In today’s interior design the living room typically includes both the lounge and the dining area as an open area. The living space is most possibly the most significant room in a house. This is the room where family members spend the biggest part of their time together and where guests are entertained. Decorating the living area should therefore receive a considerable amount of attention in order to make sure that the needs of the specific family are met whilst making sure the area looks its best. Here are a few guiding principles to help you avoid making the most commonly made mistakes.
Most would start by selecting the paint colour first, and although I am in favour of using an universal main colour through out a home, remember that paint is one of the cheapest things to change. Therefore start by considering the most expensive décor piece or your favorite item first and work around that.
In a large area, do not push the furniture against the walls, rather pull then away and create a more cozy area. Give the living room and dining areas each its own space. By clearly defining the different zones you will avoid a jumbled open space. The use of area rugs is a great way “grounding” the different areas. The number one mistake most people make is to use a rug that is too small. For the dining area ensure that all the pieces of furniture fit on the rug, if possible, even when the dining chairs are pulled out from under the table during use. For the lounge area the front legs of the sofas and chairs should at least all be on the rug, but if possible, go even bigger.
When using furniture to define your separate zones, select them carefully. One large sofa will clearly indicate where the seating area for the room is, while a dining table large enough to fill the designated space nicely also visibly defines the eating zone.
In a small area, do not include too many furniture pieces and do not go for pieces that are too big. This will make the room look cluttered and cramped. Consider the scale of the furniture pieces as well as their colour. Rather go for lighter colours if possible. Use a lot of glass where possible (e.g. coffee table and dining tables), as its transparency will create the illusion of space.
As discussed in the article on lighting, remember to use a mixture of ambient, task and accent lighting. And do not forget the dimmer switch on at least the ambient lighting. This will allow you to change the mood of the room as and when needed.
Artwork should always be hung at eye-level. As this varies from person to person, use 170cm off the floor as the middle of the piece if unsure. I often see that people tend to hang art closer to the ceiling than it should be. Rather a bit too low than too high.
I love the use of scatter cushions, as it is a great way of adding texture and making an impact. There should however not be so many scatters on the sofa that you have to remove some in order to sit down. The fabric and number of cushions should be chosen taking the size of the sofa/chair as well as the overall look of the room into account. Invest in high-quality pillows that will not only last you a lifetime but will allow you to reshape and mold them as needed. Do not be afraid to use patterns as they add interest and personality to a space. Try not to exceed more than three different patterns in single room. Remember to consider the scales of the patters to each other, its use and the rest of the décor and overall look.
While an open-plan room has separate areas, they should still work and fit together as it still is one room. Next week we will have a look at how to pull together a cohesive decorating look for your open plan area.
[Images obtained from the Internet]