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Because the living room usually is the most formal space in the house, the style you set for the room may well dictate what kind of storage systems you employ. A painted plywood unit might be suitable for a family room or den, but the living room may require something with finer craftsmanship and finishing. Thus, your best options in a living room are fine furniture items or built-in units planned and built by a professional woodworker.
Finding storage spaces in a formal room requires the careful planning outlined in the first section. Analyze the traffic pattern and furniture placement, then look for unused wall spaces away from these areas. Take advantage of spaces alongside a fireplace, in the corners of the room, under or beside windows, or on walls with no windows.
If you don’t have a separate family room, you’ll need to make some compromises. For example, if you want a formal look but still need to have your television, videotape recorder, and music systems within easy access, you can build or purchase an entertainment system cabinet that closes up to hide all the equipment when not in use.
Evaluating your entertainment habits helps you plan how best to use the living room space. If you have separate family and living rooms, you’ll want to divide the entertainment activities, and their associated storage requirements, between the rooms— for example, television viewing in one and reading or listening to music in the other.
MAKING YOUR OWN NICHE
Storage isn’t limited to everyday items that we need readily at hand, Mementoes, collectibles, and works of art deserve special places of their own. Your living room may provide an ideal place to display such an item in this arched wall niche. With patience, a minimum of materials, and basic skills, you can build it in a weekend. Complete the final taping and texturing in a few evenings, and you’ll have an architectural feature that you’ll be as proud of as you are of its contents.
The niche is designed to fit in the space between two wall studs, 14½ inches apart. Establish the baseline of the niche, then find the studs by carefully cutting away the drywall or plaster to locate the studs Mark the wall with vertical lines. Find out exactly how deep the niche can be by slipping a ruler into one of the holes you cut.
The key to making the niche look as if it were professionally crafted is taking plenty of time to apply and smooth the final coats of drywall compound. Blend the new material to the texture of the existing wall.
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