The way you choose to decorate your living room very much depends on your family and the different needs of the different members that will be using it. Therefore, it is crucial to think about the multiple functions that it will be playing and how to best incorporate the needs of everyone when considering changing things, and especially if you’re planning on doing a major remodel.
It will often be the place where families not only spend a lot of time together, but also where you will end up when you invite over friends. You may play games, have a large entertainment system, or have lively discussions on a broad range of topics. It may also be the place where you choose to rest with a good movie.
Needless to say, you can see why we’re emphasizing that you spend a lot of time figuring out the best way to structure your living room with all the things inside of it that will add to your experience. It not only needs to be comfortable for you but also accommodating to you having guests over. This makes the selection of furniture and design extremely important. It is all about creating the unique atmosphere you have been looking for.
Given the natural limitations of the shape of your living room, you will want to set it up in a way so the layout and lighting make the most sense.
When you’re considering remodeling your home, you should really spend the necessary time finding the right contractor to work with.
Factors to consider
We already touched upon the fact that the living room will have many different purposes depending on the time of the day, which day it is and who is using it. Here are different factors that should be considered in your decision making process.
No matter what, you cannot get around the fact that you probably only have a finite amount of money available for whatever ideas you have for the space, and it’s a good idea to make a budget to make sure that your ideas stay within the range of how much you were planning on spending for the upgrade.
Too many people also entirely overlook the importance of adding appropriate lighting in the space to make sure it seems welcoming rather than gloomy.
Installing a floor is a major investment, but since it will be what you are walking on day in and day out, it’s a good idea to consider all the different options you have available. For example, if you want soft flooring, carpet is the traditional solution. However, it does not mean it’s the only option you should consider.
When you’re getting furniture and other types of decor for the space, it’s important to make sure everything matches well, and consider studying the return policies of the things you buy in case you fear you may change your mind down the line.
Storage is one of those things that people tend to forget to include, but if you have a lot of things in your living room, it’s crucial that you make a storage strategy when you are planning.
You also need to make sure you have the right focal point in the room, but not only that, also the smaller details are important to consider. The right focal point will mean your guests are truly impressed when they visit your house.
Small Living Rooms
While a small living room may be a little bit harder to work with, it does not mean you should not get the most out of the space.
You may want to read this Buzzfeed article on making your small room seem bigger. It not only applies to your living room, but can surely help you in the planning of your small living room upgrade. When you have a big room to play around with, planning is still important, but given the limitations of a small room, additional planning becomes even more important.
You will not only want to keep your furniture light, but also the curtains and shades.
If you do not like your current floor, but you are not planning on replacing it, you can consider placing a large rug on it. Unlike small rugs, this will not give the impression that you are breaking up the room, and it may hide some unsightly features of your existing flooring that need to be kept hidden away. It is also a cheap option to go with if you look around for the right rug.
In a living room with limited space, you need to be looking for storage opportunities everywhere you can. This means that you might very well choose to go with chairs that have built in storage. It means you’ll be able to put away things that would otherwise have gone on a wall. With a small space, you’ll need to get creative in your selections.
It also means that you might want to choose less bulky objects that also have the advantage that they’ll be easier to move around, and with your limited space, that may perhaps come in very handy if you’re hosting a party and need more floor space.
You really need to be looking for double-duty objects to include in there. If you need a desk, get one that is also able to serve the purpose of being a dining table.
To save space, choose lighting that does not need to stand on the floor, but rather some that can be hung and save floor space. Here’s how to find the right wall light for your small living room.
If you use mirrors, it can also give the illusion that the space is in fact bigger than it is. Apartment Therapy put together a good article that covers how to use mirrors.
This is how you can use your small space too
What is the right layout that you should be going with in the living room? As you probably realized, it really depends on what you are trying to achieve, the amount of space you have, and how many people you are trying to accommodate in the space. If you are trying to entertain large crowds in there, it makes sense to seek out furniture that suits those purposes.
However, if you want to have a large entertainment center, maybe the focal point there will be a large projector, that at the the end of the day takes up a lot of space too.
You can use tools such as plan your room, room styler or Havertys’ room planner once you feel like you are about ready to get started on playing around with the layout. To get inspiration on the layout of the place, visit this article written by Apartment Therapy to gain inspiration.
Basically, here are the different layout styles that they cover, and that you should familiarize yourself with:
- Integrated Dining Zone
- Separate Dining Zone
- Family Friendly
- Modern Country Casual
- Work & Live Space
- Retro Party Pad
- Minimal and Comfortable
- Lots of Versatile Seating
- Casual and Balanced
- Formal and Balanced
Again, check out the article and combine it with whatever needs you may have to make sure the final product fits your needs as best as possible. It’s crucial to make sure you make a design that works with the layout of the space rather than against it.
For a long living room, what you will want to make sure to avoid is that it starts feeling like a hallway, and they recommend that you use a variety of smaller pieces to tie the area together and to make it feel more spacious too.
When you are creating the layout for your living room, it’s essential that you make note of the walkways, so that it doesn’t become a hassle having to go from one room to another. The traffic flow is crucial to take into account, and you should leave at least 3 feet of space where people are walking as it will ensure that they are not accidentally bumping into your things, which could also help make sure that there aren’t marks that are left on the furniture.
The layout of the room should also include the focal point that will draw people’s attention. It can be anything from a TV, bookcase, fireplace to a piece of magnificent art that you are wanting to display. To draw more attention to it, you can use the room’s furniture to surround it in a U-shape. If your room doesn’t currently have a focal point, consider getting one. It will be a great conversation starter too.
Consider how you will be using different types of accessories to draw attention the way you want it. For inspiration, these can include things such as drapery, pillows, art and rugs. It is really your imagination that is setting the limitations for what you can do.
Choosing the layout means that you are determining the conversation areas, and you really ought to avoid pushing furniture up against the wall.
When you are placing tables in the middle of conversation areas, it’s important to consider that all the different people sitting should have easy access to the table. It may seem obvious, but people will very quickly become tired of being the person that is having trouble reaching the table comfortably.
The size of the art, the amount of lighting, size of furniture, their placement and the traffic flow are all important aspects of the living room layout.
The paint that you choose for your living room will have a large impact on the ambiance that you are trying to create. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way, but it also means that you need to match it with your goals in terms of the atmosphere you’re trying to create.
If you are trying to sell your house, you will often get encouraged to go with more neutral colors, as they may be more appealing to more people, however, if you are planning on staying in your house for a long time, it makes sense that you choose colors that match the desires you may have. If you don’t wish to have to paint again, and you are moving out within a year or two, you should probably consider more neutral choices.
When it comes to painting your living room, the choice you go with will very much depend on your selection of furniture and the overall feel you are trying to achieve in your home. HGTV, House Beautiful, Sherwin Williams and others have all collected a lot of images you can use for inspiration.
Things that you will need to consider is whether you should have accent walls, the contrasts, what color to paint the floor, if any, if you should use textured paint or not, and whether you might be feeling ambitious and want to create a custom mural. If you are not very DIY inclined, it might just be best to choose to have a professional painter come and help you with the project
Decorating your living room is exciting, but where exactly do you start?
Figure out if there are any thing in your living room that you have grown tired of. It may be because it has gotten damaged over time, or maybe it just no longer fulfills your wishes. If there is something you inherited from a family member and you still wish to keep it even if you do not wish to display it in the living room anymore, either put it in storage or try to find a different place in the house where it would fit better.
The decoration options you choose to go with will depend on the overall feel that you’re trying to achieve, which is heavily influenced by the color palette in the home. There are colors that have a more calming effect, like green or blue, but if you want something that is more daring and energizing, you can opt for a more red-ish color palette. Remember that you will need to look at the choices you made every single day.
Setting on the style can be hard. Get inspiration from Pinterest, if you aren’t sure what style you want to go with.
Assuming you’ve chosen a style, you will now need to purchase the furniture you want, assuming you don’t already have it. You will want to do this strategically by buying the bigger pieces first, and then buy the smaller decoration pieces later. It will be easier to choose the couch first, and then choose the decorating pieces afterwards rather than doing it the opposite way.
If you need more inspiration for decorating your room, go ahead and visit Good Housekeeping that have made a good article with lots of pictures.
So, you have chosen that modern is the right style to go with for your living room. We’ll walk you through some ideas that you can use to really get it looking the best.
When you are decorating with a modern style as the end goal, you need to be aware that trends change, and what is modern now may not be modern in 10 years. This can mean that if you’re banking on getting the money back that you invested in your home, you should perhaps consider a more classic look that will retain the value of your home.
This decision is clearly more of a bet, but can also provide great satisfaction for you as the homeowner. Here’s a list of ideas for you to check out and figure out if you should incorporate into your decorating plans. Here are some ideas by Shutterfly you can look into.
Find the right furniture for your living room
We have already covered the importance of the colors you choose to paint your living room as well as the floor that you have installed, or that you’re planning on installing. Now the fun part of choosing the furniture that goes into the space.
To make sure you don’t buy the wrong furniture, there are some basic principles you will need to follow to be successful.
It is important that you take accurate measurements of the space you will be putting them in and using one of the layout tools that we previously covered. If your measurements are wrong, your living room will very quickly start feeling small once you start putting furniture in it.
Be sure to check out the furniture that you’re buying. Has it been pre-assembled? If so, make sure that it actually fits through the door, or you may have a problem when it is delivered.
The furniture you choose to buy needs to live up to the functionality requirements that you have already established that you need for the living room. What this means in practice is that if you have small kids, there is certain furniture you may not want because the risk of leaving marks from different things on them. If you like eating on the couch, it can also be a good idea to get furniture that is more stain-resistant.
You will probably want to keep a consistent look throughout the home. If you are going to be installing a new floor, or doing any other type of remodeling, it is very important with consistency if you would like to recoup as much of your investment as possible.
Ideas on a Budget
Even if you are not planning on spending a bunch giving your living room a new look, there are still a lot of things for you to consider.
One thing you can consider is to give your living room a fresh coat of paint. If you do it yourself, it won’t even cost you a bunch.
If your furniture has finally given up, try checking out craigslist, as there may be someone in a situation where they simply need to get rid of their furniture and will take whatever little money they’re offered for it. There are also a bunch of websites where you can get high end furniture without the hefty price tag, including Apartment Therapy’s marketplace and VIYET.
Instead of buying expensive artwork, you can also put photos of your memories on the wall, which will not only look good, it will also remind you of those good times you have had with the people you love.
It is not only your walls that can get a fresh coat of paint, you can also consider giving furniture a perhaps much needed paint job, which can make it not only look brand new but also more modern. If you have a dark wooden table, and you paint it white instead, it will completely change the way it appears.
A cheap way to not only change the atmosphere in the house, but also
Long Living Rooms
If you have a long living room, there are certain things you can do to make sure it avoids getting the bowling alley syndrome.
As with any type of living room, you will want to make sure you focus on the traffic flow in the room. Preferably you shouldn’t be putting the path in the middle of the room, but rather to one side to avoid people zigzagging their way through the room, and you can even consider dividing the room into different parts with different inherent functions.
Even if you decide to give your existing living room a new look, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you need to throw everything out. There are a lot of things that you can do for your upgrade to be more environmentally friendly.
For example, BHG featured a story where a family kept the built-in bookshelves and the old doors were recycled, and they then added new glass to the bookshelf and gave it a nice coat of paint, added environmentally friend furniture made from sustainable materials.
When you choose the paint, if you want to be more environmentally friendly, choose one that has has zero VOCs. This also means your indoor air quality will be higher as a result.
A good way to ensure you’re not causing unnecessary strain to the environment is by going to Habitat for Humanity ReStores to get your building materials, where you will likely even be able to get them at a discount.
You can get reclaimed wood and make shelves out of it, as another idea.
Instead of choosing to get new furniture, you can repurpose things, and reupholster furniture that would otherwise be thrown out.
To stay sustainable, there are certain building materials you should consider including in your remodel. These include bamboo, reclaimed lumber, recycled metal and sheep’s wool, the last which can be used to insulate your home. More materials to include in your living room upgrade include recycled cork, Newspaperwood, recycled glass tiles, ashcrete and recycled steel. The more recycled materials you’ll be able to include in your upgrade plans, the smaller your footprint will be.
Look especially for wood sources that are FSC certified, as it ensures you that the that the wood comes from a responsible managed forest.
You might not be aware of this, but a lot of the heat or cool will escape through poor windows. If you get thermal curtains, you’ll lower your energy bill, making it an environmentally friendly upgrade too.
Carpet may feel nice, but it is in fact not a very environmentally friendly option to go with because of the way it is produced. Choose wood instead, preferably reclaimed.