Quick living room freshen up

There is no better time than January 1st to get ready to freshen up your home. Now that the parties are over and routine sets in you look around and think of change. Over-enthusiasm abounds at the dawn of a new year so off one goes to make big moves.
But to renovate even a bathroom, or change the look of an entire room can be time consuming and costly. It’s good to start planning but very important not to rush into any such renos. What if, instead, you get going with a smaller decor project that is sure to give you satisfaction and a whole new look for the new year.
A fast and quick refresh gratification is easily achieved without a large budget nor a cumbersome process. Here is how to do it.
First you need to pick a room. Do not be overly ambitious, you cannot tackle more than one room. A project like this should take a couple of days at the most. That way it feels like a consumed pleasure, like going out with friends for the night and having a great time with the added bonus of being left with a wonderful interior to enjoy over and over again in your own home.
If you think of all the decorating shows one enjoys watching on tv, they are more about the process of design than the end product. A process that is made pleasurable and entertaining to watch and participate. You can always grab a magazine or browse the internet, in order to see the end result, you don’t need to watch a show. But you watch it because you enjoy the excitement of transformation.
So why not do the same on you own dime with your own home? You may need a professional eye to make it best but with confidence of style you can achieve a professional look and on top, proudly share your work with your friends. Try it with these steps made easy.
Let’s pick a living room as the example. I find the reward is bigger if you actually pick a room that you typically do not use a lot and make it into a space that you will use more. Avoid kitchen and bathrooms, they have little movable parts thus difficult to decorate without addressing other major changes. It’s more impactful to select a living space or a bedroom than one room with so many limitations.
Before you start think of how you use the living room. Is it to entertain and chat with guests, or retreat and lounge a deux with a drink before dinner or would you want to do that if you have the space? Find your own activity to set up and enjoy.
Most likely you already have a seating area set up, so here are the three key elements that can make a noticeable change:
By far, the most important. Easiest to consider is the painting above the couch. With impactful art it is all about scale and colour. Couches are commonly in the seven-eight foot long range making a 5 foot by 4 foot or so horizontal painting be a proportionate companion. For larger budgets explore galleries in town for originals. Unknown to many, the Art Gallery of Ontario has an extensive collection of Canadian art to sell and loan. You can borrow a piece and have it installed in your home for a short period of time to see if it suits you or not. For smaller budgets you have the fabulous option of custom printing on any medium and add professional framing to any image your mind can think of, copyright permitting.
Art selection is personal. Do not worry about its colours or if it matches what you have. Go for something you love that you like looking at repeatedly. Anything else can follow. Art should never follow decor but if anything, vice-versa.
The rug!
Rugs have many mini rules of how furniture sits or does not sit on them, with how many legs and how far apart. What you cannot go wrong with is a standard rectangular rug placed with the long side parallel to the couch, front legs on it only. See if an 8’x10’ or a 9’x12’ will work in your room. Do not go by room size but by the size of the seating area. If a couch is maximum 8 feet you can do a 8×10 rug but if your couch is 9 feet or more, you should consider the 9×12. However, either or, try to leave a couple of feet to walls for the rug to “breathe”. Go for a textured rug with a neutral colour that will allow you to layer colour in cushions and accents and change it more often with minimal cost. Set armchairs left and right and the coffee table with about 20 inches leg room to any seat. That may not work in all living rooms but it’s a good start-up rule of thumb. Keep in mind that rules of thumb do not offer fixed solutions but optimal, adjustable ranges.
Tabletop or mantle top decor!
I usually do not recommend overt arrangements or too many pieces because when selecting furniture I prefer pieces with character. If you place too many things on them, they get lost in the mix of objects, and often unfavourably so. One of my tricks to successful table decor is to complement the room elements already present. So look for pieces that tie the decor to the larger pieces. Here, for instance, the decorative wire spheres on the coffee table are in dialogue with the wire mesh side table. Even though the metals are completely different, the material, transparency and texture unify them.
With these few ingredients and a modest budget, with one day of shopping and one afternoon of setup fun, you can get your whole new room makeover for 2019!
Stay tuned for the next chapter on how to budget for your living room decor project.
Interiors curtesy of Dochia Interior Design
Photography by Chris Harrison

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