Once we’ve decided on a colour scheme, finding décor and room accessories for a living room is relatively easy. We can have fun searching for tables, vases or curtains that all go together in perfect harmony.
However, one of the most important, yet difficult, factors is the way we organise the layout of a room. Every home is unique and so every living room is different, making it difficult to know where to place the sofa, tv and coffee table... From lounges that are long and narrow, dark and moody, small or absolutely humungous, it’s a trial knowing what should go where.
Well, do not fear. We have been blessed by a fantastic group of interior designers who have readily given their expert advice. Read on to find out our expert ideas for decorating your living room and using your space to its full potential.
The dark living room
Unfortunately, some of us are faced with a living room that receives very little light. This is either due to where abouts in the house the room is placed, the lack of windows or having a smaller than average window area. Because of this, the mood of the room can be quite glum. Instead of retreating to our living room to relax and unwind, we avoid it like the plague.
The key to decorating a dark living room is the choice of décor. Colour and shade are crucial. Interior designer, Jeneva Aaron from The HouseWire, tells us her expert advice on making a dark room feel much bigger and brighter.
“The lighter a room is, the bigger it feels. The darker a room is, the smaller it feels. If you have dark walls, get some light-coloured furniture to avoid making your room look too small. It’ll contrast the moody quality of the walls and make the room feel more spacious."
As well as choosing lightly shaded décor, interior designer, Gina, tells us the power of lighting and the use of bold colours on the walls.
“With a darker space, I'd opt for soft lighting. LED strip lights are a great chance to brighten dark corners and bookshelves. I'd also choose a bold colour for a wall mural and feature it on the wall you see as you enter.”
Ideas for decorating a living room in a huge lounge
I'm sure most of us would be ecstatic with a home that hosts a humungous lounge area. But it can actually be a huge task to arrange the furniture in a suitable way to make the space feel cosy rather than cold and empty. Jeneva Aaron gives some great tips on strategic furniture arrangement.
“Arrange three sofas like three walls of a box in the centre of the room. Two of the sofas should be facing each other. This will make the sofas act like “walls” that divide the room up.”
The beauty of having a large living area is that you have expansive wall areas which are craving to be covered in fabulous art. We think artistic bold and beautiful wall murals would transform any lounge and create a dazzling focal point. Jeneva Aaron tells us more…
“On the biggest wall, hang a large painting or photograph. Look for something abstract that feels like it’s coming toward you. This will make the wall feel like it’s moving inward, which will make your room feel a little smaller and cosier.”
To create an even more homely feel to any large lounge, room accessories can play a great part.
“I'd choose more plants for bigger spaces as they can draw the eye. I'd also litter the room with rugs and pillows in order to bring a cosier feel to it.” - Gina
The narrow lounge
Ideas for decorating a living room can sometimes be a chore if you have a narrow lounge. It’s difficult to decide where to place the sofa to create the central point of the room.
Jeneva Aaron has some great advice on how to distract the eye from the long and narrow shape of a room.
“Your instinct might be to push all of the furniture against the walls but don’t do that. Instead, arrange your couch and chairs in the centre of the room. Mount your TV to the wall, but drag your couch toward it.”
Jeneva also tells us how wall art can make a narrow lounge feel more square-shaped and less rectangular.
“If you install a mural on the wall of a narrow living room, avoid putting it at the far end of the hallway. That’ll only make your room feel longer and more awkward. Instead, mount it behind the couch."
When you have a narrow living area, displaying your most treasured items can become a struggle because you don’t want to take up any more of the floor space. This is where strategical shelving can come in handy.
“I'd opt for thinner shelving and place them higher up in order to elongate the room.” - Gina
Open plan apartment ideas for decorating a living room
Having lived in an open-plan apartment myself, attempting to partition the living areas can be a challenge. One of the benefits of an open-plan apartment is when guests come over. Whilst they are relaxing on the sofa, you can still talk to them whilst cooking dinner. However, you also crave the privacy of closing a door behind you and having some "you-time".
Jeneva Aaron gives fantastic ways to create dividers in an open plan apartment to earn back some of the privacy you may be craving.
“The key to living with an open floor plan is to add dividers... Putting some large bookshelves in between your living room and dining room will make each area feel like a distinct space. You can even add wallpaper or a peel and stick mural to the back of the shelf to further define the space.”
The small living room
One of the easiest ways to make a small room appear bigger is to install a feature wall or mirrors to elongate the space. Beautiful landscape murals, such as lake views, mountain tops and tropical beaches all create the illusion of more space, making the room appear much deeper.
It is also crucial to choose furniture carefully to use your space properly. This is where multi-functional furniture can really come into play.
“A lift-top coffee table, for example, not only acts as a table but also offers extra storage space. You can hide books, DVDs, and even extra throw blankets inside.” – Jeneva Aaron
Another important factor is the quantity of décor you choose for the room’s layout. Even choosing one too many scatter cushions can make a room feel cramped. So, stick to minimalism for a clutter-free, relaxing living room.
“With a smaller room, I would always opt for smaller and lesser furniture. So, a two-seater and a chair instead of a large corner sofa. If you choose to have a feature wall, I'd put this on the same side as the door and keep the rest of the colour scheme light to keep the space looking bigger.” – Gina
Do you have a small lounge and love dark colours but are worried that by having dark walls your room will appear much smaller? Installing a dark feature wall, such as a night’s sky mural, will add deep shades but won’t cast the room into total darkness.
“A night-time scene or outer space pattern will add some depth to your room while sticking with your theme.” - Jeneva Aaron
The L-shaped sofa or lounge
When it comes to L-shaped sofas, don’t feel like you have to shove your sofa into the corner of the room. Instead, leave a gap behind your settee to create a corridor around the back of it. This will improve the flow of the room where you can easily get from one side of the room to the other without having to do a shimmy around the coffee table.
At one end of your L-shaped sofa, place a coffee table that could be mistaken for an extension of the sofa. The metallic rectangular table in this room is great as it's the same depth as the settee. It isn't sticking out wider and therefore isn't taking up as much space.
For those of you who have an L-shaped living room, don’t be forlorn: you have two rooms in one! Interior designer, Fairouz, has an excellent idea for using an L-shaped room to its full potential…
“For an L-shaped living room: two distinct areas naturally coexist in this type of room. Therefore, you can use them as a living room and dining room or a living room and an office.”
Do you feel more prepared with these expert ideas for decorating your living room? Let us know which advice was most useful to you or if you have any of your own top tips to share. Simply leave a comment in the comments box below.