On this page you'll find lots of living room decorating ideas. This is one of the most important rooms in your home, and has to cater for different people and needs.
But that doesn't mean it has to become a mess of odds and ends left by various family members. There are some basic guidelines you can follow, and go from there.
Find your focal point
Once you settle on the focal point for your room, you'll be in a much better position to formulate your living room decorating ideas.
The focal point of a room is the item or area which naturally draws attention to itself.
The most common focal point is a fireplace or fire surround. Even in modern homes where old fashioned open wood or coal fires no longer exist, they are replaced by gas or electric fires.
Sometimes you'll find you seem to have two or more focal points, such as a fireplace competing with a large item of furniture. Try to make just one of them stand out by emphasizing one and downplaying the other.
Living room decorating ideas - what's the room for?
Once you can answer this question you'll have good idea of various items of furniture you'll need.
Will you watch TV? Then you'll need to position the TV in a convenient place for a good viewing position. With all the extras we need these days - hi-fi systems, DVD, Bluray, games machines - you also have to think of where you'll store them all.
You'll also have to plan where your seating will be placed. How many people will watch the TV at the same time? If they have drinks and snacks you'll need small tables close by.
Will you use the room for games such as card games or chess? Reading books and magazines?
Is it a room where you'll entertain visitors, or is it just for your family to relax in? This will determine whether it's more formally decorated, tidy and carefully looked after, or whether it's somewhere you can all just flop into chairs and leave things lying about.
Take time to think of how you're going to use the room. Once you've done this you'll be in a much better position to put your living room decorating ideas into practice.
Living room decorating ideas - plan your room step by step
Here's how to progress through the different stages.
Decide how you're going to use the room, as discussed in the 'usage' section.
Specify the number and types of seats you need. For example, if you want to have six people seated comfortably, will you have 4 chairs and one 2 seater sofa, or 2 sofas and 2 chairs...
Think about the storage you'll need, and occasional furniture such as coffee tables, lamp tables, etc.
Plan where your furniture is going to go. Use graph paper and pencil, or your drawing software.
If your room is large enough, you may be able to have two or more sub-groups. You could have one area for watching TV, and another where some chairs and sofas are grouped together as a conversation area.
Play around with a number of living room decorating ideas until you come up with the best plan for your room.
When you plan the positions of your furniture, be careful to allow enough room for people to move around. It's no good having a beautiful room which is difficult to live in.
For more information about living room decorating ideas see the page on living room design.
Living Room Decorating Ideas
Make a list of the things you absolutely must have. Put them into an order of priority. Now you know what you have to do, and how much you have to spend. This enables you to see all the parts you can do now, and what you'll have to leave and complete at a later date when more funds are available.
You may be in the fortunate position of having enough money to do all you want, but if not, don't worry. Do the important steps from your list, and complete further steps when you can. Rome wasn't built in a day, so your living room can take a bit longer if necessary!
It's surprising what you can make do with. The tired old bookcase can be revitalized by a few coats of paint applied in a specialist style. The sofa and chair which were so uncomfortable can give you many more years of service once they're reupholstered in a new modern fabric.
If you don't have a budget, the costs can easily get out of control. This applies to any room or project you have. A budget will influence how you decorate your room, which sections need more finance than others. You'll probably end up with lots of living room decorating ideas, but your budget will determine just how many will be possible.
This is something which works with any type of collection, and is often ignored as part of living room decorating ideas. Once you have a group of items, they become acceptable. I've seem a very attractive living room wall hung with a collection of antique golf clubs.
Use the same idea with items on the tops of tables, or collections of prints or etchings. Group them on the wall for added effect.
If you look at illustrations from books and magazines you'll begin to see all sorts of living room decorating ideas which various designers have come up with.
If you really want your living room decorating ideas to change how your room looks, change the biggest areas, which are the walls and floor. For a softer and more sophisticated look use wallpaper or wallcoverings.
If your ceiling is high, paint it a darker color, as this will make it seem lower. If it's low, then paint it white or off-white.
To achieve a really warm, comfortable and quiet effect, use carpets on your floor. From an acoustic point of view this will quieten the room. But use the most expensive carpet you can afford. It does make a difference. The woven ones such as Axminster or Wilton are the best, but tufted or bonded varieties have improved in recent years.
If your living room looks a bit ordinary, see if you can add a few details to enliven it. Niches add a classical feel to any room. Cornices on ceilings, moldings on wall or doors, a centerpiece if you have light fittings on the ceiling - all these can add to the look of your room, or transform it completely.
Or what about a simple vase of bright flowers, or a house plant? Sometimes all that's needed is a splash of color, which can be provided by pictures or collections of ornaments.
(If you want to find out more about color, then take a look at the color schemes pages.)
You can use all sorts of things to hang on your walls, they don't have to be conventional pictures. Rugs - especially smaller silk oriental rugs, or framed fabrics or cards.
There's a bewildering variety of paint colors to choose from when you do your home decorating. But some colors work better than other.
The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets