Living Room and Family Room Decorating: The Basics



Create a strategy for the placement of your furniture, taking into account the following:

1 Prioritize Usefulness

Create a list of everything that will take place in this space as a starting point. A living room, for instance, might need to serve as a multipurpose area for various activities, such as watching TV, listening to music, reading, working on a laptop, etc. Set the number of attendees (including visitors) that will require seating. What kind of space for storage do we need? Do you think task lighting should be here for studying and working on computers? Consider the room’s intended use before making any furniture purchases.

Form of Furnishings

How many of each type of seating, please?

The popularity of sectional couches can be attributed to the fact that they are more “sociable” than conventional sofas. They are suitable for use in more relaxed settings like game rooms. Remember that the corner seat will not have an end table to rest your drink or lamp on when purchasing a sectional. A couch and two chairs, as opposed to a sofa and loveseat, offer more space configuration flexibility if you are buying a standalone sofa.

When it comes to cabinets and storage, deciding where to put the television might be challenging. This is especially true if the fireplace serves as the room’s primary center of interest. Even if you position the television above the fireplace (another topic), you will still need a multimedia cabinet, wall unit, or built-in cabinetry to house your electronics. Don’t forget that tables and ottomans can double as extra storage space. Some coffee and occasional tables contain pull-out trays for meals or laptops, and some have lower shelves. You can put your feet up comfortably in an ottoman with a hinged cover and store toys, games, etc.

3. Size (It Counts!)

The first concern while shopping for new furniture is finding the correct scale for the room. Nothing is more unpleasant than going into a space that is too crammed with pieces of furniture. The floor plan is helpful at this point. The sofa in a living or family room is often the space’s focal point, so it’s crucial to choose its dimensions and placement carefully. If you’re tall and like to stretch out on the couch while watching TV, you may want to consider getting a more extended sofa. Remember that the sofa’s arm width is a significant space eater; a 7-foot sofa with broad arms provides the same amount of sitting as a 6-foot sofa with slender arms. Most individuals and apartment or condo layouts work well with a 36-inch deep sofa. If you have a spacious room or are very tall, you may want to purchase a couch with a deeper seat, but before you do, measure the doors to ensure the sofa will fit.

Think about the dimensions and shape of your ottoman or coffee table. To facilitate individuals getting up and moving around, a minimum distance of 18 inches is recommended between a coffee table and a sofa. A sectional sofa is best paired with a square or rectangular coffee table. When used with modern, straight-backed chairs, a round coffee table adds visual appeal and makes it simpler to walk around without bumping into anything. A round coffee table, on the other hand, will necessitate more side tables to accommodate guests’ extended legs.

Movement of Vehicles

The optimum furniture arrangement for your area can be determined now that you have a shopping list with the desired furniture’s dimensions and styles. Don’t take any chances; let your fingers perform a “walk-through” of the space. Have you allowed for adequate traffic flow? Is it a straight shot from one door to the other if there’s more than one way into the room? How complicated/straightforward is it for guests to stand up and leave? Be mindful of the traffic flow by not placing too many accent tables in hallways or near exits.

5 – Harmony

Balance is the last thing to think about when designing a floor plan. Divide a room down the middle and put the focus on each side of the line; visually, the two halves should feel about equal. A symmetrical room’s halves are essentially mirrored images of one another. The balance between the two sides of an asymmetrical space is established by factors such as the color and size of the furnishings. Picture a room with a deep red accent wall and a massive painting set off by a dark frame. This should be enough “weight” to counteract the dominance of a dark wall unit.

Keep the room bright and breezy, even on the small side. Furniture should be light in tone, have skinny legs, be see-through, and have shiny surfaces. Therefore, the aesthetic impact is minimal here.


After careful consideration and preparation, the design phase can begin. These factors are taken into account in the design:

6. Style

When you visit the stores, “test drive” the furniture to see how it feels. Ideally, you won’t have to choose between a sofa that’s too small or lacks elegance or a couch that’s too large but isn’t very comfy. You shouldn’t have to choose; instead, insist on a seat that fulfills all your requirements.

A sofa in one design and two chairs in different but complementary styles create a fascinating arrangement. Why? Because coordinating furniture sets are no longer the norm. This method of formulaic design rarely results in truly inspired interiors. You’ve probably also heard the design no-no “matchy-matchy” before. Include some classic items from the mid-century era in your modern aesthetic. Modernizing your outfit can be as simple as adding a few cutting-edge elements, even if you have a traditional sense of style.

7. Surface Design Elements

It’s essential to think about texture while decorating a room. A fascinating and well-designed space features a variety of materials and finishes. Natural fabrics like grasscloth and abacus can complement synthetic materials like leather and silk. This contrasts smooth, shiny surfaces and rough, matte ones. Throw cushions, a patterned area rug, and even the upholstery on your dining room chairs and the wallpaper are all easy ways to introduce patterns into your home’s decor.

8. Shade

You’ve probably heard it said before to keep large, expensive items like sofas and chairs neutral and then add pops of color with throw pillows, wall art, and other decorative accents. Painting the walls is another easy way to inject color into your home, and it’s cheap if you do it yourself. But how can I know which color will look best? It would be best to have something to work from, like a beloved rug or painting. The colors of this focal point artwork inspire the rest of the room’s design. Seems like a breeze, right?

9 – Lights

Multiple, well-placed light sources create an inviting atmosphere. Dimming switches are ideal for general or ambient lighting, typically mounted in the ceiling. Task lighting, like reading or under-cabinet kitchen lighting, is placed directly where needed. Accent lighting draws attention to specific features and creates a dramatic effect. Light and shadow can be created in a corner using directional pot lights pointed at artwork or “up lights” placed on the floor behind an object like a tall plant. A well-balanced lighting scheme distributes the available light evenly throughout the space. Light from various angles and heights creates an intriguing layered look and eliminates shady spots. The best lighting schemes use a combination of permanent and temporary fixtures.

There are many factors to consider while decorating a room, so it’s best to get expert advice from an interior designer. Invest in a variety of timeless pieces to change the look of your place in the future while still enjoying your valuable possessions for years to come. In addition to the financial benefits, consider how much more you would like to return home to a well-designed space.

Sharyn Kastelic, a Certified Interior Decorator serving the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, also provides space planning services. She is a Canadian Decorators’ Association (CDECA) member and has won awards for the beautiful and practical spaces she creates for her clients.

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