Problem #4: Too Much Color or Pattern. Red walls are not for the slight of heart, nor for slight spaces. Neither are large patterns. Dark woods, dark furnishings, and dark paint shades will make even the largest space feel smaller. It's easy to overwhelm the space with too much color and too much texture or pattern. Solutions: When it comes to color in small living room decorating, stick with light shades and neutral tones. Small spaces work best with a three-color (or less) palette and do especially well with an all-white decorating scheme. When choosing larger furnishings, like a sofa or shelving system, stick to solid colors and lighter woods. To enliven your space, use brighter colors and small patterns in your decor and small furnishings. If you just can't bring yourself to limit your walls to neutrals, consider an accent wall or a simple wall decal, stencil or painted design.
If you watch TV in the living room, choose the surrounding lights carefully to avoid television glare. It can be distracting to have a bright overhead light above or in front of a TV set, so ensure ceiling lights are dimmable, or use offset wall sconces or floor lamps instead. Specific task lighting, such as reading lamps, are important if you read frequently, have low levels of natural light, and especially if you ever work in your living room. A floor lamp spaced between two armchairs can also count as task lighting, as conversation is a task, too (at least in living room terms). Low-level table lamps and floor lamps help to create a cozy atmosphere in the living room, especially at night. Evenly space these throughout the room, usually toward the walls, to create an even, warm glow that bounces inwards. Think creatively about this type of lighting: groups of candles even fairy lights count.
Problem #3: Furnishings Are Too Big. Small spaces can rarely handle large sectional sofas, large side chairs, or even large artwork. A smaller scale room demands smaller scaled furnishings. Solutions: Start with your most essential piece of living room furniture – your sofa. Look for a sofa in a solid neutral color with clean arms and a low back. In small spaces, you may prefer to use a loveseat instead of a full-sized sofa. With your chairs, choose small slipper chairs or other armless alternatives with a low back. If you already own a sofa but discover that it is too big for your small space, don't fret. I encourage renters and first-time homeowners to invest in a sofa that they love because your sofa may last longer than your house. Average homeownership is currently less than 4 years, but a good sofa can last 10 years or longer. Just keep other furniture simple and small.
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