living room decorating ideas

Living room decorating can be a challenge. You've got some great things inside - yet how do arrange them so that each gets its share of the design spotlight? 

Even the most beautiful furnishings won't work together if they're not arranged in a way that beckons you to come in and sit a spell.

And decorative objects that are poorly placed or lost amid neighboring items often look extraneous rather than ornamental.

When it comes to living room decorating, the number one rule is that the arrangement of a room's contents is nearly as important as the contents themselves.

How to Give Your Living Room Decorating Professional Polish

Take a look around your living room - is your furniture flush against the walls?

To create a sense of depth and softness, you should position furniture at an angle or floating away from the wall.

This makes the room feel less boxy, more intimate and cozy.

Start by placing the largest piece, usually the sofa, so it faces the room's main focal point, such as a window with a view or a fireplace.

Next, group the rest of the seating a maximum of 10 feet (3m) from the sofa - farther away makes conversation while seated difficult.

Balance pieces of similar size by placing them across from each other.

For example, a pair of upholstered chairs placed opposite the sofa will provide better balance than would a pair of delicate wooden chairs. 

Within your conversational circle, allow 3 feet (1m) between pieces for easy traffic flow into and out of the seating area.

Reconsider Your Placement of Decorative Objects 

Now that you've got the foundation - your furniture - in place, it's time to consider the placement of your decorative objects.

gYour collections, artwork, and photographs are the elements that project your personality into a room. Why not show them off as a designer would, making the most of each piece?

Start with the walls. Is your picture arrangement boring - perhaps they'll hung in a less-than-exciting linear row?

  • Consider rehanging your wall paintings, pictures, and collections in asymmetrical groupings rather than in straightforward rows. This creates a sense of drama.
  • Place the bottom edge of the lowest piece 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) above the top of the furniture; work upward from there, going as high as you like.
  • Hang petite groupings behind a delicate table or chair; hang a large single picture in back of your ample sofa. 

Corral Collections to Bring Them Into Focus

A multitude of tiny treasures spread about a room may seem homey, but the overall effect is usually unfocused rather than cozy.

Instead, group items that have a similar texture, shape, or theme together on shelves, on a coffee table or end table, atop the armoire - and leave a hand's breadth or more of space between each grouping for maximum effect. 

Bring Houseplants Out of the Corner

Consider your houseplant placement. If you've stashed that lovely ficus tree or palm tree in the corner, bring it out!

Ideally, plants should enhance something nearby, such as a chair or a lamp, instead of looking like an afterthought.

How to Brighten Up a Dark Room

If your living room is dark, here's a simple way to lighten it up: Buy a single standout mirror, or a trio of inexpensive mirrors and add ornate or interesting frames.

The frames should have a common element, such as a similar shape, finish, or theme:

If you're going Victorian, choose a trio of similarly ornate, perhaps gilded, frames; if you're after an Art Deco feel, three floral motifs will work nicely together.

Mirrors bring light and depth to a room. For the greatest benefit, hang your mirrors with their horizontal center just a bit higher than eye level on the wall opposite or adjacent to a window.

As an alternative, install several small wall-mounted spotlights positioned to shine down on your favorite pictures or your splendid shell collection.

Finish by Adding a Few Cozy Elements

Finally, take a tip from interior designers themselves: Any room quickly becomes both brighter and more inviting when you add a cozy throw blanket, a sparkling crystal vase or sculpture,or a polished brass or gilded picture frame.

By adding a few of these, and by making the most of what you already have, you can easily give your home professional design polish. 

› Cozy Living Room Decorating Ideas