The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but your living room is where you spend the most time chilling out with your family and friends. This room is going to get some heavy wear, so the choices you make about its decor should withstand the test of time. I’m a big fan of designs that are fun, as well as functional (if a room isn’t comfy, it’s not successful). If you want to update your look, or if you’re starting fresh, here are a few tips to get your living room looking fabulous, well designed and useful.
Tip #1 – Expensive items should be kept neutral. If your living room (or your hairstyle for that matter!) looks exactly the same as it did 10 years ago, it’s probably time for a change. We can all stand to refresh every few years, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. Start by focusing on your main pieces, which includes your sofa, large-scale storage items and other substantial furniture. By keeping these items a neutral color, you’ll reduce the amount you spend when redecorating your space, and it gives you more freedom to change it up. Remember, neutral goes beyond beige, taupe and tan. Consider the gray color scheme – from dove to charcoal – which is a more modern option. These foundation pieces will work with any style or space.
Tip #2 – Take a risk with colors and patterns in your accent pieces. Choosing big, neutral furniture items allows you the freedom to take risks when adding accent pieces. Pair a neutral couch with two funky-patterned occasional chairs. Or, use bold-colored side tables and place on either side of the sofa. Mixing it up with layers of color and pattern is the key to creating a dynamic space. Don’t be afraid to take creative leaps with accent pieces – they’re the items that really bring a space to life.
Tip #3 – Mirrors should be in every renter’s “foundation” tool kit. Mirrors are a designer’s silver bullet, and should be in everyone’s tool kit, not just renters. They bounce light around even the smallest room and instantly create a feeling of space. Mirrors also add that glam factor – glimmer, shimmer and a touch of luxury. Mirrors are a perfect solution for the giant blank wall in your living room; hang three medium matched mirrors side by side, or create a grid by hanging six to nine small mirrors on the wall. I love mirrors because they do all of the heavy lifting for you, and are available at every price point.
This article was written by TV host and design expert Kim Myles, who partnered with Apartment Guide for the 2012 “Your Picks. Your Place.” sweepstakes. Kim Myles won the HGTV reality series “Design Star 2” and hosts HGTV’s “Myles of Style.”