‘Distasteful and off-putting’ living room mistakes to ‘avoid’

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When decorating a living room it’s easier to make more mistakes than you might think. While there’s a largely formulaic set of furniture to include – seating, coffee table and television – the most successful schemes have a few more subtle principles at play that help them to go from average and ordinary to practically perfect and desirable. Nic Shacklock, interior expert at Online-Bedrooms.co.uk spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk on his top living room mistake households should aim to avoid to make the space look “perfect”.

He said: “The living room is the pride of the home for many Brits so it’s especially important to make the space look perfect. We’ve researched living room trends to follow this winter and we’re advising which layout mistakes to avoid when planning out the space.”

Mistake 1: Too much furniture

According to Nic less is definitely more when it comes to furniture arranging – especially in small spaces. He said: “The first tip any homeowner could use is to avoid having a busy living room.”

Trying to cram in too many furnishings can quickly overrun a small living room, making it feel crowded and chaotic. 

Instead, choose a handful of quality, low-profile pieces to fill the area while leaving plenty of open space between items.

He also noted that placing the furniture too close together can easily make a home look cluttered and untidy and having too many sofas or ornaments scattered around “can look sore to the eye”. 

When planning the layout, households need to make sure they place the seating area in an L-shaped position to “allow for breathing space” and a coffee table which “doesn’t look out of place”.

Mistake 2: Bare living rooms

Just like it’s important to not have too much furniture, a living room that feels empty is also a no-no. Nic said: “You should also avoid having a bare living room.”

To avoid this the designer advised placing a centrepiece rug with a coffee table between seating areas to make the room feel more inviting and welcoming.

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Most rooms work better if they have a focal point, but none more so than the living room.

A focal point is a place that your eyes land on when first entering a room, drawing you in for further investigation. It can also help with the placement of furniture, providing a natural anchor point around which to build a scheme.

Mistake 3: Wrong sized rug

Rugs can be a great way of forming a living room scheme, providing a visual resting place and a point around which furniture can be arranged. 

But one of the biggest mistakes that people make when choosing a living room rug, is opting for one that is too small. 

Nic said: “Many homeowners make the mistake of opting for a rug which is too small to fill the space. A large deep shaggy or wool rug is perfect for those wanting to create a homely environment.”

Mistake 4: Blocking natural light

In living rooms households should let the light stream in by drawing back the curtains or opening blinds. Some homes may have the best lighting system, but if you don’t invite natural light, a house can remain cold and lifeless.

The expert said: “One of the most important rules is not to block natural light in the room. While there’s less natural light in winter, making the most of it is essential in bringing the space to life. 

“Any tall furniture which could potentially block the windows should be rearranged to keep the view clear. A handy tip for remote workers is to place the desk under the window to make the most of the natural light during online video calls – but make sure it doesn’t block the glass.”

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Mistake 5: Mismatching wall colour and furniture 

There’s nothing wrong with having a unique colour in the room to spruce up the space, but if the furniture and walls are mismatched, Nic warned that it “can look distasteful and off-putting”.

Similarly, for those who are opting for bolder living room colours the expert warned about putting too many in one place. Instead he suggested: “Stick to one and fill the rest with a minimalist palette.

Another colour theme to “avoid” is darker paint on walls. Stick to brighter colours or keep one wall in the room white to make the area look more spacious. 

Nic added: “The best way to make the living room feel bigger is to have the ceilings in white so the space doesn’t look enclosed.”

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