The living room has a curious history on the Maltese islands. What today is practically the family room, in fact started off as a sitting room which was a space dedicated to welcoming visitors to the house, away from the hubbub of family life. In most older houses around Malta and Gozo, the sitting room is an ensconced room that is not used much except at Christmas and Easter, when guests arrive from abroad or when the doctor visits. It is the one safe room in the house where clutter must not gather, where everything remains prim and proper and where the lights are turned on uniquely when the room has to be used or cleaned.
With the morphing of modern living trends, and the restrictions on the space available for building homes, the sitting room ideal has had to be done away with and now, most everything happens in that one single socialising room – the living room. It is a sitting room cum day room cum hallway cum TV room cum play room cum whatever else must be done in it room. And it has taken on an incredibly important status, because it is now not only the space where the whole family lounges and congregates at the end of the day, but also the space which will give instant insight into the family’s lifestyle to anyone who enters it.
Malta Real estate agents give a lot of importance to this room, explaining how well-lit it is, how spacious, how conveniently divided….. but of course, once you are setting your hopes on rigging it up stylishly, you really have to make sure it will serve its multiple purposes well. Think ahead and don’t rush into buying furniture without mentally envisioning also your lifestyle requisites.
If you really must have a leather settee with which to impress your visitors, make sure it is comfortable to relax on when night falls since its dual purpose will be style plus constant laid-back potential. Choose according to its sturdiness and its upholstered textile so that it is skin-friendly, yet wipe-easy, and then prepare to use colour-combined throws to protect it from crumbs, pet hairs, accidental spillage of beer, wine or baby milk.
Living rooms with restricted space must utilise each nook and cranny available. Opt to have a trunk or chest that can do
uble up as a coffee table. Choose a footstool that will double up both as a pouffe and as a storage space whilst adding style to the room. Select blinds or curtains which are easy to open and close several times a day, whilst also being easy to clean and maintain well and, more importantly allowing as much light into the room as possible. Find shelving to keep those books, frames, and varied knick-knacks happily displayed on a single wall. Use the entire wall for maximum effect and intersperse with beautiful paintings or wall plaques.
Ultimately create a room whose colour scheme is attuned to your family’s temperament and not just to the latest fashion fads. Create a haven for all the family to join in and feel freely comfortable to share together.
This article was written by Marika Azzopardi, a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.