How to create a living room that isn't meaningless

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A carefully assembled living room that isn't comfortable and doesn't represent your family is meaningless. I use to find myself trying to create a living room based around what I thought it should contain and how it should look to everyone else. This usually ended up in me trying to make my home look like a museum. 

Then one day I looked around and I realized that my room didn't really represent me or my family. Not to mention I had spent so much time in the pursuit of perfection that my kids found the space uncomfortable.

This was a real eye opener for me as a designer and as a mom. I realized when we strive for the pursuit of perfection we can cause our homes to become unwelcoming to even those who live there. 

Instead, we should live our lives intentionally with the people you care the most about, and trying to achieve perfection will never lead you there. I learned to make sure when you are designing a room you can actually see your family living there. 

It's a home, not a museum!

The living room should feel the most like home and represent all the family members as its the central gathering place. This should be where stories are told, Sunday naps are taken, and able to entertain friends. 

It's common to want to decorate the living room with the prettiest sofa and tables you can find. But remember when you are investing in these core pieces pretty alone is not sufficient. They must be both equally functional and comfortable. Consider were your family members will actually want to sit and how you will conversate with guests. Your goal is to reach a balance of beauty and livable. 

Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have. If you find you have to use some of the pieces you already have but feel they fall flat consider how you can update them. A fresh coat of paint or new hardware might be all you need to give an old piece a fresh new look. These little tweaks to your existing pieces can make all the difference. 

Don't fill your room with things you think should be there because someone else said it should or because you've seen someone else do it, or just because you want it to feel finished. These reasons will never provide you with a home you truly love. 

You can make a room feel both beautiful and complete without filling every corner or surface with a bunch of random stuff.  The point here is - Our homes should be a source of happiness to the people who live there, so surround yourself with things you love and let go of the rest. 

Elements you can add to your living room:

  • comfortable seating

  • coffee table

  • large area rug

  • greenery

  • storage baskets

  • unique personalized artwork

  • throw pillows and blankets

  • candles

  • accent furniture

While you are decorating your living room you can run into trouble areas. Lets look at some of those areas and how we can treat them. 

Dark or Cave like living room 

Keep the walls and ceiling paint light to make the room fee larget. If you lack natural light in your room invest in quality lighting that will reflect well off the light colored walls. You can also add new windows to expand the natural lighting. Layering in lamps this can make a huge difference to the overall space. Floor lamps, table lamps, and wall sconces are effective options to create a well-lit space. 

Concealing the TV

Most of us want a tv in our home living room but we don't necessarily want it to be seen. A great way to hide the look is to install built-in cabinetry with bifold doors. Many of our TVs are mounted above the fireplace conceal it with a custom mirror or large artwork with a piano hinge to conceal it. There are also some furniture pieces such as armories you can hide it in if you don't want to install anything permanent. But please don't feel as if you must conceal it at all as most living rooms now have them and it is expected for you to have one. Instead, try decorating around it. 

No Focal Point

A fireplace is typically a focal point of most living rooms, but if you don't have one in your living room you can create one. One way is by installing a faux mantel to serve this purpose. You can also use larget pieces of furniture such as a hutch or entertainment cabinet. TYou can then create a gallery wall of photos or add shelving to draw the eye to that area. This is what I have don't in my own home as I have no fireplace. 

No visual interest

If you have a living room that has no visual interest add in some texture. Textures can be adding in on curtains, rugs, pillows and even throws to help warm up a bland living room. This will help the room feel more layered. Don't' forget the architectural features such as wainscotting, corbels, moldings, and trims that can add architectural dimension. If your living room is primarily neutral and simple consider adding in color and pattern with an area rug. The biggest rug you can fit into space is typically the best option as long as you can reserve a few feet around the perimeter of the room. The majority of the furniture should sit on or straddle the rug. Take an unconventional approach to your wall decor to add dimension and makes for interesting conversation pieces. 

No flow

If your room is small and you feel like there is no flow take a minimalist approach. This will help the space to feel less crowded and allow for easier movement throughout the space. Try using a round coffee table rather than a square or rectangular to encourage easy flow. Open the room up with cased openings to other areas. Consider the use of a loveseat with side chairs instead of a larger sofa. 

Inherited furniture 

PIeces that have been handed down might be beautiful and meaningful but might not fulfill your decor style. Consider if you can paint or restain the piece you love. Reupholstering an old sofa or chair is an easy way to upgrade and allows you the opportunity to choose the color, pattern, and fabric. 

Creating a happy home is all about intentionally decorating a home that is beautiful but that also in intentionally fulfilling our families needs. A large part of that is creating a gathering area that is not meaningless. When our living room has meaning to our family we are much more likely to enjoy the space. If you need help creating a meaningful space for your home then join us in the Happy Home Society and see how to create a living room that's meaningful and release your stress so you can focus on the good things in life like family, friends, and wine.