Have you ever walked into someone’s living room and everything felt just RIGHT? Not necessarily designer-magazine flawless, but balanced, attractive, welcoming. Both friendly and stylish. And have you had the opposite experience? A room that felt wrong but you couldn’t quite put your finger on why?
Interior designers make their living from helping people achieve that ‘’just right’’ look, but avoiding some common mistakes will go along way towards creating a welcoming, stylish and coherent look.
The sofa is a key to creating a comfortable room, but it can also make it or break it visually. If your sofa is uncomfortable, wrong size or wrong colour, the room will never look or feel right. Don’t buy a sofa on impulse: plan carefully and if in doubt, follow our guide for sofa buying. And make sure it will fit!
Each room’s layout will be to some extent determined by its size, shape and your needs, but there are some things worth considering:
-- don’t push all the sofas and chairs flush with the wall - it makes the room look smaller.
-- create functional areas, e.g. dining and rest in a multi-functional room, or conversation groups in a large one.
-- think of what’s visible from the main seating, not just how the room looks when you enter it. If your living room contains a TV, try to make it visible from comfortable seating, but avoid making it a focus of the whole room.
Art at Wrong Height
Art generally should be hanging at eye level, which means on average 60 inches (153 cm) from the floor. Too high makes people crane their necks, too low means they have to look down. If you have many pictures on one wall -- so-called gallery wall -- hang the central, most important piece at eye level.
This rule has some exceptions. For example, if all your family members are exceptionally tall or short, adjust accordingly. And if your room has very low ceilings, think of the wall as being divided into four vertical sections: art should be hanging in the third one from the floor.
Everything the Same
Chaos is to be avoided, but so should be matching furniture. Your home is not a showroom and filling it with a matching set will make it look stifled and a bit dead. Break up furniture sets with additional pieces, introduce contrasting accents, and don’t worry about keeping it all entirely in the same style or period either: a harmony is created by balancing various elements, not by keeping them all the same.
Too Small a Rug
If in doubt, go bigger. As a rule, a living-room rug should either touch or extend beyond the front legs of all nearby furniture. A small rug separated from the sofa and chairs by wide channels of flooring looks very, very sad.
One Overhead Light
However impressive your chandelier, you need more than one light sources in your living room. Standard lamps, table lamps and wall lamps all have their place and will help you create a variety of moods as well as sufficiently but not overwhelmingly illuminate separate areas for reading, craftwork or quiet relaxation.
Too Big, Too Small
...furniture, that is. Proportion is king when it comes to achieving a balanced, appealing look and you don’t want your smallish room overwhelmed by a giant corner sofa, but you also don’t want a spacious room cluttered with small bits of furniture.
Similarly, various pieces of furniture should maintain some proportion in relation to each other: the so called Golden Ratio is pleasing to the eye, and it’s equal to 1.618 -- this means that for example a rectangle with the longer side measuring 1.618 of the shorter looks ‘’better’’ to us. The same applies to, for example the difference between the length of the sofa and the coffee table. We are not suggesting you measure to the last centimetre, but if something seems ‘’off’’, try to play with positioning, proportions and see if it makes a difference.
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