Why do some living rooms look well-designed and inviting, while others look like a mess of uncoordinated items? The answer usually comes down to how space is utilized. Effective interior design focuses on balance, not expensive furniture.
These decorating tips from the pros show you how to transform your living room into a warm and stylish space, with minimal budget.
1. What are you using it for?
Before making any fashion statement, consider what you enjoy doing in your living room. Is it mainly to gather around the TV? If so, sofa and chairs should orbit around an attractive TV and console. Do you have children? If so, avoid glass and fragile accessories. Is it used for chatting, drinking, and snacking? If so, the layout should offer easy eye contact and the coffee table becomes a focal point. Remember to design for function.
2. Draw your space
Sketch your living room layout on paper. Remember to include any built-in points, like a fireplace, bay window, doorways, shelving, etc. Try various layouts of your sofas, chairs, tables, rugs, and lamps, while keeping in mind the items that need proximity to wall outlets. When you find a configuration that looks cohesive and practical on paper, it just may work in real life.
Great lighting is as essential to decor as it is to photography. Your living room should balance three light sources: Natural, overhead and lamps. Natural light is important, but variable, depending on time of day. Make sure your windows are clean and sunlight doesn’t overpower the room. Overhead lighting smoothes out harsh shadows and adds ambient warmth – make sure you install dimmers. Lamps highlight key spots and add decorative accents. Make sure they don’t conflict with your TV, which is its own light source.
4. Go big with rugs
When it comes to rugs, the rule is to go large. Larger sized rugs make the room appear bigger. A rug with a bold color or pattern looks great if it balances the existing furnishings, but could overpower if the room is too neutral.
5. Choose a theme
Choosing a theme for your living room will help you avoid a mish-mash of uncoordinated items. What kind of room do you want? Warm & cozy? How about artistic chic? Modern? Rustic? Settle on a mood and color palette, then choose the paint, paintings, textures, and items that compliment it. Stick to your theme. A common mistake is buying an item that looks good in the store, but doesn’t fit alongside everything else.
Bold doesn’t have to cost big bucks. You can create a unique fashion statement by adding a few well-chosen accessories. Bold pillows, ornaments, paintings, books, a funky lamp, plants – relying on less expensive items to highlight a color or theme makes it easy to create a mood, or change it in the future. Your big items, like sofas and chairs, can be neutral, giving you the flexibility to build around them.
One of the most common decor mistakes is too much clutter. Items get added one by one over time, and without realizing it your living room looks more like a family scrapbook than a stylish room. The goal is to find a balance between a cluttered personal space and a sterile showcase. Removing items almost always makes a room feel more open.
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