The living room is a vital part of any home. In fact, nearly everyone considers it to be the very heart of their dwelling. And that makes a lot of sense, actually. After all, it’s the room where you welcome guests, a space that everyone has access to, and the most lively room in your home during the day. In fact, according to statistics, people tend to value the living room the most, right next to the kitchen.
So, considering how important your living room is, you should do your best to decorate it properly. Remember, this is the room you will most likely spend the majority of your days in. And while most people tend to go with their gut in terms of interior design, the results can vary from decent to downright unpleasant. It all boils down to what types of colors and patterns you use. And if you require some help in picking the best ones, this article is for you. More specifically, we will focus on the furniture, but we’ll also touch upon other aspects of your living room just a bit.
In order to make this somewhat easier, we will split the article into two sections, the first of which will deal with colors and the second with patterns. However, you should take both into consideration when choosing your furniture. Even the best color choice can be ruined by a mismatch of patterns, and vice versa.
Pick a Mood
Believe it or not, colors can affect your mood. So, depending on what you ‘use’ your living room for, you’ll want to pick the appropriate color scheme for each furniture piece. For example, if you require a bit of peace and quiet, you will not choose a ‘hot’ color like red or orange. Similarly, if you need a bit of vibrance and energy in your room, don’t make it sterile and dull with pure white walls and drab fabrics.
If possible, match several different colors that support the same basic mood. For example, blue and green sofas, olive rugs, and dark brown chairs all fit in terms of what mood they want to express, even though they are quite different colors from one another.
Break Up a Pattern
Patterns are important, but there are times when you want to break the rules a bit. For example, in a sea of calm, neutral pieces in a living room designed by Heather Hilliard, our attention is immediately drawn to a strikingly bright neon-yellow coffee table. Soft blues, beiges, and whites definitely don’t match something this bright in most cases. And yet, it doesn’t exactly seem out of place in this room.
By having one piece in your room stand out, you bring attention to it and you give the room a sense of adventure, so to speak. When people come to visit, they will definitely remember the ambiance. It’s warm enough to relax in, but it still has that spark of entertainment, and it’s concentrated in a coffee table that isn’t particularly big. If you break the rules in an effective way, you will have a living room that will never become dull or stuffy.
Don’t Go Overboard
This particular point connects well with the previous one. While you want to use something different to break the pattern, you don’t want the room to look and feel noisy. For example, let’s assume that half of your living room furniture is in cool, quiet classical colors and the other half in harsh, modern pastels, neons, and chromes. You probably won’t be able to spend two minutes in there without feeling like the room is spinning.
But believe it or not, the same goes for choosing the colors that have the same effect on your psyche. In other words, you can feel the same unease if you see, for instance, two warm colors competing for your visual attention. So, don’t shoot for a half-and-half look. Instead, pick a dominant color for your furniture and let other colors be accents.
Take Size into Consideration
When you have a furniture pattern in mind, make sure that there’s some variety in size. The living room of Maxwell Ryan (the current head of the Apartment Therapy blog) is the perfect example. The sofa uses a polka-dot motif, with rows of circles forming a chain pattern. But the small pillows in the front, the cover, and the back pillows all use polka dots (or circles) of varying sizes. This variety adds a bit of dynamism and gives the living room a cheerful, playful angle.
Limit the Number of Patterns
Choosing a single pattern for the room would be dull. For instance, we love ticking stripe fabrics in our furniture, but if every living room armchair and couch had the same pattern, visitors would feel uninspired to spend time there. So, the perfect solution is to pick several different patterns and mix them up.
Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard with your choices. Three or four patterns per room are plenty. If you incorporate more than that, you will create visual confusion.
Balance is Key
As stated above, you can’t have visual confusion when it comes to picking the patterns. So, not only should you pick no more than four patterns, but you should also space them out. It’s a good idea to have a balanced array of patterns that make your living room flow. For example, in one condo designed by Kate Maloney Interior Design, there are some geometric and floral patterns on the walls, the chairs, and the pillows. However, straight, parallel lines run on the rugs, as well as on the little nightstand next to the sofa. The balance binds the room together in one cohesive whole, with enough variety not to feel drab or dull.
Addressing Both Color and Pattern
Now that you know how to pick your furniture colors and patterns individually, you will need to focus on incorporating both somehow. The best way to do that is to single out the biggest feature of your living room. Is it a huge sofa, a rug, a large table, or a grandfather clock? Whatever it is, take note of its color and pattern and design your room based on it.
There are two ways you can approach this process. Let’s say that your sofa is purple and that it has a zig-zag pattern. If so, you can try and make as much of your furniture purple to match the ambiance. On the other hand, you can use furniture in different colors, but with the same (or similar) zig-zag pattern. You might even add another piece that matches both criteria.
Professional designers will probably offer you a thousand different options for your living room furniture. However, it doesn’t really take too much effort to decide which combination works best for you. All you need to do is find the proper color palette and the right pattern combo and you can find the perfect furniture that suits your goals and needs.
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