Source: Wesley Moon Inc.
The basics for your new living room are done: you’ve selected a sofa and the matching chair, and, after some digging, you found some really cool occasional tables to go with them. For the walls, well, you almost drove your significant other nuts, but after a dozen or so test patches, you finally found the right colour.Time to sit back and enjoy your creation, right? Not quite? There’s something missing. All the pieces are in place but the net effect is still ho-hum?
What’s the missing ingredient? Accents, of course! They’re the swizzle stick that mixes the drink. What I mean, to be more precise, is that the sparkle will come from a careful selection of accent furniture and accessories. When added judiciously, they’ll make your living room ‘pop’ and take the décor to another level.
How to shop for them? Well, there are no theories here to follow or axioms of design to adhere to because it’s personal. It’s about you, so look for pieces that entice and inspire you. Start with Home Furnishing stores. Many do a great job of showing you the latest trends and creative ways to change things up. The more you explore, the more you’ll be in-tune with what ‘speaks to you’, what makes you feel a certain way. If it moves you, that’s a telltale indicator that you should buy it.
But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’ve finally decided to rejuvenate your living room, I have some tips and advice to guide you in the process, from the essentials to the finishing touches.
A Few Basics
As per my intro above, let’s assume that you’ve already selected a living room set and it’s in a neutral colour. You’ve also picked matching occasional tables.
If you’re willing to change the colour of your walls, look for inspiration from a piece of wall art, throw pillows or curtains you fell in love with or even an area rug that you haggled over from a street merchant in Morocco. When you’ve finished painting, make sure you carry a swatch of the colour for future additions to the room, especially for accent furniture and accessories.
It’s also important to check for empty spots in your room. Places where you can add other pieces of furniture to create, for example, a reading corner or a conversation area. Picture your living room in your head or, better yet, carry photos of it on your smartphone and you’re ready for the hunt.
One last thing: patience. Keep in mind that a great décor is assembled one piece at the time. Remember, it’s personal. Choose each piece with care and love. Not every piece needs to match perfectly with everything in the room. Feeling at home is the joy you feel in the presence of objects you’ve chosen to surround yourself with.
Must-Haves for Your Room
If you have a leather sofa or sectional, the first thing you want to do is to add some measure of coziness. Take a good look at the following pieces. They will not only warm up your space, but some of them will also add some welcome touches of colour.
Definitely use rugs to visually anchor the furniture, as well as for warmth under bare feet. Want to make a statement? Choose a colourful and patterned rug. For a mellow, laid-back feel, go for subdued neutral tones.
Wondering about which size of rug you need? Check out this video from House & Home featuring Maia Roffey of Black Sheep Interior Design.
Use accent pillows and throws to spruce up your sectional, sofa or chair. The operative word here is accent, so think bright colours, patterns and textures, especially if your furniture fabric colour is neutral.
If you’re not sure on how to mix and match fabric patterns and textures, this useful article from The Home Design School can help unravel the mystery.
Poufs and Ottomans
Poufs are quite trendy and practical. They come in different sizes, shapes, textures and colours. Don’t be afraid to spread them out across the room for additional seating, especially if you have kids.
Equally useful are ottomans. Designed so that you can rest your feet, they can also do double duty as occasional tables.
Wall Art & Mirrors
There are many kinds of wall art: framed and unframed, prints, photos and paintings and in all different sizes. When it comes to hanging, group them over your sofa, or in a dedicated reading corner, or simply lean them on a shelf or a mantle. Here is a guide from Rebecca Gordon to help you create the perfect gallery wall.
Mirrors are great for creating the illusion of space and are ideal if you have a small living room. Lean a tall mirror against the wall or place a large one on a mantle for maximum impact.
Space permitting, use accent chairs to add additional seating beside your sofa or sectional. You can also group them to create an intimate conversation or reading area. Again, it’s about accentuating your décor so be bold in your choice of colours and patterns.
Lifestyle, location and how the room will be used will help you identify the type of curtains you’ll need. Will your living room be used for entertaining only or for family TV-watching time as well? If you live on a busy street, you might pick curtains that offer more opacity when night comes.
For a complete guide on how to choose curtains have a look at this guide from Elle Décor.
Finally, lighting can do a lot. Just with the right lighting, you can create that lovely touch of coziness and warmth. Think about a combination of lighting from table and floor lamps. Also consider the 4 following types of lighting strategies: accent, ambient, decorative and task.
Only so many things can be used and displayed in a living room. That’s why you need proper storage in order to prevent your space from being overrun by clutter. Below are some storage pieces that are not only functional, but can provide tons of style.
Obviously, a media console serves to hide your electronics, but you can also use it to create a wonderful display with a few books, candles and vases so it doesn’t just look like a TV stand.
Besides the obvious, a bookcase is a wonderful way to display your collectables, heirlooms and souvenirs. And it doesn’t have to take a full wall to make an impression or be practical. For example, a smaller bookcase can be used to divide the living room from the dining room in an open concept, or be placed on a small wall with a hanging mirror over and lamp on the top.
Easily incorporated in between chairs or as an end table to hold your drinks and snacks, an accent table in a different style than your occasional tables can change things up giving your home an eclectic feel, which translates into personality and style.
Benches are ideal for extra seating and storage (for throws, magazines, and toys). You can also tuck one underneath a sofa table or console to create a desk or homework area.
Baskets & Boxes
Baskets and boxes can work wonders in a living room. Use them to hide your magazines, store your throws and small electronics. You can also spotlight them to add colour and interest.
So your living room remodel is nearly complete. The major decisions have been made. Even the accents and accessories are in place. Time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours. But, you know, the refining and embellishing can continue, although at a more relaxed pace perhaps. Those additional touches can come in the form of candles, bowls, trays, sculptures and plants. Like all the selections that came before, they contribute in defining your personality, your unique style.
If you want to know more about how to style a living room, have a look at this video from House & Home design’s editors Joel Bray and Jennifer Koper.
Hoping these tidbits of advice will help you transform your tired, drab living room into an inspirational space of comfort and entertainment.
Lily, Your Furniture Expert