Room Guide - Living Room

Interior Design Guide ROOM GUIDE - PART ONE
The Living Room
Since it is the room in which the family will spend time together and visitors will be entertained, the living room calls for special attention in any home. At their best living rooms are warm, inviting and so comfortable that you find it difficult to leave them. A living room in which everyone can quickly feel at their ease and ready to socialise in therefore, is a success!

Colour and comfort are the two key factors you need to consider. The two come together with the choices you make for the upholstery of your armchairs and sofas. Since these supply the most dominant foreground colours in the room, solid colours are often a popular choice. This will allow you to introduce a variety of patterns and textures with curtains, scatter cushions and throws. Opting to reverse the process is an alternative. Choosing a multi-coloured upholstery fabric will allow you to highlight a particular colour within it by using plain fabrics for your drapes or accessories.

For most of us our living rooms are rooms that we would want to feel as settled in when we are on our own as we would hosting a party or sitting with family or friends. It is uncomfortable to sit in a room where you feel surrounded by empty spaces. Colour and comfort are again key themes in resolving this problem. Creating a living room that is as welcoming to one person as it is to many can be achieved by varying the upholstery that you choose on various sofas and armchairs. This breaks up the space and has the psychological benefit of separating different items of furniture so that they are not overbearing to the solitary occupant.
Choosing a Signature Colour As with any room your choice of colour will affect the overall ambience of a room and the effect created. A rich base colour would be a good choice for a feeling of warmth and intimacy as it darkens during the evening and will contrast strongly with the areas of light in the room. In addition a heavy curtain fabric will heighten the effect so that the room feels 'wrapped-up' and cosy, especially on cold winter nights.
Red is especially popular for living rooms as it is a warm stimulating colour; a distinct asset in a social setting. It needs to be balanced, however, by large amounts of natural colours such as cream and beige, particularly in a small room, as red is a colour which makes things seem larger than they actually are.
Yellows are a popular choice for living rooms. Pale shades are sophisticated and elegant. Brighter shades can make large rooms look more inviting and small ones more luminous and spacious. All shades are excellently complemented by greys, mid-blues and purples. Strong yellows on walls provide a perfect backdrop for florals or abstract fabrics which have a predominance of creamier yellows and mid-blues in them.
Beiges and Naturals are colours that most of us feel safe with. Be aware however, that whilst a room that is predominantly natural will feel spacious and harmonious, it can be dreary if used without contrast. Beige is a bit of a 'chameleon' which is strongly affected by other colours used around it. You need to make sure you choose a beige with the correct base colour for your colour scheme - i.e. a pink based warm beige or a blue based cool beige. Introducing a variety through the use of texture, dark accent colours such as rich browns, blacks and deep reds, and particularly dark woods, will enrich a natural colour scheme and create a serene and restful atmosphere.
A dominant feature in many living rooms is the fireplace. It may be that it is the first feature you see as you enter the room, creating a focal point. If it is a handsome fireplace you may wish it to be the feature around which you 'dress' the room and the one which decides your colour scheme. If it is a feature you want to play down, then highlight other more favourable features in the room such as a large mirror, elegant, stylish lamps, large pieces of artwork or a a really well executed and impressive window treatment that will draw the eye as you enter the room.
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