Designing a new house is always exciting, but a lot of new homeowners overlook some important aspects in their rush to finish decorating an essential space like the living room. You have to keep in mind where the light is coming from and how that impacts a room, the scale of the furniture, and practical things, like resale value.
Here are the top tips to consider when designing your living room.
1. Prioritize light
Your living room should be a place where you enjoy spending time, and where you’re able to cultivate a positive atmosphere. Natural light is incredibly important for that, so it’s recommended that you take advantage of natural light and prioritize it as much as possible. That means making sure that you’re not obstructing your windows, that you don’t have any large, dark pieces of furniture darkening up the room, and that you pick out a color for your walls that will allow the light to bounce off them. It doesn’t have to be bright white, you can opt for pastels, a neutral color, or anything that’s bright and uplifting. You don’t want a gloomy living room. You’ve probably heard this before, but this is where mirrors are super important. They reflect light and can create the illusion of a larger, brighter, more airy space.
You can also trick the same effect with smart use of artificial lighting. Ideally, you’d have several “levels” of lighting in a space. A brighter overhead light, tall lamps or sconces, and table lamps. That way, you can create the kind of mood you want through lighting, depending on the time of day and what you’re using the room for.
2. Think about resale value
When homeowners are designing, redecorating, and furnishing a space, they get excited about various design elements and all the changes they want to make, but they rarely consider something that’s going to come back to bite them later: resale value. A bright pink wall makes you happy right now, but if you want to sell in 5 years, potential buyers may not be as excited as you are. Do you really want to tear down the wall between the living room and the kitchen, or would you be better off thinking of overall trends and what other people might want from this space in a few years? You should by no means refrain from doing what you want to do in order to make this your dream home. But when you do make design choices, keep in mind how permanent these changes are, and how easy they are to rectify, should the time come when you need to sell. Very original, uncommon designs might impact the value and resell potential of an otherwise wonderful property, so when you’re painting that pink wall, maybe opt for something pastel that’s easier to cover up and not a neon that might scare buyers away. You’ll be grateful later.
3. Consider the needs of your family
One of the primary things to consider, when designing a room, is its use and the people who are going to be here in this space. Do you have kids? How are they going to be using this room? How much time is your family going to spend here? Do you use this room every day? Are your pets allowed in here?
That will give you an indication of what design elements you need to focus on, whether it’s comfort, entertainment, durability, or easy maintenance. Since this is your living room, your priorities are probably comfort and entertainment. The living room tends to be a family space, so it needs to cater to all members of your family.
Sometimes, that means making concessions and choosing a hard-wearing, darker fabric for the sofa instead of a pastel velvet, or forgoing the white shag rug you were planning for this space. Instead, think about what is going to make this an easy, comfortable space for everyone: a comfortable sofa, a nice TV, enough storage for board games, and easy access to all the snacks you can eat.
4. Don’t work against the space
when you’re designing, it’s essential to consider the actual space you’ve got, not your ideal one. That’s where people go wrong. You’re not designing your dream living room, you’re working with your real one. So, keeping that in mind: work with the space you have, not against it.
What kind of space do you have? Is it small? Is your ceiling tall? Is the room a weird shape? Do you have little niches, corners and alcoves? Don’t try to hide, cover up, or otherwise “make up for” what you perceive to be flaws. Work with your space and highlight the features that make it unique.
If the room is tiny, don’t get the biggest TV you can find. Similarly, don’t overwhelm it with large furniture, or dark colors. If your space is bigger, it needs furniture that will complement that. A large rug, enough seating, and long, thick curtains will be assets in your space, instead of taking away from it.
5. Make sure it’s cohesive
When you design this space, don’t limit your thoughts to just this room. That might allow you to create a beautiful space in itself, but does it go well with the rest of your home? Anytime you’re designing a room, you have to keep in mind your entire house, as a whole. When you look at the bigger picture like that, you are able to better see where this space is going to fit. You’ll be able to create a cohesive theme and design.
How do you achieve that? By bringing in elements from the rest of your home into your living room. Make sure to use the same color palette, the same type of fabrics, or the same style. You don’t want the rest of your home to be midcentury modern and your living room to be a classic farmhouse style that looks disjointed.
By “echoing” different elements from other corners of your house in this space, you’re creating a harmonious, cohesive design story that won’t stand out for all the wrong reasons. Final thoughts Designing and decorating your new house is the most exciting part of homeownership, but are you considering every important aspect when making design decisions? Especially for important spaces, such as the living room, there are some essential tips to keep in mind.
You have to work with the space you’ve got, and not let yourself get carried away by fantasy – especially if you care about your resale value! Successful design takes the family needs into consideration, as well as other practical elements, like lighting, color, and style. That way, you achieve a cohesive design that’s beautiful and personal, while still remaining functional.