Creating the perfect living room can seem like a daunting task. What can make this seem like a massive undertaking is having a room that has restricted corners, multiple windows / doors, or perhaps it’s generally quite an awkward room. Over the last few years I’ve witnessed a number of people (family, friends and clients) who have thought the same with their main living rooms and struggled to make it work for them.
The following four rules are the key areas I focus on when transforming a living room. I hope they can help you make the most of your living room too!
Create a Great Layout
First things first, you need to get your arrangement right with the space you have. The best place to start with this is by looking at your existing pieces of furniture. Are they just shoved up against walls because the room is too small for the furniture? Have you tried moving or angling some key pieces?
Generally speaking, the living room is dedicated to family time that is centred around the television or entertaining with family and friends. One of the main questions I ask anyone looking to improve their living room is, “how can we make this room more sociable?” because that is the primary focus of the room. The easiest way you can make your living room more sociable is by having the sofas facing each other.
Now that may sound shocking if you’re not used to it or haven’t tried it, but I can promise you that it creates the perfect dynamic. Normally people default into having their sofas next to each other (one rotated 90 degrees) but that’s one of the most unsociable ways you can arrange your furniture. If you don’t have more than one sofa, or you have an L-shape etc, you can substitute the second sofa with a statement armchair or two.
This leads on to the “centre of gravity”. Every room has something that grounds it (excuse the pun) – and I don’t mean literally here! This could be your fireplace, a bookshelf or a statement piece of furniture that you truly treasure. In some cases it may even be a coffee table. Make sure everything is centred back to this point.
Top Tip: Pull your furniture away from the walls, create some breathing space!
Make the Most of Your Space
Home DIY projects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’ve got a recessed area of your living room you may want to consider building this out into a unit (storage, shelving for ornaments etc) to finish in line with the main wall surface. You could have your boiler installation with Eco Safe tucked into a cupboard under the stairs. These are just a couple of ways to make the most of your space. It doesn’t have to be this extravagant though, it could be as simple as using a corner of the room for a small desk / study area or intimate reading corner. You may also have room to add a table and chairs there.
Is it time to finally fix the low-pressure shower?
Adding different layers to your living room may create more space in other rooms of your house that will be more of a benefit. Putting shelves on the walls is a creative way of mixing things up. Try things out and see what works for you – you can always move things back!
Every living room needs storage space. You’d be a fool to think otherwise! Whether you have kids (that inevitably come with lots of toys and games in tow), are a movie fanatic with a vast DVD collection or just have lots of stuff (let’s face it, who hasn’t?!), you will need some sort of storage solution.
Choosing the right sort of storage can be tricky and I’ll be honest, it’s very easy to over do it. Make sure you go through all of your possessions and decide what you truly need. Here are some straight forward and simple ways to implement more storage in your living room…
- TV Stand – swap your open corner unit for a linear one instead. Nowadays many come with ample storage space – drawers and shelves, which make them perfect for DVDs and other bits and bobs you may have.
- Bookshelves – these don’t actually have to hold books… I personally love it when people show their favourite magazine collections, photographs and vases in shelving units rather than filling them with hundreds of books. The best shelving units at the moment are ones that come with drawers or cupboards underneath the main shelves. That way, you can have all the good on show and hide the not-so-nice looking stuff away!
The last area I look into to create the perfect living room is the finishing touches. What I mean by this is the accessories that make the room feel more homely and well finished off. Here are some ideas to consider…
- Paintings or Posters – dressing your walls doesn’t have to cost the Earth if you’re unable to find or afford beautiful paintings, there are plenty of companies that sell high quality poster prints that you can frame instead. This is more cost effective and very modern. My favourites are from Desenio – on their website you can find lots of inspiration for different ways you can combine prints to find something that works for your room and is completely unique to you.
- Floor Standing Lamps – these are best as ambient lighting, but it doesn’t have to stop there, you may like the idea of having a reading / spot light. My favourites are the lamps that look stylish, sleek and become a real feature in the room.
- Coffee and Console Tables – make a statement with the coffee table you choose and style it like a pro. Learn the art of layering by reading my Art of Styling Coffee Tables post for ideas as to how you can do this uniquely to you.
- Rugs and Cushions – accessorise your living room with a combination of plain textured and patterned cushions to bring it to life. Then find the perfect match with a cosy, high pile rug. Thin rugs can often feel quite cold so I would recommend something that’s made from silk or wool if possible. Depending on the style of your furniture and accessories you already have, will depend on the pattern or colour you go for.
- Add Splashes of Vibrant Colour – adding colour is easier than you think… Cushions, rugs, artwork and even plants are all great ways to inject some well needed colour to your living room. In a previous post, I share ways you can implement the ultimate Spring 2018 Colour palette into your home – it’s now due to stick around for the whole year!
The key to this final point is keeping the room tidy and well kept. If your living room is messy or overcrowded, it won’t feel welcoming or homely.
Top Tip: Keep your finishing touches simple and don’t overcrowd your room with “stuff“… Try to carefully curate your living room.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have been able to take something away to implement into your home!
Until next time,
Design & Styling Advice
Are you still struggling to make your living room work for you? Don’t know where to start or simply fancy a hand styling your home?
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