Decorating a living room has challenges

If you’re tired of your living room and would like to give it a fresh new look without spending a fortune, consider how often you use that room. Houses these days often have a family room or great room which combines the kitchen, eating area and entertainment. The living room is barely used.

You could change the room’s purpose to something else, a library or game room, for example. However, many people prefer to have a “special occasion” room for entertaining. Since it doesn’t get used too much, it’s not necessary to get top-of-the-line furniture.

Cheap sofas are difficult to tell from expensive sofas from the exterior. Both look pretty much the same when new. The construction, padding, stuffing and underlying support structure in a cheap sofa won’t last nearly as long as an expensive sofa, but that’s okay since it won’t get used nearly as much.

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Whether expensive or cheap, vacuum the sofa on a weekly basis to remove dust, crumbs and debris which can rub against the fabric and cause it to wear faster. If the pillows are double sided and most are, flip them once a week so they wear evenly as well.

Sofas, couches, come in various sizes from a loveseat which seats barely two people to huge wrap around sectionals which take up an entire room. If you get the sectional you don’t need to do too much else except place a few end tables around for snacks.

Two loveseats offer more flexibility than a traditional seven foot sofa. Place the loveseats facing each other with a coffee table in between or at right angles to each other.

Create two conversation areas, each with a love seat and one or two smaller chairs. Benches work well as both seating in the living room and as extra seating for the dining table.

You might think you have to match the furniture so it’s all the same style, but think again. A formal living room gets a bit of pizzazz when you throw in something unexpected, such as a modern sofa or a country-style print sofa.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing your seating is to keep the size consistent. It looks odd to have dinky little chairs next to a large seven foot leather sofa. And vice versa, an oversized and stuffed lounge chair overwhelms a small love seat.

In any room, leave three feet between pieces of furniture so there’s room to navigate. Create a definite path so people know how to get from one end of the room to the other, instead of feeling like they have to run an obstacle course.