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.
Problem #3: Furnishings Are Too Big. Small spaces can rarely handle large sectional sofas, large side chairs, or even large artwork. A smaller scale room demands smaller scaled furnishings. Solutions: Start with your most essential piece of living room furniture – your sofa. Look for a sofa in a solid neutral color with clean arms and a low back. In small spaces, you may prefer to use a loveseat instead of a full-sized sofa. With your chairs, choose small slipper chairs or other armless alternatives with a low back. If you already own a sofa but discover that it is too big for your small space, don't fret. I encourage renters and first-time homeowners to invest in a sofa that they love because your sofa may last longer than your house. Average homeownership is currently less than 4 years, but a good sofa can last 10 years or longer. Just keep other furniture simple and small.
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.
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