accordance with the overall style of the house – architectural, exterior and interior. Obviously, one of the most important factors that will affect the decor will be the architecture of the building – Victorian, modern, contemporary, minimalist, rustic, Mediterranean, or any other style.
Traditional mansion, although some people believe that they belong to the past, continue to inspire the works of artists and decorators and new constructions built in classical style can be furnished with antiques, luxurious textiles and expensive finishing to reflect the aristocratic grandeur. Usually antique pieces of furniture have a fairly large size and it is not advisable to combine them with modern pieces, especially if you want to keep the authentic atmosphere. Classic style requires highest quality and expensive decoration – neatly laid parquet from rare wood species, crown moldings, a multi-tiered chandelier, a large fireplace with ornate decoration and surroundings, etc.
English style interiors have some characteristic features. Those who have interests in interior design are aware of the fact that the term “living room” did not exist in the large stately homes. Depending on the function, there were rooms were identified as reception room, drawing room, sitting room and the interiors were arranged in a way to preserve the heat and protect from dampness. This is why the fireplace is the heart of the room and the center of the interior design. All other elements are arranged around the fireplace to form a harmonious environment. The notorious dampness of the climate determined the finishing materials and elements – walls were covered with wallpaper, fabric draperies or wooden panels. Floors were made of dark wood, the windows were covered with multi-layered heavy curtains, sofas had lots of soft pillows. The typical colors for the English style create a feeling of warmth and coziness – deep green and mustard, wine, cream, red and honey hues. Floral pattern upholstery, striped or checkered (Scottish tartan ornament) pattern are symbolic for the style as well. Porcelain, copper, wooden, bone and textile elements and exotic accessories in ethnic style from all over the Empire were used as decoration.
An interior in classic French style is characterized by elegance and refinement. Unlike the traditional English style, the interiors are designed in lighter tones. French style is unimaginable in a compact room with low ceilings. It requires space and large windows as the key factors for the atmosphere are space and light. The interiors are rich in furniture and decorations and at first glance one may think that the room is overdone but when the furniture is properly selected, rooms are very functional and harmonious. Textile has an important role in the French interiors and the upholstery of the sofa and armchairs has to be carefully chosen. It can be monochrome, with a floral or geometric ornament. When choosing furniture, the most important is that the shades of the upholstery fit into the overall color scheme of the room. A tea or coffee table, intricate moldings, fireplace, a flower arrangement in a porcelain or crystal vase – all these are essential elements which create the atmosphere in a classic French style.
Modern mansion living rooms, however, reflect the lifestyle of their owners and most often they are designed in modern, even minimalist style. Modern houses are designed and constructed with large open areas and the living space often combines several functional areas. Modern style is an original mix, sometimes combining elements from different styles like minimalism, hi-tech, pop art or retro. It may sound as a design mistake but experienced designers and talented decorators know perfectly well how to mix elements in a harmonious way. One of the secrets is to use one basic style for the main idea of the interior and complement it with elements from other styles. Mixing modern technologies and finishing materials with the traditions of family rooms allows decorators to create a comfortable and at the same time aesthetically pleasing contemporary interior which meets the needs of the family members. In many contemporary interior designs we see a lot of features borrowed from minimalism – strict lines and forms, simplicity and practicality of furnishing, lack of excessive decorations and accessories. Modern interiors are often styled in neutral colors – all shades of white, gray and beige are widely used. These are universal colors which are the perfect background for furniture, artwork and home accessories.