Living Room

Living room decorating made easy

As its name implies, the living room is the room of the house where people tend to do their living – reading, talking, watching TV, etc. It is often also called the "family room" because it tends to be the place where family members spend time together. The key to this multifunctional space is lots of seating and organization.

Living Room Decorating

Living room design can be difficult because the room must accommodate many activities and appeal to all members of the family. Also, unlike bedrooms or bathrooms, the living room is usually an open space, so it has to coordinate with other nearby rooms, which may include the kitchen, dining room or hallway. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to use the same theme for all of these rooms, but the themes you choose should have similar color palettes and furniture styles. For example, the wooden furniture of an antique dining room could work well with the wooden furniture and trim of a traditional living room. It would not, however, complement the sleek glass-and-metal look of a contemporary living room.

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Five popular living room designs are country, French country, modern, contemporary and traditional.

A country living room offers a rustic, down-home feel. Country living room furniture should be made of light-colored woods with visible knots or graining. Leather sofas and chairs work best, particularly in shades of brown to play up the wood. To complete the decor, add accents with a homemade feel, such as stained glass lamps or carved wooden objects.

Though similar in name, French country is not merely a variation of the country style. Rather, this distinct design theme takes its cue from the vivid colors and funky patterns of the French countryside. Vibrant reds, yellows, greens and blues are the trademark of French country style, though softer variations can be used. Look for rustic wooden furniture and patterned fabrics, particularly toile or landscape prints.

If you're after a cleaner, sleeker look, try a modern living room, à la the 1950s. Light-colored walls (white, cream or beige) are the staple here, accented by punches of solid black or bright, bold colors such as red. Square or rectangular coffee tables and end tables, painted or polished to a high shine, will emphasize the stark, straight lines of modern sofas and chairs.

For an ultra-sleek, super-chic design, try a contemporary living room. Tone-on-tone color, particularly neutral tones (beige, cream, taupe), is accented by a glass coffee table and a metallic finish on the living room appliances. A cube ottoman makes a great addition to any contemporary sofa and provides additional seating in a pinch.

Finally, if all you really want is that warm, inviting atmosphere, the hodge-podge look of a traditional living room may be just right. A recliner and loveseat provide comfortable family seating, and a sofa bed is a must for those unexpected but always welcome guests. Extra storage in the form of a lift top coffee table or storage ottoman helps keep odds and ends out of the way but easily accessible.

Your living room is likely the center of activity in your home. It's where you relax with family and entertain friends. Choose a design theme that you find comfortable, and that comfort is bound to extend to those around you.