It's a good idea to give some thought to your living room design before you begin thinking about decorating. Apart from the kitchen, it's probably going to get more use by the family than other rooms.
Most living rooms never actually get designed. They sort of grow and evolve over time. Sometimes they become quite attractive, but often the reverse is true.
So how should you go about planning for it?
How will you use it?
Do you actually use it every day? Some families find the kitchen/dining area is used more than anywhere else.
If you have teenage children you may notice they disappear into their bedrooms more often than not. How much use would they make of the living room? Would you like them to spend more time there with other family members, and if so, how would you encourage them with your living room design?
When you do use it, what is it used for? Watching TV? Playing music? Or just a room for everyone to relax in?
Would you like to make it a quiet room - no TV or music - just a room where people can come and read or chat, or where visitors and neighbors come and sit?
Perhaps it's all of these things. No problem. But your living room design will be easier if you know what you have to plan for.
Seating is one of the most important parts of living room design, so first work out how many people on average you need to provide seating for. (This decision will of course be heavily influenced by the size of the room. Don't try to include more seating than the room will comfortably take.)
Then make a note of how many items you already have - sofas, chairs etc, and how many you need to buy to provide all the seating you want.
The focal point
At the same time as you estimate your seating, establish the focal point of the room. The focal point is the dominant feature. It could be the fireplace, a large window with a magnificent view, a beautiful rug, an oil painting, or even the media center or TV.
You may think that you have two focal points in your room. If so, then get rid of one, or draw attention to one at the expense of the other. The idea of a focal point is to provide a central focus for your room, a reference point, a position of balance. So by definition, if you have more than one focal point you will upset the balance of the living room design.
A focal point draws the eye to it, and from there to other items in the room. Once you know your focal point, it's easier to plan the room around it.
Do you feel at home there?
Living rooms are some of the most diverse rooms in any home. How yours ends up will depend on your lifestyle, budget, tastes and inclinations.
Above all, it should be a room where anyone can enter and immediately feel at home. They should be able to relax immediately and being reading, watching TV, listening to music, chatting and so on. If that's what people do, then your living room is a success.