If you’re planning a living room makeover, there’s lots to think about to make the most of the space you’ve got – from room layouts and paint colours to furniture styles and finishing touches.
Here, preparation is key. Break down all the things you need to do into bite-size chunks and it will seem all the more manageable and easy to achieve.
Whether you’re knocking down walls and completely gutting out your space, or simply doing a little seasonal refresh, here are 5 top tips to help you get cracking with your own decoration project.
The room layout
Thinking about how you arrange your living room should be the first on your list. Being open-minded to different layouts can help you think about the space with a fresh eye and see its potential.
A great way to do this is to sketch out the room layout. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest artist, just a simple plan can help visualise the room. Even better if it’s to scale.
You can then cut out smaller pieces of paper to represent the furniture you want to use in the room. Place them onto your sketch plan and move them around to see what fits together.
That way you can see what space you have left and how it will flow, whether there’ll be enough room to get past a piece of furniture or even whether you’ll have a good view of the telly!
I always find it useful to then mark out where pieces of furniture will go with masking tape in the room itself. It’s a cheap way to quickly visualise how you’ll move through the space.
Once you’ve decided the layout of your space, it’s time to think about the basics that will make the space functional and useable. This might be the position of plug sockets where you really need them – hint, you can never have enough! – or built-in storage to help keep the space tidy and clutter-free.
It may seem a little boring and mundane, but now is the time to think about how you’ll hide all those ugly wires that will ruin the look of your beautifully styled, finished space.
Use a cable tidy to conceal wires along skirting boards or build a hole into the back of a built-in cupboard to leave everything out of sight once the television comes in.
Think about shelving for books and magazines or where you’ll keep all the kid’s toys too. While you’re doing your renovation project, why not keep furniture and belongings safe and out of the way in a Shurgard self-storage unit?
When we were doing our living room makeover, we chose to store all of our belongings in one room upstairs. By the end, despite our best efforts, everything was covered in dust. The next time I would definitely think about storing everything away somewhere else for peace of mind.
Next when it comes to choosing a paint colour, consider how you want the space to feel when you spend time in it. If it’s a place for rest and relaxation, think about lighter neutrals. If it’s a space for entertaining and showing off, be bolder with bright colours and patterns.
If you’re not sure what colour to go for, maybe start with a piece of your favourite artwork, cushion or trinket that you can pick out a shade from. Then you can build your whole room scheme around that piece. If you’re still stuck for inspiration, head to Pinterest or delve into magazines to look for styles that appeal to you.
Remember to stick to two or three complementing shades to create a cohesive room.
It’s really important to try out a colour on the wall, some shades can look completely different from how they look on a tester card. Different lighting can also change paints appearance. So what you used in one room, might not necessarily work in another room.
Buy some tester pots and try them on the corner of a room where two walls meet, that way you can see what they will really look like, because the two walls will each have different light conditions.
Not everyone can afford to buy a whole new suite of furniture at once when they’re doing a renovation, often it takes time to get a space to where you really want it. Think about what you can reuse and bring a new feel to. It might be getting a new cover to update a tired sofa, buying a few new cushion covers to uplift the space, or painting a side table to give it a fresh, new look.
Make sure to consider how these pieces will look with your new paint scheme – take paint swatches out with you when you go shopping and keep in mind the look you want to create so you don’t go off piste!
If you are buying new furniture, take into account that some lead times can be up to 6-10 weeks for the delivery of larger items. Plan your project well and you won’t be left waiting with an empty finished room.
Lighting is often something that can be left to the last minute but it can really make or break a scheme.
If you’re using the space mostly in the daytime, you might just need a decent ceiling light and some focused task lighting in the form of floor lamps, but if you’re spending a lot of your time in the room in the evenings, you might want to think about more ambient lighting to create a cosy, welcoming setting.
You could use an LED strip within your joinery or under shelves to create a warm glow that lights up ornaments or books, or pick out a few table lamps instead of the harsh glare of the overhead ceiling light.
Smart lighting solutions can help save energy and money in the long term, so consider switching incandescent bulbs to LEDs now.
IKEA for instance, have just brought out a new range of smart lighting that’s easy and affordable to install, so you can control the lighting in your home from the click of a button on your phone.
Once you have these 5 key things done and dusted, that’s the fun part – the final, finishing touches and decorative details that make a house a home. Get creative and enjoy the process of transforming a room from dull to fabulous.