Inspiring Home Design Ideas for Living Rooms
Local interior designers share their best tips for creating your ideal living space.
BIG ROOM, COZY AMBIENCE
When decorating a large space, many designers agree that it is important to arrange furniture pieces into several conversational areas, which allows for a more intimate setting.
“You will enjoy the closeness of the more intimate groupings when it’s just the two of you, for example, but still have the ability to rearrange the furniture for larger gatherings,” says Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group. She also suggests using larger furniture that is proportionate to the size of the room. “We just completed a living room in which we used a cocktail table that was 8 feet square. It anchored the furniture grouping and was completely in proportion to the room size,” Provost adds. If you’re thinking of going small, she cautions against using furniture that is too small, as that can make the grouping appear lost and swallowed up by the space.
Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs says varying colors and textures on the floors and ceilings can help bring a more human scale to a larger space and make it feel more intimate. You may even consider incorporating a game table within a space, as well as a seating area, as you define the purpose of each grouping within one large room, suggests Shari Summers of Summerfields Interior Design.
FOR ART LOVERS
When art is displayed correctly, design experts say it can add interest and bring your space to life. “For optimal visibility, consider location and viewing height and invest in quality framing that does not distract from the art, yet coordinates with other finishes,” says Kira Krümm of KDG-Kira Krümm & Co.
How you display art also depends on the extent of your collection. Consider a display cabinet or étagère, decorative wall brackets, or a grouping on a cocktail table, suggests Shari Summers of Summerfields Interior Design.
“If artwork is of great importance to you, design your space as though it were a gallery: white walls and ceilings, high-quality and directed lighting, and darker floors,” adds Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group.
Or simply pick a wall and make it a gallery, suggests Dwayne Bergmann, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors. “I find hallways are always accepting of this type of installation,” he says.
IN FLOORING, WOOD WOWS
With the ever-expanding choices in wood flooring and tile products that look remarkably similar to wood, it is no surprise that these long-lasting floors remain popular.
“It is great for people who want an instant feeling of warmth and texture in a space, as well as perfect for people with allergies,” says Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs. “I am seeing wood floors as less rustic and more refined—more natural with oil finishes.”
Overall, people are gravitating to more durable flooring, such as wood and stone—marble or shell stone, says Shari Summers of Summerfields Interior Design. “Painted wood floors in patterns are handsome and trending as well.”
WAKE UP WINDOWS
“Sheers! Earthy, natural, breathable linens for softness” are on trend in window treatments, says Bethany O’Neil of Bethany O’Neil Interior Design. For privacy, O’Neil prefers woven shades, such as Conrad or Hartmann-Forbes, which offer multiple liner options. For convenience and luxury, she suggests battery-operated or Lutron-wired treatments, which also eliminate the visual distraction of cords. Other designers agree the popularity of motorized treatments has been one the most significant changes when it comes to dressing windows, according to Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group. “In Southwest Florida, we have such great views,” she says, “making motorization more a requirement than a luxury.”
Today’s consumer wants a more updated, clean look, adds Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs. “Window treatments have really gone through a transformation,” Kahn says. “The fussy, multilayered look has been replaced with simple panels and tailored Roman shades.”
3 Tips to Mix Styles
- KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES. Limit the number of finishes and pay attention to the silhouette of each piece, suggests Kira Krümm of KDG-Kira Krümm & Co. “If you are mixing curved traditional lines with more streamlined and modern, go with solid-colored fabrics that simplify,” she says.
KEEP A SEMBLANCE OF ORDER.
Be consistent with either the backgrounds, like the walls and ceilings, or the furniture, notes Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group. “When I mix period and contemporary furniture, I tend to keep the walls and ceilings neutral,” she says. “I like to use period appliques and trim work on white walls with modern furnishings placed carefully.”
LOOK AT SHAPES. “Mix square items with furniture that has rounded lines,” says Linda Burke of Linda Burke Interiors, who also suggests mixing contemporary, smooth, crisp furniture with rustic accents or with an intricately carved piece.