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.
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.
From family game nights to book club gatherings, the living room is a social hub. The proper placement of the room's furniture goes a long way toward making the space feel welcoming. Nothing is worse than living room layouts—no matter how attractive—where people have to perch against the walls, as if stuck there by magnetic force. Rather, push seating together so everyone can sit close and converse comfortably. How to arrange living room furniture in a rectangular room depends on the natural focal point of the space. In some rooms, this is architectural, such as a fireplace or a set of windows. In other living rooms, the focal point is a television. Once you determine this feature, orient the seating toward it. This feature now has the attracting qualities the wall is used to—let the furniture gravitate there. For a large living room layout, find ways to create zones in the space.
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