12 Tips for decorating your living room

The living room is one of the most used spaces in the house, which means it not only needs to look great but also needs to be functional and affordable. After all, your living room is your entertainment centre, the place for cosy movie nights with the family, and where your guests mingle when they visit.

So, it's not surprising to feel a bit intimidated about decorating this important room because accomplishing this can be a design challenge. So we rounded up twelve great living room decorating tips to inspire your decorating projects and make the process a whole lot easier. 

1. Know Your Place

First things first, before you even start decorating your living room, remember where you are. 

Are you in a country farmhouse, a casual beach house, an urban loft space or a townhouse?

If you live in one particular setting, your design scheme may look and feel very different from that of any other. Decide on whether you want to go with a theme that compliments the overal environment or would you prefer to go with something different. Once this decision is made it gives you a baseline and makes future decisions such as, where and how you’ll shop for furniture much easier.

Remember that you can mix and match decor trends and different colours. Don’t be afraid to mix colours, patterns, styles and fabrics throughout your living room. However, make sure that you stick to the overall theme, whether that’s the colour, the style, or the subject matter, to ensure you don’t make the space look overwhelming.

2. Create Zones With Area Rugs

If you have a large living room or it is part of an open space area, visually separate your living room with an area rug. Area rugs can be tricky to buy if you don't know what you need. For a living room, you should find a big enough rug to fit all your furniture. Ideally, keep about 10-to-20 inches of bare floor between the edges of the carpet and the room walls. Keep in mind, when area rugs are too small, the living room will look disjointed.

3. Choose the right lighting

For your living room to look put together, you need three lighting types: ambient, task, and accent. To make this happen, you might consider a mix of overhead chandeliers, table and floor lamps next to the main sofa for accent, and wall sconces for ambient lighting. Lighting can be quite tricky, so make sure to have an overall idea of how your living room will be arranged before you buy lighting. 

When it comes to lighting, you can have some fun. We always get questions like, “Should I use two matching lamps?” The answer is: you don't have to! Depending on your living room’s style, you can play around with the pieces you add.

4. Choose A Bold Wallpaper

Wallpaper is one of those trends that just keeps on giving and giving. If you go with a classic chinoiserie wallpaper, you can do just about anything with it as your style changes over the year. Bold wallpaper breathes life into living spaces big and small and is an easy way to create a focal point for a room. If you don't want to go all out, why not use a few rolls of the printed stuff to create a feature wall?

And remember, bold prints don’t always have to be eye-popping, they can be subtle with varying tone-on-tone colours, or they can be neutral colours that almost make the bold pattern seem tame and soothing.

5. Get Weird On the Coffee Table

Instead of decorating your coffee table with the classic assortment of stacked coffee table books, opt for something subtly quirky and unique, such as a collection of classic pots and planters, which would create a juxtapose with traditional elements throughout the space, making for a fun and eclectic look.

6. Add Personality With Texture-Rich Neutrals

Instead of a classic white or warm off-white paint colour, opt for a cooler gray neutral that complements the other subtle tones throughout the room. Any tasteful pops of colour, like a throw, artwork or lamp offering just a splash of colour will feel perfectly balanced and won’t overwhelm. 

7. Incorporate Fun Trees and Plants

Invite some nods to nature into your living room with quirky indoor plants and trees. A lush citrus tree in the corner would add an extra pop of life and colour to your living space. Spruce up your empty corners with large indoor plants and trees. A variety of species could be used to create visual intrigue with different heights and shapes.

8. Bring the Fun to the Floor

When you have crisp white walls and neutral staples, like a sofa and coffee table, choose one statement item that brings in a surge of colourful energy. It can be anything from a vibrant piece of art on the walls to a bright carpet.

9. Make An Impact With Mirrors  

One of the easiest ways to elicit that audible gasp from anyone visiting your home is a super large mirror in a spot you wouldn’t expect is a surprise to say the least. 

First, large mirrors will make a small space seem much bigger because they trick you into thinking the room goes on. This is especially true if the mirror is custom fit into a space like a niche or the walls on either side of a fireplace. It works best when there is a minimal frame around the mirror so that it looks like you could step right into it like Alice through the looking glass. The effect is dramatic and will check the wow factor box immediately. 

If you don’t want to invest in a giant mirror that covers an entire wall, you can easily get a large

10. Paint the Ceiling

Designer Meredith McBrearty painted the ceiling light blue (she used the same shade in various rooms throughout the house, creating a continuous design thread), which adds an unexpected personality. The warm tones featured in the furniture contrast nicely.

11. Make It Cozy

A fireplace is usually the focal point of cosy living room ideas, which never fails to bring a comforting ambience. But if you don't have one, you can still arrange furniture in a way to create a sociable and inviting space. Bring your sofa in closer for the colder months to create a more intimate space – to huddle closer and create warmth.

Carpeted living rooms will always feel warmer by nature because the carpet looks more comforting, exuding a sense of warmth. Nothing provides a sense of comfort quite like an oversized armchair that gives you an inviting 'hug' to snuggle into. If you have the space choose a love seat to take over a corner of the living room, providing a solitary space to curl up with a good book and a cup of something warming.

12. Encourage Conversation

If you frequently entertain guests at your home, choose a strategic living room layout that promotes conversation and comfort. Look at your sofa and chair arrangement – does it encourage conversation? Think of hotel bars, where seating is arranged in small groups. It’s easy to create this feel in your living room with cocktail chairs and pouffes, which can be moved around. Think ahead and make sure guests have a place to put drinks and nibbles, with side tables or wooden stools near each grouping.

Furniture arranged in a u-shape makes for the most sociable space, as friends can see each other across the room and chat more easily. If your living room soirée includes a sit-down meal, then take a tip from fine-dining restaurants and use smart upholstered dining chairs – perfect for lingering.

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