Identify your style… and your stuff,"First, you need to decide what kind of look you are going for," says Erica Lugbill of Lugbill Designs in Chicago. Do you envision a light and airy living room? Or do you prefer something calm and serene? Perhaps your style is simple and earthy, or bold and dramatic."Secondly, look at all of the items you own that need to be incorporated into the space," adds Lugbill. Consider your furniture, storage pieces and accessories, for example. Get inspired, Begin by selecting an inspiration piece. An inspiration piece typically has a palette of three to five colors. Try to envision those colors in your living room. "Choose something you love, such as your favorite outfit or a painting by your favorite artist," says Sehra Han, an interior designer at Scarlett Designs in Los Angeles. "Many people make the mistake of starting with a paint color," adds interior designer Robin Baron of Robin Baron Design in New York City. Instead, "find the one thing you know you want to put in the room… like a fabric," Baron says. "Even a favorite pillow is a good place to begin. Play off that item for your color palette.
Look to other areas of your life for hints. What is an area you do know your style or tastes in well? Clothes? Cooking? Look for characteristics in these other areas to give you hints as to what you might like. If you like a minimal wardrobe, for instance, you might prefer a minimal interior, too. Take a walk in a neighborhood. Stop and pause at the homes that you seem drawn to. Are they traditional looking? Modern? An eclectic mix of both? Observe what catches your eye and feels nice to you, even the way folks decorate their porches and patios. Stop and pause in front of the homes that pull you in. If you like a traditional style of architecture, you might like clean lines and muted colors in furniture and accessories.
Problem #1: Clutter Control. Even large living rooms won't look beautiful with a lot of clutter, and small spaces easily become overwhelmed by too much stuff. Owners of small homes have to be especially diligent about clutter control. Solutions: Small spaces are usually short on storage. When decorating a small living room, adding hidden storage and areas is a necessity. Maximize space under coffee and end tables. Even small nooks can become a place for wall shelves. Consider a section of faux built-ins. Wardrobes, closet storage systems, and even stock kitchen cabinets are an affordable way to add a custom look at a budget price. But be careful – storage containers and cabinets can quickly fill up a small space, leaving you right back where you started. I know you love your stuff, but no matter how organized you are, sometimes there's just not enough space to put everything. If so, it may be time to take a long, hard look at your room and remove anything that is unessential, is getting in your way or just doesn't work.
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