La-Z-Boy: A Beginner’s Guide To Decorating The Living Room

So you’ve just moved into your own place, and the first thing on your list is to decorate your new living room. Although this is a very exciting prospect, it can leave you a little overwhelmed with putting all the pieces together to make a harmonious and appealing composition.

Says Claire Gibson: “Your new living room will be a place where you will relax and unwind daily, watch TV, and entertain friends and family – and it needs to accommodate this as best as possible. It also needs to reflect your own unique and personal sense of style and who you are.”

She says that you will need to consider a colour palette, how you would like to furnish it, and what kind of accessories you would like to include. However, Claire notes that the first thing you need to figure out, is what kind of decorating style you want to go with: “Once you have decided on a style, everything else will follow suit. Looking at photos of living rooms is a great way of making this decision – it will offer inspiration and help guide you along the decorating process.” Once you have chosen your style, Claire offers the following tips on how to get started:

1.) Measurements: No matter what you are shopping for – be it rugs, curtains, furniture, and so on – make sure that you know their ideal measurements, and the size of the space where you would like to place them. “It is always a good idea to have a drawing of your living room with all the measurements listed. If possible it should be drawn to scale so that you can see how the furniture will fit in the space, and it should include all the room’s features, such as doors, windows, fireplaces, and so on.

2.) Furniture placement: One of the most common problems is that people don’t have an understanding on how to place their furniture. Most of the time, people simply push a sofa up against a wall, and place a couple of chairs against another wall, and that’s it. However, arranging furniture really requires a lot more thought and planning, says Claire: “You need to consider the size, shape and traffic flow of the room in question, as well as select what the focal point will be, and how to create conversation areas. So, before you go shopping – be sure to do a little planning first.”

3.) Colour palette: Once you have decided on a style, the next important design element will be selecting the colour palette. This is entirely subjective, but Claire offers one word of advice: “One mistake that many people make is to select the paint colour first. Since painting is relatively easy, and can be mixed to match a particular tone – it is wise to choose the paint last. Rather focus on the more expensive feature pieces first and move outwards from there – choosing the paint to match these, instead of the other way around.”

4.) Furniture: Furniture is a major element in any living room – from both a practical and functional, as well as an aesthetic point of view – so take a look at what furniture you have, and decide what furniture you still need to purchase. Claire says that if you are investing in new furniture, then it is a practical choice to select the larger pieces in neutral tones. Then you can spruce them up with soft furnishings that are easy to change out should you want to change the décor at a later stage. Have a good idea of what furniture you are looking for before you go shopping, and stick to the plan.

5.) Rugs: When selecting a rug, you need to consider the colour, pattern and texture, and most importantly, the size. Claire explains: “When an area rug is too small, it can make the entire space feel disjointed and awkward. Before you choose your rug, make sure that you know the size of your room and how you are going to place the furniture. All the furniture should sit on top of the rug, and ideally, there should be about 25cm to 50cm of bare floor between the edge of the rug and the walls of the room.

6.) Art: Decorating your walls is a major element to the success of any living room interior. Says Claire: “You don’t need to spend a small fortune to create a cohesive and attractive display on your walls, but be sure to find out about the basic rules of what to hang and how to arrange it.”

7.) Lighting: This is an essential element to any successful living room design, notes Claire: “Most importantly, living room lighting should be designed in layers – comprising ambient, task and accent lighting. Consider using a feature pendant or chandelier for the ambient lighting, recessed spots for the accent lighting, and carefully positioned floor lamps for task lighting.”

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