According to a 2010 article on the "National Association of Home Builders" (NAHB) website, the recent trend toward smaller homes is expected to continue; this means smaller rooms in the home, including the living room. However, smaller doesn't necessarily have to be a disadvantage if you look at decorating and design with a different eye. Small spaces can invite people in and exude warmth and coziness.
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The large home trend found its peak in 2006, according to NAHB, when the average home measured almost square 3,000 feet. However, because of the economy and energy costs, homes have continued to become smaller with some people gravitating toward homes of 1,000 square feet or less. Although these homes make good economic sense, they also pose a challenge in terms of design and decor. In the new, smaller living rooms homeowners tackling decorating challenges will still rely on some of the same principles of decorating that are found in larger homes, but they will scale down the size and scope of these solutions. These solutions include taking advantage of some common living room focal points like a fireplace.
Smaller living rooms actually present some advantages to people who like the feeling of a cosy living space. Smaller living rooms by their shear dimensions invite people to sit closer to one another as they talk, which creates a feeling of intimacy in the space. When decorated correctly, they also feel cosier, because the decor works with the small space instead of against it. The fireplace plays a key role in this set-up, not only because it lends itself to the cosy feeling of the room, but also because it provides the room with a natural focal point. A properly emphasised focal point represents one of the foundations of good decorating.
According to "Rental Decorating," an ideal living room sits about six people comfortably, which is a doable goal in small living room decorating. There are several keys to making this space work. First and foremost, the homeowner should look at ways of making the fireplace stand out more. This not only provides a visual anchor to the room, which directs the eye. Because the room is small, there should not be an emphasis on competing focal points like a bookcase or a piano. Additionally, the way that the furniture is placed in relation to the fireplace will serve to emphasise this as well. Finally, the furniture selected for the living room should be proportionate to the size of the room and, if possible, serve double-duty to make maximum use of the space. For example, a trunk used as a coffee table provides extra storage for items like magazines, craft supplies and other hobbies.
Space planning helps the homeowner think about how to use each aspect of the living room to his best advantage. Decorative elements like paint, furniture placement and use of accessories all assist in making the best use of this space. For example, a lighter coloured paint on the walls along with the use of mirrors over the fireplace mantel gives the room a more open look. Furniture and accessories that embrace rich colours and patterns give the room its warmth. Finally, by going with smaller pieces like a loveseat instead of a couch and making sure that enough walk space exists between each furniture piece, the room will look inviting and the fireplace will not get lost behind too much stuff.
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