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.
Gather Influences From Around the World. After deciding on a general style to follow for your design, further engage in photos and inspiration that spark your interest when it comes to influence and color. While each basic style can provide an individual and distinctive look, really getting into the details can make the difference between feeling like you're in a New York City loft and an Irish home on the coast. Consider influences like the following: French Country Style: French country decorating usually involves mixed patterns, symmetrical chairs, chandeliers, and a pop of color in an ivory kitchen. Tuscan Style: Tuscan decor combines natural stone, wood, and earthy colors. Think terracotta, open cupboards, copper pots, and rustic shutters. Swedish Style: Light, clean, white, and blue is the Swedish way. The casual look is key when it comes to minimalistic surfaces with gold and red accents, straight lines and gentle curves for furniture, and simple woven fabrics. Paris Apartment Style: Adding romance and mystery to your apartment can be achieved with a little bit of Paris. Think baroque, rococo, and neoclassical with rich jewel colors, luxurious silks, and large posters of French landmarks.
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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