Contemporary is sleek, minimal, but not avant-garde. This attitude reflects an awareness of the world of design and an appreciation of elegant simplicity.
A slick setting is usually carefully pruned so each element, be it contemporary or traditional, is chosen for its distinctive lines and for its integrity of form and function.
Even color is often kept at a minimum, with hues drawn from the neutrals, especially black, white and gray, often sparked with a touch of brilliant accent color, such as red.
Your accessories are limited to a carefully chosen few that make a definite statement about your taste.
Contemporary Living Rooms
Your living room is a serene showcase. You express yourself in a sophisticated editing of your surroundings. Most important to you is the drama you can achieve. By eliminating clutter, you can lead the eye to the main event, whether that be a dramatically-lit sculpture, a fabulous rug or a fantastic piece of art.
- Store It: Your carefully-planned look can be ruined by a messy stack of unread mail. Look critically at where you’ll need storage and think creatively. Do you always drop the mail on the coffee table after you walk in the door? Perhaps you need a sleek console table in the entryway with a large ebony box to stash the mail in before you mess up the living room.
- Focus: don’t detract from what’s most important.
Casual/Country Living Rooms
Your living room is a cozy retreat where your family and guests feel pampered and comfortable. You express yourself in very personal touches and a bit of whimsy can be seen in your accessories. You can adapt pieces from both the traditional and the contemporary style. Just use a few softening touches to lighten the mood.
- Mix It Up: Matched grouping sets are not for you. Mix them up with a wooden rocker or a wing-chair in a different upholstery.
- Relax: Add a dining area to a formal living room and you invite homework and late night snacks. Add a bookcase near the table and you have a snug library look.
- Use Fabrics to Soften: Ruffled sofa skirts and table runners give your living room a friendly feel. Look for quilts and cozy throws to toss over the backs of too-formal sofas.
- Combine Woods: Vary the wood finished and you relax your room. Use a pine rocker next to a mahogany buffet. Add a cherry-framed mirror over the mantelpiece. Throw in a painted or distressed chair for an informal look.
Formal Rooms for Formal Occasions
Your home is likely to include a gracious melding of several styles from the past. In this broad-brush category, you may choose from such classic styles as period French, 18th-century Chippendale, or Queen Anne, as well as Oriental and even formal contemporary furnishings.
Both antiques and quality reproductions can be combined in your rooms. Your furnishing are likely to be straightforward and clean, with graceful curves and flowing shapes arranged in symmetrical groupings.
Colors are often rich and mellow, used with gentility and grace. Important in your decorating are the special accessories and mementos living collected over time.
Traditional Living Rooms
Your formal living room can be one of the most welcoming spaces in your home. When you’re decorating, your goal will be to achieve graciousness and ease. You will create a place that makes you and your guests feel special and pampered.
- Symmetry: Classical decorating styles are most often symmetrical. Flank your fireplace with two armchairs. Center your sofa against the wall. Unusual furniture placements are not your style. Think in threes: one large piece, flanked by two smaller ones. For example, one large piece of framed artwork or a mirror over the fireplace can be flanked by two wall sconces.
- Illuminate: Lighting will be important to set the mood in your living room. Consider adding rheostats to your light switches to get just the right ambiance.
- Fabrics Can Glow: Tailored sofa skirts and exposed legs give your living room a traditional feel. Look for upholstery fabrics and slipcovers in chintzes, jacquards, or anything with a sheen.
- Match Woods: You don’t have to buy a set of furniture in order to match the wood. You will naturally be drawn to the elegant woods that match your traditional style — cherry and mahogany. When you buy furniture for your living room, try to keep all the finishes the same.
An Eclectic Style indicates that you enjoy eclectic surroundings that combine the best from a number of design periods and styles.
You probably are quite aware of your personal style and may occasionally gently rebel against the rules. You will most likely find, however, that your answers lean, at least slightly, toward one of the categories above.
The secret is to understand and consistently heed your main attitude toward furnishing your home so you can combine your disparate furnishings into a cohesive harmonious whole.
Your living room, like the rest of your home is uniquely yours. Your style is like no one else and not only that, but… you’re a lucky decorator. Like many professional decorators, you find the things you like tend to all look good together when you get home.
- Color: Become aware of the colors you’re attracted to and that you use often in your decorating. Keep a stash of paint on hand so you can refinish that garage sale find into an eclectic treasure.
- Be Bold: You know what you like. Don’t chicken out and give in to your mother-in-law’s suggestions. Do what you like, then take it a step further. You may find that in your living room, as in your life, you like the attention you get just being yourself.
- Fabrics: From leathers to homespun to velvet, your living room is a treasury of rich abundance.
- Space: You’re making a statement with whatever you do. If you have a collection, say vegetable salt-and-pepper shakers, it has more impact if you display it all in one place, not scattered around the room. Conversely, if you have one dynamite piece of art, give it space on the wall; don’t clutter it among too many other distractions. Space in your home is like rhythm in music, it’s most interesting when you vary the tempo.
- Maybe you don’t want to spoil it with any window treatment. If you have a gorgeous piece of art, spend a little on a contemporary light to add drama and give the art breathing room on the wall.
- Match Metals: If your coffee table is brushed stainless steel, don’t buy brass lamps. When your incidentals are harmonious, the eye will be drawn to the drama you create.