How to Set the Stage in Your Living Room for Holidays:
If you have big plans for the holidays, then you probably have a huge list of things that need to be checked. Some things, like putting up holiday decor, could easily wait until later in the season, especially if your main entertaining space isn’t feeling quite like you’d want to.
Now is the perfect time to get started. Whatever you decide to do, from dinner with all your family and friends to cocktail parties, your living room will probably be the hot spot for that.
That’s where your guests will spend the majority of their time, so you better work your way through these 10 essential steps and prepare a more welcoming and well-put-together space.
Imagine it empty.
Just try to imagine your room without furniture in it—your walls and floors completely empty and blank. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s still worth a try.
Also, make sure you pay close attention to all the areas that seem way better without your stuff in them. This might be a good clue that something in that area needs to be removed.
And since we’re not discussing complete room makeovers, you need to stay focused on those things that you can realistically accomplish before the holiday season.
As you might find out, removing items is much easier (and, to be honest, on the budget) than buying something completely new. That’s why it’s so important to see what you can do to refresh the room.
Sometimes, it can imply taking away that little or big thing that might be bothering you. Even moving a piece to another room might do the trick. If you don’t even miss it, then it means you need to give it away for good.
Find the focal point.
In a living room with a mantel, that’s also the natural focal point. However, you might have something else you want to draw attention to, such as a gorgeous painting, a statement-making sofa, or even a beautiful view.
Once you’ve established your room’s focal point, just remove anything else that might detract your attention from it. Think of it like this: Is the mantel cluttered with decor? Are there plenty of throw pillows on your sofa that cover the beautiful nailhead trim?
Consider the flow.
Some living rooms won’t give you as much of a headache; they’re much easier to arrange furniture in than others. If you’ve been having a hard time getting the furniture in the right spot, you could try stepping back and snapping a couple of pictures from the doorway.
If there’s a major piece of furniture blocking the view into the room, or if there’s another, more obvious way to enter and flow through the space, then go ahead.
Move what you need to move, and let the good chi flow! You could even sketch out a couple of furniture arrangement ideas on paper before getting into the heavy lifting. Trust me, your muscles and spine will thank you.
If you feel that your room is still missing that special something, then you could dip into your idea books and find a couple of pictures that will really make your heart sing.
After all, it’s about making the most of your living room, right? But make sure you don’t stop there. What attracts you to those images? Some things, such as high ceilings and enormous windows, aren’t really achievable.
However, there might be something else that could call you, whether it’s a particular style of chair, a cool tray, a color, or even a pattern. You could bring all those things into your space. Make sure you track it down if you can!
Adjust the colors.
Go back to the pictures you took in your living room and re-examine the flow. But this time, from a chromatic perspective, What really strikes you about the color in the living room?
Do you feel there is too much, or maybe not enough? If you have all kinds of different colors, you could try removing a couple of them just to streamline the palette. If too little color is the issue, then you can treat yourself to a brand-new throw, vase, tray, or even artwork in your favorite color.
Create some kind of symmetry.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the human eye loves symmetry. So why don’t you use that for your living room? If you feel there’s something missing from your living room, or if it feels less than harmonious, then a little symmetry will do the trick.
You could try adding a pair of matching lamps, art hung in identical frames, or even a pair of throw pillows on the sofa.
Check the measurements.
Furniture that’s too far away might make the space feel a bit uncomfortable. On the other side, if it’s too close, your guests will be tripping over one another.
Try placing the coffee table 15 to 18 inches from the sofa. Also, note that side tables should be close enough to the armchairs. The whole idea is to easily set down a drink.
Also, keep about 3 feet of space between furniture items so your guests have enough space to walk through. Lastly, position the seats a maximum of 10 feet away from one another.
For instance, you can measure the distance from the sofa across the coffee table to an armchair on the other side. This way, you will create the space for good conversation.
Get the light right.
Using plenty of low-watt lights will create a far more flattering light than using a couple of bright ones. Three light sources are the bare minimum for decent lighting.
Except for small spaces, you should definitely aim for five to seven. Also, you can try a mix of table lamps, floor lamps, candles, or even twinkle lights. If you also have an overhead fixture with a dimmer switch, just keep it on low during a party; otherwise, don’t use the overhead.
Tuck in some extra seats.
Be prepared for extra guests by sneaking a couple of extra seats into your arrangement. There’s really no need to spend too much on these pieces.
You could look for little stacking stools and small ottomans (like these ones). If you’re wondering where, just aim for budget-friendly stores and scoop up one-off chairs at any flea market or yard sale. Here are a couple of ingenious ideas:
- You can place a pair of X-benches in front of the fireplace.
- Tuck a pair of stools beneath a console table.
- Place the occasional chair or a low bench against a blank wall.
- Swap out your regular coffee table for a more comfortable ottoman that could also double as a seat.
Finesse the details.
If you’ve managed to make it this far, then you definitely deserve a big pat on the back. All you need to do is get the living room ready for your visitors.
Make sure you dress up the tables with stacks of books and small vases of flowers. Also, spot-clean your upholstery, launder slipcovers, and put out a tea set or even a bar tray.
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