The living room is often one of the busiest rooms in the house. It is used for entertaining, television viewing, reading, napping, homework and anything else that takes place in a busy family. It is usually the first room guests see when they enter your home. For all of these reasons, decorating a living room takes quite a bit of thought.
Begin by creating an overall plan that includes colors, furniture needs and wall and window treatments. This will help you avoid costly mistakes and allow you to purchase things as your budget allows or as you are out shopping and stumble upon the perfect item. Keep in mind that all living rooms have some things in common; seating, lighting, and accessories. But how do you choose what is right for your room?
Furniture is the biggest expense in any room you decorate with the exception of electronics. It will be necessary for you to determine how much seating you will need based on how you use the room. If the room is primarily for television watching and family gathering, consider how many people will need a place to sit. A combination of chairs and a sofa are the most common choice but you could opt for all chairs, or a sofa and a loveseat combination. You will need tables to hold books, games or food and drinks. A piece of furniture such as an armoire or bookcase will be necessary to house all the electronics that are part of our modern lives. When choosing upholstery for your seating area you will want to pick something durable and stain resistant. This is not the place for an all white sofa and glass top tables!
If your living room is used for entertaining only and is not a family gathering spot, your furniture needs may be different. Of course you will need seating and tables but in place of a media center you might add bookshelves or curio cabinets to display collectibles. These are great conversation starters when entertaining. As the room is rarely used you will have a bit more freedom in upholstery choices. If you have always dreamed of a blue and white room with glass tables and crystal lamps, this is the room to do it in. Of course, we are assuming that adults are much neater and more careful than kids.
Lighting is an important feature when decorating a living room. You will need task lighting for reading, games or hobbies such as crafts and sewing. This comes in the form of table lamps and floor lamps that can focus light on the task at hand. You will need accent or ambient lighting to create a glow in the room when watching television or just relaxing. Decorative lamps, uplights and spotlights all fall into this category. The intent is to create a mood in the room. And, finally, you will need general lighting which is usually found in overhead fixtures or recessed lighting.
Arranging your furniture is perhaps one of the most important aspects when it comes to decorating a living room. If the furniture is poorly arranged it will be difficult to have conversations, see the television, or just move around the room. Finding a focal point in the room is the first task at hand. This can be a fireplace, a beautiful view from the windows or the television set. Whatever it is, you will want to arrange the furniture to take advantage of the focal point .Many people think that furniture needs to be pushed up against the walls. This is not always the case. Placing furniture at an angle or away from the wall can make for a more interesting arrangement and create a better traffic flow. It all depends on the size and shape of your room and the position of your focal point. Just try something different. It doesn’t cost anything to rearrange furniture and if you don’t like it you just move it back.
Accessorizing is the most enjoyable part of decorating any room. This is where your personality can really shine. Accessories come in many forms. They can be something as simple as a framed poster on the wall and some pillows from a discount store. Or they can be elaborate and tell a story about you such as a collection from a vacation or a prized piece of art. An arrangement of family photos in beautiful frames is one of the best accessories! Perhaps you purchased some silk fabric during your travels. How about creating custom throw pillows out of that fabric? Have you inherited some prized porcelain from your Grandmother? Placing those pieces in a curio cabinet will be a nice tribute to your Grandmother and create an interesting focal point. A vase of fresh flowers on a side table brings color and life to any living room. It is fun to switch out your accessories for different seasons. Maybe you have a collection of seashells that can be placed in a large bowl on the coffee table during the summer months. Replacing silk throw pillows with some made of colorful suede or wool will make the room cozy during the fall and winter. Adding a throw to the back of a chair is always a good idea. Accessories don’t have to be expensive. Visit your local thrift shop or discount store for inexpensive vases, books, small sculptures or interesting wall hangings. You decide what works for you.
You will begin to see your room come together as you follow the plan for decorating a living room. Doing it in stages just prolongs the fun so enjoy the process and be proud of the room you have created for your family and friends.