Strategies to Make Your Living Room Pop

Your living room is the heart of your home, so what better place to showcase your sense of style? It doesn’t take a whole remodel to make some big changes either. Check out these eight simple tips, tricks, and techniques!

1. Paint an accent wall

This is a quick project that can add a lot of bang for your buck. Choose just one wall to feature a coat of bold color, and roll it on! But which wall should you choose? A good rule of thumb is the darker the color, the smaller the wall. Dark colors tend to absorb light and make a space feel smaller. Consider the way natural light moves through your space, and choose your feature wall accordingly. Not quite ready to commit to a whole wall of color? Divide the wall with a chair rail, then use the space below for your bold accent color.

2. Feature your window treatments

Too often, windows are neglected, especially in small spaces. It’s a bit nerve wracking to risk reducing light in a room that already feels dark, but drapes or other window treatments can actually help a space feel larger. With dark spaces, choose lightweight, semi-transparent curtains, and always hang them all the way to the floor. This creates the illusion that your windows are larger than they are. Add a valance or draped swag for a luxurious, welcoming look. Want something more modern? Bold, geometric print drapes set on cast-iron piping instead of traditional curtain rods make quite a statement.

Keep in mind that curtains are a style statement and can also help cut down on heating and cooling costs. In the summer, keep the drapes closed during the brightest parts of the day to reduce heat; in the winter, choose heavier curtains that keep out drafts at night.

3. Choose a single statement piece

The key to creating a cohesive look that changes and adapts to your family’s needs is sticking with classic or understated pieces for the majority of your furniture and choosing just a piece or two that really drive home your style sense. For example, a trendy pair of armchairs or a vintage sofa can really set the tone without needing every other item in the room to match. Look for classic pieces in neutral colors that compliment your feature furniture without stealing the show. Need a little help tying it all together? Rely on color, with matching throw pillows or a multicolored rug that brings different elements into one pattern. When you want to change things up, swapping out these accessories can refresh the look of the space without needing to completely upend your interior design.

4. Feature your coffee table

In many living spaces, the coffee table is central to the space. Make it a focal point in your interior design as well with a striking natural stone table. Natural stone is a design feature that can blend seamlessly into a whole range of aesthetics, from industrial chic to rustic to clean and modern.

The key is choosing the right stone for your table. Granite, for example, is a dense stone available in a whole range of colors, from red to blue. Light shades are typically filled with darker flecks, though, so if you want something uniformly pale, consider marble. Filled with swirls of subtle color, marble is a classic choice often seen in bathroom countertops and antique designs. Limestone is softer and more prone to scratching; though it may not be ideal for kitchen countertops, the lighter use in a living room makes it the perfect place to show off limestone’s unique texture.

5. Create a gallery wall

Showcase your memories with a wall of framed images. This is a great place to let your imagination run a little wild. While a mix of images always looks best, try to have a consistent theme. For example, you could choose family portraits or vacation photos, opt for kids’ artwork or handwritten notes. Maybe the unifying theme is that all the images are black and white, or all feature a chosen color prominently.

Once you’ve decided on a number of images, gather your frames. A mix of different shapes and sizes gives the gallery wall a homemade look, while identical narrow frames and white matting looks sleek and modern. Whatever you decide, take the time to test out different arrangements on your wall. The easiest way to do this is to trace your frames on paper, cut them out, and tape them up using painters’ tape, which won’t damage your wall. When you like the arrangement, it’s time to attach hanging hardware and put your gallery on display!

6. Scale up your artwork

The reason a gallery wall is so striking is because it takes up far more space, and in a more visually interesting way, than having the same frames and images scattered around the room. You can achieve a similar effect with a single oversized piece of artwork. This works particularly well in rooms that have unusually high ceilings, or large expanses of wall that are uninterrupted by doorways or windows. There are many resources online to find oversized artwork, and even more DIY options if you feel up to the challenge. It’s important to make sure that you take the weight of your oversized artwork into account when it comes to hanging it. Bigger artwork is often heavier therefore make sure you’re either drilling directly into studs when attaching hanging hardware to the wall or using the appropriate drywall anchors.

7. Try something smaller

Big artwork can make a bold statement, but so can something smaller. In fact, smaller furniture can be quite striking. Today, it seems furniture just keeps getting bigger—oversized sectional couches, extra wide, overstuffed chairs. There’s no denying it’s impressive and often comfortable, but it’s not always suited to the layout of your space. Think about how you most often use your furniture, and see if you can make your space more dynamic by, say, switching out a loveseat for a pair of armchairs instead. This also gives you more options when it comes to rearranging the room and creating different seating areas. Whenever possible, keep large pieces of furniture pulled away from the walls to allow for better traffic flow throughout the room.

8. Let there be light!

A beautiful room can really be dampened by a boring lighting fixture. Not only is the fixture itself a focal point of the room—after all, it’s literally glowing—but it also helps set the tone for the rest of your decor. Choose something that provides the light you need, but also makes sense with your design. An industrial-inspired space might use pendant lights with exposed incandescent style bulbs, while a textured globe light provides a softer, cozier look for a modern cottage style.

Ready to get started?

You don’t need to plan a major overhaul just to get your living space up to speed. With just a few focal elements and a little bit of planning, you can completely transform a room. Just remember to keep things cohesive by choosing one or two things to highlight and letting the rest of your decor play a supporting role. Before long, your living spaces will look like something straight from a design catalog!

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