Contributed by Nataliya Stefanus
Redoing a living room fits into the category of projects that instill fear into most homeowners’ hearts. Without a plan, even a capable designer can botch the room leaving you with an ugly space and empty pockets. That’s why we’ve organized a list of areas to focus on as you create a living room you love within your budget. Happy decorating!
1. What’s the Focus?
The first question you should ask yourself before even thinking about lifting a paintbrush is “what is the central focus of the room?” A variety of “lead roles” exist for your living room; fireplaces, panoramic views, kid’s play area, conversation, and TV are the most common options. Whatever you choose, take thought in building the room to highlight the central focus. For example, if you want to encourage conversation, don’t set all the furniture facing the TV.
Don’t forget function either and evaluate you and your family’s personal needs. If you have kids running around all the time, a formal parlor probably isn’t the best idea. Take into account where you want people to walk and plan your furniture accordingly.
Lastly, pick your main design priority: do you want to highlight the hardwood flooring, wall color, a rug, or a sofa? Draw attention to it through furniture and decor placement.
2. The Art of Furniture Shopping
Furniture shopping and arranging often proves the greatest challenge in tying a room together. Many people buy a sofa based only on color; the best advice is don’t do that. Along with that gem of wisdom, you may find it helpful to consider other factors as well, including:
- Choose furniture appropriate for the scale of the room.
- Think of the space in the room; create interesting images by playing with height and shape in your different furnishings.
- Know your style. Modern looks rock the streamlined, solid colors while traditional ones embrace curves and patterns.
- Find balance by mixing heavy furniture with light, delicate ones.
- While color shouldn’t be the only factor, it still matters! Dark wood furnishings elegantly shine against a light wall while bright patterns liven it up.
3. Choosing Your Theme
Football players don’t frolick around the field without a game plan and neither should you. If you act on every whim that comes to you, your living room may resemble one of those rooms on the TV show Hoarders. We can’t possibly list all of the themes to choose from but sorting out your preferences can provide a starting point. Does clean, modern simplicity fill your heart or do you ogle ornate Victorian elegance? Are you drawn to exotic animal prints or quaint country patterns? Some of the most popular looks include:
- Sophisticated: Dark walls and white molding paired with traditional furniture
- Zen: Soft white walls, low-lying modern furniture, minimal cushions and colored accents
- Vintage: A blend of different woods with unique art and statement pieces from a different era
- Exotic: Ethnic fabric patterns, folk art, relics, and vacation treasures all set on the backdrop of rich colors
Gathering inspiration may prove helpful if you’re unsure of what you love. The internet holds countless ideas for living rooms to ignite your imagination. You don’t need to plan everything out, just enough to create a vision that brings cohesion to the room.
4. Managing Color
Color and theme run hand in hand; you won’t slap fluorescent fuchsia on the wall if the theme is 19th century England. Without telling you how to live your life, here are some tips to help with your artistic process:
- Neutral colors prove classy, jewel tones feel exotic, and greens combined with browns echo nature.
- Did you know colors affect your mood? If you don’t believe it, walk into a neon orange room and tell me what you think. As a general rule of thumb, greens and blues relax folks, neutrals add formality, and primary colors make kids feel at home.
- If you’re blessed with a gorgeous view from your living room, showcase it by painting the wall around it a similar color to the palette outside. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?
- Use color to draw attention to your coolest pieces. For example, let’s say you have always dreamed of displaying your limited edition Vera Wang Barbie and now your posh living room is the place for your treasure. Place it on colorful fabric and voila! Everyone’s looking.
Most importantly, have fun! Color can be one of the best ways to express yourself and set a tone for your living room.