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.
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.
If you have quite a big living room or an open plan dining and living room, you can use the pathway to separate the different functional areas of the room. The focal point of a room should be suited to the room's function. Create too many focal points and your living room will feel visually cluttered or confusing. Arrange your furniture around the focal centre of the room (which doesn't necessarily have to be the literal centre of the room). I've reluctantly included a black marker for television placement in the living room floor plan diagrams below, as the television is typically the focal point of most living rooms today. To quote Joey from Friends, “You don't have a TV? What's all your furniture pointed at?”. But if you don't have a TV, (good for you!) you can replace this with a console table or artwork or whatever you like really to act as an anchor for the rest of the room. Even better if you have a fireplace that would make a great focal point for your living room.
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