We can provide you with tips on how to design a living room if you need it. Because deciding where to begin can be difficult, whether you’re working with an empty area – perhaps because you’re relocating – or a crowded room. So, now you know everything there is to know about building a living room from the ground up.
Whatever the size, shape, or orientation of your living room, we’ve gone into the Guides4homeowners detail you need to know to help you make the best choices, from furniture considerations to paint colors, layouts, and carpeting. After you’ve read all of the practical information, look through our living room ideas for some great design ideas.
1. How should you arrange the furnishings in your living room?
The layout is the initial step in planning a living room. It’s possible that you have a small living room with limited furniture placement options, but regardless of the size of our spaces, most of us build our living rooms around one thing: the television. However, while converting your living room into a home cinema room is ideal for Friday night Richard Curtis marathons, it isn’t always the most efficient – and certainly not the most appealing – way to arrange your furniture.
Arrange furniture to create functional zones if you have the space, especially in living spaces. Create a distinct reading place by placing an armchair near to a window or table lamp; assign a dedicated workspace to a corner with a console table, desk, or home office hidden in a cabinet; or use open shelving to separate a children’s play space from the rest of the room.
Consider what you absolutely need and what you can live without when decorating a living space. You’ll need enough seating, side and/or coffee tables, a TV unit, and storage for everything from game equipment to toys to books, at the absolute least. What could go somewhere if this is starting to overcrowd the room?
Use a tape measure to size up the room if you don’t know where to start with your living room plan. You may next draw out a floorplan and a few potential ways your furniture could fit into the space. In our guide to the greatest living room layout ideas, you’ll learn a lot more about where to put the furniture in the living room.
2. When decorating a living space, think about your personal style.
After you’ve planned out your living room furniture layout, you can move on to the fun part: deciding on a living room style. If you don’t have children, you’ll spend most of your time there in the evenings; if you do, you’ll spend it from the afternoon onwards.
While the age of your home, its inherent architectural features, and the style of the rest of your rooms or current living room furnishings will all influence the style of your living room, it must also fit your lifestyle. In other words, if you have a lot of kids, an intricate antique-filled living room is generally not a good idea, and a modern living room decor might be more your flavor. For inspirations, look through our portfolio of modern living room designs.
Make a list of the living room ideas you like (and pin them to a Pinterest board), and you’ll start to notice trends emerge, which will serve as a fantastic foundation for your room layout. What should you stay away from? A style that is clearly at odds with the age of your home: 1930s style works well in newer homes but not in older ones; similarly, heavy Victorian doesn’t work in a 1970s home.
Don’t be hesitant to mix and combine styles, even if you’re tempted to stick to one. As a result, the room will feel less manufactured and more comfortable, and after all, it is the room where you unwind at night, so it should be a true reflection of your taste. (Unless you plan to sell, in which case we recommend depersonalizing…)
3. Decide on a living room color scheme.
It’s time to choose your living room paint color ideas once you’ve nailed down your aesthetic. When making this decision, consider the size of the room and the height of the ceiling. It may seem obvious, but if you have a small living room and want to make it appear larger and brighter, you should use lighter colors; alternatively, perhaps, because you only use your living room in the evening, you’d prefer it to feel snug and private with darker hues?
If you have a larger living room, you can be more daring with color by using a darker decorating palette, adding a dramatic feature wall, or experimenting with strong paint colors.
Keep in mind that the amount of natural light in your living area will influence your color selection. Warmer hues of all colors, including everything from white to blue to grey, can make north- and east-facing living room color schemes feel more welcoming; similarly, south- and west-facing rooms will get a lot of sunlight, so you may want to use cooler colors to keep them feeling restful.
Choose one primary accent color and one or two accent shades to utilize in lower doses once you’ve decided on your main room color. This allows you to warm up a neutral design, cool down a bright scheme, connect two ends of a long or open-plan area, and possibly even tie your living room and hallway colors together for whole-house consistency.
4. Should you use wallpaper or paint to decorate your living room?
It’s primarily a matter of choice when it comes to choosing wallpaper or paint colors for your living room, but here’s what you should know:
- Feature walls with wallpaper on one wall that matches the paint color on the rest of the walls are becoming less popular. Do you like the concept? Place the wallpaper on a less expected wall, such as behind the sofa rather than on the chimney breast.
- If you put large images on all four walls of a small living room, it will feel claustrophobic. Only use them if a huge window or French doors provide relief on one wall; otherwise, go for a more modest design.
- Compact prints have a more traditional appearance than current prints, and they are ideal for small areas or country cottage living rooms.
- Exaggerate the proportions of your room with wallpaper patterns. A faint vertical stripe can make a room appear taller; horizontal stripes, on the other hand, can make it appear larger.
- Paint is a cheaper, easier-to-update alternative for living room walls and can be utilized for color blocking to generate interest. More color blocking options can be found in our section.
5. Select a floor covering for your living area that is both functional and attractive.
Because your living room flooring is subjected to a great deal of wear and tear, selecting the right option is critical. Light colors, contemporary patterns, or a low-pile, stain-resistant carpet should be avoided in favor of deeper shades, current patterns, or a low-pile, stain-resistant carpet. In any case, it’s a good idea to learn how to clean carpet before you get one installed. Natural flooring, such as sisal, is another choice, but it can be difficult to keep up with, so choose a rug made of these materials instead of a hard floor.
Alternatively, hard-wearing wood or laminate flooring is a good choice; a rug may always enhance coziness and comfort.
If you live in an apartment, consider installing a thick underlay beneath your living room flooring if you don’t live on the ground floor; this will reduce the chances of a neighbor knocking on your door while you’re in the middle of a Zumba DVD. Pet owners should think about getting a carpet that hides pet hair; otherwise, get the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair.
6.Select the most appropriate living room furnishings.
Now it’s time to decide on the ideal living room furniture ideas. This is likely to be the most expensive component of your living room design, so think carefully about what you need and don’t need (which may mean giving up on using your coffee table as anything other than a footrest and replacing it with an ottoman that can be used as extra seating instead).
Start with the essentials and consider what furniture your living room absolutely requires – and how you might make it more versatile, for example, by adding concealed storage.
Consider how long each piece will last and what is worth investing in – soft furnishings take the most abuse, so acquire the best quality you can within your budget or choose removable covers that can be machine washed.
And make sure you select furniture that will survive the test of time, not just in terms of functionality but also in terms of style. Don’t choose styles, forms, colors, or patterns that will date rapidly or that you will become tired of.
7. Select the ideal sofa for your living space.
When buying a sofa, it’s easy to get caught up with the colors and fabrics available, but skip the frills and focus on the more practical qualities first. Start by considering the size and form of the room, how many people you need to seat, where the couch will go in the room, and whether a sofa bed would be a more practical buy; next consider whether detachable covers are required.
After that, you can think about the style, shape, and color of your sofa. Because it’s easier to redecorate around, most of us choose a neutral color for the covers. What is our recommendation? Sofas with bright or strongly patterned patterns make great focus points, but make sure you’ll love them in the long run. When it comes to the shape of your sofa, low-backed items appear more casual and take up less visual space than traditional-looking, more formal high-backed sofas.
If your room is restricted, think about whether you really need such a large piece of furniture taking up so much important space. We realize it’s difficult to picture life without a three-seater, reclining sofa, but join us in our fantasy. A love seat or a slimmer sofa might be more practical, freeing up more floor space and possibly even allowing you to add another seating choice.
8. Think about storage options for your living space.
Clutter is drawn to the living room no matter how hard you try to keep it out, so be prepared and add plenty of living room storage.
Choose items that offer as much versatility as possible to conserve space and eliminate needless superfluous furniture: coffee tables with plenty of storage shelves, TV cabinets with integrated drawers, and even sofas with concealed storage. Choose living room cabinets with both open and closed storage so you may hide clutter while yet displaying your cherished possessions.
9. Make sure the lighting in the living room is correct.
Because we spend so much time in the living room in the evenings, it’s critical to properly light your space. The perfect lighting can turn your living room into a warm, inviting environment; the poor illumination, on the other hand, can make it feel as drab as a dentist’s waiting room.
Consider the different zones of your living room and choose lighting sources accordingly: task lighting, such as a standing or table lamp over an armchair for reading; a dimmable central pendant light for those times when you want the room brightly lit; and plenty of accent lighting, such as low-level table lights, picture lights, and even lighting hidden within alcove shelving.
Lighting can also be used to produce effects. Warmly-tinted lightbulbs will make the room feel cozier; daylight-mimicking bulbs will make it feel brighter. Uplighters on walls can make a ceiling feel taller; downlighters will make the room feel more intimate; spotlights can highlight a feature, such as large house plants; warmly-tinted lightbulbs will make the room feel cozier; daylight-mimicking bulbs will make the room feel brighter.
10. Select the greatest window treatments for your living room.
Window treatments are crucial in the design of your living room because they provide pattern, color, a sense of comfort, privacy, light control, insulation, and, when properly chosen, may tie the entire room plan together.
What you choose will mostly be determined by your personal preferences and financial constraints. Shutters or Roman blinds layered over lined curtains are a terrific alternative for adding a sense of luxury to the living area. Shutters are an easy-to-coordinate alternative in a contemporary living room that also has a lot of curb appeal. Plus, if you’re on a limited budget, DIY-fit solutions are far less expensive than custom-fit options. For some inspiration, check out these living room window ideas.
11. Use accessories to add flair to your living room decor.
We all enjoy a clean design, but if you don’t want your space to look like it came right out of a catalog, add plenty of unique touches. Rugs, cushions, and throws may easily be added to your soft furnishings, and color can be added with well-displayed artwork and photos or a gallery wall. Oh, and don’t forget about indoor plants; they’re a great way to add a pop of color and liven up a space.