Interior Design spend their lives studying the little details that make a room perfect. Just like a beautifully directed movie, a well-decorated living room is at once engaging and impressive, familiar and safe. And sometimes, what is off in our own living rooms can be difficult to pinpoint. To shed some light on the most common living room design mistakes that may be plaguing our spaces, we talked with interior designers and a residential architect.
The space of your dreams may not be so out of reach if you consider the most common living room decorating mistakes.
Selecting the Wrong Sofa
Designers agree: A great living room starts with a great sofa. “So often I come into a house and the owners have good taste, but they already have a sofa that they want to work with,” explains stylist and TV host Emily Henderson.”They don’t want to replace it because it’s not that old and they don’t mind it. I’ve had to break the news over and over that with a sofa like that, they would never get the room they want,” says Henderson.
David John Dick of DISC Interiors agrees, “We hear time and time again from our clients how the sofa they purchased in the past was not comfortable or was too big (or too small) for the room. In living rooms, a good sofa is key to comfort, but it’s also central to how a room feels and looks.” Make sure you pay attention to sofa seat height (a low seat is hard to get in and out of) and draw up a furniture floor plan before purchasing. “Buying on impulse is great for accessories and side tables, but never for a sofa, as it can be a very costly mistake,” Dick says.
Falling Into the Showroom Look
Another mistake that plagues living rooms everywhere, according to New York–based architect Elizabeth Roberts, is the “showroom feel.” In other words, a room that looks like it’s all been purchased from the same store. “It’s important to us to mix new and vintage elements in order to create an interesting, eclectic, and individualized room,” she says. “We love the patina of vintage furniture, especially paired with modern upholstery,” says Dick.
Poorly Planning Your Layout
While it may be tempting to push a sofa against a wall facing the TV stand and call it a day, Roberts reminds us that there is more involved in planning a great living room layout. “It’s important to consider and create conversation groupings, especially if the room is long and narrow like many townhouses and lofts,” she says.