• Living Room Decorating

    The key thing to remember about a living room is the name we give to it. It's a room for living in. As you decorate your living room, you'll want to keep that in mind. Will the end result be something that makes you and your guests comfortable? Will you want to linger there, just enjoying conversation? Or will it be a showpiece that doesn't actually get used much at all but makes an impression on guests as they are hastily ushered through to the more useable portions of the house?

    These days, the accent seems to be on comfort, but without sacrificing the look. One thing that can help a guest feel comfortable is lighter colors. Picture a room full of furniture with dark wood. The paintings on the walls have dark frames and dark colors. The curtains are dark as well. It can start to seem oppressive. Now picture that same room with furniture in light wood like ash or a light oak. The picture frames are light wood or reflective brass. And the window treatment is light and sunny. Suddenly the whole room lights up and it feels as though this is a place where you'd be comfortable staying a while.

    To add to that look, you want to make sure that the living room is arranged symmetrically. If you have two pictures that coordinate, you can hang one up over one side of the couch, the other over the other side. A single, large picture can be hung up so that it is centered above the couch. Armchairs can be placed on either side of the couch or facing the couch with a coffee table in between.

    When you choose the furniture, remember that you're not just choosing for look, you're choosing for feel. If possible, spend some time sitting in the furniture and asking yourself whether you would feel comfortable for 10 minutes sitting there. If 10 minutes, how about an hour? There are so many different kinds of furniture out there that you should be able to find some that both looks and feels good.

    Once you've got the major pieces-couch, chairs, coffee table-chosen, you can then concentrate on the other items such as artwork. You'll be able to choose those things with the basic look of the room already in your head. That way, when you're done, your living room won't be a mishmash of competing looks but a unified whole.

    If you decide on the formal look, there's plenty you can do to make sure that the living room is comfortable for you and the guests you entertain. When you choose the furniture, don't just go for the look. Consider the feel just as you would for a less formal living area. Formality does not need to mean that you sacrifice comfort. It's perfectly possible to find fine, formal furniture that nevertheless is easy and comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. You don't just want the room to look nice. You want it to feel nice as well.

    A formal living room should still be useable. If you have an expensive wooden coffee table, guests may be afraid to set their drinks on it. You can solve this problem with ornate, formal coasters. The coasters are obviously there for drinks to be placed on them. Yet they still look great and add to the refinement of the room.