The living room is easily the most important and most prominent room in the house when it comes to interior decoration. Whatever you use your living room for – like bonding together as a family, watching TV, playing games and entertaining guests – it tends to be the center of the home. It’s the place where we display our most precious and beautiful decorations, because it’s the first room we show and welcome our new guests in, and usually the first thing you see as you enter your home.
A beautifully decorated living room can draw you in, compel you to stay and even inspire you to take pictures. But because you can be pressured to do your best in furnishing or redecorating your living room, making design choices can be stressful. Learn how to decorate your living room by following these essential tips:
1. Choose the right furniture
Whether you are starting to furnish and decorate from scratch or updating the look of your home you have lived in for years, your choice of furniture is very important. When redecorating your living room, it’s a great opportunity to weigh in what’s important to you and what’s not. For instance, do you really need a coffee table with two conversational chairs by the side of your living room, or are you willing to trade it with a piece you really need, like a small piano to start a new musical hobby or a treadmill to make it a mini fitness corner? Does the sectional still work or do you now prefer to couches so you can place a lamp or an end table by the corner? Does the decades-old loveseat you got as a wedding gift still work and still suit your interior décor? The key is to assess everything and be brutally honest about whether or not an item still works for your living room.
If you are starting out, you have a fresh start. Plan your living room configuration and be intentional about where you are going to place a specific furniture and how you are going to use it. Also decide on what your decorating style is. Being committed to a specific style will help guide your decisions about the types and styles of furniture to pick, the paint colors and accent colors to add, what window coverings to install, etc. Picking the right furniture, especially in terms of size and style, can make or break your interior décor.
2. Invest in a good couch
Perhaps when you think of the living room, the first picture that comes to mind are couches grouped together. It’s the first piece of furniture you buy for the living room. It’s important to find a piece that will stand the test of time, will match your design style and will suit your seating needs. Cheap couches may give you a bargain, but it may not last you for years. You also have to be careful about the styles and colors you pick, because you don’t want to bring in something that will serve as an eyesore for you in the future. It must also be proportionate with the size of your living room. You must not put a cushy and chunky couch in a small studio-type apartment.
When considering a good couch to pick, it’s best to consider your lifestyle. It must be your main consideration when picking a color, a style and fabric type. For instance, a luxurious looking velvet couch may suit your taste, but it may not work well with children’s sticky hands and pets’ muddy paws. If you have a toddler or a preschooler, don’t pick any light-colored couch because you may expect ink stains as children this age draws everywhere. If you like resting in the couch after an intense home workout, you may need to avoid fabric upholstery that may easily absorb odors and sweat.
3. Create a focal point
The focal point is where the people’s eyes fall when they first walk into the room. It anchors the room and helps draw you into the space. Finding a focal point is a great place to start when arranging your furniture. A fireplace or mantle is a natural focal point in a house, but with most homes, the television is the true focal point. If your fireplace is the focal point, you can add an interesting artwork or a stunning wall mirror that will draw the eyes in. If the television is the focal point, you may add a beautiful media cabinet underneath it. If you have unadorned, large windows with a great view outside, that can easily become your focal point. For living rooms with no fireplace, no TV nor a big window with a beautiful view, you can create one like putting an oversized mirror, a beautiful coffee table, an extra-large painting or artwork, or a piano if you have the space.
Then focus the arrangement of the furniture on that focal point. You can easily arrange the couches and chairs so it can face the TV or fireplace. You can even make your stunning couch as a focal point by placing it in an accent wall, or by placing adorable artworks or mirror on top of it.
4. Arrange furniture for conversation
Living rooms are created as gathering spaces, so you must arrange your furniture that will promote conversation and interaction. Pull chairs away from the walls and let them face each other. If your living room is large, you can break it into two conversational groups to make it look and feel more intimate. You can provide ottomans and additional chairs that can be pulled easily if the group is large while still keeping the intimate look. Place a coffee table or ottoman at the center to have a noticeable central point.=
5. Choose a color palette
The colors you choose for your living room will affect how your guests will feel inside your home. It’s also the key to creating a seamless living room aesthetic. It can keep the look of the room harmonious and make every piece look clean and purposeful.
Many people do the mistake of picking the paint color on the wall first, but it should not be the case. Decide on the colors through your furniture, and then decide on the color of the wall. Paint is inexpensive, so you can choose the more expensive pieces first before choosing a paint color based on it. To avoid other interior decorating mistakes, check out this article.
6. Keep it functional
The layout and all the furniture in your living room should always be functional. Beauty is important, because you have to love looking at it every day, but you also have to ensure that it doesn’t just work for your taste but also for your lifestyle. For instance, what good is an ultra-stylish couch if it isn’t comfortable enough or if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle?
You can achieve a functional furniture arrangement by considering what will it be used for and how many people are going to be using the room. This will be your guide in determining the size, style, amount and material of the furniture you will need.
7. Be mindful of measurements
No matter what part of a house you’re working on, measurements is always a crucial thing. And inside the room, everything must be carefully measured out – be it the furniture, furniture arrangements, area rugs, window treatments or artworks. Make sure you get the size of the space you want to place something in, and list down the ideal measurements. This will be your sizing guide for picking up furnishings and accessories. You don’t need to adhere strictly to your measurements, but it’s a good idea to have a guide you can check as you shop.
Create balance in your living room by picking out furniture that are up to scale. The size of the things you put in your room must be proportional to the amount of space you do have. Picking up too small furniture will make your living room look tacky and uninviting, while going for too big will make it look cramped and overwhelming and of course, it will take up too much unnecessary space. Whether you have a big or small living room, there are guidelines to help you out. You can check them here.
8. Add an area rug
Area rugs do not only add comfort and decoration to your floors. They add texture and dimension to your space, while also serving as a “territory marker” that helps define the space better. Typically, you must choose a rug that will compliment your color scheme and add a bit of texture and/or pattern to balance the look of your interior. You also need to consider the material and the height of pile based on your lifestyle and traffic flow. However, the most important consideration is size. If you’ve got the perfect area rug that blends to your space but it’s awfully too small, it won’t achieve your desired effect.
A good rule to remember is that all furniture must be sitting on top of the rugs, and must be placed around 6-12 inches away from the walls. Rugs are a challenge to get right for the living room, so check out some helpful tips on how to choose the right area rug here.
9. Add inviting lighting
Lighting is a very functional element for any room, but somehow, it’s one of the most complex considerations. In the case of living rooms, you don’t need to focus a lot on utility compared to utilitarian rooms like kitchens, but there are also things that must not be ignored. To have a beautifully decorated living room, you should include each of the three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. It is important to layer light sources to make a bright and open living room.
Consider overhead chandeliers to make a great accent for your living room, or go for recessed lighting. Then, add some floor lamps or table lamps on your side tables, accent lights on the walls or bookshelves like sconces or even candles. Aim to layer the light so it could bring a relaxed and comfortable mood in your home.
10. Add personality with arts and accessories
If your living room walls are empty, it’s incomplete. No, you don’t have to place something at every wall, but decorating the wall is important. It can create an enticing and cohesive look if done the right way. Consider your color scheme and make sure you stick to it. But the best thing to do is to really follow your instincts and what you like and what you think will go with your room. It’s important to have the piece reflect your personality and tastes. You may pick something that doesn’t match your color scheme, but you can work your way with it by adding some throw pillows or flowers that has the same color with the artwork you picked so it won’t look out of place. If you display the things you love, it will make you feel more like home.
However, be careful with it so it won’t look like clutter. If you have a collection of let’s say, sand bottles, it’s best to display them as a group rather than scatter them around your living room. If you want to display regular-sized family portraits, then group them in one wall to create a gallery wall, rather than distributing one for each wall.
11. Add dimension with textures
To add visual interest and to make your living room look beautiful overall, juxtapose the textures of different materials. Bring in differences in texture, like some metal legs, wood side tables, wool throws, silk pillows and glass tabletops. You can make your couch softer with a high-pile blanket or throw pillow, or you can add a subtle texture using a rattan area rug or a linen lampshade.
12. Consider traffic flow
As you arrange your living room furniture, consider the traffic flow. How your furniture pieces are arrange will determine how people will exit and enter, as well as how they can move around the space. Do you need to skooch around the back of the couch to get to the next room? Does the space feel cramped when multiple people sits in your living room? If you feel some discomfort as you navigate the space, re-think your furniture arrangement, or perhaps choose a better-sized furnishing if you really lack the space.