How do I start decorating my living room?

The concoction of extra time on your hands and the annual ‘spring clean’ tradition may have seen you toying with the idea of starting a new home project.  If you have been spending a lot of time in your living room lately you probably want to make this room your first priority.   If you are feeling a bit “stuck” for ideas, you might want to consider our advice to help clear the brain fuzz and unleash your inner Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Plan for your lifestyle

Your living room hosts all sorts of activities from movie night to entertaining friends, so it is important to design and plan your room for real life.  What does ‘living’ mean for you and your family?  Does it mean television and media heaven?  Is it a place where you are only on your laptops?  How many places do you need to seat people?  When you look at what and how you will be using the space, you can develop and layout and design to suit your lifestyle.

Furniture layout

There are few things more intimidating than standing in an empty room and not knowing where to start.  It is often difficult knowing how to arrange the furniture in your living room in a way that is practical, space optimising, and complimentary to your style all at the same time.  It is commonplace for people to push sofas, chairs, and furniture against the walls, but this may not always be the best approach when taking into account your lifestyle and what activities you will use the room for.  A few things that will help you decide on your layout are:

  • Measure your living room so you can create a basic plan.
    Measure your living room from wall to wall. Draw a box on paper and note the measurements on all sides.  Having a scale floor plan is helpful for space planning.  You can measure your furnishings and create paper furniture cut-outs so you can play around with different furniture arrangements.
  • Consider your focal point
    Deciding what will be the main focus of your room will help you plan your space. Whether it is a TV, fireplace, a statement piece of furniture, a beautiful pendant light or sentimental artwork, determine what your focal point will be and then arrange your seating area around it.
  • Arranging furniture
    Once you have your seating area arranged (around your focal point), you can then start arranging your tables, media cabinets and sideboards. Think about how you will use the room day-to-day i.e. if you watch lots of television you will want a table near to the sofa so drinks and the tv remote are within easy reach.
  • Consider lighting
    Lighting a room is an important factor to get right. When used well it can really enhance your space and highlight elements you want to stand out. It can also completely change your mood; lamps and softer lighting dotted around the room tends to have a cosier, warmer feel than a bold, bright centred light.  If you have a statement light like a chandelier then you will want to centre it over the main seating area. Spot lighting can draw attention to areas you want to highlight such as artwork or photographs.

Wallpaper vs paint

Both wallpaper and paint can bring a pop of colour and style to any room and both are great choices.  Wallpaper has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it all depends on your personal preference and room design.  Typically, paint costs less upfront depending on the type, finish, and brand of paint you use.  Higher quality paints that last longer tend to cost more.  However, overtime paint will undoubtedly need ‘touching up’.  Generally, wallpaper lasts longer than paint so its higher upfront cost will be balanced by its long-lasting and durable talents.  Wallpaper also allows you to bring the choice of texture and pattern into the equation rather than just colour.

Hanging wallpaper is typically a longer process and it can be tricky particularly when hanging wallpaper with patterns.  It is worth seeking the help of a professional decorator [link to to ensure your wallpaper is hung with quality precision.

Paint colours

It is always difficult to decide on a paint colour and if there is one thing that people do wrong, it is choosing the paint colour first.  Choose your focal pieces and furniture first, then choose your colour based on them.

Paint is relatively straightforward to apply.  However, to ensure that the walls have an even appearance, you need to fill any cracks and rid any peeling paint with a good sanding down.  This can be difficult and time consuming, especially when doing it without prior experience.  So, if you need any help from the team at Brushstrokes decorating don’t hesitate to ask.  We would love to help.

We hope you have found our tips helpful.  You will soon have a living room you love to live in, in no time at all.

Contact Brush Strokes Decorating to ask us any questions that you may have. You can call us on 020 8468 1512 or email