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Recently, we got our carpets cleaned and I had to move everything out of the living room. Before putting it back together, I got the idea to photograph each step so my readers can see how I go about designing a room. Starting from a blank space can leave you struggling and drawing, well, blanks. With these six steps to designing a room, you will be able to put together a room that feels well-designed and functional all on your own!
This is our empty living room. As you know, I have updated the windows, painted the trim white, and replaced the stair railing in this room since we moved in. The other thing to make sure is done first is that you pick your wall color. This is a great article to help you pick the perfect paint color the first time.
STEP 1: TEXTILES
When it was time to start arranging things, this large living room was daunting to design. To get started, I hung curtains.
Curtains should always be hung from the ceiling to the floor and lay covering wall at the far edges of the window. In order to find curtains long enough, you’ll want fabric that measures 94-105″ in length. Consider saving money by using table cloths or drop cloths instead. Otherwise, take advantage of this crazy deal on 95″ curtains I found on Amazon.
I also added a rug to break up all the beige and ground the space. Putting a rug over carpet seems weird, but it is actually very clever for both aesthetic and functional reasons. The rug protects high traffic areas from ruining your carpet.
The rug I’m using is smaller than I should have in the space. Usually you will want a rug at least 8 x 10 feet large, like this one.
STEP 2: WALL DECOR
The next step was choosing artwork for the walls. I do not like to overdo it on my walls because I like more minimalistic décor. I painted one large abstract piece of artwork for my big blank wall instead of choosing to go the gallery wall route.
Hanging wall art can be done after placing furniture so that it is sure to balance out. I usually do these steps in conjunction with each other. For instance, I did not center my piece of artwork on the wall, I centered it over where I wanted the couch to go. If you are going to do the gallery wall route, be sure you never include more than 11 pieces and the arrangement is slightly heavier on the left. These tips will result in aesthetically pleasing wall art.
STEP 3: ARRANGE FURNITURE
Arranging furniture can be very difficult. A few tips I have for you:
- Choose furniture that is the right scale for your space. It’s easy to go too big, but remember that smaller scale furniture will make your room look larger.
- Facilitate conversation by facing your furniture towards each other or separating little nooks of chairs turned towards each other. Since I did not feel my space was big enough to separate into two conversation areas, I tried to make a U formation so that everyone can speak to each other.
- Symmetry is the most aesthetically pleasing in furniture design, NOT matching furniture. It is a good thing to mismatch your chairs and sofas to add interest and elevate your design.
- Pay attention to walking paths, never block doorways or architectural features in your home. Be sure there is at least 3 feet of walking space between large pieces of furniture and doorways.
This article has more great tips for arranging furniture.
STEP 4: ACCENT FURNITURE
When I add in accent furniture, the room really starts to take shape. The big, bold teal coffee table anchors the room and provides presence to take up the visual space in the center of the room.
Be sure each seat has a table or surface to set a drink and there are at least two seats where people can put their feet up. You want your room to be super functional and comfortable. You don’t have to spend a lot, this inexpensive white side table can make a big difference in the functionality of your room for a small cost.
STEP 5: PLANTS
Even if you are not the best at keeping houseplants alive, consider adding greenery to your design. I’ve come to learn that natural plants are an important part of every room’s design, adding texture and breathing life to your design. Green plants are considered neutral so they can be paired with any colors.
STEP 6: ACCESSORIES
Lastly, the finishing touches of the room add more functionality, comfort and style. I placed my DIY lamps on the end tables to frame the couch and provide more symmetry.
Each piece of furniture gets a complimenting textile utilizing throw pillows and blankets.
The faux sheepskin rug is one of my favorite textiles that adds luxury and comfort to any room!
Decorating table tops should never include more than three items. It is important not to over-do it.
For a more modern look, use larger items. My rule of thumb is that usually I do not decorate with anything smaller than my fist.
Each element in this room was chosen for its function and purpose to create a well-designed space.
My living room has changed a lot over the years, but I really feel like I’ve settled on the perfect design. Hopefully you can benefit from this step-by-step process of how I put it all together!
Thank you for reading! Designing a room can be tricky, please let me know if you learned anything or if you have any questions.