The living room is where bonds are forged through family gatherings, the first space that guests form impressions, and where happy hours are whiled away watching television. Hence it’s only natural that you would put a lot of thought into the furniture to get the composition of your living room just right.
It can be overwhelming, but not to worry! Follow our handy guide where we give you our top suggestions for making your living room look gorgeous.
Managing scale and proportion
Size does matter. Before you splurge out on that plush chaise longue, it’s important to decide if it will look good given the size of your living room. The furniture required for a small living room is completely different from what you might envision for a large one. One of the most important factors for a living room–big or small–is to create a focal point in order to achieve a balance of scale and proportion.
For a small living room, the task is a tad easier and can be easily done by making an attractive coffee table the centrepiece. Or by hanging a bold piece of art on the wall for a more minimalist take. An eye-catching rug or carpet can also do the job.
Imbue the room with a sense of height by placing tall floor lamps or plants in the corners to draw the eye towards the ceiling.
Show off the legs of your furniture to expose more surface area, which gives an illusion of expansiveness. Opt for floating shelves and storage for the same reason.
Try to blend in some lucite furniture. They are perfect for that visual wizardry you are seeking to create because they look trendy and their transparent finish lends a clean and bright look to the space.
Creating a focal point can be more difficult in a larger space. If it’s a particularly sprawling room, then consider having more than one focal point.
Create an accent wall by hanging a single large piece or multiple small pieces of art or photographs to create a gallery wall.
A large, ornate mirror is a showstopper and can be placed near a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf or windows. Pair these with clever, layered lighting, appropriate coffee tables or ottomans and the effect should be stunning.
A well-rounded colour palette
Colours are extremely important for a sense of cohesiveness in a small living room. Many a time you might remember to keep a consistent colour palette for your walls across rooms but forget to coordinate the furniture along with it. When you are picking out furniture for your living room, it is important that it blends with the rest of your house to achieve a pleasing effect. That means no impulsive buys at the flea market!
Don’t be disheartened! Take a moment to think whether that escritoire which is a “rare find” can be fitted into the living room to enhance all or one of the elements of space, light, and particularly colour. Does it go with the base colour or with one of the secondary colours?
Buy a big rug or a carpet in the primary colour of your house to anchor the base hues.
Or even a sofa set or a couple of big armchairs if you have the space. Pair them with the secondary accents through throws and cushions, and antimacassars.
While coordinating colours, it is also essential not to overdo it. Mixing the palette is important to avoid monotony, so avoid extensive furniture sets to get it just right and simply match up different colours and styles!
Rearranging and finding designs anew
If you have been living in your home for a while now, it is definitely time for a redesign. No, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on an interior designer. All you have to do is rearrange your furniture. We all tend to get very habituated with the furniture layouts, and soon we cease to be aware of their patterns. Rearranging them every few months or once a year can do wonders for the living room.
When you look at your living room with fresh eyes, you might see other things that you could change to make a difference. That pouffe might suddenly look out of place. Or that table could do better by being near the window, perhaps?
Readjusting furniture will also give you a chance to rethink colour schemes or introduce new space-saving ideas.
For instance, angling your furniture slightly will give more of a communal feeling and avoid parts of the room from being isolated.
Comfort comes first
Amidst coordinating designs and colours, let’s not forget the most important purpose of the living room: to be comfortable. The living room should make guests feel at home and the inhabitants warm and cosy. One of the first pieces of furniture to achieve this with would be the sofa. It’s where everyone settles into for long conversations or movie marathon sessions. It’s where confidences are shared and troubles sorted.
Choosing firm yet soft seating and adding some comfortable throws and pillows that will warmly envelop people would be the way to go.
Complement the sofa with some low seating. A spongy futon or a comfy divan with bolsters would be perfect for both quietly reading a book and playing raucous board games. Having a big armchair with puffed arms along with a footrest and some plush rugs on the floor, all go a long way in making sure your living room is an inviting place for everyone.
Don’t forget maintenance levels
Comfort, alignment, and palette-matching are all fine, but if you end up with high-maintenance furniture then the joy will infinitely diminish over time. Having pristine white sofas or carpets might look brilliant when they are brand new, but all it takes is one splash of wine to ruin the effect.
For this reason, ensure that you choose maintenance-friendly furniture. If you prefer sofas and chairs with the soft feel of fabric, then they should either have removable covers or should be draped with throws or antimacassars. Or simply go for faux leather, which will withstand stains and is easy to clean with a few wipes.
Have plants? Keep a small, washable base beneath the pots so that your floor is safe from mud stains or water seeping through. Make wheels your new best friend. Fit heavy tables, desks, chairs and other items with casters. Not only does it help when you want to rearrange but also when you are vacuuming. No more lifting!
Colour choices matter too. Needless to say, dark colours don’t make an eyesore out of dust motes and stains. But don’t shy away from your favourite pastels. Just take care to keep them safe!