How to Get Started: Living Room Design Update

When you're ready to take the plunge and update your living room, or really any room for that matter, it can be really difficult to know where to start. It's a problem that Jess Keys talked about in a post last week on her own blog, and that very post that inspired me to write this article today. Sure, we can always turn to Pinterest, but sometimes that makes it even worse. Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and it's a great way to gather inspiration. But sometimes what we see isn't even what they have. Other times, the link is dead so you can't even learn more about the gorgeous picture you've just come across. Finally, it can even make the choosing process that much more overwhelming, as it becomes clear just how many choices we actually have.

So where do you start? How do you pick?  If you're someone who has absolutely no interest in design or decorating, and you don't want to go it alone, you might want to consider going to an interior designer. You could also even ask a friend or family member who has a good eye for design to help.  If you're someone who is a little more interested and a little more hands-on when it comes to home décor, here are a few suggestions for how to get started when it comes to updating your living room.

Start with the Couch: For me personally, starting with the couch is the way to go, although I am sure there are other methods. More often than not, the couch/sectional/sofa is going to be the focal point of any living room. It's typically the largest piece and the furnishing that people use the most. If you're totally unsure about which couch to pick, I've got a list of styles here that can help you discover which designs and which details you like. Typically, couches are selected in neutral tones like gray, brown, and black. Some brave souls will dare to try white (something I don't recommend if you have a pet or a child/children, but ultimately your call). Having a sofa or couch in a bolder color is also an option, although be sure this bold shade won't wear on you. Teals, rich blues and yellows are particularly popular shades for couches right now. That said, neutrals are generally a better investment for larger, expensive furniture pieces, as they can work with almost any color palette, allowing you some flexibility with the rest of your décor (all of which will probably be less expensive to replace than your couch).

Tip: I am all about mixing and matching style types, but if you are really stuck and you're having a hard time even narrowing down what kind of couch you'd like in your living room, consider your home holistically. Often times, kitchens and bathrooms are much more limiting in what sort of design or style would work in them, and this can help you limit down which styles you'd like to incorporate. Often times, our creativity blossoms when constraints are in place; discover if there are any design constraints in your home and go from there.

Walls: Consider what you're going to do the walls, if anything. Will you be painting? Will you be hanging artwork? Will there be an accent wall? Will this effect where you want to place your couch and other furniture items? None of these choices are right or wrong - you'll just have to go with your gut. If painting, be sure to test out each color before committing to get a feel for what it looks like in your home. Don't just copy a color that you saw a designer use - chances are that that very same color could look completely different in your home. Again, make sure that the color works with your couch and that it's something you're not going to grow tired off. 

Add Complementary Furnishings: Once the couch has been selected, finding the complementary furniture to complete the room becomes so much easier. Follow the couch's lead when it comes to colors and patterns – make sure that any patterns or colors selected would look great if ever placed next to the couch. Additionally, following the lines (curved, straight, etc.) of your couch is another great way to choose pieces like sofa tables, coffee tables, and accent seating. This, along with the complementary colors and patterns, keeps the look cohesive. Don't be afraid of adding contrasting textures though. As you can see above, the mixture of soft textures (soft throw blanket, shag rug) and hard textures (metal base of the coffee table, marble top, porcelain vase) add more depth to the room.

I'll be writing another post for some tips on picking out living room decor next week. Are there any other design challenges you're currently facing with your own living room? Maybe even another room in your home? Be sure to let me know!