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What to Consider when Decorating Your Living Room
What to Consider when Decorating Your Living Room
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Decorating your home doesn't have to be scary. You can take the things you like and combine them in a way that creates a home you are proud of. When decorating your living room, the most important consideration is right in the name: it's where you want to live, to spend time in, entertain in, and where everyone should feel welcome. While you can certainly have nice belongings, anything too precious may prevent you from freely enjoying the space.

01

Windows

Wall of windows with curtains Gary John Norman / Getty Images

The first job of window coverings is to provide privacy. The level of privacy needed depends on your location. If you are at the end of a dead-end road, you need less protection from prying eyes than you do if your living room window looks out onto a busy street

In addition to privacy, window covering can regulate temperature. If your windows are a bit drafty, adding heavier drapes can block some of the chilly air in winter and the sun's toasty rays in the summer.

02

Walls

Couple painting a wall John Giustina / Getty Images

If you are considering painting, be sure to check the colors you plan to use throughout the day. Once you have narrowed down your choice to three or four colors, paint each on a piece of poster board that you can lean up against the wall in the various spots of the room. You will be surprised at how the changing light can affect the color, even for neutral choices. Pick something that you like the look of in different spots at different times of day.

03

Seating

Two chairs in a living room Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

Comfortable seating is important for a living room. A couch and loveseat, as well as one or two accent chairs, look great in a larger space. If your living room is smaller, skip either the couch or loveseat. People rarely sit arm to arm in those choices anyway, and the accent chairs will help the room feel larger.

04

Flooring

Seating centered over rug Michael Robinson / Getty Images

Changing the flooring is an expensive remodeling project. If you aren't happy with the existing flooring, consider adding rugs. Placing an area rug under the front legs of the couch helps create a conversation zone in the room. You can also use rugs to make the room look more formal or more casual, depending on your selection.

05

Surfaces

Keeping your surfaces as free of knick-knacks as possible creates a cleaner appearance that makes the room look larger. If you are fond of collections, place them in odd-number groupings to provide balance. Combine objects and pictures with your books on bookshelves for attractive vignettes. Prioritize displaying items you love and that have special meaning to you. If there are more pieces than space, schedule a day each season to change up what you display, rather than packing it all in at once.

06

Lighting

ambient task lighting living room

Your living room needs lighting both for involved projects and for relaxing. Overhead lights or tall lamps provide the illumination needed for most activities, but task lighting makes reading more comfortable. Nice lamps placed beside the couch are an inexpensive way to dress up a room and provide some style while also being useful. If you aren't a fan of your overhead light, changing it out is easy and can be inexpensive.

07

Art

Art hanging on wall behind couch Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

Adding art to your home can really bring a room together. Selecting art is highly personal, so don't feel like you have to find something that perfectly matches your couch or some other rule you have heard through the grapevine. Pick what you love and it is sure to look great.

Scale is the most important consideration for living room art. One large piece or a pair of paintings behind the couch looks great. If you have smaller pieces, consider compiling a gallery wall. If you have only one or two small pieces, they will get lost in the room, so consider putting these in an entryway or bedroom instead. Art should be the centerpiece and create an impact, and it won't do that if you barely notice it.

08

Style

eclectic living room style

Everyone has their own style. Don't think that you need to stick strictly to one style when decorating. If you love the clean lines of mid-century modern furniture and blonde wood, and have exposed brick on one of your living room walls, you can blend mid-century with Scandinavian and industrial and still come out with a fresh, cohesive look. The key is to make your decisions with intent. Consider each piece before adding it to the room. Only keep it if you love it or it adds to the space significantly.

09

Use

Small girl standing on couch MoMo Productions / Getty Images

It may not be the most fun part of planning any room, but give careful thought to how it will be used and who will use it. The needs of someone with a young family are different than those of a single person with no plans for expansion. In a home with separate living and family rooms, the living room can be a bit more formal. If it is the only gathering spot in the home, it should probably be a bit more cozy and welcome drinks and appetizers as well as conversation and activity.

10

Cost

Couple and baby on couch Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

Cost will be a significant factor for most people when decorating. It can be frustrating to be stuck within your financial limits, but there are advantages as well. A room generally looks better and has more personality when it is put together slowly, with consideration taken before adding each piece. When watching your budget, it is much more natural to build the room over time, adding pieces with careful thought.

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