Decorating a Living Room

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Living Room Design Ideas

Have you ever looked a living room in a style blog or design magazine and wondered, how did they do that? Why does everything fit together and complement each other so perfectly? In most cases, the answer is planning and just a hint of decorating knowledge.

Whether you're adding accents to an existing arrangement or furnishing an entire room from scratch, knowing a few design principles will help you decorate a living room where every piece seems to belong. These living room ideas offer a beginner's guide to outfitting an inviting, well-appointed space that speaks to your unique tastes.

Work within the Space

Before shopping for living room decor, it's important to know the size of the room to determine what will comfortably fit inside it. Even an empty room fills up quickly, so guessing at dimensions can lead to trouble. Exact lengths, widths, and depths help you buy pieces the perfect size for your house.

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Measurements and Layout

Begin by measuring the square footage of the room and the size of any doorways, hallways, and staircases that your furniture will need to fit through when delivered. Next, compare these dimensions with any pieces you're considering. To get an idea of how individual pieces will work together, some people find it useful to draw their room and furniture layout on graph paper. Using each square on the grid to represent one foot keeps things to scale.

Visualizing the Room

Need something a little more hands-on to help you visualize new furnishings? Create tape outlines on the floor to represent the area occupied by potential purchases. This approach is a great idea for living room design planning, allowing you to do a trial run of any arrangement without moving around heavy furniture.

After the tape is in place, try navigating the room by walking around the tape lines. Does any furniture placement seem cramped or any walkway too narrow? Will the sofa cover up any floor vents and are your end tables close to outlets? Use these observations as a guide while you shop.

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Pick a Style

Many interior decorating faux pas begin with failing to settle on a living room design style. Decor in the same room should have a look or mood that all the pieces share. From charming, homespun rustic decor to graceful and elegant traditional furniture, there is an aesthetic for any taste. As you gather living room decor ideas, consider which style fits your personality.

Stick to Your Choice

Once you pick a living room design style, most of the pieces in the space should include the common shapes, materials, and colors of that aesthetic. Choosing pieces in the same style is a simple shortcut to a coordinated and cohesive look.

For example, modern living room decor features pieces with clean lines, simple shapes, and a cutting-edge feel. An overstuffed, skirted couch with tasseled floral cushions would be out of place, but a sleek leather sofa with track arms, chrome legs, and geometric-patterned pillows would fit right in.

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Use All Your Resources

After choosing a style, do a little research to get an idea of common design features. Some online stores, like Rooms To Go, allow the option to filter search results by style or buy a designer-coordinated living room set. Store salespeople are also often knowledgeable about which pieces pair well. Take advantage of everything at your disposal to nail this aspect of your decor.

Break the Rules (Occasionally)

Adding in a few pieces outside of your chosen decor family can have striking results. Coming up with outside-the-box living room ideas is all part of the fun. You’ll create a one-of-a-kind room that has a very personalized feel.

When you begin to feel comfortable with the main living room decor styles, you'll start to notice similarities. For example, both rustic and industrial pieces have a rugged side. Traditional and cottage homes often share vintage influences. Keep an eye out for these design harmonies and have fun experimenting with mixing and matching.

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Buy the Basics

With room dimensions and a specific style in mind, the final hurdle is knowing which pieces you need. Living room decor leaves lots of opportunities for creativity, but every living room should have at least these four elements:

-Seating - From sofas and sectionals to accent chairs and recliners, there is a huge variety of seating options. Keeping room measurements at the ready, think about how many people gather in this space on a regular basis. Shop options within your chosen style to find seating that meets your needs and fits the room. -Tables - Tables add function to any space. People who want to snack, play games, or store remotes will want a coffee table. Put an end table between two chairs to hold lamps or mugs and create appealing symmetry in your design. Check out media units or TV stands to keep electronics organized. -Lighting - Decorating a living room with several kinds of lights offers the flexibility to adjust for any situation. Include overhead lighting to brighten up the whole room, floor or desk lamps for reading, and table lamps to provide a soft glow on movie nights. -Accents - More than anything else, your living room decor ideas put a personal stamp on a space and tie everything together. Pick out wall art that echoes the room's mood and style, or hang shelves to fill with plants, books, and photos. Finally, pull your space together with a stylish area rug. Accessories make the room yours.

Time to Decorate

At the end of the day, your living room has to be a cozy, relaxing space that welcomes you home. Trends come and go, but a warm and inviting room is always in style. With these tips and tricks as a guide, you're ready to design the living room of your dreams.