The living room is one of the most important rooms in your house. It is a place where you can go at any time of the day and just relax, either alone, with your partner, with your family or even just the family pet. However, it is also a place where you welcome guests and entertain. Therefore it is really important to make sure it is decorated in a way that suits you and provides you with the most comfort, whilst being suitable for guests too.
Here’s some advice on how you can do this:
Choosing a theme
Every room in your house should have a theme. A theme will help you tie everything in your room together a lot better than if you were to just wing it. Winging it may be quirky and that may appeal to you but in a traditional sense, living rooms look and feel much better when they match and have a set theme.
To choose a theme, start by selecting the main colour you want to have in the room and then decide on a specific theme. Then work everything else around the colour and theme you have selected. For instance, decide how many walls you want the main colour on and if you want a focal wall or not.
Once you have a particular theme in mind, as well as your main colour, it will be a lot easier for you to choose everything else. For instance, if you have a really light colour on the walls, it may not be a good idea to choose light furniture too, otherwise the room will end up looking too cold.
When choosing furniture, such as sofas and chairs, keep in mind you may want to change your theme in a few years, therefore it may be best to buy neutrally coloured sofas and chairs and use throws and cushions to inject your main colour scheme.
Be sure to pick a theme that really suits you; otherwise you will be disappointed when you finish decorating your living room. If you have no idea how to choose such a theme, try looking through home magazines and just tearing out anything that piques your interest. Put these torn out pages all together and see if you can identify a common thread. Alternatively if a particular period of history or nature interests you, use that as your inspiration.
Making your living room feel larger
A lot of people struggle with interior design when it comes to decorating a small space. However, there is no reason why a small living room cannot be decorated in a way to make it your dream living room, just as if it were a ‘perfect’ size.
Keep in mind certain colours can make rooms look a lot more enclosed than others, i.e. darker colours, whilst feeling warm, usually make a room feel smaller than it actually is. With this in mind, choose lighter colours, such as lemon, lilac or light blue (as well as cream and white), as these colours will lighten the room and lessen the feeling of smallness.
Another trick, to make a small room look larger, is to use vertical stripes on the walls, as this will help make the ceiling look higher. Another, perhaps more well-known trick, is to use lots of strategically placed mirrors. Placing mirrors near to windows is always a good plan since they will reflect the light coming through the window and make the room appear wider. In the evenings, when the curtains or blinds are closed, it is worthwhile placing a lamp next to the mirror, since this will have the same effect.
As far as furniture is concerned, it is a good idea to choose items which have legs, as this will allow you to see down to the floor, giving the room more depth, as with small rooms you really don’t want to close off any more space than you have to.
When accessorising your small living room, try not to overdo it. It is really best to go for a minimal effect when you have a small room, since cluttering up the surfaces will just make the room seem even smaller than it is.
Making your large living room feel smaller
Some people may not ever find a large living room a problem; however, large rooms are generally quite awkward to decorate well. A lot of the time, people struggle because the room is too large to appear cosy, as a living room should be. Sometimes ceilings can be too high or the room can simply be too long.
The trick is to separate the room out into identifiable areas, for instance, an area for watching TV, an area for listening to music, an area for reading, an area for chatting. You can then decorate each section suitably, albeit still sticking to your overall theme. Separating areas out in this way will make the room appear smaller but not so much that it appears enclosed.
As far as furniture goes, try to avoid placing everything along the walls, as this will only emphasise the great empty space in the centre of the room. Place furniture away from the walls, at different angles. This will not only make the room appear smaller but also more interesting.
To disguise a high ceiling, try painting it a slightly darker colour than you have painted your walls, although avoid doing this if your walls are very dark to begin with, i.e. deep red or brown. If you have a light carpet or light wood floor, it’s also a good idea to buy a few dark rugs, as these will help lessen the ‘too large’ effect.
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Laura writes for Jaga vertical radiators. When not writing, she can often be found saving up for an interior designer to do every room in her house.