Keep it sweet, opt for impact with a sugary shade – decorating with pastels needn't mean going entirely pale. Paint an accent wall in a darker colour, which will serve to balance the lighter tone on an adjacent wall. Use matt emulsion to create a fashionable low-sheen look – a velvety, almost chalky finish – ideal for uneven walls in the living area. Make it multi-coloured, a family space is the perfect place to go big on colour. Choose a low-slung modular sofa in a mix of pretty colours for flexible seating that will bring a sense of fun to a family room. Paint walls white to create a backdrop that makes the colours really pop. Keep other furniture minimal so the sofa takes pride of place. Stick to blue, create a fabulously fresh space with blue. Marry steely blues, from mineral to aqua shades, to devise a scheme you won't want to leave. Mimic a dado or picture rail in paint – and take it all around the room for added impact. Keep the feel classic with white or natural wood furniture or create a more exotic look by adding texture and pattern for that year-round holiday feel.
The first step when lighting any room is to ask yourself: what happens here? Different activities require different types and levels of light. A well-lit living room will have three different types of lighting: general, task and accent. These are used at different times of day and for different purposes, and key to a functional lighting scheme it to know how and when to mix and use them. Not all homes have a ceiling fitting in the living room, and if you have lots of natural light during the day, you might not need overhead light at all. But if you have the fitting, a central pendant or chandelier helps to zone the space and create a focus. Similarly, potlights or angled spotlights will create a even layer of overhead lighting. In the absence of any overhead lights, a large, arced floor lamp will do the trick.
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.
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