Decorating a living room can be a challenge. It’s probably the most used room in the house and, as a shared space, chances are the whole family will have some ideas about what’s most important.
A good living room needs to be comfortable and functional, while also being versatile and stylish. Since style is in the eye of the beholder, we’re going to focus on tips for creating a comfortable, versatile space that is just as suited to handling the kids and dog as a cosy night for two on the couch.
What we recommend
While there are no rules when it comes to designing and laying out your ideal living room, we do have some recommendations to help make the space as comfortable and functional as possible.
- Buy a good quality sofa
Your sofa is the one piece of living furniture that you don’t want to skimp on. It will be one of the largest pieces of furniture in the room and one of the most used. It needs to look good and be durable and comfortable. And, unfortunately, cheap sofas are rarely comfortable and tend to be poorly made from inferior materials. As a result, they are more easily stained and damaged and will wear and fade more quickly. A higher end sofa, on the other hand, will cost more, but it will last longer, look better and be more comfortable.
- Buy a large, good-quality rug
You may be tempted to save money by cutting back on the size of your rug. Resist this urge. If your living room rug is too small, it can make the room look disjointed with nothing joining the furniture together. Ideally, your rug should be big enough so that all your furniture is at least partially (if not completely) on top of the rug.
Whether you’re looking for a modern rug or a Persian or Oriental rug, you should always aim for a premium quality rug. As with your sofa, cheaper synthetic rugs aren’t as durable as high-quality wool rugs. A quality woolen rug, with proper care, can last a lifetime. They are plenty of benefits that come with using pure wool. It’s incredibly durable, easy to clean and will retain their colour for the life of the rug.
- Consider storage space
A cluttered living room will look messy and project an atmosphere that doesn’t exactly inspire relaxation. Unnecessary clutter can make a living room harder to keep tidy and means there is more stuff to trip over and knock over.
One easy way to deal with clutter is factoring in adequate storage space when laying out your living room.
Some good storage options include TV cabinets and entertainment units with plenty of drawer and cupboard space, bookshelves, side tables and baskets and trunks for blankets and cushions.
- Get the coffee table right
There are two main factors to consider when selecting a coffee table: size and practicality. Too often, people choose coffee tables that are too small or too large. A giant coffee table is just wasted space and can seriously cut back on your walkway space.
A tiny coffee table might not provide enough room for cups and glasses as well as ornaments and decoration. In general, a coffee table should be between half to two-thirds the length of your sofa and about the same height as your sofa cushions.
It’s important to consider practicality when choosing a coffee table. Antique timber or marble tables may look beautiful, but they are both prone to staining and so may not be suitable for a high-use table (especially if kids are involved). Similarly, tables with uneven surfaces, like wicker or beaten metal, may look great but they can increase the risk of spills and may not be the best idea.
- Consider lighting
Lighting is another vital consideration for any living room. You want to be able to create a range of lighting options suited to common living room activities like watching TV, reading and entertaining.
Lamps are essential for living room lighting. Having a few table lamps and floor lamps will mean you have more versatile lighting options, compared with a single overhead light. A dimmer switch on your main lighting will also give you greater control over your living room ambience. Make sure you test the lighting layout to make sure that you don’t get any awkward reflection or direct light on shining onto the TV screen or in people’s eyes.
- Save money where you can
Decorating a living room can quickly break the bank unless you are a little strategic with your spending. There’s nothing wrong with mixing some high-end purchases with some cheaper options. While it’s worth spending some serious money on your big-ticket items that need to stand the test of time (your sofa, rug and coffee table, for example), there are plenty of places you can save a little coin. Read our blog post on What to consider when choosing a Living Room Rug
Living room accessories, like cushions and throws, don’t need to be brand name or premium quality. As long as they are comfortable and match your decor, then they’re doing their job. Unlike your sofa, it’s unlikely you’re going to hold onto these accessories for the next 10 years, so there’s no need to spend big.
Side tables and occasional furniture are also great for saving a little cash. Your coffee table will act as a centre piece of the room and is worth spending money on. However, side tables don’t draw a great deal of attention and are largely practical, so there’s no need to really spend up big.
The most important consideration
Of course, the most important consideration for any living room is that it’s comfortable. In reality, there are no rules when it comes to decorating your home. What matters is that it’s comfortable, functional and feels like home.