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10 rules to keep in mind when designing your living room

As the old saying goes, there’s nothing like putting your feet up after a hard day’s work. This wouldn’t be possible without your living room, so getting it right should be a top priority. What follows is our guide to ensure that the heart of your home is as tranquil, stylish and cosy as you deserve.
Guides Lifestyle
10 rules living room

The kitchen’s a mess, the dining table is still cluttered with the debris of tonight’s meal and it’s way too early for bed. Where do you turn? The living room, of course. A small slice of heaven within the house and the place we rely on to relax and unwind, it’s easy to overlook how important the design of this room is to our overall happiness. It’s no surprise then, that when it comes to a redecoration job, the pressure is on to get it right.

From furniture without direction to clashing colours, to choosing between a leather or fabric sofa, there are hundreds of different factors to consider when approaching the task. But have no fear, because we’ve prepared the ultimate checklist of do’s and don’ts to help you organise the most important room in the house.

1. Seek direction

The hours (days) you spent trawling the web for the perfect pouffe amount to nothing if you scatter your furniture aimlessly around the room. Whether you want to centre everything around a coffee table, fireplace or the television (as most of us are guilty of), this sense of purpose is a necessity. Doing so will not only create a well-ordered living area, but provide you with a clear idea of where additional pieces like lamps and sideboards will fit into the room.

2. Walls are guidelines, not hard-lines

Now no one is suggesting that you put your couch in the middle of the room. However, the days of sofas-to-the-wall are long behind us. Bringing your seating slightly away from the wall or placing an armchair at an angle will make the room contemporary and stylish. You can keep this looking organised by adding a statement rug to the centre of the floor, creating a living area with clear parameters within the larger space.


3. Living rooms are for living in

Rulers at the ready! Even though you want the room to look aesthetically pleasing, it must be liveable. With this in mind, aim to keep roughly 15-20 inches (38-50 cm) between upholstery and any central coffee table. Also, the room should include a main pathway that’s about 2-4 feet (60-120 cm) wide, so people can pass through easily. Achieving that balance of style and practicality is a challenge for even the most seasoned interior designer, but when you see the difference these rules make, you might just consider a career change.

4. Mirrors are a room’s best friend

Adding a mirror to your living room has numerous benefits. Not only do you have another place to check your hair (always a bonus), it increases the perceived size of the room, and allows far more natural light to be directed around the room. Placing a statement piece like this Hampshire Mirror on an accent wall or above the fireplace not only opens the room up, it gives it an air of rustic-chic, too.

5. Allow lighting for every occasion

It would be a rookie mistake to rely upon the main ceiling bulb as the only means of emitting light into the room. Picture this: a cosy Sunday afternoon, post roast-dinner, and suddenly you’re thrown under a glaring spotlight whilst trying to unwind on the sofa. Not ideal. Now imagine how a trendy Lounge Floor Lamp could soften the mood, keep the room contemporary and add ambience to any occasion.

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6. Cater for guests

It’s easy to get carried away with your vision and ignore the practical necessities of the living room. As a rule of thumb, it should be able to seat at least six people. Whether that’s with a large sofa or the addition of a stylish armchair, having enough seating will ensure that you’re ready for all eventualities. Plus, you won’t have to pretend you’re happy standing when the dinner party winds down!

7. Buy a sofa for all seasons

Try not to get too hung up on whether you go for a leather or an upholstered sofa (just decide whether you like a smooth surface or are happier cosying up on something more snuggly) – but do pay close attention to the colour. Picking something neutral is key in making sure your living room stays stylish all year round. We love this Riley 2 Seater Fabric Sofa, which will provide you with a long-lasting and highly adaptable foundation piece to build upon with accessories. Which brings us to our next point…

8. Accessorise with colour

You can keep your living room current from season to season, by adding accents with different colours and textures. Anything from pastel cushions for the summer to a fur throw for the festive season keeps your living room fashionable, whilst cosy and liveable all year round. We know what’s on our Christmas list!

9. Cut the clutter

The main thing standing in the way of you and a relaxing evening in front of the television could be that well known culprit… clutter. Whether it’s your old-school DVDs (you really have to get rid of that Friends boxset) or a PS4 instruction manual, hiding these items away from view is essential to creating a peaceful living room. Sideboards offer an effective means of solving this problem. Find one that matches the underlying colour-scheme of the room, for example this Dijon Narrow Sideboard which can also operate as a TV stand, killing two birds with one very stylish stone.

10. Inject some personality

You need to make sure the living room becomes your living room. Adding a touch of art, some photographs and a few knick-knacks to the space not only makes it more personal but increases its cosiness too. Remember, smaller objects look much better in groups than standing alone – but beware! Overdoing the ornaments will make it chaotic and detract from the fantastic design-job you have done on the rest of the room, so don’t go overboard.

So, there we have it, a brief 101 on creating the perfect living room space. It might seem like a daunting prospect, but if you follow this guide, your relaxation area will remain versatile, fashionable and, most importantly, liveable for years to come.


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