If we could only choose one room in our home to put our heart and soul into designing, the living room would top the list. It’s space that sets the tone for our entire decorating style.
The living room is the heart of our home, where we spend time with those we love. It’s where we relax, watch TV, cozy up in front of the fireplace, play games, welcome guests and do countless other activities each day. Yet when we get sick of our surroundings, when our room seems outdated or worn out and we need something different, it’s tough to make some big changes in the context of our busy lives and small budgets. That’s when small, cheap tweaks come in handy. Presented below are nine tricks with furniture, color, lighting and accessories that will help us create fashionable and comfortable space.
1. Focus on the floor
The floor takes up a significant amount of square footage and thus is one of the highest impact spaces in our living room. We’ve got ample possibilities for flooring in our rooms. There’s a variety of hardwoods available in many different natural or synthetic materials. Tiles are another option, again featuring a variety of different materials that can create very different styles and feels. If we want to be innovative and stylish, we can choose granite or cement flooring. If we want a warmer and cozier option, we should decide on plush carpeting.
Tip: It’s suggested to use one flooring material throughout the living room and adjoining rooms to visually expand the space and create flow with our design.
2. Make your living room warm and cozy with nice rug
A rug can set the tone for our entire living space. There are three main elements to keep in mind when choosing the right rug for our living room:
If we already have many colors and patterns going on in our space, we should buy a single-color rug, either a neutral or a shade which complements our existing furnishings. If we want a patterned rug with vivid colors, it’s suggested to choose it first, and add in furniture and accessories that coordinate afterwards. When selecting our perfect rug, we should take into account the tones in our flooring, walls, and other fixed finishes. However, most interior designers claim that we shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a bit – a brightly colored or boldly patterned rug can be just the ticket to lift our living room to the next level.
A mix of different textures makes a room look rich and layered, and an easy and fast way to set this tone is by paying attention to the texture of our rug. We need to remember that there’s so much more out there than cut and looped wool! Let the finishes of our existing furniture guide us, and aim for contrast. For example, a sleek leather sofa looks fantastic on something with a longer, fluffier pile. It’s also important to keep in mind practicalities about cleaning the rug.
A rug should fit the size of our seating area. Ideally, all the furniture should be on the rug, but front-legs-only is a good and common compromise. Most standard-size living rooms need an 8-by-10-foot rug to properly fill the space. When the seating area takes up the entire room, we also have to consider orientation: square rooms look perfect with round or square rugs, and rectangular rooms with rectangular rugs oriented in the same direction.
3. Customize your shelving
Whether we are tired of the look of a cluttered room, we want to get things off the floor and make our living room look neater, a great way to achieve this is to install floor-to-ceiling shelving. It can be custom-built or free-standing. If we are lucky enough to own a large collection of books, we can enjoy the look of them on these shelves. However, floor-to-ceiling shelving isn’t just for books. It’s a really nice solution for adding extra storage and space for a number of items including our photos, some pictures or even television or sound system. Such shelves can also provide a great way to display our collectables and treasures.
Tip: It’s good to consider a mix of open shelves and closed cabinets, so we can hide some items that are not very attractive behind closed doors.
4. Feature wall
Whether we call them feature walls, statement walls or accent walls, they’re a great place to let our creative vision fly free. It’s space to impress, experiment and bring energy and beauty into the room.
Why feature a wall?
Not only to jazz up a boring room but also to enlarge a small room. For example, painting one wall a darker color adds depth and drama to a cozy space. What’s more, distinguishing a wall can help define the space for a specific function. And one of the most common uses for an accent wall is to carve out a dining area in our living room. We can do this by putting the dining table next to our statement wall and coordinating accessories for the table with the wall.
How to highlight a wall?
- The easiest way to create a feature wall is to paint one wall a bright and vivid color, like orange, yellow, or blue, and leave the other walls white.
- Bright, patterned wallpaper is another excellent choice for adding drama and creativity to one of our walls. Today’s wallpaper selection gives us a range of hues and textures. It looks even more stunning when the wallpaper is coordinated with the accents in the rest of the room, like throw pillows or wall art.
- Stone and brick can create beautiful interior feature walls. Bricks look great when applied in central and focal areas. For instance, we can make our room very interesting with a cool brick wall behind our TV.
5. Create a picture collage
Hanging a painting, a family photo or two on a wall is a pretty standard decorating tactic. We can step it up to a whole new level by creating gorgeous picture collage. In such montage, we don’t have to choose just one picture, we can pick a bunch of our favourites to show off all at once.
When picking a wall for our picture collage, it’s suggested to look for a space that is between 6 and 8 feet wide to give our exposition adequate space to breathe. What’s more, we should remember also to reserve some space that people can stand back and enjoy the pictures. If we are planning to put on the wall some small pictures, we want our family and friends to be able to walk up and view these images from quite close range. That’s why we shouldn’t hang these collages above big, bulky furniture, like a couch, because our guests will naturally want to get closer to the pictures. If we want to save them the awkwardness of climbing on our furniture, the best option is to place collages above low bookcases or console tables.
Tip: The goal is to make the collage appear as one piece of art, so consistency and similarity in the frames is crucial to achieving a cohesive look.
6. Pay attention to the light
In a space where we read books, play games, watch TV and entertain guests, lighting serves an important purpose in both the function and look of the room. “Lighting is important because of the intimacy it creates,” says interior and lighting designer Linda Allen of Linda Allen Designs. “Since living rooms are usually one of the first rooms you walk into, it sets the tone for the rest of the house.”
An ideal living room lighting scheme uses different kinds of light, set at different levels, that work together to make the space warm and attractive. A high chandelier in the center of the room can be a great idea – crystals look fantastic especially in spacious rooms. If the room has more of an earthy feel, we can use an antler chandelier. Wall scones can also be a nice addition; they make our living room look more sophisticated. Whatever the lighting choices, we have to make sure the light is warm and not too harsh. The living room should be comfortable and inviting at all times of the day or night.
Tip: It’s suggested to use dimmers – they allow us to control the level of light to suit the activities that take place in the space.
7. Layer textures
Adding in layers of texture is often what gives our interiors that livable, comfortable feeling. We can mix and match these textures to complete our living room:
- Natural: raw wood, stones, handmade ceramics
- Soft: faux fur, mohair throw, cashmere blanket, velvet pillow covers
- Smooth: polished wood, leather sofa or chair
- Shiny: shiny metal, mirrored surfaces, glass vases
- Rough: sea grass or wicker furniture, natural fiber rugs, linen, burlap
8. Create a window seat
If we have a home with big windows it would be a shame not to take advantage of them to the fullest. Built right into a large window, window seats are perfect for people who love to have a quiet little nook they can call their own. On beautiful sunny mornings or long summer evenings, there’s no better place to sit back, read a book, relax, and enjoy the scenery outside than a peaceful window seat. A window seat can be created several ways. The easiest one is to use an existing (wide enough) windowsill and cover it with some cushions or a blanket.
Tip: If you need extra storage, you can select a bench which is designed specifically with storage beneath the seat (in the form of drawers, shelves, etc). This storage can be used to keep books, newspapers, shoes, and other household goods.
9. Expand the space with a massive mirror
Mirrors are called a decorator’s best friends, and with good reason — a well-placed mirror makes the most of a room’s natural light, opens a small space, enhances views, and adds oomph to a decor. The key lies in pairing the right mirror with the right location. For example, if we want to brighten up our living room, we should try hanging a mirror on a wall opposite our window. The light from the window will reflect off the mirror, making our room seem brighter than it really is.
There are many kinds of mirrors from modern to traditional, ones with or without frames, made in any shapes and forms to fit in your living room`s style. Don’t just go to the Ikea and pick up a mirror that will “do the job”. Choose a mirror that will make your living room one of a kind.
Stop dreaming about a new living room and act! Use the ideas presented above to liven up your space.