Living Room Designs That Pop

An architectural focal point serves as the focal point in many living room designs.

Perhaps no room in a modern home deserves more attention to design and aesthetics than the living room. In countries such as the U.K and Australia this room is called a sitting room or lounge and it evolved from the 19th century ‘parlor’, a room which was where a recently deceased person was laid before funeral services.

Today, the living room, sitting or lounge is the room in our home where we tend to entertain guests, curl up by the fireplace with a good book, watch TV or converse with friends and family.

Many larger American homes will have a family room or great room which tends to be a more casual everyday living space while the living room is more formal, away from the bustle and noise of the family room.

The living room in this luxury apartment is left spare, giving it a clean, sleek modern look that takes full advantage of the amazing view.

Living Room Design: Architectural Focal Points

In terms of its placement within a home’s floor plan, it is commonly in the front of the home, just off the foyer or entry. This makes it a more ‘public’ room to greet guests without revealing the more private living spaces in the home.

A fireplace, entertainment center with large screen television or large picture window(s) with spectacular view will most often serve as the primary focal point in a living room or sitting room. It is critical to situate and arrange the room around your focal point as it becomes the starting point when arranging furnishings and design elements.

If your living room does not feature an architectural focal point you can create one by adding a feature such as custom built-in cabinetry and display shelving, a large screen TV or dramatic artwork. A secondary or supporting focal point can be distinguished by using accent colors or design elements that add interest without overpowering or competing with the primary focal point in your living room design.

Living Room Design Balance

Arrange living room furniture to take advantage of your focal points. Bright and open this living room design is formal without being overdone.

A room with too many points of interest will feel out of balance and visually distracting. If you are lucky enough to have a living room with more than one focal point such as a fireplace and a picture window, the picture window with a spectacular view would be the better choice as your primary focal point.

Framing a picture window with an elaborate window treatment will help emphasize and give prominence to the focal point. Alternatively if you want to keep the view as open as possible you could use a simple Venetian blind or window shade treatment that stacks up neatly out of the way. Decorative casings and trim work can also add style and visual emphasis to your living room’s picture window.

If a fireplace serves as the main focal point, you can add emphasis and character by adding a unique mantel, surround and/or hearth. Use these design features to display interesting artwork or other objects to adorn the mantel. Woodwork, stone or masonry fireplace surrounds will highlight and emphasize a fireplace as the central focal point.

Choosing the Right Design Style for Your Living Room

Choose design elements and colors that are in keeping with the architecture and overall style of your home's interior.

Setting the tone and mood for your living room begins with selecting a design style. While the living room will often be the most formal space in the home, it should also be in keeping with the overall aesthetics of your home’s architecture and interior design.

While it may be tempting to choose a formal style for your living room décor, it is often a mistake to choose a theme such as baroque or Victorian in a home that is otherwise very modern in style. Remember that any style, modern or traditional, can be made more formal; you don’t have to go with a super-traditional style in order to establish a formal look, but you want the living room to integrate with and enhance the overall look of your home.

A key aspect of design that separates great architecture and interior design from the average will be how everything ‘fits’ together. Using repetition is one way to ensure a cohesive overall look; design elements that repeat or refrain such as arched entryways or windows or some design motif such as a specific pattern or shape help give a home a pleasing, unified look. This doesn’t mean that every room has to look the same, far from it! You just don’t want rooms to feel completely disjointed from each other.

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