The average American home has somewhere between seven and nine rooms. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, dining areas – everything. But when it comes to the most important rooms in the home, few get more use than the living room. It’s the place where you unwind, watch TV, read, play games, and gather with friends and loved ones. Soit makes sense that you should pay attention to how it’s designed.

Living room design is highly personal, but there are some different rules and techniques you can use to create a cohesive look and feel. Consider the following tips:

1. Make it Practical

The number one key to effective living room design is to make it practical. This isn’t a space that simply needs to look good – it also needs to function as a living space. Unlike a dining room that gets used once or twice a year, your living room is utilized every day. Make it comfortable so that you actually enjoy spending time here.

2. Mix Textures

Texture is often the difference between a cookie-cutter living room and a luxury living room. Whereas most people use one or two elements, you should feel free to experiment with as many as you’d like. This may include things like standard upholstery, wood, leather, metal, stone, glass, cotton, plants, brick, and more. Even within these categories, you can try different types, colors, sizes, and patterns.

3. Make the Fireplace the Focal Point

If you have a fireplace in your living room, it should serve as the focal point that ties everything together. Consider upgrading your mantel surround to create a fresh look. If you have tired brick or dated tile around your fireplace, some paint can work wonders.

4. Use Trimwork to Add Character

“Trimwork serves practical purposes, covering the seams where floors and ceilings meet walls and supporting the structure around openings. But these elements serve aesthetic purposes too,” Better Homes & Gardens mentions. “The style of trimwork helps give your home a distinctive look, whether classical, contemporary, old-world, or regional. Projecting lintels over the door and windows, a deep cornice, and a paneled and beamed vaulted ceiling combine to give this white-washed living room a sense of place.”

Even something as simple as crown molding can bring a sense of luxury to a space that’s otherwise very bland. No detail should be spared in this space.

5. Don’t Be Too Matchy-Matchy

The interior design marketplace is flooded with designs that are pushed as being easy and convenient. Companies like Ikea have made the process of designing a living room as easy as walking into a showroom, writing down a bunch of item numbers, and placing an order. But too much matchy-matchy design is a bad thing. It screams of generic taste and is easily replicated in every house on every block.

The easiest thing you can do is break the mold and mix things up. Contrary to what you might think, there’s nothing wrong with using different colors and furniture from different places. A secondhand chair next to a brand new sofa is okay! A bunch of white with a pop of red here and a splash of yellow there isn’t offensive – it’s visually intriguing! Take risks and be willing to try something new.

6. Be Effective With Layering

According to home design expert Tara Mastroeni, effective layering is the key to interior design – particularly in the living room. A complete design consists of a combination of eight elements: wall coverings, flooring, furniture, textiles, lighting, wall hangings, and decor items.

“Your best bet is to look around the room and take stock of any layers missing in your design. Then, over time, make an effort to include them,” Mastroeni writes. “As you add items, be sure to choose items that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, so you’ll also see the benefit of additional visual interest.”

Ready, Set, Design

You don’t need a degree in interior design to create a warm and welcoming vibe in your living room. By paying attention to the principles and techniques outlined in this article, you can take an already nice space and turn it into something that makes people say, “Wow!”

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