Thursday, September 27, 2012

Design your Living Room.....

Your living room can be formal, or it can be the place where you spend the majority of your time at home. Regardless of which version yours falls into, remember to consider the function as well as the comfort of your space as you design it.

Living Room Basics

A living room can be a formal space for receiving visitors, a casual space for your family to gather or a combination of both formal and informal uses.

Formal Living Rooms

Formal living rooms are usually near the front of a home for receiving guests. A typical arrangement would be a sofa and two armchairs, or a sofa and loveseat combination. The formal living area can also double as a library for your home with the addition of bookcases displaying favorite books and accessories.

Informal Living Rooms

If a home has a formal living area, there is usually a secondary, more casual space for the family to use on a daily basis. These informal living rooms feature a more relaxed seating arrangement and usually feature a television for the family to enjoy together. The furniture involved is similar to the formal living room, but features more casual fabrics along with sectional sofas, chaise lounges and ottomans. This more comfortable furniture allows family and guests to kick their feet up and relax.

Only One Living Room?

Many homes feature only one living room that doubles as a formal and informal space. In this situation, it is a good idea to have a room that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For example, a casual slipcover can cover your sofa on most days, but when guests arrive it can be removed to showcase a luxurious designer fabric.
Even when designing for small spaces, you can create an inviting living area for your family and friends. Small homes, lofts or apartments tend to have combination rooms where a living area flows directly into a dining or office area. Due to their close proximity, the overall look and feel of these spaces should complement each other. You can use lighting, color or textures to either unite or distinguish each room.

Interior Design for Living Rooms Essentials

Must-haves for your living room include many elements:


Furniture that is upholstered with fabric or leather is the most comfortable, but mixing in some non-upholstered furniture, such as a wooden arm chair or rocking chair, will create a more eclectic room. Seating can include:
  • Sofa (sectionals and modular sofas are versatile pieces)
  • Loveseat, chaise lounge, settee and chair-and-a-half (perfect balance for a sofa or use several instead of a sofa)
  • Armchairs (wooden or upholstered in fabric or leather)
  • Ottomans and benches (use as seating, foot rests, or coffee tables)


All seats should have arm-length access to a table surface for drinks, books, magazines, remotes, etc. Also, tables are a foundation for lamps and accessories. Types to consider:
  • Coffee table or ottoman with a tray.
  • Side tables or end tables.
  • Consoles or sofa tables.


  • Task lamps (required for proper reading light in the room).
  • Ambient or general room lighting (this should be on a dimmer or adjustable so you can go from soft low-level to brighter for parties).

Window Treatments

  • These should be in keeping with the theme or style of your living room furniture. Many custom fabric draperies will feature fabric that complements the upholstered pieces in the room.
  • Depending on the decorative and functional needs of your room, hard and soft window treatments can be used alone or in combination with each other.
  • Hard window treatments include blinds, shutters, screens and specialty glass applications.
  • Soft window treatments involve the use of fabric in draperies, curtains, shades and valances.

Color and Texture

Add color and texture to your living room with:
  • Wall treatments (paint, wallpaper, f aux finishes).
  • Fabric on your furniture or pillows.
  • Flooring or rugs.
  • Accessories and artwork.
  • Window treatments.
  • Basics of color design include choosing monochromatic, analogous or complementary color palettes.

Focal Points

Interior design for living rooms requires a strong focal point. Otherwise your room may appear bland and uninteresting with no anchor for the eyes.


Many living rooms feature a fireplace as a built-in focal point of the room. However, this architectural feature is often ignored with poor furniture placement or by placing large items in front of the fireplace. If you have a fireplace, arrange your furniture with this focal point in mind. Placing your sofa or largest furniture piece so that it faces the fireplace is a traditional classic.

Entertainment Centers

Most living rooms are comfortable spaces for family members to gather and watch their favorite television programs. Options for supporting and housing the television range for simple carts to elaborate armoires and wall units with bookcases attached. As with any focal point, your furniture arrangement should focus around this entertainment center.

Views of Nature

Those who are lucky enough to have an incredible view from their living room windows should consider allowing nature to be the focal point of the room. In order for the outdoor view to be a focal point, the living room will require large windows, preferably floor to ceiling length. If privacy is not an issue, the windows can be left bare so the view is always on display (a cityscape view is especially nice at night).

Conversation Areas

Stimulating social interaction and conversation is vital for family members and for visitors as well. Therefore, creating a comfortable conversation area is probably the most important element in interior design for living rooms. This is easily accomplished by placing furniture near each other instead of having large distances between pieces. An arrangement of sofa and chairs in a U-shape or L-shape is a great start. A pair of chairs can be placed in a corner or off to one side for an additional conversation area.

Tie It in to the Home

Remember that no matter what type of living room your are designing, to keep it tied in with the rest of your home's design. A room out of keeping with the rest of the home's style can be jarring, so remember to work toward a unified look for both your living room and your whole house.

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