Jun 122014
via adoreyourplace.com

via adoreyourplace.com

Ever wondered?

Ever wished there was a checklist?

You love your living room. You love inviting friends over and having coffee while catching up on the latest news. You love the family evenings spent there talking about the highlights of the day or the plans for the weekend. Sitting on those couches is really comfortable.

But you wonder if there’s something missing.

You are not a professional designer.

You definitely know what you love. It’s there, in your pinterest boards, in your favorite décor magazine and maybe you’ve even seen a famous designer create it in one of the HGTV shows.

But your living room is nothing like that one in your favorite pin.

Granted, you know what you don’t like. You still have memories of visiting that aunt and having to stay sitting up straight in that uncomfortable sofa for what seemed like 62 hours. Memories about having to walk really carefully around her house or some priceless china would come crashing onto the floor. Memories of your mom sitting across the table giving you “the look” because you couldn’t help to swing your legs and you were touching the sofa with your dirty shoes.

So you make a mental list of what you don’t want.

But that is still not helping you find out what your living room needs.

It shouldn’t be that difficult. Decorating is not rocket science. It would definitely be much easier if there was a checklist.

I agree. So here you go.

Plenty of Seating

Kelly Wearstler via Domaine

Kelly Wearstler via Domaine

Easy, right? That’s what living rooms are for, sitting down. You may be able to fit 2 sofas and two chairs or only one sofa and two chairs or a big sectional. In any case, there will always come a time when seating in your living room will not be enough.

That’s why you need to plan ahead. How? You can have small chairs around. You can put stools under the console table. You can have a bench under that pretty painting. The idea is that when you have that fabulous big gathering everyone has a place to sit.

A Stylized Coffee Table

Coffee tables are a must. Where else are you going to place that glass of wine?

Coffee tables are also a great opportunity to make a statement. Chances are, that last living room picture you pinned had a beautifully stylized coffee table. Don’t miss this opportunity. Play around with things you have. Try a vase with flowers, books, a beautiful box. Place a modern object, a pair of candles or a jar with candy. You may need to buy a few things, but it will be worth it.

Side tables

These are also key. Functionally they are really useful, not only to place your cup of coffee but also to put a lamp, more on this below.

You can place them at the ends of a sofa or between chairs. In small rooms you can put two smaller side tables instead of a bigger coffee table. Side tables are really versatile. You can move them around whenever you need.

The Right Lighting

Even when I was 18, didn’t need corrector under my eyes and barely needed any make-up to look good, I was always bummed when I’d arrive at a party that only had very bright overhead lighting. I remember getting conscious about my looks. I remember instantly feeling less pretty.

If all your living room has is recessed lighting and maybe a fixture in the middle of the room, you are in trouble. Lighting is so important that I will be having another article about it coming up. For now, run to the closest hardware store and get a dimmer. Pronto!


Tom Scheerer via Mark D Sikes

Tom Scheerer via Mark D Sikes

A house without art is like a steak without seasoning.

Nowadays you don’t need to visit the Louvre to learn about art. Most importantly, you can find what is it that moves you right from your computer.

And art should move you.

I’m not saying that you should skip the trip to the art gallery, but you can definitely narrow it down to your favorite subjects or type of art.

If you can’t decide on a big piece of art go for the gallery wall. What I love about the gallery wall is that you can keep on adding art to it if you find another painting in a year or two that you can’t live without. It can evolve.



Books tell your story. They say that you are a smart, well read, an interesting person.

On your coffee table books do wonders. They allow you to change heights and make your composition much more interesting. Sometimes all you need to do so your coffee table looks fantastic is add a couple of stacks of books and a vase with flowers.

The Area Rug

You may be thinking, “I have carpet in my living room, wouldn’t a rug be overkill?” Nope!

The area rug pulls the whole composition together. It says all these pieces of furniture are meant to be together. When there’s no area rug the furniture seems to be floating around unrelated. It’s no longer a place where people gather together to have a conversation.

How big should the area rug be? It should contain coffee table and the main seating. You don’t need to have front and back legs of your sofa and chairs on it but the front legs should be on top of the rug.

What do you do next?

Now you have the checklist. I’m not saying that those are the only things that you should have in your living room. There are hundreds or thousands of other things you can have. Those are the ones that you should never leave out.

So here is the three step plan:

  1. Write down the list.
  2. Go to your living room and check what you have and what you don’t.
  3. Write down what you are missing and what could be improved.

Once you have the “to buy” list don’t immediately go to the store. Instead take a little time and find the pieces that you’ll be happy with years from now.

Was this post useful? Did you find things that you were missing or would like to change? Post a comment! I’d love to know.