How to Redecorate Your Living Room Right

Whether you�re designing your first living room or revamping your current one, the choices you make will impact the rest of your home. It�s never a bad idea to take stock of the items you already own and identify their value to you and your space.  From there, you can start designing your dream living room and then put an actionable plan in place.

The best-designed living rooms are the ones that combine function with fun and comfort. That takes some planning to accomplish, though. Take a look at the three basic phases of redecorating your living room � and how they can help you end up with your dream space.

Take Stock

Before you start repainting walls or buying new items for your living room, decide what you have that you already love (and what you want to get rid of the most). What do you have happening in your living room that already works? Are there other items in your home that you�d like to move into your living room? From there, break down what you want to redesign by:

         Theme. What atmosphere do you want to accomplish in your living room? Think about how you want the space to feel and then you will be able to start filling it with items you need to reach that goal.
         Size. Even compact spaces have a lot of creative potential but you must be aware of your constraints before you start adding items.
         Furniture. Will the furniture you already have work in your desired theme? Which items will need to be replaced and which ones can stay?
         Budget. This is just a cold-hard fact of redecorating � you can only buy what you can afford. There are a lot of ways to stretch your design dollar but first you need to know your financial limits.
         Time. Is there a deadline on when you want your new living room revealed? Make sure your ideas can fit in that time frame and not inconvenience your family too much in the process.

Envision the End Goal

Once you have some of the basic realities of your living room redesign in place, it�s time to start dreaming a little. Consider:

         Your goal. What will be the primary reason for this room? Will your family gather there for quiet time, or will it be used for entertainment purposes? Do you want to entertain guests or make it more of a comfortable space reserved for your immediate family? This will make a difference in how things are laid out and how your space is utilized.
         The focal point. Your goal will directly determine the focal point. This is the central object or area around which the rest of the room will revolve. Common living room focal points include TVs, bookshelves, or even a central coffee table. The way the rest of your furniture is laid out will be impacted by where you place this focal point.
         The storage needed. You will want to be sure your living room can hold all of the stuff that will make it functional � whatever that �stuff� may be. For an entertainment-heavy room, you will want space for videos, CDs and games, and more. For a reading-friendly room, bookshelves will be needed (or at the very least, tables to set electronic tablet devices when not in use). Try to keep things out of the room that really don�t need to be there. But on the other hand, you don�t want to have to go to other parts of the house every time you want to perform a basic function of your living room.

Start Redecorating

When your plans are finally laid, it�s time to move forward with your redecorating project. Remove the items you�ve already determined to get rid of and thoroughly sort through your books, videos, and living room accessories. Consider the following when you start adding items to your living room:
         Walls. Decide if it�s time to give your walls a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper and do it before you add in any new furniture. Darker colors make sense for a living room space that will be used for reading or studying purposes. Light, airy colors work with entertaining spaces.

         Seating. Oversized chairs may seem like a fashionable choice, but using one in place of a small loveseat could mean seating for one less person. How many people will use your living room regularly, and how many guests do you hope to accommodate (and how often)? Make sure that the furniture arrangement you decide on has the minimum number of seats you need.

         Arrangement. Remember your focal point and arrange the items in your living room to support it.

         Lighting. Now may be a good time to replace windows, or even add larger ones for more natural lighting. Determine how to best tap natural lighting and supplement with lamps and ceiling lights when necessary. Lighting can also be a great way to enforce your living room theme.

         Surface and storage space. The amount of surface area you need will relate to the seating. Make sure there is enough space for people to set personal electronics, plates, cups, books, and more. Add a central coffee table and end tables for books, coasters, lamps, and art. Add in bookshelves and entertainment curios if either are needed based on your living room goal and belongings.

         Accessories. This portion of redecorating is like putting the icing on the cake. You can let your creativity take over a little bit when picking out throw pillows, picture frames, area rugs, and wall art. If there is a certain part of your theme that is not adequately being conveyed through the walls and furniture, accessories are a great way to drive it home.

From seating, storage, and entertainment to lighting and art/plants/accessories, look at what your current living room items are providing in terms of design and purpose. After you know exactly what you have to work with, you can start adding in the items you�ll need to transform your living room to the space you want it to be.

Contributed By: Hannah Tucker is the mastermind behind product management at TheBackStore.com. Hannah has a (healthy) shoe obsession and resides in the beautiful and sunny San Diego. She has a fascination for ergonomics and its effect on workplace culture and productivity.

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