The living room is the focal point of most homes, which is why it’s so disappointing when you see the space not used to its full potential. It doesn’t take much to ruin a perfectly good living room. All you need are a few misguided décor ideas, and your living room will suddenly seem disjointed and unappealing to guests, even if they can’t place their finger on why.
When you’re designing your living room, there are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure that you don’t underutilize the space or leave it feeling disjointed. Here are ten living room mistakes you should avoid so you can get the most out of your space.
1. Painting right away
When people move into a new home, painting is usually one of the first things they do, but this is often a mistake. Choosing a paint color before you’ve had the time to get used to space and to see how it responds to the changing light. Before you start laying down the paint, consider how your furniture will be arranged and how it looks in the space. You may decide that you want to change the colors of your accessories or that you need a new couch to fit the space. All of these changes will affect the way a paint color looks in the room. Our advice is to live in a home for two to six months to see what paint color you’ll ultimately want. Even when you’re ready to start painting, be sure to use several samples in large swaths on the wall to see how that color responds to the space.
2. Not properly considering window coverings
Window coverings should ideally be some of the last items you change when decorating your living room. Their color, fabric, and shape of your window coverings should complement everything from the furniture to the paint colors. Consider what you want your window coverings to do, as well as what you want them to look like. Like windows, specific window treatments can help cut sound, as well as drafts. You can read more about the insulating effects of certain types of windows here that will help complement the heat-saving impacts of certain kinds of curtains.
3. Having too much stuff
You can have lovely furnishings and gorgeous accessories, but if you have too many of them, your room will still feel cluttered and overwhelmed. Whenever you buy something new, you should be buying it to replace something that you are removing or getting rid of. The living room is also a place where lots of things gravitate to. We have a tendency to put down a lot of random stuff in the living room that doesn’t necessarily belong there, so stay on top of cleanliness by doing a weekly clean-out.
4. Settling for the first, most accessible things
A lot of people have the terrible habit of going to their nearest hardware or home furnishing store when they need anything for their home and choosing the first thing that serves their purpose instead of really sitting down and thinking about what would work best for their living room. To get the best possible living room for your home, look for inspirational pictures and be willing to shop online to find the perfect item to fit your home.
5. Having your TV be a focal point
While you may use your living room to watch TV often, don’t make your TV the focal point of your home. Making your TV the focal point of your living room will obliterate any conversation you and your guests may have (since it always inevitably seems to be on). A TV is distracting, and frankly, kind of unattractive. Consider hiding it behind a wall mounted, a hinged piece of artwork, or in a cabinet.
6. Not taking care of wear and tear
We get used to a lot of things in our home, including wear and tear. While you may fail to notice bangs, scrapes, and discolorations on your walls and floors after they’ve been there a while, we can guarantee that your guests will see them. Once every six months, set aside some time to go through your living room and touch up any nicks in the wood or paint damage and fix or clean anything that you’ve been pushing off.
7. Push everything against the walls
Decorators know that pushing all your furniture against the walls can actually make your living room appear smaller. Conversations shouldn’t be held when people are more than 15 feet apart, so try to create sections of furniture that break up large spaces and encourage easy conversation.
8. Have things that are out of scale
Balance is a huge part of beautiful home design. A little rug, an oversized TV, or a strangely overstuffed couch can throw a room’s balance out of whack. Make sure that when you’re purchasing items, you’re taking measurements and comparing it against the size of your living room. Just because it looks good in the showroom, doesn’t mean that it will look good in your home.
9. Neglect artwork
The artwork is a fundamental part of home design, and bare walls can really be disconcerting. In fact, many interior designers as the most essential part of home design. Artwork provides an instant color palette for your living room. Choose artwork that has one of three dominant colors that you would like to use in your living room. You can then find corresponding paint colors and accessories to match these pieces. Artwork can also help set the mood for space with the type of artwork you use, and even with the kind of frames you use. For example, you won’t use a heavy, gilded frame for a modern home.
10. Choose uncomfortable furniture
Some furniture can be beautiful to look at, but very uncomfortable to sit on. This is why we don’t suggest buying furniture based only on pictures. Sometimes you can find a couch or rug that looks stunning but is nothing you’d want to touch or sit on. If you do shop online, make sure the company has a good return policy and make a point to read through the reviews from customers who have already purchased the item to see if there were any surprises in how the item looked or felt.