For Everyone Stumped on How to Plan Their Living Room

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Out of all the rooms in your home, the living room is probably the most important: It's your most public-facing space, and for many people, it's where they invest the most in terms of showing off their personal style. Whether you use your living room as a library-like retreat or you need a world-class entertainment center for your TV nights, you want to make sure your living room works for your lifestyle, space, and style.

If you're moving into a new home, or looking to revamp your living space, these living room ideas will help you create a unique and personal design.


Living Room Layouts

Before you dive into arranging furniture, consider your living room layout. Open floor plan homes must be arranged differently than small, confined spaces. If your home floor plan is breezy, with your living room and kitchen combined, you'll need to spend more time thinking about flow.

Your color palette may need refinement, too, if you're working with an open floor plan. Sure, you can slap bold colors on your living room wall — but those shades must also play well with your kitchen.

Lucky for you entertainers, open floor plans are great for entertaining. Set up a makeshift bar on your kitchen island and separate seating areas so partygoers can have private conversations. Consider encircling your big-screen TV with a pair of super-comfy couches so all your guests can curl up to watch the game.

Just make sure not to skip the dividers. Your sanity will thank you if you keep the space separated — even a little. Big, leafy plants are the perfect separators, but you can also use screens, bookshelves, or room dividers if you're seeking a little more privacy.

But what about small living rooms? Don't despair: Start with a focal point. Your favorite oversized artwork can kickstart a perfect living room design. Pull colors from the paint into your curtains, furniture, and decor. Plus, you can employ some tricks to make your living room seem larger: Try white paint colors and going minimalist.

From there, consider scale. Yes, we all want an ultra-plush, super-big couch — but cramping too-big furniture into a pint-size space is guaranteed to end in disaster. You may even want to ditch the coffee table in lieu of multi-functional side tables that offer extra seating or storage.

Speaking of storage: Seek out easy solutions for extra living room storage space. Consider tucking a bench behind your sofa, hiding a bookshelf beneath a window, and going wild with baskets.


How to Style a Living Room

Once you've arranged your furniture, it's time to think about styling your living room. This is the key to transforming your living space into an energy-refilling room that you adore.

Start with artwork or a bold, bright living room rug. Don't get too hung up on shape. Living room rugs can be round, rectangular, square, or anything in between — you're not stuck on the standard 8-foot-by-10-foot rug. Then, pull the colors into the rest of your decor to create cohesion.

Texture is essential for creating dimension and interest throughout the space. Does your living room seem dull? It's probably missing this vital element. You can add texture through a high-pile rug, but wall hangings are another fabulous option. Macrame brings a vintage vibe, or choose woven rattan or jute for a slightly more upscale feel. Or go super-fluffy on your couch pillows — there's nothing better than curling up with pile of fluff.

Picking out funky objets d'art can be the most entertaining part of the living room decorating process. Trawl your favorite thrift store for one-of-a-kind finds, or splurge on a unique accessory from your favorite designer. Consider the shape of your space: If you have a lot of angular furniture and hard materials, choose curvy designs, like a carved candlestick.

Other Considerations

Every living room has its quirks — from awkward corners to unusual architectural features. Don't hide your oddities. Embrace them. A weird corner can be the ideal spot for a sectional, like in this beautiful space from The Lovely Drawer, or it may suit floor lighting.

Consider shelving, too. A shallow, recessed nook makes a covert bookshelf, perfect for your collection of DVDs or board games. And if your living room backs up against a staircase, turn that strange space into something unique, like an office.

Sometimes there are corners that don't seem suited for anything all, like the floor space next to a sliding window. One all-purpose solution? Plants. Search for a structural plant stand and fill it with flowing pothos and flowering hoya and all your favorite green babies. You'll no longer be stuck with an awkward space — instead, you'll own a thing of beauty.


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