It’s one of the rooms in our homes that we tend to spend the most time in, and if it’s decorated correctly, your living room has the ability to tie your entire home together. Whether you’re watching TV with the kids, entertaining guests or just lying on the couch reading a book (one can hope, right?), you want it to be a comfy, practical, beautiful and cosy place.
To help you achieve just that, we’ve got a list of the 7 most common mistakes people make when decorating their living rooms, and how to solve them.
1. Pushing all your furniture against the walls
Despite what you may think, pushing all your furniture in your living room right up against the wall does not make the space look bigger. In fact, it generally creates weird dead space in the middle of the room and makes it feel a bit cold, could leave you yelling rather than conversing and ultimately makes the space appear smaller.
Bring your furniture closer together to create a cosy living space, while opening up walkways that won’t interfere with your conversations. After all, you don’t want to have to walk a mile to get from your couch to the coffee table, do you?
2. Your rug is too small for your living room
Yes, large rugs can cost a pretty penny, but when your rug is too small for the space it leaves the rooms feeling disjointed and, well… it looks a bit weird.
Ideally, your rug should be big enough so that all your furniture touches it, making the room look much more expansive and unified. The bonus is that, these days, places like H&M and Mr Price Home have really affordable (and really cool) rugs, so don’t let your budget be your excuse any more.
3. Relying only on overhead lighting
We all know that lighting is a mood setter, but all too often it’s an afterthought when it comes to decorating. Don’t just stick to those overhead lights (which are often ultra-fluorescent and can be as unflattering as those darn fitting room lights!), but rather ‘layer’ your lighting to create depth, warmth and interest.
Incorporate lower hanging lights, chandeliers or floor and table lamps (or all of the above), which also serve as fabulous décor pieces on their own. Winning!
4. People paint their walls first
One of the biggest décor mistakes people make is choosing the colour they want to paint their walls first. Now, this isn’t wrong in itself, but you are making your life a whole lot more difficult for yourself.
It is much easier to match one of the many hues out there (yes, there are thousands) to the curtain fabric you’re in love with or the scatter cushions that you just can’t live without than the other way around. Remember, items such as your couches are generally long-term investments that you need to live with for many years, while you may grow tired of a specific wall colour relatively quickly.
5. There’s a serious lack of colour
Following on from the above, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically default to white or beige as the colour for your walls. Yes, painting walls in anything other than a neutral colour can be daunting, but it can seriously liven up your living room and give it a completely new lease of life with a splash of colour.
If you’re feeling a little less brave, try painting one statement wall a bold colour and keep the rest neutral. Remember, we’re not suggesting you go bright magenta — grey is a colour too! Not sure which colour you should choose? We’ve got the colour guide you’re looking for.
6. Decorating for the life you want
Yes, a white lounge suite can look super chic and that cream rug is wonderfully on trend, but you have three kids under the age of seven, which can only mean one thing: dirt! You need to decorate your living room for the life you have, rather than the life you want (sorry!). Think carefully about your lifestyle and habits (children, pets, if you like to entertain or not, etc) and make your space work for those.
7. Forgetting about side tables
This one is more of a practical issue than anything else, but if your living room is on the larger side, you really should have side tables. Not only will it fill the space and allow for your décor items to be beautifully displayed, but it makes it easier for guests (and yourself) to put down their cuppa tea (read: glass of wine), meaning that there’s less chance of it being knocked over. We told you, practical!