A living room can function differently from one home to another, so it should be decorated to reflect the tastes and satisfy the needs of those who use it most. If you observe the activities that take place in the living room, you will see how your living room truly functions and you will be able to ascertain the best ways to decorate it.
For a Formal Living Room
If your living room is the place to gather for only special occasions with friends or family members, then the decor should reflect that formality. Interesting art on the walls and sculpture or porcelain collectibles on a table promote adult conversation. Lighting should accompany each seating area, and lampshades should be kept spotless and updated. A silver tea service or elegant bar set will tell all who enter that this room is meant for them and their comfort. Fresh flowers make this environment even more special and inviting. The formal living room is a place to display your best rug and silk throw pillows. Whether the style of the room is traditional or contemporary, keep in mind the types of celebrations or meetings held there -- adult-only holiday parties, business or political gatherings, adult birthdays and anniversaries -- when you choose accessories.
For a Living Room That Serves as the Family Room
Many homes do not have both a living room and a family room, so one room must serve as both. In this type of living room, use decor for its combination of beauty and function. Viewing television, playing games and sometimes eating snacks or casual meals take place here. Keep in mind that children (whether yours or someone else's) may use this room, so provide coasters and a decorative box that hides napkins within easy reach. An armoire or attractive console with cabinets and shelves can hold the television as well as DVDs and electronic games, or a separate basket or box can house the small items. Throw pillows should be washable, and any rug that is used should be stain-resistant or have a pattern that will camouflage spills easily. Lamps should have heavy bottoms that provide stability in the event of being knocked.
For a Living Room That Serves as a Guest Room
When guest bedrooms are limited or nonexistent, a living room that contains a sleeper sofa doubles as a guest room. Instead of a cocktail table, a cocktail chest can be placed in front of the sofa to hold a blanket and bed pillows. Guests will appreciate magazines in an attractive basket and a small television hidden in an accent cabinet at a viewing distance. A decorative tissue holder and a decanter that can be filled with fresh water provide extra touches of hospitality on an end table. An ottoman or footstool in front of an upholstered chair beckons a weary guest who is not quite ready for sleep to put his feet up and relax. Task lighting in the form of a floor lamp or table lamp is essential for a guest's comfort.
For the Living Room That Serves as Library or Office
A living room devoted to reading or conducting business does not need to be boring. The type of art chosen for the walls can help set the tone for the space, whether bold and contemporary or somber and traditional. Bookshelves should be attractively decorated with equal amounts of books, decor and open space to make them interesting to look at. Decor can include pretty containers or wood boxes that hide office supplies. Lamps should be carefully selected for their form and function; they should be good reading lamps that do not look like standard office lamps. The sofa should be adorned with the comforts of home such as a throw and colorful pillows. Scented candles on a coffee table can provide atmosphere conducive to thought.
- "House Beautiful Design & Decorate: Living & Dining Rooms: Creating Beautiful Rooms from Start to Finish "; Tessa Evelegh; 2007
- "Design and Decorate Living Rooms"; Lesley Taylor; 2004
- "Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy"; Deborah Needleman, et al.: 2008
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