Are you looking for ideas how to design the living room? Living rooms are among the easiest spaces to get right, as long as you remember to cover the basics. They should be spacious enough to provide a place for the entire family to relax (and accommodate all its clutter), without feeling bare or empty.
A mix of lighting can be really effective, especially if your living room is also an entertainment centre. Recessed lamps are ideal for background lighting, while task lights like floor lamps should be positioned behind chairs and sofas for reading. Uplights and downlights can be used to highlight key features, such as fireplaces or alcoves. A dimmer switch for the main light is also essential, allowing you to reduce the lighting as needed for that movie theatre effect!
Consider also the direction the room faces when you’re planning the lighting. A north-facing room tends to get very little light in winter so will need more illumination during the day, while in east and west-facing rooms you may wish to find a way to control glare.
Floor-to-ceiling cupboards can be a great help to hide away all the kids’ games, toys and books, so consider having one fitted along one wall or in an alcove. If you don’t have room for a cupboard, be generous with shelving so you have somewhere to store all the DVDs and CDs that a living room accumulates.
Window seats are another great way to make the best use of space, while many coffee tables and sofa beds offer built-in storage – multi-purpose furniture can be very handy, especially in small spaces. Wall-mounting a flat screen television is another great way to save room, as you can also do away with the need for a TV stand.
The most common choice for a living room is carpet, as it feels warm and soft underfoot. However, the living room is a very high-traffic area and carpets are likely to get dirty or worn over time, so it’s best to opt for dark colours that disguise spills and stains – especially if it’s also used as a children’s play area!
Less cosy but longer-lasting and easier to maintain is laminate or wooden flooring. You can still soften the effect by putting down rugs, which are also much cheaper to replace than entire carpets.
Whether your living room windows are large or small, the best way to enhance them is with made to measure blinds. There is a huge variety to choose from, including roller blinds, vertical blinds, Venetian blinds and roman blinds – they all create slightly different effects and allow you to control the light coming into a room in various ways.
The colour and patterns you choose can make a big difference to the overall look of the room – you can go with neutrals to allow your blinds to fade into the background, or draw attention to the window space with brighter hues. Blackout blinds are the best choice if you want privacy, or want to be able to achieve total darkness in the room. For a layering effect that also helps to keep the room warm in winter, consider hanging a pair of thick curtains over your blinds. Choose light fabrics for your curtains to let the maximum light into the room.
How you decorate your living room is really down to personal choice. Choosing a theme – floral, nautical or natural – can help to narrow down your choices when it comes to wallpaper, decorations and colour schemes. Alternatively, choose a focal feature such as a fireplace and build around that.
Choosing a key colour and repeating it around the room is a great way to pull large spaces together. If you’re trying to make a small space look bigger, decorate it in neutral shades and leave the floorboards uncovered to avoid clutter. Keeping curtains and blinds the same colour as your walls will also help to avoid contrast, making the room appear larger than usually.