Interior design ideas for living rooms: architectural features

Many living rooms have an architectural feature which is sadly overlooked or abandoned. It wasn't that many years ago when people boarded up fireplaces and replaced open-fire with a free standing gas or electrical fire with simulated glowing coals – we may laugh but it's true! In the 70s and 80s do-it-yourself was all the rage and this has continued to this day, and while in times of austerity we need to make the most of our money the number of 'bodge-jobs' now make television viewing.

If you're 'guilty' of not making the most of your living rooms' architectural feature/s we have some great ideas for you to think over. We're not suggesting that you call in the professionals, unless there's major work to be done, because quite often the things we live with day-in-day-out become oblivious to us; it's sometimes a matter of not seeing the wood for the trees so to speak.

Expose brick work: If you live in a traditionally styled home there may well be lurking behind plasterboard a beautiful brick wall which can be cleaned up and showed at its glorious best.

Chimney breasts: This is a great area to make your focal point. Eyes will automatically be drawn towards the fireplace, whether you have an open fire or not. Use the chimney breast to add colour or pattern to your living room. Display beautiful accessories and if you place a mirror on the chimney breast it will help to bounce light around the room and make it appear larger.

Feature windows: Do you have a feature window such as a bow, bay or large picture window in your living room? If you do them make a feature out of it. You don't have to go overboard, cheap curtains in a new colour, pattern or style will make all the difference. Alternatively if you've always used curtain try swapping them for window blinds, you'll be amazed at the difference. If you have large windows and want to use heavy curtains you can always add extra curtain pole brackets to take the additional weight.

Flooring: Usually expensive to replace flooring is another area which becomes neglected over the years. If you're on a tight budget area rugs are a great way to bring texture and colour to your living room.

Accessories: Highlight architectural features with accessories, for example use table lamps either side of the chimney place or on the mantle piece. Add new cushions to compliment your new curtains, window blinds or rugs. There's lots of ways of giving your living room it former glory and it's worth remembering that it was probably these features which drew your attention to your house when you moved in!

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