Interior Design 101: Basic Principles for Decorating Your Living Room


Living rooms are often one of the most frequently visited areas of the home by guests and family alike. So, it’s no wonder that it’s also often the space that most people put the most effort into decorating. If you’re unsure where to begin, however, nothing can feel more confusing than looking around at some blank walls and wondering what to put there.
Thankfully, many homes already have built in cues that can help you kick off your interior design. Paired with your personal tastes and style, these tips will help you find your perfect living room design in no time.

Pay Attention to Architecture

The type of home you have will play a big role in how you decorate it. Many people overlook architecture when choosing furnishings, but remember; many architects also dictated the original furnishings that were going to go into that style of home. Staying true to those details will help give your living room a more cohesive appearance.
For example, if your home is Victorian in design, installing a box beam ceiling is a great way to add interest and set the stage for the rest of the room. Or, if your home is a Craftsman, consider using quality, handmade furnishings to match, such as wood furniture.
Keep in mind that many architectural styles also have built in color palettes as well. You don’t have to use these colors in your living room, but they can be a good starting point to help give you direction as well.

Plan Your Layout

Layouts are crucial to any interior design. The idea is to create a room that feels welcoming, cozy, and functional, but not cluttered or chaotic. Get out some graph paper and draw a scaled down version of your living room, taking careful measurements of the entire space.
Indicate the doorways, and start planning your traffic patterns. How will people most likely move through the room? Where will they congregate? What areas are best for quiet conversation, and which ones for relaxing?
Once you have your layout marked down, take new measurements of each area, including the types of furnishings you want in each one. These measurements will let you know the size of each new piece of furniture to buy. After all, you don’t want to take the time purchase new custom Amish living room furniture only to discover it doesn’t fit the space. So, measure carefully, and work with your room’s needs.

Create a Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point, or a direction that you’ll look in either as you enter the space, or once you’re inside. Living rooms that have fireplaces can make an automatic focal point out of this area, enhancing the mantel and hearth to create a beautiful display that draws the eye of anyone seated nearby.
However, fireplaces aren’t the only type of focal point a living room can have. Other ideas may include:

  • An accent wall painted a bold color
  • A large canvas print
  • A TV or entertainment center
  • A photo or art gallery wall

Plan your focal point so that it can be either the first thing people see, or the thing people are most likely to look at once they’re seated. You can now plan the rest of the room around that feature.
Remember that you can also create smaller focal points later as well. These can be simple things like throw rugs that define an area of the room, or a pop of color on a side table. These little touches should come last, though, once the rest of your design is done.

Coordinate Your Color Palette

Color plays a big role in interior design, so be sure to put a lot of thought into what your palette will be. Even if you choose to use neutrals, there are still numerous shades to consider, ranging from cool to warm in tone.
Start with the feelings you want to create there. Small rooms will do better with cool, light colors that will make the room feel more spacious, while large rooms will do better with warm, dark colors that will make the space appear cozy.
Use colors that contrast one another to create a dynamic effect, and colors that blend well together for a more subtle design. Remember that each color you choose should be represented at least twice, somewhere in the room in curtains, rugs, art work, throw pillows, or accessories in order to tie everything together.

Create a Better Living Room

These tips are designed to help you get more out of your interior design and space. Use them as the jumping off point to create a better, more in depth design that showcases your personal style. Create a better living room design to get more out of the time you spend there.

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