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.
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.
Problem #1: Clutter Control. Even large living rooms won't look beautiful with a lot of clutter, and small spaces easily become overwhelmed by too much stuff. Owners of small homes have to be especially diligent about clutter control. Solutions: Small spaces are usually short on storage. When decorating a small living room, adding hidden storage and areas is a necessity. Maximize space under coffee and end tables. Even small nooks can become a place for wall shelves. Consider a section of faux built-ins. Wardrobes, closet storage systems, and even stock kitchen cabinets are an affordable way to add a custom look at a budget price. But be careful – storage containers and cabinets can quickly fill up a small space, leaving you right back where you started. I know you love your stuff, but no matter how organized you are, sometimes there's just not enough space to put everything. If so, it may be time to take a long, hard look at your room and remove anything that is unessential, is getting in your way or just doesn't work.
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