Advice for Designing Living Rooms

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    • Decorators use a simple formula called 60-30-10. The belief is that in order for a room to achieve color balance, 60 percent of the color should be derived from the shade the walls have been painted. The next 30 percent of color should be a shade that coordinates with the wall color. This will be a color that you find in furniture, drapes and area rugs. The final 10 percent should be another coordinating shade that's introduced through accessories such as lampshades, artwork, scatter pillows, throws and floral arrangements.


    • Choose a focal point in your living room, a spot that exhibits the best the room has to offer. This may be a fireplace, picture window, wall niche or great piece of art. Group your furniture around that focal point, using only the number of pieces that you will actually use in the room. If there are generally only three or four people in the space, you'll do nicely with a sofa and two chairs. The less furniture you introduce into the room, the more spacious it will feel and the less cluttered it will become.


    • It's not the number of things you have in a room, but the quality of items that sets the tone. This doesn't mean that your furnishing need to be expensive, but they should be interesting. Texture instantly adds interest to any room. Introduce it through a knotty throw, richly textured drapes, artwork, a wall tapestry, rustic wood, or new slipcovers.


    • A clean, organized room not only feels larger, but it's also a more tranquil space. Keep your accessories and accent pieces to a minimum and find dual purposes for furniture. A television armoire can double as storage for stereo equipment and DVDs. A small trunk can serve as an end table and extra storage. Low-profile shoe organizers that were intended to be slipped under a bed can be used to organize small toys and hidden away under the sofa.

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