Now that our bathroom is complete, it’s time for us to start thinking about the other rooms in our house. The next on my hit list is our living room, which is open plan.
You step foot into our house straight into the living room, and can walk through into the kitchen (no door). The stairs are also open (no banisters or wall) so I have quite a lot to consider when styling this area of our house. Everything has to flow and compliment each other, and it’s not something we have not yet managed to do.
I only have one photograph of our living room, from when we first moved in 3 years ago. Aside from a new sofa (purple of course!) everything is pretty much exactly the same. Everything needs a big overhaul, but there is only so much we can do on the weekends, so home renovation projects take us quite a while.
In the photo of our sofa above, you can see the open plan staircase that I mentioned at the start of this post. To the right is the front door, and to the left, the kitchen. Excuse the boxes of junk behind the sofa – storage is a problem in our house, and we are working on solutions.
Living Room Decor
When it comes to decorating the walls, I generally go for a neutral colour, and add pops of colour with accessories, cushions, and a feature wall. I’ve made a feature wall in my son’s bedroom (with wallpaper), and in our new bathroom (with mosaic tiles). It makes a real impact, without being overbearing. As well as paint, wallpaper or tiles, a feature wall could also have a photo collage, a collection of curios you want to display, or even a storage wall.
We already have a feature in our living room with the brick fireplace, but I will confess – I think it is horrible! I need a solution for that – ideas in the comments if you have any please!
Don’t forget the window decor – blinds, curtains, nets? The dressing of the window can add a real impact to the room as a feature wall can.
Living Room Flooring
This is always a personal choice – be it carpet, wood, laminate, vinyl, or tiles. Since discovering the wonders of laminate a few years ago, this is my preferred choice of flooring. We had oak laminate flooring products in our old house. This type of flooring made everything feel clean and tidy. As you can see in my photos, the carpet in our current living room is not only ugly, but has also seen better days. When it comes to replacing it, we will definitely put down laminate again. My husband is quite the dab hand at laying this kind of flooring down now, having laminated our old house, as well as my son’s bedroom in this one. Carpet would go up the stairs though, so I would find a colour to compliment the laminate.
Living Room Useability
How will your living room be used? Is it a room that only gets used every so often, because family members are in their own spaces (teenagers in bedrooms!); or does everyone hang out more in the kitchen? Do you eat meals in there? Or do you just chill out, watch the television, listen to music, or read? Maybe it is a thoroughfare – like ours is?
Effectively, our living room is also like our hallway, so I have to make sure that the floor will stand up to high usage. I mentioned earlier about it being directly next to our kitchen. We don’t have a door from one room to another, just an archway, so I want to make sure that the flooring and decor flows. Laminate will not work in the kitchen for us – we’ve had it in there before (previous owner) and after a huge water leakage, had to replace it all. Instead I would go for vinyl floor tiles because they are hard wearing, water resistant, and easy to maintain.
Living Room Furniture
My number one tip when buying furniture, is to measure it and make sure it will fit well in the room. I loved my old sofa (that’s the one in the top photo), but we bought that at our old house, where our living room was a lot bigger than our current one. It meant that when we moved it took up way too much space, so last year, we invested in a new one. There was lots of measuring going on at the furniture showroom! In these huge warehouses, it often feels like the furniture is smaller than it actually is!
Everyone has their personal preferences for furniture styles, and what items they actually need. I’m not a big fan of coffee tables – yes I know we have one – it’s a dumping ground! Contrary to the amount of stuff we have everywhere, I prefer the minimal look – sofas, television/media unit, storage/bookcase and that coffee table… and that’s it!
The bookcases we have store books, DVDs (behind cupboards), and other bits and bobs in drawers, and storage boxes. If you can double up furniture and storage (a footstool with storage room inside for example) all the better!
Living Room Accessories
Cushions, throws, candles, mirrors, clocks, ornaments, photographs, and artwork – all things you can use to accessorise your living room. I am nuts for photographs, and have lots of them in frames in our living room. When it comes to accessories, I’m quite seasonal, and switch things around to suit the time of year. I try to keep accessories in our house to a minimum (less to dust!). Fresh flowers are also something I like to accessorise a room with.