Does it matter where you record?
Reading all that crap on the internet and magazines, you now probably think you have to be really careful about choosing your recording environment. By this point your head must be full of room treatment, node calculations, plans of precisely crafted rooms with non-parallel walls and shit like that. Is it really what this whole music recording thing is all about?
Hit record, man
Nope. The best advice I can give is go and play, and record yourself. Don’t get too anal about your environment. If you do so, you will never be able to focus on what truly matters, which is the music itself. Getting that out of the way, does the room really matter? Well, it does, to an extent. Try to look at (and listen to) it more as color, instead of trying to tackle the heavy physics. Every place has certain reflections and a certain frequency response. Think of it as reverb and EQ, if it helps (it usually doesn’t). Some are more generally pleasant, others aren’t that much. But you can use all of them, and modify them just a little bit to suit your general recording needs as well. I’m not going to go into great depth about it now, don’t worry. But I can give you a couple of examples.
Others did it, too
Think of CBS 30th Street Studio, the “Church”. It really was a Presbyterian church before they converted it into a studio. The conversion didn’t mean all that much; they put some wood on the walls, carpets on the floor, and had a lot of gobos to control that single, large and tall room. It worked for jazz, classical or rock music, and people actually loved the sound of it, and still do. Now you say you have just a small living room to work with. Those also work. Think of the Motown Hitsville. Add to the fact that certain albums were recorded in real, non-isolated places we tend to call “homes”, for example Exile on Main Street by the Stones, or Joan Osborne’s Relish.
Hit that red button today
What it comes down to, if you don’t record today, you wasted a day. If you keep waiting for better gear, better rooms and more money (never gonna happen), you keep wasting years and years, that you could have spent with getting to know inside out what you do have. Go and make music today, and enjoy the living hell out of it.