4 min readWhether you’re building a new home, just moved into a different property or rearranging your current living area, every room has its own unique design challenges. Space planning is important – especially when you’re working with one that’s the property’s focal point. Living spaces are usually where we spend most of our time inside the home so it’s important to make it comfortable, inviting and practical.
Your living room, regardless of the size, should be able to function as a space for relaxation, dining and entertaining. Balance, function, symmetry and traffic flow are all essential areas to focus on, and of course you want the space to feel as cosy and aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Making the most out of your living space relies on smart layout planning and decorating it in a way that maximises light and space. It’s the little things that can make a big impact – here’s a few tips to get your creative juices flowing.
Virtually see it before you move it
Space planning is the key to a successful living room layout. Reviewing the room you’re working with will give you the opportunity to assess any structural constraints you may be facing. Take exact measurements and determine where the windows and key traffic areas are. Stage the living room with an online tool or app that allows you to have a virtual display of the space. This can be effective in showing how the area can be manipulated and whether or not your chosen furniture sizes and ideas will work.
Visualising the space and how it’s going to look with your furniture in it can be a challenging task within itself. Apps like Roomstyler, 3d Home Planner, Design a Room and HomeByMe can save the drama of buying something that looks great in the shop, but doesn’t work in the room. You can also play around with colour schemes, décor options, finishes and laying out the space.
Determine your spatial needs
Analyse the way you currently spend, or intend to spend, time in the room. This will help to determine your space needs and prioritise everything when you reach the furniture planning stage. Consider the size of the furniture you’ll be adding to the room and how many people will be occupying the space on a regular basis. You’ll want to allow for enough room around the furniture too for ease of traffic flow, so take this into consideration when planning the living space.
Create natural paths for good traffic flow and avoid any dead spaces in the middle of the room, which can leave a space feeling uncomfortable. Traffic patterns should be established before the space is staged. Watch for door swings, window coverings, windows and allow enough room for guests to manoeuvre in and around the furniture. Take note of where the power points are for lamps, the TV and entertainment unit. Consider storage and organisation options for small spaces, it’s ideal to find multifunctional furniture that can be utilised for storage too.
Consider design-focused elements
Use different furniture styles to create design-focused elements in the space or any other key focal points you want to draw the eye too. Investing in bespoke fitted furniture – pieces that are customised to suit your tastes and spaces layout – can give the room a unique appeal and be visually pleasing to the eye. For the balance ratio to be practical, you want to divide the room into sections and make sure the furniture is distributed evenly across all areas. Use the middle of the room or a spot at the back to implement a focal point and add design-focused elements within the space.
Use mirrors to give the Illusion of more space
If your living area is lacking space, you can make the room feel more expansive by decorating with mirrors. Place them strategically to reflect light and add a nice ambiance to the room. Hanging a large mirror in a central location can create a stunning focal point and help to give the illusion that there’s more space. Depending on the layout, try and position a mirror across from a window. The mirror will reflect the view outside, giving the impression of an extra window which can be a great way for making a small space feel less boxed in.
Be smart about the colour scheme
Colour schemes have the potential to completely transform the look and feel of a room. Smaller spaces work better with neutral colours on the walls, floor, ceiling and furniture upholstery. You can add pops of vibrancy by using colourful throws, cushions, wall art or plants. Neutral paint colours like beige, off-whites, grey and coffee tones are easy colour schemes to work with. Grey is a sophisticated colour and can be paired beautifully with brighter shades, providing the perfect backdrop and allowing them to shine.
You can use colour to make the room appear bigger by painting walls the same colour as the adjacent room. This can be effective in tying together open floor plans and creating a seamless transition from room to room. The general rule of thumb with colour schemes is to pick one main colour and one or two accent colours. Test the colours you want to use across different lighting factors in the room too, as this can change the tint significantly.
For more decor ideas head to five of the hottest interior design trends of 2017, nine easy ways to makeover your home and seven 70s home decor trends making a comeback.