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.
Too much symmetry and your living room may feel more like a place of formality – which is fine if that's what you're going for. But for most, the living room is where you should feel comfortable kicking your feet up in your PJs. Using angles to arrange your furniture asymmetrically can help to make the room feel easier on the eyes, and not so rigid as you glance around the room. Leaving a little room between different items of furniture (and space between furniture and walls) will give more of an illusion of space, rather than squeezing everything together. You might be able to “fit more in” but you do this at the risk of making the space feel cramped which in turns make the room look smaller. Empty space contributes to the illusion of more space.
If you have an open plan dining area in your living room (as many new homes do), ensure about 4ft distance between the table and the wall, or the dining space will feel cramped and lessen the dining experience. If you want to unify the different components of different spaces in an open plan living room, such as the dining area or reading nook, you can use area rugs to almost create “wall-free” rooms within the large room. Experiment! Move things around, measure them, look at your room from all angles and picture it from an aerial point of view for an idea on available floor space. What's important is that it's comfortable and feels like home. Having the bookcase there allowed me to display some family photos and a few more decorative items that would otherwise just be stored in a box. It also works well because there's no back on the bookcase which allows the light to shine through and not close in the space. Of course I would love to have something that fit exactly and looked more built in but this is just a rental for the year and I'm all about making things work and look nice, even if it's only temporary.
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