The living room is only rivalled by the bedroom in terms of where you spend most of your time at home – and the chances are that you spend a much more significant proportion of your time there with your eyes open! With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to go all out on the decoration and design of this room as it will represent the heart of their home for most people.
You could go conventional, and choose a sofa, television unit and whatever else you and your family consider as being essential. However, if you have the benefit of a clean slate, or plan to decorate anyway, then this is the perfect opportunity to bring together colour, lighting and technology to achieve the room of your dreams. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and the best living rooms are those that are personal to you. With that in mind, we have crafted and cultivated the following tips to suit all tastes, and you are free to interpret them however works best for you!
1. Use Colour to Get the Mood Right
We often mention the benefits of colour in our interior design features, but rarely is it more important than in the living room. You need to decide what works best based on how you tend to use the room. If you spend the daytime in there, then a warm, welcoming feel is best. If you only really go in there after work to watch television, then a more subdued theme that can help to get you ready for bed may work better. Calmer colours tend to work best for those that like to relax, while those that use the living room as a hub for entertaining may prefer bolder, unique styles and conversation pieces.
2. Feel Free to Express Your Personality
Even if you do not hold many social gatherings at home, the chances are that your living room is the most public of the rooms in your house. Consider the requirements of yourself and your family, along with the guests that you expect to join you most often and tailor the room to that. It could mean a larger television, louder music system or just intricate designs – perhaps even those that you have created yourself.
3. Take Advantage of the Uniqueness of a Room
Unless you have moved into a brand new, recently built home, the living room probably has some character already built-in. Make full use of fireplaces, nooks and crannies and any architectural features to really bring the style of the room together. Exposed beams, unusual ceilings and uneven walls all represent the opportunity to do something different, and while you could work to make them more normal, their unusual nature is often an advantage.
4. Choose a Floor to Suit
As a genuinely high-traffic area of your home in most cases, there is more than colour and style to consider when sorting out the floor. Feel free to make a unique statement with the design, but consider going for something more durable than elsewhere in the home if you expect frequent use of the carpet or floor. Consider works well for the furniture and overall design, but always consider comfort in your final decision.
5. Bring the Room Together with a Centrepiece
A living room should always be somewhere that you like to spend your time and anything that can invite attention will serve it well. The best way to do this is to focus on a central point in the room. It could be the fireplace, a piece of artwork or even the television. Essentially, you want something that naturally draws the eyes and welcomes you into the room. At the same time, it is best to use just a single focus – any competition from another major centrepiece will dilute the effect of both and risk not achieving the results you seek.
6. Setup Your Furniture to Suit Your Needs
If you spend most of your time in the living room lounging around on the sofa and watching television, then nothing beats a corner sofa or recliner. Conversely, if you hold parties or gatherings in the living room, you might need more dedicated seating. Get the numbers right, then design and arrange the results to spark off whatever your goals are – if you like people to get chatting, arrange the furniture to make this as easy as possible.
7. Design Your Light Setups at Various Times of Day
When designing a living room, we feel that it is best to refine the concept over a day or two continually. This is a part of the overall design that cannot be completed without being in the room itself, as you need to judge the impact of natural light and the placement of its artificial counterpart before coming to a decision. See what works during the day, and consider what you need in the evening and at night before committing.
8. Choose a Window Dressing Style that Works
When it comes to colour, your window dressings should complement the rest of the room – whether they spark it off or complement it later is up to you. However, there are plenty of style options to consider too. Blinds, curtains and anything else that meets your needs can all be considered, and this can be an underrated opportunity to emphasise luxury or functionality.
9. Get Your Media Right
We know that there are people out there that do not even own a television but, for most people, a living room is incomplete without a television. If you’re in the process of refurbishment, it can be worth considering what makes the most sense. You might need no more than a TV and an internet connection, but if you use DVDs, hard drives, speakers and other additions, you should build them into the planning process. These items are often visible, and the TV, in particular, can dominate a room, so consider their impact on the overall looks and feel of the room as early as you possibly can.
10. Add the Finishing Touches with Accessories
If you have not considered them already, think about adding the final touch to your living room with extras and accessories. This could be a painting or mirror on the wall or throws and cushions on the sofa. You may have built them into your initial designs but, if not, you can always add them in later wherever you feel a space could do with something more.