Moving into a new place or simply overhauling your existing style can be exciting, new… and challenging. If you’ve decided to take on the challenge, we’ve got some helpful step-by-step instructions to make sure you get it right and create the living room of your dreams.
When approaching a large project, start with the basics. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide what needs replacing and what can stay. If you’re working with a blank slate, you can skip to the next part.
Not sure what should stay and what should be replaced? Here are some considerations to think about when you’re trying to decide.
- Does this item have sentimental value? If you’ve inherited an ornate side table that has been in your family for decades, it’s probably not an item you’ll want to replace. You can consider relocating it or even refinishing or repurposing it if it really doesn’t flow well with your decor.
- Is it necessary? Sometimes we end up with rooms full of items that have no true purpose and aren’t serving us anymore. If you come across an item that really serves no purpose other than collecting dust (we’re looking at you, magazine holder), it may be time to donate it or find a way to repurpose it.
- Is it outdated? We all loved velour, floral couches in the 80s, but if you’re still hanging on to one, it’s time to let it go. Even if your furniture or decor isn’t quite as outdated, certain finishes, fabrics, and colors can make your room look less contemporary.
If you need a little inspiration for what’s currently trending in today’s furniture and design, check out the Modloft design gallery.
Once you’ve removed the items you are no longer going to use and made plans to repurpose or retain everything else, you’re ready to start planning your new living room design.
Arranging your living room furniture can be a challenge, and it can be easy to just settle for the placement of the sofa against the wall. That’s not a bad idea; it takes care of at least one large, empty wall space, helps to anchor the room, and gives you a better idea of where your remaining furniture will be placed.
However, if you’re up for a bit more creativity, there are definitely other ways to arrange your living room furniture that will give your space a little more personality. You can also consider the use of multiple, smaller sofas in your space instead of one large one or a sectional. Here are a few simple ways to help you decide how to arrange your furniture.
- Map it out. Possibly the easiest way to get an idea of what your living room will look like is to map it out on paper. It’s much easier to experiment with different layouts with a pencil and paper than it is to move large pieces of furniture around until you find what works.
- Look for structural designs that shouldn’t be covered by furniture. There are some spots you shouldn’t place furniture, like in front of doorways, some types of windows, or passageways. If your furniture would obstruct a walkway, a window, or an unused fireplace, it’s probably not a great place to put it.
- Consider the focal point. If your living space is in a room with a television, that will normally be your focal point. If it’s in a more formal space, you may have a fireplace that serves as the focal point. Some rooms have neither media nor a ready-made architectural focal point. In these cases, consider using a conversation-starting coffee table as the focal point.
Your furniture should be arranged around the focal point so that it stands out and is the most striking element of your space.
Floors and Windows
Once you’ve mapped out the space for your furniture, think about what kinds of floor and window treatments you’ll need. An area rug can pull together a room that is a little off-balanced. It can also give the room a rich, layered look. When selecting a rug, here’s what to consider:
- Avoid busy patterns and patterned furniture. It can make your room look confusing and cluttered if you attempt to pair an intricately patterned rug with furniture that is patterned, even if the furniture is patterned with the natural weave of a fiber.
- Leave adequate room around the rug’s perimeter. There should be between 10-20” of space around the rug on every side. Also, your furniture should either sit atop the rug completely, or the rug should fit neatly underneath. For instance, if a rug is placed underneath a sofa that backs up to a wall, it isn’t necessary for the entire back end of the sofa to lie on the rug.
Window treatments can also make a room seem complete. However, there’s a major caveat here. Some rooms are very small, and adding a large window treatment, like heavy drapes, can make you feel claustrophobic.
If your space or windows are small, consider a simple shade or natural wood blind in lieu of paneled curtains. If you have ample room, you can select curtains that match your style. It’s always a good idea to leave plenty of room for natural light to flow into your home.
Empty wall space can make a room feel unfinished. Living rooms often have large areas of wall space that can be hard to properly furnish. Unless you have plans for your tv to be anchored to a wall, or perhaps a bookshelf, you’ve got a large space that needs filling. In need of some suggestions? Here are just a few.
- Mirrors. Mirrors are always a great solution for large wall space. They help make a room feel open and encourage the flow of light and energy around your home. A large mirror can make any room feel more inviting.
- Gallery walls. Gallery walls are walls that are covered in a grouping of photos, artistic paintings, and other coordinated hangings. Gallery walls can be tricky to perfect, but mapping out your wall on paper can be extremely helpful.
Hanging anything is a true task, and finding the appropriate hanging materials is a must. You should also be aware of how high to hang your pictures, so they don’t end up in an awkward position.
Some living room spaces aren’t outfitted with an overhead light. Others have an overhead light, but it can be small and barely capable of lighting the entire room. In these cases, you’ll need to either install a new light or make use of lamps.
Floor lamps are a great solution, as well as table lamps. A lamp will be most effective if it emits soft, warm light. Make sure that all the lamps in your living room are outfitted with the same types of bulbs. It can create a really unpleasant mix of lighting if one bulb is clean and white while the other has a soft saffron glow.
Always allow for as much natural light as possible. If you have window treatments, make sure you are able to tie them back during the day to allow light to flow inside your rooms.
The key to a great living room is selecting colors from the same color family or color palette. Contemporary styles make use of beautiful neutral tones that are perfectly beautiful on their own or when highlighted with a richly pigmented accent color.
Working with primary, accent, and secondary (or tertiary) colors is easy when you follow the rule of 60-30-10. 60% of your color should be primary, 30% should be your accent color, and 10% should be your secondary color.
If you are only using two colors, allow the primary color to be 70% and the accent color to be 30%.
If you’re looking for additional inspiration and ideas, Modloft has them. Our innovative designs are constructed around the core belief that when you surround yourself with beautiful and intentional things, you create a beautiful and intentional life. Modloft pieces are functional, consciously designed, and statement-making.
Whether you’re redoing your entire living room or simply looking for a single piece of new furniture to update your space, Modloft is a great resource. We even offer a 30-day-in-home trial, so you can make sure what you get works for you and never suffer from buyer’s remorse.
You can make your living room a place where everyone wants to be with a little help and ingenuity from the expert design team at Modloft.
The Beginner's Guide to Decorating Living Rooms | The Spruce
15 Beautiful Focal Point Ideas for Living Rooms | The Spruce
How High to Hang Pictures, Solved! | Bob Vila