I found a really interesting study titled "Life At Home in the Twenty-First Century" (UCLA, 2012) and wanted to share the above image. It shows where family members were located in their home in 10-minute intervals over two weekend afternoons. As you can see, the kitchen is truly the control center of the house. There was also lots of activity in the family room with the TV, but almost no activity in the main living or outside areas. That's a lot of unused space! This is not surprising, considering that the average new single-family home has more than doubled since 1950, even though we now have an average of one less inhabitant (US Census). It's also not surprising that the number of items Americans possess has ballooned to fill these larger spaces. But there's hope!
If you see your own home in the above diagram and want to make better use of your rooms, try taking all the furniture out of the unused space and see what takes its place. Nature hates a vacuum. Maybe all that empty floor space will beckon and you'll find yourself in there with your yoga mat. Or maybe your husband will be thrilled to finally have a place for his train set, and seeing him happy will make you happy. Maybe the kids have always needed a place to play with their toys collectively, but you never knew it. It's your paradise, don't worry about what anyone else thinks, everyone has seen enough unused living rooms. It's time to switch things up! Let's turn our homes into the places we want to be, that look like all our dreams. (This last phrase comes from the book "The Big Orange Splot." A good read if you want to be encouraged to make inspired changes to your home but are worried that others will think you are crazy.)