When you first move to a city, especially a big one like New York or London, you focus on how successful you’re going to be and rightly so.
You’re going to land the perfect job, buy a great apartment in the heart of the city and live the life others can only dream of.
The reality ends up differently to how you imagined.
Most people have similar ambitions and the journey becomes competitive.
Keep your chin up though, the harder the battle, the more satisfying the victory when you reach your goal.
What does this mean for your apartment?
The job isn’t as lucrative as it should have been and the rent in the center of town costs more than you thought was possible for people to charge.
Alas, a smaller apartment, further out it is.
At the moment your living room looks clostrophobic, it looks dingy and not a place you want to bring new friends over to.
You want your living room to look like this.
You’re here because you want change.
It can be gutting when you don’t have a place that’s as nice as your friends’. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s not about the size, it’s never been about the size.
You can create a beautiful environment that your friends are buzzing to be in. You’ll be batting them away when they keep asking to come over at the weekend.
How do I know? Because I’ve done it.
I’m going to help you get there.
“I’ve tried before”
At this point you’re muttering to yourself that you’ve tried everything.
It just doesn’t work got you.
Here’s where most people go wrong.
They don’t do enough. There are a set of rules that, when stuck to, are going to dramatically improve your living room.
There’s a process though. Only adding one or two things isn’t going to cut it.
That’s where I think you’ve gone wrong. I would put money on you only changing one or two things in your living room, probably the ones that take the least amount of effort, and assuming you’re done.
When taken holistically, your living room is going to transform into the scene of late-night chats and the place where cocktails are blended by amateurs posing as pros.
I advise you to follow these steps in the order presented here.
In the past, I’ve found that I have a habit of starting one thing, getting halfway through and then beginning something else.
I get immediate hits of satisfaction and then move onto the next task to feed my craving.
This isn’t sustainable, so I began making lists for myself to follow.
I believe it’s going to help you right now.
Here’s the list in full:
Paint small living rooms the right color
Painting and/or wallpapering the walls of you’re small living room is the obvious first choice when you’re decorating. Strip everything back and begin with the foundations.
It’s important to appreciate when you’re styling your room. If the room is filled with dark colors, it’s going to appear smaller and if it’s filled with light colors, it’s going to feel larger.
The most important areas in your living room to lighten are the walls and the floor. It’s going to feel like those walls have been pushed outwards as the light bounces around the room. And always have a white ceiling for the light to bounce off and make the most of whatever ceiling height you have.
Adding darker furniture can actually have a positive effect too though.
The mixture of light and dark acts to create depth and tricks your eyes into beliving there’s enough distance between the walls to run a marathon.
- Keep your walls a light, neutral color. If you have an accent wall, it helps to paint this a different shade of the same color.
- Paint the rooms that attach to the living room the same or a similar color so it seems like there’s one continuous space.
- Vertical stripes work if you prefer wallpaper.
More hairpinned legs.
You’ve fixed your living room color out.
Now, it’s time for the furniture. You need a sofa to lie down on a lazy Sunday afternoon, don’t you?
This one is an awesome tip that a lot of people don’t initially consider but it’s a really simple addition.
When you buy your furniture such as a sofa or coffee table, make sure it’s on legs. These don’t necessarily have to be hairpin legs but these will be the easiest to find beautiful pieces for.
It works by allowing the light to access more of the room.
If you can see more of the room then that’s as good as an extension to your brain.
- Chairs, sofas, coffee tables, TV stands, side tables – it’s time to expose a bit of thigh.
Utilize hidden storage or multi-functional furniture.
Before you go out in a mad hurry to buy raised furniture, wait one second. Wherever possible, buy pieces which have storage capacity.
I’d steer clear of this in the sofa and armchair because you’re unlikely to be able to purchase any that are stylish in that design.
The coffee table, TV stand and side tables, however, definitely have the ability to hold all of your everyday living room items that don’t currently have a proper place.
- Utilize the space your furniture takes up as aesthetic storage containers.
Use mirrors in your living room
Storage is complete.
It’s time to move your gaze up to the walls.
You’re limited by the amount of light that enters the living room. Unfortunately, the windows will be staying their current size. This means you need to work with the light you’re given.
Especially true if you live in a part of the world which loves being overcast.
Putting up mirrors utilizes the light and send it back around the room rather than being absorbed the walls or furniture. This is a similar effect to having light colored walls, only in a my focus manner.
If you’ve defied my advice and your small-sized living room has a dark colored wall, this is the perfect location to add a mirror.
Another idea – above your sofa. It’s probably against the longest wall in the living room which means a lot of space for a big and beautiful mirror.
Above your mantle piece will look incredible too.
The video below has some quality tips about hanging your mirror. The point that I think is the most relevant is not placing it on a North facing wall because you’ll reflect the south facing (and strongest) light.
When you look into it, you’ll have that weird halo effect and it’ll obscure your reflection. The world doesn’t deserve that.
Use lamps to spread light around the room, not just one overhead light.
The mirrors are up and you can see yourself everywhere but just because the sun’s gone down doesn’t mean you can neglect keeping the room bright.
Floor lamps are great for adding a large amount of light in one go, they’re my favorite variation of light source. Try arc lamps, they’re ideal if you don’t have much space.
Additionally, putting smaller lamps on side tables and cabinets increases the layering effect.
- Display large-scale art.
The sixth tip I’m giving you is very tricky to pull of correctly but fortune favors the brave.
Hanging oversized art will naturally draw people’s eyes towards the art rather than concentrating on the dimensions of the room. If you include art depicting a landscape then you’ve got yourself a portal to a distant land and it looks bloody far away.
You’re going to need guts for this but if you pull this off you’re going to have one of the best living rooms.
P.S. You need to keep the place clean.
Saying thank you before you throw out your clutter helps you complete the task without feeling guilty