Living Room

Your living room no longer needs to be that formal, unused room just off the entryway.  Gone are the days of the proper parlor where you sipped tea, and remember those matching living room sets where people left the plastic on so they wouldn’t get dirty?  (OK, I may be dating myself with that one.) Why?  What purpose could it possibly serve to have a room that was never used?  To receive visitors – that was about it.

Life is much too casual in this day and age to continue to have that formal living room to entertain in only a few times a year.  Many home designers and contractors now build with the living room as the focal point of their design. Since spending the majority of your family's together time is in this room, it is wise to make the room as comfortable as possible. You can still have a nice room for having guests, but a stiff, formal room is not exactly conducive to having a nice visit with friends and making people feel comfortable while entertaining.

Living Room Decor

Start living in your living room again.  Make it more user-friendly instead of letting it sit cold and lonely.  This room is crying out for a makeover so take a look at these living room decorating ideas:

  • Use more versatile furniture and invest in classic pieces that won’t look outdated within the next few years.
  • To make your living room look more comfortable and “lived in,” start with comfortable seating and mix in antiques or vintage pieces.   Antiques don’t necessarily have to be formal Victorian pieces; there are plenty of more casual antiques available for living rooms.
  • Avoid buying sets or groupings and instead select individual pieces that blend and work well together.  Don’t buy the matching couch, loveseat and chair set.  The only matching that you should do with furniture would be perhaps a pair of loveseats in a seating area.  Don’t use a lonely, single chair in the corner either; someone may actually use it and feel left out. Try to keep seating in groups to encourage conversation and interaction.
  • Have furniture of varying heights to add interest to a room and create a homey effect.
  • Place lighting at different levels in the room. Use a combination of accent lighting, table lamps and decorative lamps to add warmth and atmosphere to your living room.
  • Keep lampshades and throw pillows up to date, either by replacing or customizing them.  If you even think of having doilies on the arms of your chairs and couches, you will be tarred and feathered.  You can only use these in a Victorian period room.
  • Keep the delicate antiques and collectibles in an area where you don’t have to worry about them getting broken and your guests don’t have to worry about tiptoeing around them.  Try a curio cabinet or display shelves to keep them out of harm’s way.
  • Try to create a 'lived-in' look for your living room, in other words, make it look like you use it more often than you actually do.   Place small furniture in the room; accent tables or an ottoman work well.  Place magazines or a coffee table book on tables – they can spark conversation as well as liven up the room.   Don’t overaccessorize, or the room will look too cluttered.

If you tone down the formality of your living room, you can not only make guests more comfortable, but you can make it comfortable enough to make it your own personal hideaway.  Wouldn’t you love to have a living room you actually use?