10 Ways to Add Life to Your Living Room

Spice up the look of your living room with these expert tips.

Updated on June 13, 2017 10:06 am

Samantha Echavez

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Have you looked at your living room recently? How does it make you feel? Does it make you feel warm and happy...or does it get you a bit jittery?

"The living room is a major hub in the home. While your entry might be all about first impressions, this room makes a lasting impact. When you entertain, the living room is your showplace. And the last thing you want is a saggy sofa or messy bookshelves ruining the scene," says Jill Vegas, author of Speed Decorating: A Pro Stager's Tips and Trade Secrets for a Fabulous Home in a Week or Less.

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If the living room feels chaotic and looks cluttered, if the furniture arrangement is awkward and heavy, and if there is that nagging feeling that the room is not as comfortable as it should be—maybe because of improper lighting or lack of texture and softness—then it's time to reassess the space and enliven it up. Here are tips that will help you prettify and vivify one of the most important rooms of your home.

1. Tidy it up and keep it organised. "The living room is often a catch-all for family activities, so it’s no wonder that it ends up jumbled and messy. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: Get rid of the stuff! The more stuff you have lying around, the more claustrophobic and less welcoming your space feels. So before you even think of buying anything new, you have to get stripping. You might even find that once the room is clean and clear, you don’t need so many new things after all," says Vegas.

2. Edit, edit, edit. Adds Vegas: "Remove items that are ugly, stained, or ripped. Sort items into areas or piles: keep it, get rid of it, fix it. Remove anything that isn’t a 'keep it' item from the room. Clear off table surfaces. Choose a few knickknacks and arrange them so they can be seen, and relocate or get rid of the rest."

3. Spruce up your coffee or centre table. According to Vegas, follow these steps: (1) Get a vase and fill it with tulips or peonies; (2) Stack two or three inspiring coffee table books of the same size and colour; and (3) Remove any other clutter.

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4. Choose table lamps wisely. "Pick a table lamp only after you’ve chosen the table where it will sit. It should be a proportionate fit—small-scale table, small lamp; large table, large lamp," say the editors of Real-Life Decorating: Your Look, Your Budget.

5. Give your furniture some breathing space. The biggest and most common mistake that people make in a living room is "pushing everything up against the walls, leaving a 'doughnut' in the middle. Pull the sofa away from the wall to allow it to breathe," says Vegas. Move the sofa six inches from the wall to give it that space.

6. Group related furniture pieces together to create distinct spaces for activities like conversation and reading. Position coffee table, end table, and side chair near the sofa for a comfortable conversation area. Or flank another armchair in the living room with a side table and stack of books for a cosy reading nook.

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7. When getting a rug, choose the right size and place it properly for good proportion. According to the editors of Real-Life Decorating: Your Look, Your Budget: "A good rule of thumb is to purchase a rug that leaves about 8–10 inches of space between the edge of the rug and the walls of your room, or that is large enough to place under at least two legs of each piece of furniture."

8. If your living room is small and cannot accommodate a sofa, go for a transparent table flanked by two poufs, definitely less bulky than sofas and can visually lighten the space. Adds Cristina Paredes, author of Practical Ideas for Small Spaces: "Simple two or three-seat sofas can be complemented with poufs as leg rests, and some even include a footrest operated by a lever. If the area is reserved for the sofa in a corner, there are a number of models that can adapt to this shape."

9. Pile on the pillows. The easiest way to brighten your monochromatic sofa? Layer throw pillows on it to add colour. "Velvet pillows, in particular, bring an instant feeling of elegance and comfort," says Vegas.

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10. Implement flattering and comfortable lighting. No matter how beautifully-styled your living room is, it won't matter if it's not well-lit. "Aside from setting a mood, use light to help define distinct spaces in a room. You need ambient light, which is soft and makes everyone look good. But task lighting—whether for that game of chess or the book of poetry you’re reading—is important, too," says Vegas. Hang a chandelier for an elegant touch, add a table lamp that casts a pleasant ambient lighting, or use sconces and floor lamps to supplement daylight.


Share photos of your living room or even styling tips by emailing us at hello@cromly.com.

Cover photo courtesy of Interior Design Lovers

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