5 Design Tips To Decorate a Living Room
Most of us go through various stages in life, from just the two of us, to having babies, toddlers, kids, teens, young adults, empty nesters & perhaps an aging parent living in your home, or being single again, the demands of our home and the needs of various rooms change.
But where do you start? Do you have to throw everything out and start again?
5 Points to consider when you’re designing your living space:
- What is done in that room? Does it have multi-functions? For example a family room or rec room. Does it need to double as an office or a spare bedroom if someone stays over?
- Do you want a TV in there or not?
- Who hangs out there the most? Kids? Adults? Or both?
- What type of furniture do you want? A sofa bed for people to sleep over? A sectional for lots of people to hang out?
2. Personal Preferences
Here’s where you really need to ask yourself (and the other decision makers) some hard questions.
- Try to visualize what you see the needs of the room 3 to 5 years or more down the road. You don’t want to be going through this again any time soon.
- What is your design style? Traditional? Contemporary? Country? Transitional?
- What colors do you like? Can you see the adjoining room from this room? Will the colors and styles compliment each other?
DESIGNER TIP: In one of my design classes, our instructor said that “in theory” you should be able to take an upholstered patterned chair and it should be able to go from room to room and look like it belonged. In other words, one room in your house shouldn’t be a neutral country style, the other room a pink electric room, the other a gold traditional room – you get the idea. You should be able to move from one room to another in a calm manner without being shocked as you walk through the house.
Go on Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV, BHG and the thousands of other sites out there to get ideas of what you like and DON’T like.
3. Your Budget
What is the budget? How much do you want to spend on this room makeover?
Now that you know what the purpose and function of the room is, and what you want the space to look like is, take a look at the existing furniture. Is there any furniture you want to keep? Can you recover or reupholster a piece? Maybe you can do a furniture makeover and give a piece new life?
Do you need to curtains or are you going to use what you have currently? What about the lights, pictures, bookshelves etc. Take a look at everything in the room and make a list of what you’re going to keep, throw/give away, and what you’re not sure about.
Also take a look at any renovations that you might want to do. Put in pot lights or a new ceiling light? New flooring? Take everything into consideration during the planning stage so you won’t find yourself over budget and out of money once you’re in the middle of your redesign.
4. Floor Plan
It’s best to do an actual floor plan to make sure design works before you spend your hard earned money. There are lots of free software programs that you can download to do this. I had one client who used graph paper and a drew out the room and proposed furniture arrangements to scale. He was able to move his paper furniture around to see if it worked.
DESIGNER TIP: Doing a floor plan will ensure that you are not overcrowding the room with too much furniture. A common mistake people make is they put too much furniture in a room OR the furniture is too big for the size of the space. In one house I went through, the homeowner ordered an oversized couch and matching chair for their small bowling alley shaped living room. They didn’t do any measuring or space planning beforehand. The couch and chair just never really worked in the room.
You should have a comfortable 24 – 36″ space for walkways for people to be able to move comfortably around the room.
Make sure to include any side tables, coffee tables, bookshelves, floor lamps etc. in your floor plan. They need their space too!
At this point you may either LOVE your floor plan and ideas, or need to rework it. You may need to go back to step one and redefine the purpose of the room. Perhaps the desk doesn’t really work in the space. It doesn’t fit and leaves the room to cramped. Do you need to add a chair? Maybe the current couch you have is too big for the new redesign. Think it through carefully and sleep on it if you need a break from all the planning.
When I’m staging an empty house, the first thing I put in the room is the furniture. The big stuff goes in first like a couch and chairs, table & chairs or bed. Next are the curtains, rug and lights and usually pictures. Once those items are in place, then I add all the other items like the pillows, maybe more pictures, vases, plants or sticks etc. All the accessories is what makes a place a home. Most people don’t budget for the accessories or “bling” but it makes a HUGE difference is making your space stunning.
The last step? Just sit back and enjoy your newly redesigned room.
I’m Debi Collinson. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my first home. The sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I never looked back. Since then, I have been helping clients make their homes look like they came out of a magazine. I have helped clients earn money for their home beyond their expectations.
Due to a growing need, I’m a Designer Helping Seniors with their Living Options. I’m an Aging-In-Place Specialist, Multigenerational Living Designer & downsize seniors using my experience as a Certified Interior Decorator & Certified Home Stager.
I’m also a real estate investor. I buy “fixer uppers” and either flip them for a healthy profit, or turn them into profitable rental properties. I’m currently living in my 8th “fixer uppers.” Come join me as I share my tips & secrets along the way.