When you look around your living room, it may not be offensive or gaudy, but does it lack character? Perhaps you've had the same paint colors for years, and the accent cushions on the sofa have seen better days. You may have considered renovating, but just thinking about it gets you discouraged.
Break your redecorating project into these small steps and before you know it, your room will be transformed. These ideas will give you a room that has a sense of style, but still warm, inviting and usable. For our purpose here, we'll be jazzing up a living room containing furniture in neutral shades.
1. Empty the room as much as possible. You want to begin with a blank canvas.
2. Don't be scared of color – it's one of the quickest ways to wake up a tired decorating scheme. Try a gray-blue shade that changes with different lighting. Watch the walls transform from day to night.
3. When choosing furniture and accents, begin with items you already have. They may be currently in use in another room, or stored away, but it's time to bring them out and give them a new look. For this project we will use a beige sofa.
4. Choose accent pillows that blend the wall colors with the sofa. When choosing shades, think about those that you're drawn to, have seen in magazines or showrooms, or even in your own closet.
5. Move the furniture around and you'll be inspired by the fresh look. Try arranging the seating opposite the entry for that extra "wow" when you enter the room. Add a small patterned chair with ottoman in complimentary colors.
6. Add a dramatic "something" on the wall behind the sofa. A piece of art is the conventional choice, but for something different, try using a mirror with a stylish frame to add depth and enhance lighting. If you do opt for the painting, consider 3 smaller pieces instead of a single large one. Perhaps you could make your own by enlarging black and white family photos and having them framed and matted.
7. Place a long wood table against an empty wall and decorate. Place matching lamps at either end, a large floral arrangement, just off center, and add a few small ornaments or picture frames in the middle. You may have to play with this to get it right by adding and removing articles to create a look that is pleasing to the eye and not cluttered. Complement the blue walls with a dark shade of wood stain on the table.
8. Add a couple of straight back chairs off the corner of the table or a comfy big chair to create an additional zone or seating area.
9. Change some of your accents throughout the year to add interest. In the summer, bring out the photos of the family vacation at the beach. In the spring add vases of fresh tulips for a blast of color. If you repeat that color here and there, it keeps the eye moving throughout the room.
10. Try adding drapes with different textures, such as a shimmering fabric similar to the walls. Ideally, a gray-blue with beige would look amazing.
11. Stand back and take a look at the results. If it seems like something is still missing, look for areas that need a shot of color or some extra accessorizing. You may also want to re-analyze the furniture placement.
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