5 Secrets to a Beautiful Living Room. Well, after publishing it. Not so secret anymore. 🙂
Secret 1: Place the Couch in a Welcoming Position
Museum-like, look-but-don’t-touch living rooms are so over. What you want is for people to feel invited and welcomed into the room. The placement of furniture says something, and what you want it to say is, “Hello, darling. Come to me, let me take your mind off of your day,” says Heather Mourer of One Home Design in Denver, Colorado. “If a sofa is faced with its back to the entrance, that’s basically closing the door (or turning your back) on your guests. To remedy this, place a console table behind the sofa that in essence addresses the people entering, inviting them to take a load off and put their bags down.” Or place the sofa with its back against a wall with a few soft, comfortable pillows to sink into.
Secret 2: Give the Room a Focal Point
“A gorgeous living room needs an anchor to work off of, such as a fireplace, artwork, a fabulous chandelier, or a beautiful view,” says Mourer. If you don’t already have a natural focal point, create one by showing off your favorite item in the room. Oh, and if you’re going for a conversation space, you might not want the big-screen plasma TV taking center stage.
Secret 3: Put Thought into Your Living Room Rug
“For me, a great room starts off with a great rug,” says Johnny White, interior design consultant and art director for Bravo’s Top Design and Top Chef Miami. “The floor is a dominant space in every room. Think about it: When you walk into a room, you don’t notice the ceiling or walls first, but you notice the floor.” Before you decide which rug is right for you, White says, “Get rid of the wall-to-wall. It’s like one big foot wipe. If you’re a renter and have to keep it, put a throw rug on top of it.” Next, ask yourself: What is the function of your living room? “The rug denotes a space and instigates what you’ll do there, whether it’s gathering, walking through it, or even avoiding it, depending on how you place your rugs.” So if you want a big open area for gatherings and conversation, choose a large rug that covers a wide area and reaches under the couch and chairs. If you want a separate area for reading or dining, place a rug in that area to create a natural boundary. And if you want people to feel comfortable in the living room, choose a cozy rug, like plush wool or shag, and “toss some floor pillows down to encourage a casual vibe so people feel free to sit on the floor,” says White.
Secret 4: Balance the Room So That Every Corner Becomes Important
Furnishings throughout the space should be balanced. “If there’s a large grouping of furniture at one end of the space, consider a secondary seating area to balance it out at the other end,” suggests Mourer. And balance the room from top to bottom as well. “Your living room is a volume of space, not just the two-dimensional space that you see in a floor plan,” reminds Mourer. Her suggestions: Consider hanging ceiling pendants over cocktail and side tables, or use a classic modern Arco floor lamp (a floor lamp with a heavy base and thin arm that arcs over furniture). Or try screens, tall floral/plant elements, and high-back chairs, like a Fritz Hansen Egg chair.
Secret 5: Soften the Room Overall
A beautiful living room makes you want to fall into it and stay forever, so add touches that keep it cozy. For example, hang beautiful drapes in the windows, or use a soft, luxurious fabric on your upholstery or pillows. If you’re going for a streamlined modern look, lay a soft throw over the arm of a couch or a sheepskin rug over a chair. Soften the room with your lighting as well. “Rather than one high-voltage ceiling lamp lighting the entire room,” says Mourer, “consider using a combination of floor, table, ceiling, and wall lamps (all with lower voltage) to spread light throughout the space but allowing for some dark spaces in between for some drama and hierarchy.”
by Amy Spencer