As one of the most central rooms in our homes, the living room so often becomes buried under evidence of frequent and common use. Shoes, homework, video game consoles and abandoned snack plates so often take over the space, burying any sign of design. Blankets and pillows in disarray (or missing entirely) make the room feel like a non-space, like a catch-all room where anything goes.
But as the central hub for hospitality, quality family time and relaxing after work, your living room should be a comfortable space that expresses your family’s values and creativity. Like other DIY projects, elevating the space with a few simple projects doesn’t have to break the budget or require a complete overhaul. With just a few clever choices, you can upgrade your living room’s aesthetic and renew its sense of purpose. This, in turn will make it more fun to be in and easier to keep organized. If your living room is ready for a refresh, here are four DIY ideas for getting started.
Tip #1: Revisit your living room’s focal point
Every living room has a focal point. That could be the television, a piece of art or bookshelves showcasing your carefully-curated library. Reviving your living room could start with revisiting and reimagining its focal point.
Perhaps you move the seating around to direct attention to a new piece of art? Or maybe you decide you want less Netflix and more game nights with the family, so you take the television from center stage and rearrange the seating to give the space a more conversational, communal focus.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget to take traffic flow into consideration. Your goal is to focus the room around an interesting point without hindering foot traffic or other common uses of the room.
Tip #2: Update your color palette
Perhaps one of the most easy and fun ways to revive a boring living room is to explore a new color palette. Adding a few brightly-colored pillows and throw blankets are an affordable way to energize a room, while repainting can elevate the space to an entirely new mood.
If you decide to repaint, make sure you pick colors that match the largest and most expensive pieces in the room so you don’t have to replace those. If repainting feels like too much of a jump, wallpaper with fun colors and patterns might prove a less intimidating option.
Ultimately, the goal is to figure out how color can improve your emotional and psychological association with the room and make it a space that’s energizing and relaxing to be in.
Tip #3. Embrace color, textures and patterns
Mixing patterns and textures can be intimidating, but when well-placed, they can add an element of intrigue and visual depth to your living room. If you’re not sure how to get started, first take inventory of what you already have and what you’d want to keep in the room. Next, explore and experiment.
Spend some time looking at professionally-designed spaces in magazines or online, noting how patterns and textures are placed and combined. Soaking in these kinds of visual examples will help train your eye. When you’re out shopping, you’ll start to notice combinations you may not have spotted before. Walking through the fabric aisle of a hobby store or the interiors section of a home-goods store is another easy way to experiment.
Compare items with different patterns and textures and see how they go together. Challenge your expectations and ideas of “what works.” You’ll be surprised at what you may discover! Ultimately, going the extra mile to layer colors, textures and patterns in your room can add intention to the room, giving it a sense of purpose.
Tip #4. Change up the lighting
Lighting is one of the most affordable and fun ways to change the mood of a room. When it comes to interiors, there are three main kinds of lighting. Ambient lighting is diffused and even, gentle and de-stressing, not super bright nor soft. Task lighting is focused and directed — think of a reading light.
Accent lighting draws attention to specific parts of a space, similar to how outdoor lights function to dramatize the exterior of a home or lighting placed around an art piece. Of course the best light is natural lighting. If you have large windows, you’ll want to optimize natural lighting as much as possible.
Whatever option you choose, try to opt for lighting that best matches your overall purpose of the space. If you want it to be a place for gatherings and game nights, then lots of task-lighting probably isn’t best. But if you’re going for relaxing reading space, then soft ambient lighting with a few accents can probably do the job. Whatever you choose, we’re here and ready to help!
Tip #5. Add some fresh greenery
With their ability to lower stress, clear the air, and boost productivity, house plants are much more than a trendy accessory. Adding a few plants to your living room is one way to express your intention for the space while adding some liveliness and energy. When selecting plants, be sure to choose the right ones based on your lifestyle and the kind of lighting you have available.
If you’re not sure which ones are best, take photos of your room at different times of the day to capture its various lighting and show them to a plant professional. Taking into account the amount of space you have, how regularly you can water them and the kind of lighting available, they’ll help you choose the right ones.
More than a fun hobby or an excuse to go shopping, designing the rooms in our homes is a way of communicating our intention for the space, a way of giving it purpose. How we organize our rooms communicates how much we care about the people in them and how we’d like the space to be treated. If you want to improve the greenery outside too, check out six essential landscaping tips.
The great thing about elevating your living room (and other DIY home projects) is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or demanding. You can change the room by just changing one or two elements, if that’s the accent color, the texture on your accessories or the layout of the furniture. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or several weekends of your life — all it requires is some reflection (deciding what you want for the space), creativity, and the willingness to explore new ideas.