No matter what your décor, budget or personal tastes, you can easily turn your hodge-podge of living room furnishings and accents into a space that looks as if it was done by an interior design pro.
As we often say, function is more important than form. Start your interior design adventure by determining what your living room is for. Is it a place for an intimate gathering of friends and family? Do you entertain a large group of guests regularly? Is it a place to simply relax and kick back?
The answer will determine the layout of the room. If you entertain a lot, then you want your space to be more open so guests can flow freely around the room without bumping into furniture. If you host more intimate groupings, then you want to arrange your furniture to promote conversation.
1. Select furniture that matches your needs
Once you know the function of the room, it’s time to work on form. There are a lot of really wonderful pieces out on the market theses days. Not only can you get inviting sofas and loveseats, but also new ideas such as sectionals with a built-in chaise. If you entertain a lot, consider going with groupings of furniture or pieces that can be easily moved around the room. If it’s just family and friends, go with a large sectional grouping so you can all sit together in comfort and style.
2. Use color intelligently
The right colors can really make a living room come to life. Choose wall colors that complement your furnishings. Contrary to popular belief, a dark color makes a room appear larger, not smaller. Use accent colors for your accessories. Don’t get too wild with colors – they should work with one another, not against one another.
3. Go with a neutral style
Resist the temptation to buy the latest trends in furnishings or accessories. You don’t want your space to become dated. Picking up the latest lamp or gimmicky clock cheapens the space as well. Above all, don’t put too much of your personal tastes into the décor. Keep the precious memories and souvenirs in the bedroom or family room.
4. Let it shine
A good way to add some space to your living room is to go with reflective surfaces for tables, fixtures and lighting. White glazed cabinets are terrific for this, particularly if they have glassed doors. The same is true with lighting. A lamp with a glossy shade can make the room look bigger than it is.
5. Use rugs as décor
If you have a really large open space, consider breaking it into smaller areas. The easiest way to do this is to use area rugs. Though it seems odd at first, an area rug cannot only be used on wood or tile floors, but on wall-to-wall carpeting as well. When using an area rug to define a space, be sure that the furnishings either rest on the carpet or touch the edges visually.
6. Locate the large pieces first
The sofa, loveseat and sectionals should be put in place first. Again, consider the function of the room and arrange accordingly. If your pieces are heavy, you may want to draw out the room on a piece of paper and make shapes that match the measurements of your furniture. Move them around on paper before you move them around the room. This saves time and energy.
7. Work your way out from there
Once you have the large pieces of furniture set to your liking, it’s time to add end tables, coffee tables and other secondary furnishings to your grouping. Next, it’s time for the accents: lamps, vases, plants, etc. Finally, hang your art so that it complements the room’s new look. After painting and changing the layout, you may find that some of your art is out of place. Look in your other rooms to see if a different piece would look better.
Most of all, have fun with your redecorating project. Once you have the furniture you like, the rest can be changed easily down the road with just a few cans of paint and some artistic touches.