How-to Guide for Decorating – The Living Room

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This article explains the many facets of what goes into decorating the living room: from selecting paint color, light, art, furniture pieces, rugs and how to arrange furniture and use common measurements of interior design to create a space you’ll love to call home.

Arranging Furniture

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It is very common for people to not know how to arrange their living room furniture. Most people push a sofa against one wall, add a couple of chairs against another and that’s it. Arranging furniture actually requires more planning. There are important considerations like choosing a focal point, creating conversation areas and considering traffic flow.

Area Rugs

Area rugs can be a huge trouble spot. The most important consideration with any area rug is size. When an area rug is too small it can make the entire room look disjointed so make sure you know the best size for your room and the way your furniture is arranged. All the furniture should be sitting on top of the rug and ideally, there should be approximately 10″- 20″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. This infographic explains what size rug you need for the number of pieces of furniture in the room.


Empty walls are a sign of an incomplete room. This doesn’t mean you need to fill every inch, but decorating the walls with art is important. Often times art work is the source of inspiration for the room’s color scheme. Art is important and isn’t always costly. Follow your own desires when it comes to what you like and what will go in your room. Using mirrors adds dimension and expands the space. There are many different ways to arrange your art for it to look its best.


Lighting is a somewhat complex element of any room. In living rooms, it’s less so than in more utilitarian rooms like kitchens, but there are still some important considerations that should not be ignored. Most importantly, there needs to be a sampling of each of the three main types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Then after that, they need to be placed at different levels throughout the room. Consider overhead lighting, table and floor lamps, and wall sconces.

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Paint Colors

Choosing a paint color is something a lot of people struggle with, and if there’s one thing that most people do wrong, it’s choosing the paint color first. Paint is pretty simple to apply and inexpensive, so choose your more expensive pieces first and then choose a color based on them. Sherwin Williams paints are always a good go-to not only for color choices, but their specifications match your particular situation.

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Important Measurements

No matter what part of the room you’re working on, be it the rugs, window treatments, or furniture arrangements, make sure you know the ideal measurements at which they should be placed. No one has it all memorized and nothing is set in stone, but make sure you have access to a guide. Ultimately do what works best for you, but the rules exist as a guideline to help you figure out what is most pleasing to the eye in your space.