Despite spending almost all my time in my bedroom, I think that living rooms are an essential part of designing an apartment or house. It's probably the first place you'll enter, and your guests will spend a lot of time there. If you have roommates, it's nice to have a communal space where you can hang out.
For that reason, there are some dos and don'ts to decorating a living room:
- Do ask before you hang something up or add a major element, if you and your roommates have agreed to jointly decorate the space.
- Don't use the living room as a dumping ground when you come home from work/school/the gym.
- Don't go too color crazy--everyone should be aware of what the main colors are. A green lamp on top of a blue table on top of an orange rug can get old quickly.
- Do brainstorm a theme before you start shopping. Are you going for a vintage, retro feel? Or do you want the place to be minimalist?
It's not about how much space you have, either. You don't need a full L-shaped couch to have a living room. Take this studio apartment, for example.
You can totally tell that this is a studio given the bed right next to the sofa, but I still consider there to be a "living room" space. The decorative pillows invite people to sit down and get cozy. I especially love the minibar--as someone about to turn 21 I am totally on board to create one of these in a month!
What says "hang out here!" more than a drink station? Even if you don't drink alcohol, or you want to keep your beverages in the kitchen only, this is the right idea for a living room. It should entice people in and be fun. One of my friends achieves this by having several board games stocked on one of her end tables. People always see them and want to start a round of Jenga.
Another nice thing about this cart is that it builds up. That's really important in a living room where you have lots of wide, open space but still want to keep it uncluttered. If your apartment doesn't have built-in shelves, consider buying some. This will make it possible for you to decorate without having a row of figurines across your windowsill.
This shelf above has tons of tiny objects that add character to the living room, but would look cluttered if arranged horizontally. By building vertically they look purposeful, almost like a museum exhibit.
On the subject of clutter, your living room should be neat and clean. I already mentioned not using your living room as a dumping ground for random stuff you've accumulated, but you should also make sure to put up dishes, wipe down the table, and keep furniture in alignment often.
The apartment above does a great job of this. Everything looks pristine, but there's enough color to keep this room from looking like a hospital room. I especially love the mis-matched bar seats.
Your living room should have character. It shouldn't look like a bunch of random finds from a thrift store were piled together, but someone should be able to point out what's unique. Maybe you've splurged on funky beaded lamps. Or perhaps you're growing a mini garden in the corner. Have something that you can talk about.
How do you decorate your living room?
What's your living room like? Do you base your decor off a color palette or theme, or do you simply make things work as you go along?