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.
Problem #5: Not Enough Light. It's particularly important in the living room, where we often spend quite a bit of time. However it's a tricky space to strike the right lighting balance, thanks to the many different functions the living room serves. Small homes are often lacking natural light because of two reasons: Builders know that windows are expensive, and they also know that they take up valuable wall space, and well, there's only so much of that in a small space already. Solutions: Don't take up too much valuable floor or table space with lamps. Choose recessed, wall-mounted, hanging or shelf-mounted lighting. Floor up-lighting is also a great way to enhance a small space. When decorating a small living room that doesn't have a lot of natural light, choosing light shades of flooring, furnishings, walls and decor can do a lot to brighten your space.
Consult your mood, ask yourself if this color palette will make you happy. "This is really and truly the most important question," says Han, "and it's a gut response." Baron agrees. "It's always a good idea to start by thinking about colors that make you happy." So don't over think it. Pick a wall color, now that you've selected your inspiration piece, decide which of its colors might look good on your walls. Pick up free paint color samples from any paint store and tape them to your walls. Experiment with different shades of your original color selection. "Remember, your favorite color comes in many different shades," says designer Sophia Stone of Chateau Sophie in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. "Selecting one that compliments all seasons is my first step in picking a color palette for the living room — you want to love it all year long and for years to come.
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