Designer Tips: How to Decorate a Living Room
Your living room should be a place where you can feel comfortable, let down your guard and spend quality time with friends, family or just yourself. It should be a comfy space that reflects your style and taste. Here are a few designer tips and tricks I like and you might like to try.
1. Mix light and dark. When a living room is all white and bright, it can feel too “clean” and unapproachable. When it’s all dark, it can feel like a cave. But mixing dark and light colors creates a dynamic look that has depth and balance. The design of any space benefits from the inclusion of at least a little white and a little black.
2. Contrast your neutrals. Beyond including some white and some black, decorating a living room with a variety of contrasting neutrals goes a long way toward making it feel rich and welcoming. In this example, the white walls, caramel leather, brass hardware, gray sofa and blue-gray cabinets all contrast with one another, which highlights their different finishes and undertones. This makes the palette feel rich even before other key elements, such as color, pattern and texture, are added.
3. Play with texture. Texture is easy to overlook when decorating a living room, especially since we don’t see it so much as touch it. But it’s important for making a living room feel cozy, and that goes for plush textures that appeal to the touch and harder textures that add contrast. Include leather, cotton, wool, metal, stone, glass, plant life and as many other textures as you can. Pillows are a great place to start, especially if you’re decorating a living room on a budget. Look to other accessories and furnishings to add new materials to the palette, even in small doses.
4. Add a dash of color. While you can create a beautiful space without any vivid hues, adding even a little bit of color to a living room can go a long way toward creating a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
5. Choose movable tables and stools. Lightweight tables, stools, ottomans and even side chairs that can be moved around easily make a living room much more comfortable, giving you and your family lots of options on a daily basis for putting your feet up, setting a drink down or seating an extra guest.
6. Consider conversational distances. No matter how big your living room, there’s a limit to how large a seating group can be and still make sense for intimate conversation and cozy gatherings. A good distance between seats to facilitate conversation is about 8 feet, meaning if you have several sofas or a sofa and side chairs, the seating area should have a diameter of 8 feet, or 4 feet out from the center.
7. Don’t take it too seriously. A living room is a great space to embrace thoughtful disorder, such as through an artistic gallery wall, mix-and-match throw pillows, open storage baskets and fun furniture like this tepee-inspired tent. Trying for perfect order will mean that anything out of place will stick out like a sore thumb, whereas accepting a bit of controlled chaos will mean the occasional dropped toy or draped blanket will look right at home.
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