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The living room is probably the most social of all the rooms in the home; it is where you and your family come together to relax at the end of the day, but also the space your friends and neighbours are most likely to enjoy, too. So when it comes to creating a decorating scheme in the living room, it’s nice to put on a bit of a show. While not having the full-on practical design considerations of a kitchen, it’s important to remember that the living room still needs to be a functional family entertaining space that meets a broad range of needs.  More
You’ll need to design a layout that incorporates, at the very least, a TV and TV storage, music system, sofa and armchairs, bookshelves and storage, lighting solutions, window treatments, flooring and possibly a coffee table. You might also need to include a study corner or a dining table and chairs if you don’t have room for them elsewhere.

Make a fireplace the centrepiece of your living room

Fires come in all shapes and sizes, from the real thing to flame-effect gas and electric models to energy-efficient multifuel stoves in classic and ultramodern designs. Do your research to find the type, style and model that works for you. A working fire, whatever type it might be, has a decorative as well as practical function in a living room. Set on a hearth within a fireplace with a mantel above, a fire is the heart and centrepiece of the room. Use it as a reference point for positioning your furniture and accessories. Many classic living rooms feature symmetrical interior design schemes with matching items placed either side of a central hearth, hearth rug and overmantel mirror: sofas, armchairs, table lamps, occasional tables all radiate out in harmony from the central fireplace, mirroring each other across opposite sides of the room.

Save space in a small living room

Many living rooms now need to accommodate so much more than just ‘lounging’ and TV watching. If you don’t have a dining room and your kitchen is small, chances are you will need to squeeze a dining table and chairs into your living room. Similarly, if you don’t have a separate space for a home office you may need to incorporate a desk, chair, additional storage and bookshelves. These days the TV area will also need to store digital TV recorders, DVD players and games consoles and accessories. Think about bespoke built-in storage either side of the fireplace that will make use of every inch of space. Hang your TV from a wall bracket if possible to free up cupboard space. If you are going to have a coffee table, go for one with built-in storage; and for wall lights rather than table or standard lamps that will take up surface space and floor space. Think about modular sofa configurations that will make the most of your space or, if you lack a guest room, a sofabed. Try mix and match Ercol-style wood-framed sofa benches and chairs rather than three-piece-suite style designs that take up considerably more space.

Decide on an interior design scheme for your living room

Whether you lean towards a traditional, modern or country look, the living room is the ideal spot for showcasing your interior design style. It’s the room where you can indulge all your favourite things: that wallpaper design you love, the colour scheme you’ve always wanted to have and those fabrics and textures you’ve been thinking about for months. While it’s great to go all out and create the living room of your dreams, when it comes to budgets it might also be wise to keep an eye to the future. In the long term it may be a less expensive option to choose neutral plains for walls, floor, window treatments and main pieces of furniture, such as the sofa and armchairs. Then bring in colourful and pattern-rich accessories - wall art, rugs, cushions and throws. This might not prevent a big spend initially, but the next and subsequent times you want to change your living room decor you only have to rethink accessories - the least expensive elements of any room.