Identify your style… and your stuff,"First, you need to decide what kind of look you are going for," says Erica Lugbill of Lugbill Designs in Chicago. Do you envision a light and airy living room? Or do you prefer something calm and serene? Perhaps your style is simple and earthy, or bold and dramatic."Secondly, look at all of the items you own that need to be incorporated into the space," adds Lugbill. Consider your furniture, storage pieces and accessories, for example. Get inspired, Begin by selecting an inspiration piece. An inspiration piece typically has a palette of three to five colors. Try to envision those colors in your living room. "Choose something you love, such as your favorite outfit or a painting by your favorite artist," says Sehra Han, an interior designer at Scarlett Designs in Los Angeles. "Many people make the mistake of starting with a paint color," adds interior designer Robin Baron of Robin Baron Design in New York City. Instead, "find the one thing you know you want to put in the room… like a fabric," Baron says. "Even a favorite pillow is a good place to begin. Play off that item for your color palette.
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.
Living Room Basics. There are a few important things to remember when arranging living room furniture. Establish the focal point of the room and arrange furniture around it. In some rooms the focal point will be an existing feature such as a fireplace or window, and in some it will be something you bring in to the room such as a television. Use the furniture to create conversation areas. People should be able to comfortably talk to each other without straining their necks or shouting. If the room is particularly large you might want to create a few different conversation areas. Don't forget about traffic flow. Leave enough room for people to walk around furniture so they can easily get from one side of the room to another. Pull furniture away from the walls. Having all the furniture backs touching the walls is one of the biggest mistakes people make in the living room. If the pieces are closer together it will create a more intimate setting. As long as the backs of the pieces are finished, there's no reason not to show them off.
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