A room for everything

Do you realize the importance of living room decorating?

You and your family will spend a great deal of time in your living room doing all sorts of things. When friends and neighbors call, this is usually the place you use to sit, talk and socialize.

It's a great place to 'hang out'. Or rather, it should be.

Is yours?

But just where do your start? There are so many activities which take place there.

What this means is that a good living room will be able to accommodate the various activities you'll be doing. At the same time it should be attractive and pleasant to be in.

Note: a Living Room is exactly that - a room for everyday living. Don't confuse it with a room reserved for special occasions. Whatever type of decor you decide on, it will need to be suitable for everyday use.

Where to start

As with all home decorating, your starting point is to find out exactly what you want from your living room. Once you know this, you'll be able to plan the space, what to put into it, how to arrange things, and what scheme to use.

Here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Do you want it to be a leisure room for writing, listening to music, for quiet reading or watching TV?
  • Should it also serve as a dining room for family meals or dinner parties?
  • Will you use it for a work room, to study, do homework? Will you use a computer there?
  • What about hobbies, such as model making or stamp collecting?
  • Would you use it for entertaining, for card games such as bridge, parties?

Why is it important to think about these? Because how you intend to use the room will determine what sort of lighting you should have, the type of furniture to place in the room and what storage to install.

All these will have a bearing on your living room design.

Your living room will only be successful if it is carefully planned.

Because planning is such an important part of living room decorating, there's a whole page on living room design. This has more information on how to think about yourself, your family, and how you use - or would like to use - your living room.

There's more guidelines about this subject on the living room decorating ideas page.


general purpose living room

This living room has many functions.

It's obviously a place where people can gather and relax. A TV is available, and there is also storage space for games, photo albums, and books if necessary. The fireplace provides a focal point, and the color scheme is restful and inviting.


Which color scheme should you go for?

The color scheme you select will depend on the style you choose. If you have a period property, then the theme may well be suggested by the architectural style of the building.

Modern homes tend to be more neutral, and often you can apply which ever style you prefer. With most buildings it's possible to make some interior alterations if you need to.

Paint plays an important part in any room, even if it's only for the woodwork. The paint colors page gives more details about this.


living room with yellow curtains

This comfortable living room shows many of the necessary items. Chairs and tables provide seating and convenient places for refreshments to be placed.

From a color scheme point of view, the rug provides an interesting mix of colors.

You can often use a rug such as this one as the inspiration for your color scheme. You simply take the colors from the rug and use them in other furnishings.

The large window is softened by the use of plain white fabric shades, with full tied back curtains hung from a contrasting curtain rod.



Once you've gone through your checklist and decided on how you plan to use your living room, you can turn your attention to lighting.

This is an important part of living room decorating, because in many cases you'll need to have internal wiring completed before you begin to decorate. And you'll only know where to put the wiring once you've decided on the types and quantity of lights you'll need.



contemporary living room

Even if you prefer a contemporary look for your living room, the same principles apply. Adequate seating, places for refreshments, etc.



Living room decorating means dealing with all shapes and sizes of windows.

From Georgian style sash windows to sliding door or French windows, and everything in between, you'll have to decide on how to treat them.

Once again, the checklist you go through initially will help you decide on the best solution. If your room is just for practical purposes then you may decide to make your selection from very practical window treatments. On the other hand, if your room has to be nicely decorated for dinner parties, then a smart set of curtains or drapes would be ideal.


corner suite

What if you can only use one section of a large room or an open plan room for the living area?

One solution is to use a corner unit as shown here. This will make good use of the floor space while giving a good amount of seating.


Small living rooms

There's no reason why small rooms can't function perfectly well as living rooms. By asking the same questions about your priorities, and how you want to use the room, you can turn even a small living room into a worthwhile area.




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