living room decorating tips

Even the most beautiful living room furniture won't work if it's not arranged so that family and guests want to plop down and hang out a while.

Even the most beautiful living room furniture won't work if it's not arranged so that family and guests want to plop down and hang out a while.

When it comes to home decorating, the number one rule to live by is this: The arrangement of a room's contents is as important as the contents (furniture and home accents) themselves.

With that in mind, here are 10 living room decorating tips to bring this room back to life.

  1   Identify What Doesn't Work in Your Living Room

Take a look around the room. What doesn't work there? To create a sense of depth and softness, position furniture at an angle to, or floating away from, the wall.  

This can make the room feel less boxy, more intimate and inviting.

  2   Start Moving Things Around

Start by moving the largest piece, usually the sofa, so it faces the room's main focal point. Use your room's window with a view or a fireplace to best advantage here.

  3   Group Seating Areas for Comfortable Conversation

Group the rest of the seating at a maximum of 10 feet (3m) from the sofa. Farther away makes conversation from the sofa or chairs difficult. And you're trying to encourage that, right?

  4   Balance Furniture Pieces

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

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

  5   Allow 3 Feet (1m) Between Furniture Pieces

Allow at least 3 feet (1m) between furnishings. This will ensure easy traffic flow into and out of the seating area.

  6   Place Major Elements on Separate Walls

Balance the room by putting major elements on separate walls. The flat screen TV will be more prominent if it isn't right next to the fireplace. (And it'll be safer, too.)

  7   Bring Dark Furniture Into the Light

Place your darker furnishings where they'll get the most light: by a window or a floor lamp. A dark cabinet will disappear in a dimly lit corner. Avoid this.

  8   Create a Room Within a Room

If the room is large, set up a secondary area to make the room feel cozier and do double duty. Add a desk and chair to a window corner, or create a family game area with a small table and a few chairs.

  9   Place Furniture on the Diagonal

Get angular in a small room to create the illusion of more space. Place the furniture, starting with the sofa, on a corner diagonal.

This unusual placement takes the focus off the room size and places it square on the furnishings instead. Resist the urge to fill up the room with every stick of furniture you own. Bare areas imply spaciousness.

  10   Always Keep Comfort in Mind 

Arrange your furniture with comfort in mind. If you plan to use the room for entertaining, are there enough places where guests can set down glasses and plates?

If a coffee table is out of reach from the chairs, place small tables beside them. Will you be watching Humphrey Bogart classics from your sofa?

If so, make sure there's a shelf or cabinet nearby with space to store your DVDs of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.

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