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Step-by-Step Guide: Decorating Your Living Room

Living Room sofa

Discover the secrets to transforming your living room into a designer’s paradise without breaking the bank. With expert advice and a touch of inspiration, you can achieve a magazine-worthy look that perfectly suits your style. Before you dive into choosing colors and shopping for furniture, it’s important to lay the groundwork by considering the layout, defining your aesthetic, and creating a mood board. Whether your living room is spacious or cozy, these 13 foolproof steps will guide you toward a cohesive and personalized space that truly feels like home. Are you ready to embark on your decorating journey? Measure Your Living Room Space

Prior to embarking on any significant changes to your living space decor, it’s essential to obtain precise measurements of its square footage. This crucial step guarantees that you choose appropriately sized rugs, furniture, and window treatments,” advises renowned designer Kate Lester. Remember, investing time in thorough planning upfront will ultimately save you both time and money. Avoid the inconvenience of ordering and returning furniture and accessories that don’t fit your space as intended.

Establish Your Intentions

Living Room

Determining how you desire to live in your living room will greatly influence the process of decorating it. “Having a thorough understanding of your space’s purpose is crucial prior to initiating the design phase,” emphasizes designer Mark Lavender. However, there is no universally applicable function for a living area. “In my case, I knew that my living room should foster conversations and reading,” shares designer Tracy Morris, referring to her own personal space. “Therefore, I arranged the furniture in a manner that encouraged engaging discussions. And provided me with a cozy reading nook by the window.”

In certain instances, pre-existing elements like a fireplace or built-in shelving may dictate the layout of the furniture right from the start, simplifying the decision-making process. It is imperative to remain practical and consider your specific intentions for the space. Rather than solely relying on upscale design publications for inspiration. “Ensure that the room reflects your personality and lifestyle—whatever your current needs may be, ensure that the room accommodates them,” advises designer Rozit Arditi. “For instance, if you have children, it’s best to avoid a glass coffee table or an excess of floor lamps that could pose tripping hazards. Instead, opt for a sturdy wooden table and wall sconces.

Focus On Your Aesthetic

Living Room table

Lester inquires, “Are you captivated by the modern farmhouse aesthetic or do you lean towards a more romantic and feminine ambiance?” When faced with the dilemma of being enamored by multiple decor styles, determining the path for your living room design can pose a challenge. While it’s unnecessary to commit exclusively to a single look, establishing a general theme holds significance. Lester advises, “The space doesn’t have to be a complete thematic event. But having a clear design direction will assist in narrowing down choices for the room.” Once this decision is made, the enjoyable part begins—seeking inspiration from beloved sources. Lester finds delight in perusing design books, magazines, or Pinterest for creative ideas. I prefer to gather a minimum of 10 images that serve as inspiration for designing a room, she suggests.

Make a “Room Board”

Living Room painting

Take a moment to contemplate how your desired furniture will function within the designated space before reaching for your wallet. According to Lester’s advice, gather visual references of the specific pieces you plan to incorporate and create a miniature representation of the room. This will enable you to observe how the various items interact and complement each other prior to bringing them home. By doing so, you can identify crucial errors long before they become irreversible, which is fortunate. “Often, we discover that we have chosen too many pieces with similar leg styles or that a rug pattern clashes with the drapery fabric,” explains Lester. This approach provides an excellent opportunity to make simple adjustments and substitutions, allowing you to refine the appearance before placing the final order.

Choose a Cohesive Color Palette
Living Room

Choose a harmonious range of colors to simplify the selection of prints, furniture, and textiles, instantly adding a touch of elegance. Within this space, the living room design revolves around a soothing combination of soft neutrals and varying tones of blue. Although predominantly neutral, the strategic incorporation of blue accents, spanning from the built-in bookcases to the accent pillows and the carefully arranged accessories on the shelves, unifies the entire aesthetic.

Get Shopping
Living Room

Considering that furniture often comes with a hefty price tag, it might be wise to stagger your purchases over time. If you’re unsure of where to begin, think on a larger scale—quite literally. Start by anchoring the room with substantial pieces such as a sofa or an area rug, then gradually expand from there, suggests Arditi. She further emphasizes the importance of investing wisely when it comes to buying sofas: “Always prioritize getting the best sofa within your budget,” she advises. “Given the substantial amount of time we spend in our living rooms, predominantly on the sofa, it’s crucial to ensure utmost comfort and quality. Opting for the most comfortable and finest option available will undoubtedly prove rewarding in the long run.”

Select Complementing, Not Matching Furniture

Living Room

Gone are the times when purchasing a complete set, including a sofa and matching accent chairs, was the norm. The elegant approach to crafting a space that exudes designer-worthy style involves selecting complementary pieces rather than exact matches.

Within this captivating area, the luxurious velvet texture of the sofa and stools effortlessly harmonize, while the unified color palette gracefully guides your gaze throughout the room. However, each individual piece retains its unique identity, standing proudly on its own.

Avoid selecting a rug that is excessively small or excessively large.

Living Room

Consider the arrangement and dynamics of the various elements in your living room when determining the ideal dimensions for an area rug. It’s important to avoid extremes, such as an oversized rug that engulfs the entire floor space or an undersized one where furniture pieces remain off the rug entirely.

Rather than relying on guesswork, follow this method: position all your furniture in its desired locations, and then measure the area that the rug should cover. Ensure that the front legs of the main furniture items within your primary sitting area rest on the rug. If necessary, you can use painter’s tape to mark out the designated rug area for clearer visualization.

Add Styling Moments Throughout the Space

Living Room

“Explore beyond the confines of walls to discover possibilities for crafting decorative moments across a space. Despite the spacious stone fireplace and ample windows, there may be limited wall space for decor in this particular area. However, this does not imply a shortage of style. From the charming rustic vase adorning the coffee table to the bare branches gracefully extending their reach beyond its edges, from the coffee table books and wooden bowl to the precisely arranged painting and carefully positioned candles on the mantelpiece, this room exemplifies the deliberate placement of decor throughout the entire space.”

Incorporate Varied Textures

Living Room

Approach your living area with an emphasis on texture as well as color. Even if you opt for a palette of neutrals, incorporating a diverse range of textures will add movement to the space and create a cozier atmosphere. However, numerous textures are scattered throughout the room.

The ivory pillows each possess a distinct, nubby texture, while the lounge chair evokes the feeling of shag carpeting. The rug itself also boasts a shaggy texture, and the intricately designed wood coffee table further enhances the visual interest of the space.

Address Your Walls
Living Room

Under no circumstances should one leave the walls bare. Wall decorations play a crucial role. According to Lavender, “Artwork, pillows, and decorative items are akin to jewelry for the room. These elements truly enhance the space with an added touch of flair.”Uncertain about what to hang? Opt for either a sizable art piece or a gallery wall, depending on your personal style. Alternatively, a mirror can be used to reflect natural light and brighten up the room, suggests Arditi.

If you prefer, you can also explore secondhand options to find a unique artifact that will bring radiance to your living room, as highlighted by Mia Jung, the director of interiors at Ike Kligerman Barkley. Acquiring a distinctive vintage item or antique piece, along with artwork, will distinguish it from the rest of the family room, she explains.

Don’t Forget About Greenery
Living Room

Arditi suggests that incorporating plants into your living room can provide the ideal final flourish. Whether you’re on a limited budget or residing in a rental property with restrictions on decorative investments, Arditi advises obtaining plants. She emphasizes that the introduction of greenery infuses vitality and a sense of rejuvenation into any space, all while remaining affordable and budget-friendly.

Enlist Multi-Functional Furniture and Decor

Living Room

Arditi suggests that incorporating plants into your living room can provide the ideal final flourish. Whether you’re on a limited budget or residing in a rental property with restrictions on decorative investments, Arditi advises obtaining plants. She emphasizes that the introduction of greenery infuses vitality and a sense of rejuvenation into any space, all while remaining affordable and budget-friendly.

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