Living Room Decorating Ideas

Use these decorating ideas to create a personalized space for you and your family to enjoy.


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Tables are a Must
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Tables are a Must

    Every living space needs a table-height surface for homework and projects. If space is tight, tuck a console table behind the sofa or against a wall.

    -Aimee Beatty, Sylist

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TV Height

    Don't mount your TV too high. Here's an easy guide: The bottom should be at eye level when you're sitting, the top at eye level when you're standing.

    -Danny Lipford, home expert

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Keep Dominate Sofas at Bay

    If your sofa or sectional dominates the room, paint walls a shade lighter than the upholstery. The eye will skate across the room, not get stuck on the sofa.

    -Liz Levin, designer

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Upgrade Pillows

    Get the feel of an expensive pillow from any bargain pillow cover when you swap the foam insert for a down one. (You can find them for as little as $6 for a 12-inch square.)

    -Michael Walters, stylist

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Make a Magnetic Wall

    One of my favorite tricks is to prime one wall with multiple coats of Rust-Oleum's magnetic primer ($22 per quart), then paint over it with whatever color you like. It turns the wall into a message center or gallery for kid's artwork without the visual clutter or multiple nail holes.

    -Patrice Bevans, designer

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Add Low-Lighting

    Position diffused, low-watt lighting, such as sconces with frosted glass shades or table lamps on dimmers, behind and slightly to the side of your TV. Your eyes will experience less strain as the picture shifts from light to dark.

    -Suzanne Kantra, techlicious.com

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Discourage Clutter

    To discourage clutter, adopt this rule: If you carry it in, you carry it out. Items left out at the end of the night go into the "penalty box." To retrieve them, you have to pay the penalty, such as doing a dreaded household chore.

    -Donna Smith, author of A to Z Storage Solutions

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Make Conversation

    Arrange furniture for conversation. Put pieces at cozy right angles close enough so people can talk, not just blow kisses across the room.

    -Elaine Griffin, designer

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Keep Accessories Together

    Display coffee table accessories on a tray so it's easy to remove them all at once when you're ready to play a game or have a pizza.

    -Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, furniture experts

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Use Pretty Lamps

    Look at lamps as a way to add color and sculpture to the room without the clutter of knick-knacks. Three-way bulbs are a must. The low setting emits a soft glow; turn up the juice when you're ready to read.

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Add Seating with Floor Pillows

    Floor cushions add extra seating -- perfect for kids -- without introducing more furniture than your room can handle.

    -Eddie Maestri, architect and designer

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Choosing the Right TV Size

    The size of TV your room can accommodate depends on how far you sit from it. The distance between you and the screen should be equal to two or three times the diagonal screen size. If you're between two screen sizes, go with the larger one.

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Rounded Coffee Tables

    My secret weapon is a round coffee table with a shelf below. The rounded edges are safer for little noggins.

    - Liz Levin, designer

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Create a Reading Corner

    To tuck a reading corner into a small space, choose a tight-backed chair rather than one with a separate back cushion. It's shallower but still comfy, especially when you add throw pillows.

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Add Comfort with Carpet Padding

    Make the floor extra cushy for lounging by throwing a layer of carpet padding under your area rug. Buy it at any home improvement or carpet store. You can pad a 6x9 rug for about $30.

    -Eddie Maestri, architect and designer

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Always Know Where the Remote Is

    Stash remotes (plus coasters, napkins, lip balm, and other necessities) in an attractive box. Bonus: You'll always know where to find the remote.

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Stylish Workspaces

    If you need a desk or work space in the living room, go for the prettiest office accessories you can find, and use a dining chair as a stylish, streamlined seat.

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Add Longevity with Outdoor Fabrics

    Choosing furniture upholstered in outdoor fabrics, Ultrasuede, synthetic blends, or fabrics treated with high-tech stain-resistance, such as Nanotex, adds longevity to your furniture, whether your life includes kids, pets, or clumsy guests.

    -Liz Levin, designer

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Get a Collected Look Now

    Want a collected-over-time look right now? You can't go wrong if you mix a slipcovered sofa, a dark wood coffee table, and a leather chair. Pick distressed wood and leather so you won't have to worry about putting the first scratch on them.

    -Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, furniture experts

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