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8 Reasons your Living Room Design Kinda Sucks (and the Solutions)

Ever looked around your living room and felt that the whole design was a bit blah? Like there’s no heart and soul in it? Or that the room doesn’t feel complete?

I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Many moons ago, before I became an interior decorator, I too felt continually let down by the look and feel of my living room. But not anymore.

If you feel like your living room sucks right now, fear not. Below I’m sharing some nifty living room inspo with you, as well as the major mistakes you need to correct. And it’s going to make the entire zone look and feel a whole lot more amazing.

Let’s get cracking!

8 Reasons your Living Room Design Kinda Sucks

empty house with white double doors and timber floorboards scared to decorate

1. You’re trying to do Minimalism (and failing)

In my opinion, all things relating to minimalism in the home are a giant pile of poo (you can read about my hatred for the minimalist movement here). Considering the amount of time you spend in the living room, it’s the hub of your home and needs the most heart and soul.

If you feel your living room is sterile, clinical or not cosy, it’s probably because it’s not full enough. You’ve stripped too many elements back and now you’re sitting in a cold shell.

The Solution: Bring in some furniture like cabinet or shelving that’ll help you display some knick-knacks and mementoes. That’ll give the room a bit of life instantly.


2. There are no Layers to the Room

Every room needs layers, from the walls and floor right into the centre of the space. All too often, a room will feel uninviting because it is under-layered. Texture is the element that makes a room feel warm and inviting, so you need to ensure that have tactile layers in a room. People often think of things like cushions and throws when they read advice on ‘adding texture’. But texture is also crucial to introduce to the shell of the room too.

The Solution: Think about painting your walls (not white!), wallpapering a feature wall, laying down a rug, hanging some sheer curtains (or other window treatment), and then consider the furniture.

Shaynna Blaze's 10 Commandments of Colour

3. You’ve gone Colour Cray-Cray

Lovers of colour, I salute you! There’s nothing better than walking into a home and seeing a space that’s splashed out in bold hue. The flipside of this is that the space can often feel chaotic and visually jarring, because too many competing tones have been crammed in. Yes, colour is wonderful, but too many shades can make a living area feel like a kids bedroom.

The Solution: Pull back on some of the colour. A successful living space has one or two base colours (usually neutrals like grey, white, beige or black), and then no more than three accents. For more tips on getting colour write, see this post.

Beacon Lighting Haines floor lamp with built in side table bedside table ideas the life creative

 4. The Mood has Left the Building

Creating mood in a room isn’t as hard as it seems, but so often it’s not thought out properly. In my own living room recently, I felt it was a little flat. I went out and purchased a floor lamp and indoor plant, placed them on and beside a side table I had, and the room instantly felt complete. The Edison bulb in the lamp casts a gorgeous warm hue over the room at night and it’s changed the whole space for the better.

The Solution: Lighting is the easiest way to create mood. Turn off your overhead lights and use table and floor lamps to set the tone.

White and Pink Living Room Feminine Room on The Life Creative

5. You’ve not Purchased Enough Furniture

Now, this is not me pushing you to consume, but honestly… some living rooms are simply under-filled. I have relatives that don’t have a coffee table, art or rugs in their living room and it makes the space feel so unresolved. All too often, clients of mine get so panicked and stressed over what the right or wrong furniture/decor choice is for their space, they end up buying nothing! I call this SSTD (Sh*t Scared to Decorate) and you can read more about it here.

The Solution: Just buy the damn rug! You only live once, and if you’re not a trained professional, decorating is a lot of trial and error. Just buy the coffee table and see how it looks. If you don’t like it, return it or gift it to a friend or family member.

House Rules 2016 Luke and Cody Living Room Charity Round

6. The Layout is All Wrong

So often, people move into a home, decide on the layout of the room, and close the book on that chapter. I like to try out about 456 different layouts until I find the best one. I know, furniture is heavy and a pain to move about, but seriously… play with the layout in your living room. You might find a configuration that looks (and functions) 100 times better than the one you currently have.

The Solution: I’m sure you know the answer to this one already. Dedicate an hour to changing your living room around. I bet you come up with something better (or discover a new appreciation for the layout you currently have).

Kmart homewares - Kmart lamp and shadow boxes and canvas art - The Life Creative

7. Everything is Budget (and it shows)

You know I love a budget buy just as much as the next decor obsessive. But these bargains have to play nicely in your living room with other pieces that aren’t all-cheap. I know that the very term ‘affordable’ is all relative and means different things to different people. But the main thing I want to convey here, is that if you buy everything for your room on-the-cheap… it really shows. And not in a good way.

The Solution: Mix high-end pieces with budget buys. Old pieces with contemporary ones. It makes for a richer living room. If you want tips on the types of budget furniture to steer clear of, check this out.

house rules 2017 living room with black walls and timber tv unit

8. The TV is an Eyesore

There’s nothing worse than walking into a living room and seeing a great honking TV set looking back at you. It takes up the entire room and leaves all of the gorgeous design moments playing second fiddle. I know TV’s are important, but they can be made to fit better visually in the space.

The Solution: Time to look at ways to conceal your gigantic TV. I’ve already prepared a post on this for you, which you can check out here.

Over to you!

What are some of your crafty living room ideas to make this space flourish and not flounder? I’d love to hear about what living room inspo you’ve come across in the comments below.

ikea living room sofa with coastal pendant in living room

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Comments (1)

  • Awesome writing Chris

    Lots of good points here and you have lots of cool stuffs in your blog

    I particularly likes #2 and #4


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